YouTube Shorts — the TikTok-like short-form video feature YouTube launched nearly two years ago — has become massively popular. Google just last month began gradually rolling out ads for YouTube Shorts. And apart from ad revenue sharing, YouTube is touting the short-form format as enabling creators to attract viewers for other monetizable content.
According to the video giant, YouTube Shorts now has more than 1.5 billion monthly logged-in users. That amounts to around three-fourths of YouTube’s total global base of upwards of 2 billion logged-in monthly users.
The figure is meant to be a flex showing YouTube Shorts’ reach — especially relative to TikTok, the app owned by China’s ByteDance responsible for popularizing short-form videos. In September, TikTok claimed to have topped 1 billion monthly active users while a recent estimate by researcher eMarketer forecast TikTok’s MAUs at around 755 million for 2022.
According to YouTube, with the launch of Shorts, channels that upload both long-form videos and Shorts (capped at 60 seconds in length) are seeing longer overall watch time and subscriber growth compared with creators who only uploading long-form videos.
“While we’re still at the beginning of our journey with Shorts, we know the product will continue to be an integral part of the YouTube experience moving forward,” said Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer.
In April, YouTube Shorts was averaging 30 billion views per day, up four times from a year ago, according to Google/Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. YouTube has been testing ads in Shorts and is focused on “closing the gap with traditional YouTube ads over time,” CFO Ruth Porat told analysts on the company’s earnings call.
With the surge in YouTube Shorts usage, YouTube has identified a growing class of “multiformat creators,” who use short- and long-form video, livestreaming and audio together to maximize their audience reach.
YouTube cited results seen by two creators embracing the multiformat model. Food and beauty creator Rosanna Pansino (13.4 million subscribers) has seen views on her main YouTube channel double year over year since she began actively posting Shorts, which now account for more than 20% of her total views. Comedy vlogger Ian Boggs (5.2 million subscribers) has 4 billion lifetime video views on YouTube, and 73% are from his Shorts feed.
Long-form content remains the best way for YouTubers to develop and engage viewers over the long haul, according to Tara Walpert Levy, YouTube’s VP of the Americas. But, she said, YouTube Shorts offers “an exciting new way to be a part of a viewer’s journey and to introduce themselves and their whole portfolio to new audiences.”
Before it started running ads with YouTube Shorts, YouTube established a $100 million fund for Shorts to spur the production of TikTok-like clips. In August 2021, it began paying creators with the highest-performing YouTube Shorts up to $10,000 per month.