After launching an initial beta test of its new 'Shorts' option to selected US users back in March, YouTube is now expanding Shorts to all US users, with broader access to the tool coming over the next week.
As per YouTube's Conor Kavanagh:
"Over the next week, all creators within the United States will have access to the Shorts camera"
That will open up new opportunities for YouTube users, while also generating more interest in Shorts as a content option, which could see it become a much more significant consideration in the app.
As with Spotlight on Snapchat, and Reels on Instagram, Shorts has, thus far, been a winner for YouTube, with the company seeing particularly good traction among users in India, where TikTok was banned last June.
Indeed, in its recent earnings update, YouTube's parent company Alphabet reported that Shorts is now up to 6.5 billion daily views, up from 3.5 billion at the end of 2020. That momentum has inspired more focus on the function from the app, as it seeks to maximize the rising interest in short-form content, and fend off competition from other platforms.
YouTube made the announcement as part of its weekly Creator Insider video update, in which it also outlined a range of new additions for Shorts.
First, YouTube is increasing the maximum duration for Shorts to 60 seconds (up from 15 seconds), providing more capacity to create within Shorts clips. The only proviso to this is that Shorts that use music from YouTube's library will still be capped at 15 seconds to avoid copyright concerns.
And in a big move, YouTube is also looking to give Shorts more specific focus in the app by adding a new Shorts tab to the bottom navigation options in the app, in order further fuel Shorts discovery.
Up till now, YouTube has only highlighted Shorts content in a Shorts 'shelf' that appears between videos in your main YouTube feed, but now, Shorts clips will get their own, separate element within the app, putting added focus on the option.
As you can see above, with the addition of the new Shorts tab at the bottom of the screen, that will also see the 'Explore' tab moved up to the top, making room in the function row.
The update will undoubtedly get a lot more users checking out Shorts content, and with all users in the US now having access, along with the popularity of Shorts in India, it seems likely that this is set to become a much bigger element of the general YouTube experience.
Worth taking note in your planning.
YouTube's also adding new Shorts filters, available in both the recording and editing screens, which will provide more creative presentation options for your Shorts clips.
YouTube further notes that, over the next year, it will be releasing 'a ton of new filters and effects' for Shorts content, which will eventually bring it more into line with TikTok and Instagram Reels in terms of creation and editing tools.
And finally, YouTube's also adding auto-captions for Shorts, which users can also add manually, and/or edit as they see fit.
Instagram added auto captions for Stories, which is also coming to Reels, earlier this week.
It's interesting to consider the implications of the Shorts expansion, with the viewing numbers also reflecting the rising popularity of the option within the broader YouTube experience.
Yes, it is a rip-off of TikTok, which may feel unethical, but the results show that YouTube viewers are interested, so it makes sense for YouTube to double-down on the option.
Which, again, could factor into your YouTube content panning. Shorts don't have any direct monetization options, as yet, but it is worth considering that when users subscribe to your Shorts, they'll also be subscribing to your main YouTube channel, meaning they'll also be alerted to any longer-form content you post.
There's clearly potential value here, and with Shorts getting more focus, it may be time to start investigating your short-form options.
Also, if you're looking to get a better understanding of the latest Shorts trends, which may soon be of more interest, you can check out the platform's bi-monthly 'Shorts Report' which also includes tips and FAQs.