As more people opt for quick and engaging visuals that instantly capture attention, so does the number of brands who include short-form video content (or shorts) in their digital marketing strategies. YouTube Shorts offer eCommerce businesses a powerful platform for capitalizing on these bite-sized video consumption trends. 

The bottom line is this format is versatile for storytelling, showcasing products, and driving audience engagement, making it a critical digital marketing tool.

But is it for everyone? 

This post will answer exactly that! We will explain everything you need to know about using YouTube Shorts videos for your brand and why you absolutely should, and include some inspiring YouTube Shorts examples throughout. 

Let’s jump in!

Understanding YouTube Shorts

Similar to TikTok, YouTube Shorts cater to the growing demand for quick, engaging content and provide a new way for users to connect and share on the platform. 

Simply put, they are short-form videos on YouTube that allow creators and brands to upload content up to 60 seconds in length. And unlike regular YouTube videos, Shorts include vertical video perspectives, unlike the horizontal mode of longer videos on the platform. 

Integrated within YouTube’s vast ecosystem, Shorts are no more than a minute long and were designed to enhance visibility and reach, particularly among younger audiences. They can be viewed on YouTube’s homepage, the app’s Shorts tab, and on channel homepages.

Debuted as a beta in India in September 2020, YouTube Shorts is riding the wave of rising popularity for short-form video content. Following its success, the feature went global, with an extensive rollout that started in March 2021. Since then, brands such as Fashion Nova have been jumping onto the YouTube Shorts video bandwagon. 

eCommerce youtube shorts example brand Fashion Nova

YouTube Shorts Statistics 

  • By the end of 2023, YouTube Shorts hit 70 billion daily views
  • The average time spent per day on YouTube increased since adding Shorts, which is now around 48.7 minutes 
  • The largest age group using YouTube is between 25 and 34
  • YouTube has the highest average session duration compared to other platforms 

average session time for YouTube

[Source: Data Reportal

Talking about comparing…

YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok vs. Instagram Reels 

YouTube Shorts, TikTok, and Instagram Reels each carve out their niche in the growing consumption of short-form video content, targeting different audiences with various content styles. While TikTok is designed to captivate with highly creative, trend-setting content, Instagram Reels’ integration with its social media features capitalizes on an established user base. 

YouTube Shorts, on the other hand, leverages the extensive YouTube ecosystem, offering videos up to 60 seconds that benefit from YouTube’s powerful search and recommendation algorithms.

Let’s take a quick look at each of its main distinguishing features.

YouTube Shorts 

  1. Unique features. Being part of YouTube means users get long-form and short-form content on one platform.
  2. Content style. Matches YouTube’s wide-ranging vibe and is less about casual clips and more about variety. 
  3. Marketing advantage. Access to YouTube’s well-established, unique audience and the ability to use Shorts to promote long-form content without needing to send users to another platform.
  4. Video length. 15–60 seconds. 
  5. Demographics. Most (21.3%) Shorts viewers are aged 25 to 34. 

Gymshark is a brand that understands the advantages of YouTube Shorts and dominates with them. Take a look at the view metrics for some of their latest Shorts

YouTube Shorts for businesses example

TikTok 

  1. Unique features. From green-screen effects to image carousels, TikTok is packed with unique features. 
  2. Content style. Although content styles change a lot with changing trends, authenticity is a key content must. 
  3. Marketing advantage. Significantly boosts brand visibility and engagement through viral Shopping content
  4. Video length. 15–60 seconds. 
  5. Demographics. The majority of TikTok users are aged between 18 and 34. 

You can read more about TikTok in the following guides: 

Instagram Reels 

  1. Unique features. From easy-to-use text, AR filters, creative tools and audio, to Meta’s powerful reach, Instagram Reels are a quick way to get branded, short-form content. 
  2. Content style. Generates more refined content than, say, TikTok, but still veers toward authenticity.  
  3. Marketing advantages. Instagram Reels’ direct shopping capabilities (such as tagged product videos) offers advanced product discovery.  
  4. Video length. Up to 90 seconds. 
  5. Demographics. The biggest pools of users are between 18–24 and 25–34 years old.

You can read more about Instagram Reels in the following guides: Instagram Reels for Business: Tips, Hacks, Strategies & Examples and 9+ High-Performing Instagram Ads Examples to Steal.

YouTube Shorts Benefits 

Now, let’s quickly explore the distinctive features and opportunities YouTube Shorts offer eCommerce marketers! 

A Gateway to Richer Content

Being part of YouTube means that Shorts serve as a gateway for discovering long-form videos — allowing eCommerce brands to blend short and long videos. This enables you to accommodate varying consumer interests, turning short video viewers into channel lovers, and, ultimately, product buyers. 

More Evergreen Content Opportunities

Unlike other, more momentary channels, Shorts remain accessible indefinitely, enhancing long-term visibility. This means that your evergreen Shorts will continue to attract views and other content engagements months after posting. 

Broader Audience Reach

Launching within YouTube’s massive user base, Shorts instantly tapped into a broader audience spectrum. By leveraging this reach, you can pinpoint and engage specific segments to refine your targeting strategies and ensure content consistency that resonates with existing subscribers while appealing to potential customers.

Wider Audience Engagement 

The wide demographic reach highlighted above also means that brands have the opportunity to engage with broad audiences, from younger short-form enthusiasts to older audiences that other platforms (like Reels or TikTok) may not appeal to. This enables more tailored content strategies that appeal to professionals, older generations, or specific consumer interests.

Stability and Trustworthiness

Lastly, because YouTube is a well-established platform with a longstanding reputation, Shorts is a stable and trustworthy channel for eCommerce marketing. The lower risk of unexpected restrictions or disruptions allows for a more secure investment in content development.

How to Get Started with YouTube Shorts

How to Get Started with YouTube Shorts

To start your YouTube Shorts strategy off right, you need a blend of creativity and strategy. Let’s outline the key steps you need to take to kickstart your journey, from establishing your presence with a dedicated YouTube channel to crafting and sharing your first engaging Short.  

  1. Create a YouTube channel. If you haven’t already set one up, you will need a YouTube channel to post Shorts. (You can follow our guide on doing just that, here.) 
  2. Download the YouTube app. You will want to ensure you have the latest version of the YouTube app to take advantage of the newest Shorts features. Use the Shorts camera in the YouTube app for easy recording, video editing, and music uploading.
  3. Build your YouTube Shorts content plan. Here, you can identify critical product features, upcoming promotions, trending topics, and customer success stories that align with your brand’s narrative, and build your content plan accordingly. 
  4. Record your Short. Your YouTube app’s Shorts camera allows you to record video. Ideally, record in segments, adding each part to create a complete video.   
  5. Edit your video and add tags. Next, you will use the YouTube app video editing tool to trim videos, add text overlays, or incorporate music. Then craft compelling titles that include keywords and hashtags to boost discoverability.
  6. Publish your Short. Finally, you are ready to publish, monitor, and engage with audience comments. 

Here’s a comprehensive video made by YouTube creators on how you can create Shorts. 

But you don’t have to start shooting everything from scratch — you can also make Shorts from your existing videos. Let’s quickly run through how. 

How to Make YouTube Shorts from Existing YouTube Videos 

To craft a YouTube Short from an existing video or livestream, whether it’s your creation or someone else’s, start by clicking the “Create” button beneath the video. Decide if you want to “Cut” a clip to maintain the original audio or create a fresh “Sound” for a personalized audio touch. 

After selecting and refining your segment:

  • Hit “Next”
  • Input your Short’s specifics
  • Upload YouTube Shorts to share your snippet with the world

Tips for Creating Engaging YouTube Shorts

When you start creating YouTube Shorts from scratch, how do you best do it to boost engagement, brand awareness, and, ultimately, sales? In this section, we give you a few YouTube Shorts creation tips to get you started! 

1. Grab Attention from the First Second 

As with any short video content, you need to hook your audience early. For YouTube Shorts, this could mean starting with an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a compelling visual within the first few seconds to grab attention immediately. 

You also want to use engaging thumbnails to make your content stand out and elicit that click-to-view. Cosmetic giants Lush are experts at this. Here’s one of their most popular videos that catches your attention right away.

2. Get Creative with Music and Effects 

Other important elements of Shorts are royalty-free background music and sound effects. While it is essential to assume some viewers mute tvideos, you still want to make sure you create a vibe for those who do. A catchy tune or comedic sounds can go a long way to doing just that. 

Here’s a YouTube Shorts example from Warby Parker’s YouTube channel

3. Jump on Trends and Challenges

Unlike longer videos, trends and viral content aren’t in short supply with short-form content! 

Participating in trends is a good way to get traction with your Shorts. To keep your content plans relevant, you need to stay up to date with the latest trends and challenges on YouTube and other social media platforms. 

You could create your own YouTube Shorts challenge to encourage community participation and sharing. Here are some of the more popular challenges: 

  • Ghost pepper challenges
  • Pancake art challenges
  • Random exercise challenges 
  • Try-not-to-laugh challenges
  • 7-second challenges
  • 24-hour challenges 
  • The-floor-is-lava challenges
  • Blindfolded makeup challenges

You might also want to take advantage of some of YouTube Shorts’ newer features, such as COLLAB, to collaborate with creators, like-minded brands, and your customers for challenges. 

Pro Tip: What Kind of Shorts Do Well on YouTube?

Good news for eCommerce marketers: some of the most popular YouTube Shorts topics line up perfectly for product sellers and influencer marketing campaigns. These include makeup and beauty, entertainment, food and drink, video games, and sports. 

Here’s a YouTube video breaking down some popular YouTube Shorts niches and how you can monetize them (as a creator) or steal them (as a brand). 

4. Add Text for Clarity 

Another Short video tip is using text and graphics for effect. 

Text overlays are vital to emphasize important points or add context where audio can’t be used. In addition, including captions will make your YouTube Shorts more accessible to a wider audience, including those who prefer to watch videos without sound or those who are hearing impaired.

In fact, more and more people report that they prefer videos with subtitles, with captions said to dramatically increase video engagement. One study found that as many as 80% of viewers are more likely to watch a video to the end if it has subtitles! 

5. End with a Strong CTA 

Like with any marketing element, you need a strong CTA to encourage interaction. You want your YouTube Shorts video to be clear, directing your viewers to like, comment, share, or subscribe, fostering engagement and building your community.

And the more engagement and response your Shorts get, the more significantly you can boost conversions. They also help you gain invaluable insights into specific actions that you can use for other marketing elements. Here are a few examples to get you started. 

CTA ideas for YouTube shorts

[Source: Wyzowl]

Sometimes, your message needs just a few more words! Take Sephora, for instance. Even though this whole YouTube Short is a call to action to recycle beauty product containers, it still ends with a CTA note. 

6. Experiment, Analyze, and Tweak 

When it comes to any successful content marketing strategy, you want to continuously test, tweak, and analyze. This means experimenting with different content types and analyzing their results to mine for vital insights you can use to drive content ideas further down the line. 

And don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles or types of content to see what resonates most with your audience. Then regularly review your Shorts’ performance analytics to understand viewer preferences and refine your content strategy. 

Hacks to Maximize Your YouTube Shorts’ Reach

Expanding your YouTube Shorts’ visibility is crucial to broadening your content’s reach and ensuring your Shorts captivate as many viewers as possible. Let’s look at some of the top ways you can do that. 

1. Invest in a YouTube Video PPC Strategy 

Last year, YouTube started rolling out Shorts placement for video action campaigns. They then started showing product feeds connected to these campaigns in Shorts, making them shoppable. This means that if you’re running YouTube video campaigns, you should already be seeing Shorts placement. 

youtube short example

[Source: Google Ads

If you haven’t yet invested in eCommerce YouTube ads, now is the time. Not only to improve the reach of your Shorts, but to help boost traffic to your online store. 

2. Optimize for Discoverability

You can put all the effort you can muster into your Shorts, but if you aren’t reaching the right viewer, you’re missing the mark. This is where discoverability optimization comes in. Here are a few ways you can do that: 

  1. Exploit keyword-rich titles and descriptions to improve visibility in YouTube search results 
  2. Add trending and relevant hashtags to increase the chances of being discovered by a wider audience 
  3. Interact with comments to boost engagement metrics and improve chances for YouTube’s algorithm to recommend your content 
  4. Leverage YouTube Stories and community posts to promote Shorts to existing subscribers and increase content engagement 
  5. Partner with other brands and YouTube creators to tap into new niche audiences 

Talking about creators…

3. Collaborate with Creators or Brands 

Another way to get more eyes on your content is by collaborating with other people or brands. 

By working with creators or influencers, or partnering with other brands, you can tap into their audiences and introduce your brand channel to potential new subscribers — and shoppers. Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

  1. Host a joint giveaway or contest with creators or brands whereby viewers need to engage with both channels 
  2. Leverage cross-promotion on social media to share behind-the-scenes content, teaser clips, or to simply promote the collaboration across your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook profiles to maximize reach 
  3. Create a collaborative series of Shorts where you tackle topics, challenges, or create content that is relevant to both audiences

Let’s say you’re a fashion brand. You could partner with a beauty influencer to create a series of “Complete the Look” Shorts. In each Short, you could feature the influencer styling a fashion item from your store with their makeup tips. This type of collaboration not only helps you reach new audiences. It helps you showcase your products while adding real value for your audiences and establishing your brand as an expert in fashion. 

4. Leverage the Power of Thumbnails

YouTube Shorts thumbnails may be small, but they are often the first thing a potential viewer will see. By creating captivating custom thumbnails for your Shorts, you are able to grab attention on and off the social media platform. 

They also play a role in ensuring that the Shorts page of your channel is inviting and that all your content is easy to discover. Therefore, you want to ensure that you maintain a consistent style or branding across your thumbnails to make your content instantly recognizable and enticing for the view-click. Additionally, you may want to consider incorporating brief, compelling text overlays that tease the content of the Short or highlight the value within, further encouraging clicks. 

Or not! The best approach is one that perfectly fits your specific brand, vibe, and market. Take a look at eCommerce giant ASOS’s Shorts feed, which does just that. 

brand youtube shorts example

5. Consistent Posting Schedule

Like with any marketing platform, consistency is key! By maintaining a regular posting schedule, you keep your audience engaged. The more engaged your audience is, the more likely YouTube will recommend your content. 

If your aim is to quickly boost your account and catch that viral wave with your short-form videos, you may want to consider ramping up your posting frequency to two or three times daily. This may sound daunting — but you can start by repurposing your existing video content instead of starting from scratch. 

According to SocialPilot, the best times to post on YouTube are displayed in the chart below. Of course, these are average estimates, so you should test and tweak optimum post times for your specific brand and audience. 

best time of day to post on YouTube

Strategies for Driving Product Sales with YouTube Shorts

This part of our guide is dedicated to outlining actionable strategies that can turn your YouTube viewers into customers. This means being able to capitalize on the dynamic and engaging nature of Shorts to boost your eCommerce success. 

Through a mix of affiliate marketing, user-generated content, product teasers, and interactive demonstrations, these strategies are designed to not only capture attention but also to convert that attention into sales. 

Let’s dive in. 

1. Leverage Influencer Marketing and Affiliate Programs

Influencer marketing and affiliate programs can be good ways to drive product sales from YouTube Shorts. Both enable you to leverage the vast reach and credibility of established online personalities and platforms.

By partnering with YouTube influencers with niche audiences, you are tapping into their fans — fans who will trust their product recommendations. This also enables you to include more authentic endorsements in YouTube Shorts, which helps build product and brand trust while increasing visibility. 

Similarly, offering an affiliate program for your brand helps you to promote products. Because it’s permanence-based, this can be a cost-effective strategy. It also gives you additional (valuable) data that you can use to drive our marketing strategies beyond just YouTube optimization. 

Let’s say you’re an eCommerce brand specializing in sustainable fashion. You could collaborate with eco-conscious fashion influencers on YouTube to create Shorts videos showcasing how to style different pieces for different occasions. These influencers could then use your affiliate links in their video descriptions, directing viewers to purchase the outfits directly from the brand’s website. 

This approach not only highlights the versatility and appeal of the products but also aligns the brand with the values of both the influencer and their audience, driving targeted traffic and increasing sales conversions.

New to affiliate marketing? Here’s a guide from Shopify. 

2. Showcase User-Generated Content and Testimonials

Another way you can use YouTube Shorts to push product conversions is with UGC (user-generated content) or testimonials. This doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. 

For instance, you could encourage your customers to share their own Shorts using your products with a specific hashtag. Perhaps for an incentive like a promotional code or a free gift? Then, you could select the best Shorts to feature on your channel and/or offer further incentives for sharing. 

This not only provides social proof but also builds a community around your brand, increasing trust and driving sales.

For example, let’s say you are a beauty eCommerce store launching a new line of skincare products

You could run a campaign asking your followers to post YouTube Shorts of their skincare routines featuring these new products, using a dedicated hashtag. You could offer a prize for the best video, like a month’s supply of skincare. You could then highlight these UGC Shorts on your feed and on other social media platforms to showcase real-life examples of product effectiveness, while cultivating brand loyalty and building trust.  

3. Use YouTube Shorts for Product Teasers and Countdown Launches

Short-form video content is a great element you can use to create anticipation and excitement around new product launches. By sharing teaser Shorts that highlight key features or unique selling points, it can be extremely effective. 

Even better if it’s paired with a countdown series leading up to a launch date, which encourages viewers to subscribe and stay tuned for the reveal. This strategy not only generates buzz on your channel but primes audiences to cash out their carts on release day. 

Let’s imagine that you are a tech eCommerce brand gearing up to launch your latest smartwatch. In the weeks leading up to the launch, you could release a series of YouTube Shorts, each unveiling a sneak peek of a smartwatch feature — like its sleek design, innovative health tracking, or seamless connectivity — without showing the full product. Each Short ends with a countdown timer to the launch, sparking curiosity and excitement. 

In theory, by the time the final Short reveals the launch, the audience is already primed and eager to purchase, significantly boosting sales from the get-go.

Pro Tip: How to Make a Good Product Teaser Using YouTube Shorts 

  1. Start your teaser with a question or a mysterious glimpse of the product to spark curiosity 
  2. Focus on one standout feature of your product in each Short to keep viewers interested 
  3. Add dynamic visuals and compelling music to create an emotional connection for each Short 
  4. Include a visual countdown in your Shorts to build anticipation  
  5. End each Short with a good CTA — encouraging viewers to subscribe or visit your website for the full reveal 

4. Plan Interactive Product Demonstrations and Tutorials

The last must-try strategy for driving product sales with YouTube Shorts is interactive product demos and tutorials. Short video content is a great medium to offer engaging tutorials or how-to guides that demonstrate the practical uses and benefits of your products. 

To capitalize on every second and ensure and ensure your videos are relatable, you want to highlight the problems your products solve in everyday scenarios. Then, you could add interactive elements — such as asking viewers to comment on how they would use the product or what they want to see next — to enhance engagement and drive interest toward making a purchase.

This is a Shorts strategy that Selena Gomez’s makeup brand, Rare Beauty, is crushing with. Sure, it helps that she hosts the tutorials herself, but the concept is still easily duplicatable on a smaller scale. 

brands using youtube shorts

[Source: YouTube

Final Thoughts: Measuring Success with YouTube Shorts

No matter which YouTube Shorts tip or hack you use for your short video planning, the metrics will matter in a big way. Not just for the success of your Shorts but your overall video marketing strategy. This goes for all your Shorts, even those posted in collaboration with your YouTube Shorts creators.

From the time you (or a short creator) uploads YouTube Shorts to the app, you should be keeping track of their performance. Metrics such as view count, likes, comments, shares, and subscriber growth provide insights into how effectively Shorts are resonating with audiences. Additionally, monitoring the watch time and audience retention rates can help identify which short video content keeps viewers engaged the longest. 

This data-driven approach ensures continuous improvement and maximization of the Shorts platform’s potential for growth and engagement.

Tip: YouTube Analytics Metrics to Keep an Eye On 

Here are some of the YouTube analytics data points you can use to measure the success of your Shorts videos: 

  • Views 
  • Likes and dislikes 
  • Comments 
  • Shares 
  • Subscriber growth 
  • Watch time
  • Traffic source 
  • CTR (of links in short video description) 
  • Audience demographics 

Let’s say you’re a small business specializing in eco-friendly home goods, and you decide to leverage YouTube Shorts to showcase your products and share sustainability tips. After posting consistently for a month and seeing good daily metrics, you start analyzing your Shorts’ performance to gauge success.

You pinpoint a short, 30-second clip demonstrating a zero-waste kitchen hack using one of your products that significantly outperforms others, with 20,000 views, 500 likes, and numerous shares and comments praising it. The analytics also show that this Short led to a 10% increase in channel subscribers and drove a noticeable spike in traffic to your product page linked in the video description.

The success metrics — high view count, engagement rates, and direct impact on subscriber growth and website traffic — highlight the effectiveness of this Short, which you can, yes, use to plan content ideas in the future. But it’s useful for more than just content planning. Successful engagement and view feedback can also drive our product development and marketing strategies on other platforms — such as your Google video ads!! 

 

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