YouTube has made it abundantly clear they are going after TikTok in the short video niche. Much like Instagram, YouTube realizes they already have over 100 million users now they just have to get those users to consume content in a different way. They are so serious about this that they are offering creators a way to monetize shorts unlike TikTok. YouTube took off in the early 2010s because they were willing to pay content creators a hefty sum of money. They are doing it again and creators are spending much more time on YouTube Shorts in the spring and summer of 2023.

To monetize a YouTube Shorts channel the channel must have 10 million views in 90 days and over 1000 subscribers. The 1000 subscribers is not the challenge. The challenge is getting 10 million views in three (3) months. This means a channel needs to average just over 100,000 views a day just to get monetized. Many, many YouTube Shorts channels are trying to figure out how they can get “over the hump” to get their channel monetized. More importantly, the views help increase subscribers and create a brand.

Unfortunately, if you plan on starting a YouTube Shorts channel today, you are likely out of luck in terms of getting monetized or going viral. YouTube Shorts channels that do extremely well are channels that were posting Shorts videos all the way back in late 2020 and early 2021. YouTube Shorts were first released in September 2020 but weren’t implemented into the feed or on the bottom of the YouTube app until early to mid 2021. If you find a YouTube Shorts account with over 25 million views, they were likely publishing shorts at this time.

YouTube Shorts Algorithm

What we have learned about the YouTube Shorts algorithm is that timing and engagement are everything. Much like with the Reddit and TikTok algorithm, the first 20 to 30 minutes is extremely important. Popular YouTube Shorts accounts will show up in the Shorts feed garnering 20-30 views within the first 10-15 minutes. If viewers do not swipe away on videos, the Shorts will be shown to more users. This continues for another 15 minutes. If over 70% of the viewers do not swipe away, the Short then goes viral and can get thousands of views in a matter of minutes.

As with all viral content on social media, niche matters. If you have bikini models bouncing around and running down the beach, they are likely going to get many more views than a personal injury lawyer explaining your legal rights. That said, building a brand is very important to many businesses and clients. Explaining the total addressable market (TAM) of a particular YouTube Shorts channel is important. Do not go into any campaign assuming you can compete with young, attractive women. In the golf niche, cart girls and attractive female golfers get 10x the number of views as an esteemed golf coach that has helped professionals win tournaments. Even if the total addressable market is 10 times less than other niches, it does not mean it is not worth the effort.

Understand the YouTube algorithm, publish amazing shorts in the form of high quality videos and watch a brand expand. There is a sweet spot in the terms of number of shorts that should be published in a day or week. Suffice it to say, make certain your content is high quality and your subscribers are looking for more and you cannot publish too much. If you run out of ideas or your subscribers start to swipe away, you are going to find that the YouTube algorithm does not favor your channel.