YouTube is emphasizing enhancements to it Shorts feature as well as laying out plans to improve shopping experiences in a blog post by Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan setting out its 2022 roadmap. While Mohan did not go into specific detail, he did provide a useful overview of what to expect from YouTube this year.
Shorts. YouTube plans to keep adding features to its Shorts format, the platform’s answer to TikTok and Instagram’s Reels. In addition to new effects and editing tools, YouTube plans to introduce the ability to reply to individual comments by creating another Short (similar to TikTok).
YouTube is also exploring monetization options for this format. In the coming months, it plans to test BrandConnect for Shorts creators, integration of the Super Chat feature (in which viewers can purchase visually distinct chat messages) as well as the ability to shop directly from a Short.
New insights for creators. New insights will be added to YouTube Studio. Mohan did not go into detail about what to expect from these new analytics capabilities other than that they’re meant to help “generate concrete content ideas for upcoming videos.”
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More robust shopping experiences. Shopping capabilities will expand via shoppable videos, Live Shopping and via the user interface of the YouTube app.
Other updates for brands and creators. Channel guidelines, which can help creators influence the tone of conversations on their channel, are currently being tested.
An example of channel guidelines in YouTube. Image: YouTube.
Collaborative livestreaming will also be introduced, enabling creators to go live with other creators.
Collaborative livestreaming on YouTube. Image: YouTube.
And, YouTube has begun testing gifted memberships, which allow viewers to purchase channel memberships for other viewers in a livestream.
Why we care. Don’t underestimate the growing impact on marketing of the short-form video format represented by YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels and, of course, Tik Tok. TikTok, of course, saw its audience nearly double in 2020 and although Google and Meta moved competitively against it, it’s clear to most users that a lot of what Shorts and Reels do is replicate the TikTok experience. And although it’s frowned on, it’s clear that a lot of TikTok creators are simply using Reels and Shorts to expand the reach of their TikTok content.
The new Shorts features may help it compete against TikTok and Instagram. Being able to reply via a Short can keep users engaged on the platform for longer. And, monetization options for creators may also help drive adoption as well as influencer marketing opportunities on YouTube.
Additional reporting by Kim Davis