Are you using YouTube Shorts yet (YouTube's answer to TikTok)? Here's the scoop on how to upload and optimize your videos for YouTube Shorts.
October 27, 2023
5 min read
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YouTube is a social media juggernaut (not to mention, the second largest search engine on the internet). And they recently launched a new way to watch and create on YouTube: Shorts. YouTube Shorts is a short-form video experience for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones.
Sound familiar? That’s because Shorts is basically YouTube’s version of TikTok. Shorts involve vertical videos that are 60 seconds or less. The main difference is that the videos actually show up in YouTube search results.
Select YouTubers currently have the ability to create YouTube Shorts in the app. But the rest of us can still take advantage of this awesome feature. You just have to upload and optimize your videos for YouTube Shorts. How do you do that? We’re here to show you!
How to Optimize Your Videos for YouTube Shorts
1. Choose the right aspect ratio
When you’re optimizing a video for YouTube Shorts, you always want to use a vertical or square aspect ratio. To make sure YouTube automatically categorizes your video as a Short, make sure you stick with a 9:16 or 1:1 aspect ratio.
2. Trim the length
Just like TikTok, YouTube Shorts has a short length restriction for videos. When optimizing your video, be sure to trim your video to 60 seconds or less in length. When you edit your video with Zubtitle, we make it easy to trim your video! As soon as you upload your video, you'll have the option to quickly trim the front and back end of your video using our simple point-and-click editor.
3. Add a hashtag
In the title or description for your YouTube Shorts video, include the hashtag #Shorts. This step seems like it may be optional, but YouTube has recommended it. So the safest way to make sure your video is fully optimized is by using the hashtag.
If you follow these three steps, YouTube is likely to add your video to the Shorts “Shelf,” which is a dedicated YouTube Shorts section within the YouTube mobile app. Many YouTubers report that their Short video took sometimes between 3-7 days before YouTube began promoting them on the Shorts Shelf, so be patient if you don’t see results right away. When YouTube does start promoting your video as a Short, you’ll be able to see “Shorts” as a new traffic source under your YouTube analytics.
But in order to fully optimize your Short videos to get more eyes on them, you’ll want to implement this fourth step...
4. Customize your thumbnail
One issue that you’ll run into with YouTube Shorts is that, once you’ve uploaded your video, your uploaded thumbnail doesn’t appear. Instead, YouTube just selects a frame from a random point in the video. (Watch this video to add a Shorts section to your channel homepage so that you can see what we mean.)
That’s not ideal, since a good thumbnail can improve your click-through rate.