You Can Now Use YouTube Shorts for Awareness. Should You?

YouTube Shorts, which launched last year, has gotten an upgrade; Google recently announced fresh ways to use the feature in awareness campaigns. Namely:

  • Shorts can be used in Video reach campaigns, with a maximum video length of :60 and an auto-adaptation feature to fit horizontal creatives to vertical screens.
  • A Select Run of Shorts lineup that shows ads alongside popular and relevant videos in viewers’ Shorts feeds.

More options are great! But are they enough to claim marketers’ budget? Let’s take a closer look.

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Shorts advantages over TikTok and Snap

The advantage YouTube continues to hold over TikTok and Snap is reach; with 2.56B users, it’s the second-most-popular social platform behind Facebook (TikTok is 6th and Snap 12th).

YouTube’s audiences are more mature (read: have more buying power) and live in the Google ecosystem, which makes it easy to push the user through a full suite products along the customer journey. And YouTube offers a handy feature to cut down on production: you can clip long-form videos and get a snippet that redirects to the full video. 


Shorts disadvantages over TikTok and Snap

Shorts is making a bet on short-form content, but TikTok has already grabbed that territory for younger audiences, who are leading the short-form engagement charge. 

Moreover TikTok and Snap have built their brands on providing short-form content, so YouTube has a long way to go in users’ minds before it becomes a go-to option for that type of media. No matter how good and integrated its functions for advertisers, it will ultimately need to pull the users over with a great experience (and great content).

A Youtube Short ad for Squarespace.


When should you consider testing Shorts? 

So when should you free up some testing budget? A couple of scenarios: first, you might have some new ideas that you think would work well in short form. Second, let’s say you have killer content that’s proven highly engaging in longer form and has a punchy message that can help you grab users quickly. 

Strategically, you’ll either need to make a case for bringing more users into the funnel or taking budget away from softer-performing awareness campaigns from other channels.


Best practices for Shorts

Let’s say you want to test Shorts and see how they stack up. A few things to keep in mind:

  • The first few seconds REALLY matter in shorts. Make sure you’re making the brand clear and capturing user attention as quickly as possible.
  • Optimize for vertical placement; both mobile and desktop use vertical orientations.
  • Don’t make it too cluttered – stay straightforward and get to the point right away.

Even if you’re not quite ready to test, keep an eye on Shorts numbers and performance (Alphabet earnings calls are a good point of reference). With YouTube’s reach and the maturity of Google’s ad ecosystem, Shorts may well prove to be a strong competitor in the short-form content game.

A Youtube Short ad for NYX.



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