YouTube is bringing its short-form video format, called YouTube Shorts, to the US in March.
Both Facebook and Google have been combatting the growing rise of TikTok in separate ways. Facebook started with its Reels app in Brazil, which was eventually rolled into Instagram. It’s now the main way most people interact with Instagram, and YouTube wants to emulate that. That’s why it’s bringing its YouTube Shorts feature to the United States in March.
YouTube has been testing the short-form video format in India since September. India serves as a great testbed for new short-form video services since TikTok is officially banned there. YouTube says its Shorts have been watched more than 3.5 billion times a day in India, which is its largest market.
“We know there’s still a huge amount of people who find the bar for creation too high,” YouTube’s Chief Product Officer Neil Mohan writes in the blog post announcing the new feature. Mohan says Shorts are part of a new series to give YouTube a makeover for easier content creation.
“Since the beginning of December, the number of Indian channels using Shorts creation tools has more than tripled,” Mohan confirms. “In the coming weeks, we’ll begin expanding the beta to the US, unlocking our tools to even more creators so they can get started with Shorts.”
YouTube is also exploring some of the monetization schemes TikTok uses to monetize its YouTube Shorts.
It launched Super Chat and Super Stickers last year to help creators diversify their revenue streams. Now YouTube is testing a new applause feature that allows fans to show their support for their favorite YouTube channels.
Of course, TikTok is focusing heavily on becoming an e-commerce platform in the same way that Facebook and YouTube are. YouTube doesn’t want to be left out of that shift, so its beta-testing a new integrated shopping experience.
“We’re beta testing a new integrated shopping experience that allows viewers to tap into the credibility and knowledge of trusted creators to make informed purchases directly on YouTube,” the blog post reads. Some artist applications of this feature could be deals on exclusive merch and limited drops for fans.
TikTok’s short-form video format has been cloned by every major social media company in existence. Yet, it remains one of the most popular platforms for music discovery in the world. Labels are striking deals with TikTok left and right to get in on the action; meanwhile, older social media companies are left playing catch-up.