Audience Engagement Guest Columns
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YouTube Shorts monetization: What creators need to know

Short-form video is gaining huge traction – YouTube Shorts are attracting 1.5 billion monthly viewers alone whilst TikTok witnessed a meteoric rise in 2022. Now, YouTube is allowing creators to monetize their shorts, opening up a possibly lucrative channel for publishers. Victor Potrel, Vice President of Content Distribution at TheSoul Publishing explains more…

From February 1st, creators on YouTube are allowed to monetize their Shorts content through ad revenue, as part of the YouTube Partner Program. This process means YouTube will share a portion of the ad revenue it receives from its Shorts feed among eligible creators.

To be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program, a creator or publishers’ channel must have at least 1,000 subscribers and either 4,000 public watch hours in the last 12 months or 10 million public Shorts views in the last 90 days.

It’s definitely a little complicated, but what does this mean for creators?

The move from YouTube is a logical step in supporting the creator economy, with expectations for other platforms to follow suit in 2023. Short-form content’s rapid rise has opened many opportunities for existing and new creators that can stay agile and on top of the trends. With more investments from platforms in the experience for creators, users, and advertisers, we can expect short-form videos to continue to grow.

New opportunities

The short-form vertical video format first came to fame with the now-defunct Vine platform, where creators could upload videos of up to 15 seconds. A few years later, the popularity of the format came back to the forefront, with TikTok and other major social media platforms now all building their offerings and driving this viewing and creative experience.

The interest-based video-feed which consists of the primary watching experience, combined with the simplicity of participation (everyone with a smartphone can join in) has helped fuel a new generation of content creators and brands, and supported the growth of the wider video format by offering new ways to discover content. Now the growing focus of social media platforms of monetizing the format is providing further opportunities for creators to generate revenue from their contributions.

It’s also an exciting time for advertisers, who have to take into account viewers’ new, even shorter, attention spans. They’ll need to adjust their content to immediately grab the viewer’s attention, and not expect them to pay attention simply because it’s on the screen. This is a good opportunity for them to invest in creativity and partnerships with creators who are familiar with the format.

How to get started and stand out

Shorts are a great way for creators to jump on current trends and stay relevant due to the shorter production times. For already established brands, creators or publishers, capitalizing on the popularity of short-form content will require agility and the ability to work within multiple content formats to stay on top of viewers’ watching preferences.

Creators should also focus on producing short-form content across various platforms, as it helps find new audiences and grow their overall community. At the same time, it’s essential to adapt content to each platform, so it’s in tune with the trends and context where it lives. 

I expect the major players in the industry to adjust their platforms and revenue-sharing policies in the coming months and years, and creators would be wise to have a multi-platform strategy.

Short vs. Longer form content

The rise of short-form content is also an opportunity to drive audiences to longer-form content, which is driving most of the online video viewing watch time. Longer videos have the capability to drive deeper engagement and strengthen the relationship between fans and subscribers. Shorts and longer-form content should be woven together to create an ideal content strategy, keeping in mind the divergent paths to discovery.

Another way to use the rise of Short form content is to make use of the shorter production time. This gives the capability to iterate faster while getting audience feedback, enabling for rapid improvement. Once a concept or format is finding its audience, a longer-form approach can be taken with a higher chance of success.

What’s next?

At TheSoul Publishing we believe it is important to embrace new offerings that emerge as each platform presents them. In practice, this means that creators should focus on creating engaging content, while also embracing new platform tools as they emerge. By doing this, creators and brands can be certain they are staying ahead of the curve.

Victor Potrel
VP of Platform Partnerships at TheSoul Publishing

TheSoul Publishing is an award-winning digital studio that produces entertaining, positive, and original content for a global audience. TheSoul reaches more than one billion social followers across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, and Snap. Its global creative team consistently delivers engaging, cross-platform content for all ages in 20 different languages. TheSoul’s channels include 5-Minute Crafts, Bright Side, 123 GO!, Avocado Couple, La La Life, Teen-Z, Baby Zoo, Slick Slime Sam and Polar. TheSoul Publishing has won numerous awards including ‘Digital Studio of the Year’ at the 2021 Digiday Video & TV Awards, ‘Best use of Pinterest’ at the 2021 Drum Awards, and is also a 2022 Webby Honoree for ‘Best Overall Social Presence in Media/Entertainment.