Digital marketers must contend with an all-new, promising marketing platform being released every few months. It often seems as though marketers don’t even get sufficient time to evaluate the various merits and tradeoffs associated with one new platform before something else comes along to supplant it.
The ability to pivot at a moment’s notice is an increasingly important qualification for today’s marketers. This ability can also breed a level of silent antagonism toward making the effort to try something new. This is especially true when that new platform requires marketers to shift all of their existing videos from landscape orientation to portrait.
So, while remaining sympathetic to the frustrations that come bundled with modifying an approved marketing campaign to meet the specific demands of a new platform, I’m going to strongly suggest that companies dive headlong into YouTube Shorts.
Why YouTube Shorts Need to be in Your Marketing Plan
1. Your target audience shifted to watching your videos on their smartphones a long time ago.
The days of producing widescreen digital video content optimized for audiences lounging at home on computers are over. There will always be a place for longer-form and widescreen videos. However, there is no question that most people use their smartphones as their primary means for accessing video content.
Moving potential customers from your short-form videos to your website will require providing useful, engaging information while getting straight to the point. Start by intriguing your customers with quick, punchy videos that are sufficiently branded without being heavy-handed.
Audiences are quick to scroll away from anything deemed too promotional or sales-y. Today’s audience is quick to make snap decisions.
2. YouTube Shorts represents a unique, ground-floor opportunity.
Whenever a new social media platform or service launches, there is a “break-in period” which early adopters quickly take advantage of to build out the platform or service.
The investment that YouTube plans to make in its Shorts service should be incentive enough for most marketers. It’s fairly obvious that YouTube’s behemoth search engine parent company, Google, is hoping to leverage the success of the popular TikTok format and — assuming that past Google corporate history is any indication of future behavior — surpass its competitors in both reach and revenue.
Digital marketers who are quick to play around with YouTube Shorts are almost certainly going to reap the benefits of Google’s market grab. Marketers from companies of all sizes expect to find new eyeballs as this new service is being refined and tweaked. The future for YouTube Shorts is anyone’s guess.
However, for now, everyone is welcome. Early adopters are finding that their video content is being warmly welcomed…and indexed.
3. Google’s search engine provides enhanced visibility and accessibility.
There are other search engines besides Google. Every digital marketer needs to keep at least one eye on this reality while optimizing their content for YouTube Shorts.
That said, just the fact that a brand name has proved so successful that it’s become a verb in common parlance — “Google that for me, would you?” — tells you a lot in terms of how Google-owned YouTube Shorts is going to scan video content for its search engine results pages (SERPs).
Assuming you’ve been optimizing previous video content with relevant keywords, accurately written descriptions, and visual punch, moving to YouTube Shorts shouldn’t present any major obstacles. Assuming that your company has been increasing its domain authority steadily, your YouTube Shorts are likely to shoot right up for niche-specific search strings.
4. Optimized video content has the potential to quickly create a well-worn path to your products and services.
No one can predict with absolute certainty the long-term success and availability of YouTube Shorts, of course. The list of discontinued Google products has become the stuff of legend.
Even with that bit of uncertainty, end users are unlikely to modify their long-established video-viewing preferences. People naturally hold their smartphones in a portrait (not landscape) orientation. People prefer to search and view online videos using their phones. Patterns such as these are unlikely to change regardless of what Google does in the future.
Let’s assume you’ve optimized your video content per Google’s preferences. If so, you can expect a burst of additional traffic when you publish your YouTube Shorts.
The hope is that you’ll be able to build and maintain that library over time. However, in the near term, you can reasonably expect a sudden surge in traffic.You can easily move content elsewhere should something happen with the new service.
5. YouTube Shorts provides an opportunity to build your digital marketing library and repurpose it over time.
Far too much production time often gets spent creating and optimizing video content only to watch helplessly as those projects die (statistically speaking) after only a few days. Shorter video platforms that “fade” content away are hardly a smart choice.
They can’t help build up the reputation of your brand over time. Great content becomes “greater” when viewers, drawn in by one short video, find that there’s a lot more where that came from.
Unlike YouTube Stories, YouTube Shorts do not vanish after seven days. Digital marketers have the opportunity to use short videos to promote their business and construct an overall narrative of quality and reliability.
They also have the platform stability they require to breathe new life into previously produced high-quality videos. Videos published a few months ago could easily have ongoing value.
Be Aware That the Ground Underneath YouTube Shorts May Shift
Lest you think it’s a good idea to abandon all of your other marketing efforts to go all-in on YouTube Shorts, keep in mind that not absolutely everyone is looking at your videos on a smartphone. Different mediums require different approaches and you want to be careful not to leave existing customers behind.
You might need to produce longer-form content. You might need to produce videos in landscape mode. And you aren’t able to exercise full control over the video’s thumbnail that highlights your content. However, digital marketers frustrated with the limitations of TikTok and other short-form platforms owe it to their companies to take a look in the near term.
The point is not that YouTube Shorts is the digital marketing silver bullet we’ve all been waiting for. Far from it. Instead, it represents a unique opportunity to skew your video digital marketing efforts to a new customer base. This customer base is typically younger, tech-savvy, and accustomed to consuming video content.