YouTube shorts allow users to make videos of up to 60 seconds. These short videos hit billions of views each day. Some reports point out that shorts hit 50 billion views every day in 2024. With the reduced attention span of audiences, it is a great tool to engage and grow your audience.
In this blog, we will understand YouTube shorts algorithms in detail- what it is, how YouTube shorts work, and whether it affects your long-form videos.
Table of Content
- What is the YouTube shorts algorithm?
- How does the YouTube shorts algorithm work?
- How to optimise your content for YouTube shorts?
- Does YouTube shorts performance affect your long-form videos?
What is the YouTube shorts algorithm?
Thinking about YouTube algorithms, the first thing that often comes to the creator’s mind is that it is some secretive system that will decide which shorts will rank and which will not. Truth be told, there is no covert and manipulative system involved. You need not consider “how to beat YouTube shorts algorithm.”
So, what is the YouTube shorts algorithm?
YouTube shorts algorithm is the rules or the back-end system utilized by YouTube to determine which shorts will appear in the viewer’s feeds. An algorithm per se is a set of coded instructions within a platform that decides how that platform will operate.
Essentially, it involves giving recommendations to the users regarding the shorts they may enjoy. The ultimate objective is to retain the user and ensure they spend more time on the application.
How does the YouTube shorts algorithm work?
Now, let us understand how the YouTube shorts algorithm works.
The YouTube algorithm and recommendation system gave more insights in 2021. The YouTube shorts algorithm works by using certain factors as signals. These factors could be watch history, user engagement with the content, etc Using these signals, the algorithm predicts which type of content a user would prefer to watch and recommends it.
Understanding these factors or signals can ensure that you create relevant content for your desired audience. Let us understand these factors or signals in detail to understand how YouTube shorts work:
Viewing vs Swiping
This metric has been recently introduced by YouTube. This is the easiest factor that can help you understand how engaging your content is for your target audience. This straightforward measure tells you the percentage of viewers who watch your shorts rather than swiftly swiping away.
It will help you understand whether your video was actually a hit with your audience. YouTube strategist Paddy Galloway made an extensive analysis of 3.3 billion shorts. It also looked into how this metric of “viewed vs. swiped away” affects the performance of YouTube shorts.
And, as per his research, the higher the “viewed” percentage, the greater the performance of YouTube shorts. As per his research shorts, between 70 to 90 percent of the “viewed vs. swiped away” ratio performed the best.
So, what does this imply for you? First impressions matter, so make sure you have a catchy hook or an attention-grabbing visual. See if you could promise something that can hold them towards the end of your video.
Does the YouTube Shorts algorithm consider your watch history?
Yes. Your watch history is an important factor in what will be recommended to you to watch.
A user’s watch history plays an important role in determining the shorts served to them. YouTube wants you to keep you engaged. They do this by offering a continuous stream of content tailored to your interests. So, focus on creating content that genuinely intrigues your audience.
YouTube Shorts doesn’t just look at your watch history. It also considers content similar to what you have interacted with in the past. This means that the videos other people have enjoyed may influence the content you see.
Hence, make sure to analyse successful competitors in your niche. Chances are, YouTube will be serving their content to your audience, and vice versa.
Your content should be relevant to your desired audience. It should meet your YouTube community’s interests. While analysing your competitor’s strategy is important, do not mimic your competitor’s strategy entirely, for that may not work for you.
Your loyal followers have subscribed to your channel because of the unique content you offer. While staying true to your niche, consider injecting fresh, relevant content based on your audience’s interests.
Length of the video
YouTube shorts can be 60 seconds in duration. Paddy Galloway’s analysis tells us that longer shorts of duration of around 50-60 seconds get a greater number of views. This means users prefer longer shorts, and the YouTube algorithm takes care of user preferences.
Engagement includes factors like likes, shares, and watch duration. For long-form YouTube videos, this factor is extremely important.
But it is not that important for YouTube shorts. For shorts, other factors discussed above are more crucial. But, ultimately, in the long run, building a loyal viewer base is important.
How to optimise your content for YouTube shorts?
Having understood how the YouTube shorts algorithm works, let us understand how to optimise your YouTube shorts strategy for it.
Here is some advice that might sound counter-intuitive: Do not create content for the algorithm. Create content for your audience instead. As long as you meet your audience’s interests, the algorithm will facilitate your content.
Let us discuss a few ways that can help you optimise your YouTube shorts strategy for the YouTube shorts algorithm:
Entertaining content is the key to your audience’s attention. To optimise your content for entertainment, simply utilise your analytics. Which of your recent shorts held your audience’s attention? Analyse it and create similar content.
2. Be careful with your call-to-actions
Your audience is probably only looking for entertainment from shorts. They may not like being sold too, in such content. In case the shorts are basically an ad, then surely a call to action is relevant. But not much in other cases.
3. Follow trends
Using trending music can really help to get views on your YouTube shorts. To identify the trending music, click on the “add sound” button while creating a YouTube short.
Experiment with your content, like adding music, voiceovers, etc., and see what works for you. Identify what length of YouTube shorts works best for your audience. If any of your shorts went viral, try repeating its strategy to identify what really worked.
5. Analyse your short’s performance
Reviewing the performance of your YouTube shorts is important. See what worked so far and what did not. Analyze the content that did not work. It will let you know what not to do.
6. Keyword research
YouTube crawls your script for keywords. So, to take the SEO advantage, do not ignore keywords. But avoid overstuffing.
7. Choose your thumbnail and title carefully
First impressions matter, especially for short-form content. Try adding a touch of mystery and curiosity to your title. This might intrigue your audience. Using hashtags is important, too, as it can give your audience an idea of what to expect.
8. Repost your Content
You can use YouTube shorts to repost some of your existing short-form content. This content could be from other social media platforms, but make sure you optimise it for YouTube.
Does YouTube shorts performance affect your long-form videos?
To answer this question, we need to demystify the conceptions surrounding the YouTube algorithm. Keep in mind that there is no secretive, mysterious system when we talk about YouTube algorithms. Creators expect the YouTube algorithm to “push” their content. So, they often wonder, “How to beat the YouTube shorts algorithm”? But that really is not the case. YouTube algorithms can only pull your audience.
So, when creating your content, focus on your audience. This will help you take advantage of the success of your YouTube shorts, even for Long-form videos.