July 20, 2023

YouTube Shorts vs traditional videos: Which one is right for you?

YouTube Shorts vs traditional videos: Which one is right for you?

Let’s look at an intriguing face-off – YouTube Shorts vs Traditional Videos. These two formats represent vastly different approaches to video content, with implications that could significantly impact your social media strategy. So, buckle up and let's get rolling!

Understanding the contenders

Before we jump into the comparison, it's essential to establish a clear understanding of these two formats.

Traditional YouTube videos, the backbone of the platform since its inception in 2005, have no limitations on length or format. They can range from seconds-long clips to multi-hour marathons, encompassing everything from animations to documentaries, interviews, and more. This flexibility is what made YouTube the video behemoth it is today. It’s a platform where anyone, from indie filmmakers to the biggest media companies, can share their content with the world.

In the opposite corner of our ring is the newcomer, YouTube Shorts. Launched in 2020 as YouTube's response to the surging popularity of TikTok's bite-sized videos, YouTube Shorts are fast-paced and mobile-first. They are strictly vertical videos, under 60 seconds, and offer creators an array of editing tools within the YouTube mobile app to create engaging and captivating short-form content. This format represents YouTube's bet on the future of mobile, on-the-go entertainment.

The battle of formats: short vs long

Now that we understand who our contenders are let's break down the implications of their fundamental differences. The primary difference is the video length, and this affects not just the type of content you can produce, but also how your audience will consume it.

If you've been paying attention to social media trends, you'll know that short, snappy videos are a hot commodity right now. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels have tapped into a seemingly insatiable appetite for digestible, bite-sized content that can be consumed quickly on-the-go. YouTube Shorts is the platform's venture into this space, offering creators the opportunity to catch viewers' attention and tell compelling stories in under a minute. They're great for showcasing quick tips, short tutorials, fun facts, product teasers, and more.

In contrast, traditional YouTube videos offer the chance for creators to delve into more in-depth and detailed content. These videos give room for thorough explanations, complex narratives, extensive tutorials, and more. They serve a different purpose and cater to a different viewing experience. These are the videos people will sit down to watch and dedicate more time to, making them perfect for educational content, lengthy reviews, deep dives, or narrative storytelling.

Accessibility and user experience: mobile vs desktop

Next up is the consideration of accessibility and user experience. Where, when, and how your audience accesses your content can significantly impact engagement and viewership.YouTube Shorts are inherently mobile-first. Designed with the smartphone viewer in mind, these vertical videos take up the entire screen, offering an immersive viewing experience. In our increasingly mobile-centric world, this format aligns perfectly with viewers who are constantly on the move, catching up on content during short breaks or commutes.

Traditional YouTube videos, on the other hand, have a broader spectrum of accessibility. While they can be watched on a mobile device, they offer a fuller viewing experience on larger screens, making them more suited for desktops, laptops, and even smart TVs. For audiences who prefer settling down to watch longer videos or who appreciate the intricate details of high-resolution content, traditional videos are the way to go.

The Monetisation Question

YouTube introduced revenue sharing for Shorts on February 1, 2023. This exciting update has changed the way monetisation works on the platform. Instead of relying solely on the original YouTube Shorts Fund, which wasn't the most stable income source, creators can now earn ad revenue from Shorts. That means monetising partners have the opportunity to make money from the ads shown between videos in the Shorts Feed.

So, how does this new system work? Let's break it down into four steps. First, YouTube pools the ad revenue generated from the Shorts Feed. Then, they calculate the Creator Pool based on views and music usage across Shorts. Next, the Creator Pool is allocated to monetising creators based on their share of total views from monetising creators' Shorts in each country. Finally, the revenue share is applied, with creators keeping 45% of their allocated revenue.

But that's not all! Shorts creators also have access to the YouTube Partner Program, just like creators of long-form videos. This means they can earn from the views they generate on their Shorts. It's similar to how creators earn revenue from ads played before their long-form videos, but now it includes the revenue from ads played between Shorts. This additional income comes from the Creator Pool, which benefits Shorts creators.

If you're a Shorts creator, the YouTube Partner Program offers even more opportunities for monetisation. You can explore options such as creating sponsored videos, selling merchandise, engaging in affiliate product sales, or even selling your own products or services.

Keep in mind that to monetise on YouTube, you need to adhere to the YouTube Channel Monetisation Policies. This includes following YouTube's Community Guidelines, Terms of Service, copyright rules, and Google AdSense program policies. It's important to ensure that your channel meets these requirements for monetisation.

Additionally, not all Shorts views are eligible for monetisation. YouTube has specific guidelines in place to determine which views qualify. For example, non-original Shorts, views generated artificially or through fake methods, and Shorts that don't align with advertiser-friendly content guidelines are not eligible for monetisation.

So, as a Shorts creator, make sure to familiarise yourself with the policies and guidelines, create engaging content, and explore the various monetisation options available to you. The world of Shorts is evolving, and now is the perfect time to leverage this exciting opportunity to earn revenue and connect with your audience.

The Future is Short (and Vertical)

Now, let's gaze into the crystal ball of the digital future. If recent trends are anything to go by, short, vertical videos are poised to be a major force in the world of online content. The rise of platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and now YouTube Shorts, points to a shift in consumer preferences towards quick, easily consumable content.

The key to winning the social media game is staying ahead of the curve. Because YouTube Shorts is still a relatively new offering, competition in this space is less fierce compared to traditional videos. This could potentially provide a greater chance for your content to get noticed and shared, catapulting you into virality.

Wrapping Up

As we conclude our deep dive, it's clear that the choice between YouTube Shorts and traditional videos isn't a straightforward one. Both formats have their unique advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice depends on your specific audience demographics, content strategy, and business model.

Our advice to creators and businesses would be to keep a flexible, experimental mindset. Try out both formats, measure the responses, and adjust your strategy based on the feedback. The most successful content creators are often those who are adaptable and in tune with their audience's preferences.

In the dynamic world of social media, change is the only constant. As creators and businesses, the challenge lies in harnessing these changes to our advantage. So, here's to you successfully navigating the digital waves and making a significant impact on YouTube. Keep creating, keep experimenting, and keep growing!

In the end, YouTube Shorts vs Traditional Videos isn't about choosing one over the other. It's about understanding their unique strengths and leveraging them in a way that best aligns with your brand and audience.

Good luck, and happy creating!

Jonathon Tanner

Jonathon Tanner

Co-CEO and Co-Founder

Co-CEO and Co-Founder of SMC, earned Social Media Educator of the Year from SMMI. With vast experience in social media strategy and content marketing, he's also a co-founder of other businesses. Specialising in growth strategy, Jon has a background in management consulting specialising in M&A.

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