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Are YouTube Shorts Worth Uploading to Grow the Channel?

Essentially, YouTube Shorts is their answer to TikTok. It’s all about the short-form content and seeing what you can cram into a 60-second window. But are they worth using on your channel to grow and cultivate an audience?

And how likely is a new channel to get monetization from Shorts?

In reality, success comes down to the type of content you create and whether people watch or skip your short videos. The bottom line is that everyone will have greatly varying experiences producing Shorts.

Shorts Don’t Contribute Watch Time

Keep in mind that Shorts views do not count toward your watch time. To join the YouTube Partner Program, you’ll still need 4,000 hours over a 12-month span to be considered to monetize the channel from your long-form videos.

That is unless you can reach 10 million views in three months from your Shorts content. I’ll go over that in a few moments.

Getting someone to watch your videos is the most difficult aspect of joining the YPP. While some people can generate a massive audience in a short amount of time, many more will struggle for every 20 views on a video.

Mostly, this depends on the type of content you create.

Educational, Entertainment, or Personal?

Channels like mine take an incredibly long time to build up an audience and reach monetization numbers. That’s because I focus on teaching people how to do something.

Educational channels aren’t very binge-worthy to most. That’s because once someone learns how to do something, they move on. Sure, they might become a subscriber in case I teach something new. But they don’t often stick around.

Content that has a greater level of entertainment value tends to perform much better. Or, a lot of people have had massive success sharing their personal lives, such as living out of a van.

That is as long as the audience thinks their lives are interesting enough to watch.

Being Binge-Worthy Matters

The primary objective of YouTube is to keep people watching videos on their website. If a channel has the capacity to keep viewers binge-watching the content, YouTube will promote that channel more often.

That means that if people watch several of your YouTube Shorts in a single sitting, the system will push your video out to more and more people. But if the majority of folk watch perhaps a few seconds of your video and skip to move on, you’ll find it difficult to amass an audience.

Of course, that’s true whether you’re making YouTube Shorts or long-form videos.

The point of this is that the most successful people are capable of creating content that the majority of the audience will binge. That’s what makes the algorithm happy.

YouTube Shorts Promotes Videos on Home Pages

Home Page Feed
Channels I’ve never seen before Shorts.

Now, recently, YouTube said that Shorts do not impact search and suggestions made to long-form video content. However, I would have to say that the statement is utterly false.

In fact, I see long-form videos from creators on my home page that I’ve only watched in the Shorts feed. These are people and content styles that I’ve never searched for or consumed in the past, otherwise. And I’m not the only creator who has pointed this out.

Today, my home page feed is full of stuff I have no interest in watching, and coincidentally are videos I scrolled past in Shorts.

So, in my case, it’s safe to assume that people watching your Shorts videos will eventually start to see the long-form videos on their home pages as well.

In the grand scheme of things, this may simply be the fact that YouTube Shorts is still relatively new and developers are constantly working on the format and algorithm to best suit YouTube’s purpose.

For the time being, creating Shorts may actually help your other videos get seen by more people. That is as long as you put out a short that people are actually going to spend up to 60 seconds watching.

Extended Visibility

Since YouTube started pushing Shorts harder, I’ve found myself subscribing to a few accounts that I didn’t even know existed. In fact, I watch a few of their long-form videos almost every day.

This goes to show how impactful short-form videos can be when it comes to accumulating subscribers for your other content.

This isn’t just based on my own experiences, mind you. I’ve heard several creators say similar things about how their subscriber counts have greatly increased due to Shorts.

Unfortunately, none of them really say much about whether this increases watch time as a whole.

Why is this important? Because you can gain 1,000 subscribers overnight, none of which will watch your long-form content. You know, the metric of 4,000 hours you need for monetization?

The point is that subscribers don’t matter if those people aren’t watching your videos. This is why you never pay for subs or do the sub-for-sub things. Without watch time, you’re still not going to get paid.

That is unless you’re swinging for the fences to get 10 million views in 90 days.

For instance, my writing channel is nearing 2,000 subscribers but still only has 1,600 hours of watch time for the year. I’ll have close to 5,000 subs before I might have the chance to join the YPP.

Unfortunately, this is because of the nature of that writing channel. Once people learn what they need, they often move on and never return.

Producing YouTube Shorts May Be Easier

One of the reasons why one of my channels doesn’t grow as quickly as others is because of time constraints. YouTube is not my full-time job, and I have to make sure everything else is taken care of before cranking out the next video.

Depending on the topic, each of these can take anywhere from one to six hours. And for me, that’s a lot of time spent on a single project. Especially considering how much I have to do in a day.

YouTube Shorts appear to be much quicker to upload. Though, I’m sure there are people who will spend roughly the same amount of time as a long-form video to make sure everything looks nice and is watchable.

But for those of us who are limited on time, uploading a short video can take less than five minutes. Well, as long as you don’t care about the “thumbnail” image or spend too much time editing a clip from your phone.

10 Million Views in 90 Days?!?

One of the ways to be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program is to accumulate 10 million views from shorts within 90 days at a time. This means that if you hit 10 million views in the first 90 days but then drop to one million after that, you’ll lose monetization.

You need to sustain 10 million views in 90 days, much like how you need to sustain 4,000 hours of watch time throughout the year.

Let’s break this down a bit.

You would need to sustain a minimum of 111,112 views per day from your YouTube Shorts. That’s quite a few views from a single upload, and it needs to be done every single day.

Now, some of the more entertaining creators can easily reach these numbers. But what about educators and newer personal channels? Unless you’re already a celebrity of some kind from another medium, it’ll be quite difficult.

Even if you uploaded three times per day for 90 days, you’d still need 37,038 views per video, per day.

More Shorts Means More Potential Views – Ish

I have Shorts on one of my YouTube channels that I created more than two years ago that are still getting a few views every month. Theoretically, you could create quite a few short-form videos and cross your fingers that you’ll hit the 111,112 views-per-day threshold.

But like all other videos on YouTube, even Shorts will fade into obscurity as time marches on.

As YouTube somewhat orders videos in chronological order, some of the things you create will disappear into the ether unless searched. But that’s how the system works whether you’re hammering out a 60-second video or uploading an hour-long webinar.

Most recent content usually comes up first unless the algorithm deems the video relevant to recent searches and what you’ve watched.

The bottom line is that to be a successful creator, you’ll need to keep uploading on a consistent basis. Especially if you want to maintain monetization from Shorts for longer than three months.

Is There a Case Study Coming?

I’m a big fan of running case studies on just about everything I do. That’s because case studies can provide a slew of actionable information in the form of data.

For instance, how much of an impact would it make to gain subscribers if I created two YouTube Shorts per week? Will producing Shorts have any residual impact on overall watch time from those who see my videos on their home page?

It’s these kinds of questions you can answer by conducting a case study for your specific channel. Sure, you can read or watch what other people have experienced. However, those numbers are in regard to their specific channels and audiences.

Everyone is going to have a unique experience when creating YouTube videos. And the best way to find what works best for you is to conduct a few studies of your own while keeping an eye on analytics.

Are YouTube Shorts Worth Making?

Let’s take the 10 million views needed in 90 days out of the equation. Are YouTube shorts worth making to grow your channel as a whole?

At the end of the day, there are certainly several benefits to producing more Shorts. For instance:

  • Greater visibility to promote your long-form content.
  • Boosting potential viewers as subscribers.
  • Quicker to make (in many cases).
  • Don’t need a second channel to manage (nowadays).

Perhaps the best way to approach YouTube shorts is not to create something viral that gets more than 111,000 views per day. Instead, view these short-form videos as a way to further promote your channel’s long-form content.

Think of it like free advertising that has the added benefit of potentially being monetized.

There’s nothing wrong with doing what you can to get as many views as possible. Just don’t get frustrated when the algorithm doesn’t share your Shorts as often as you’d like.

What Has Been Your Experience with YouTube Shorts?

At the time of this post, I’ve only made a handful of YouTube Shorts across my three main channels. However, I fully intend on pushing them a bit more in the coming months. As I said earlier, I love running case studies.

I just think it’s kind of funny that something I created two years ago still gets a few views every month. It was a one-off video that I was sharing with my live stream viewers, nothing more.

Have you found YouTube Shorts to be beneficial for your channel? Which is better for you as a viewer, long or short-form videos?

Michael Brockbank

Michael Brockbank

Michael has been managing YouTube channels for the better part of a decade. He's continuously working to find the best methods that work for various types of content from gaming to website tutorials.

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