Did you know that just one word in your YouTube Shorts title can make your video go from flop to viral? And if you're not using the right settings, YouTube might not find your audience. Don't worry, by the end of this guide, you'll know all the tricks on how to go viral on YouTube Shorts, whether you have lots of subscribers or it's your first post.
What are YouTube Shorts?
YouTube Shorts are quick, up-to-60-second videos that you can make right from your phone. You can record, edit, add music and captions, change the speed, and even combine various video pieces in your Shorts.
Shorts are available on YouTube via searches, the home screen, or a specific segment. Similar to Instagram Reels, you can swipe to view multiple images after tapping one. Every Short also features a "Subscribe" button that allows you to maximize the amount of people who see the videos. With almost 2 billion monthly views, YouTube Shorts has grown to become a significant platform for video content promotion.
How to Create and Upload YouTube Shorts
There are mixed opinions out there about whether it is better to upload YouTube Shorts via mobile or desktop. It is completely up to you, and you can even run tests by uploading shorts from both mobile and desktop apps and comparing the analytics of their performance. Here are step-by-step instructions on how you can upload your YouTube Shorts both ways:
- Mobile: Open YouTube app -> Tap '+' icon -> Select 'Create a Short' -> Record or upload -> Edit and enhance -> Set thumbnail and title -> Add to Shorts feed -> Publish.
- Desktop: Sign in to YouTube -> Click '+' -> Select 'Upload Video' -> Upload your Short video -> Fill in details -> Check 'Shorts' -> Adjust settings -> Publish.
The thing we'd like to point out here is that the desktop version has many more functions that you could use to put your Short at an advantage. Here are just some of them:
- The desktop version allows you to add a full description right away.
- If you use keyword search tools like VidIQ, it can help you add relevant keywords in your title and description immediately.
- You can choose the category for your Short, such as Education, Entertainment, and others, to push it to the right audience.
You can start by uploading a video to YouTube Shorts from a mobile app if it's more convenient for you. Then, click 'Save Draft' instead of 'Upload Shorts' and proceed to edit it on your desktop to leverage all the functions. All of that can help YouTube understand what your Short is about and place it in front of the right audience.
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When is The Best Time To Post YouTube Shorts?
The key to successful YouTube Shorts is posting when your audience is most active. For choosing the optimal time and date, here's the next hack:
- Go to the Analytics tab in your YouTube Studio.
- Navigate to Audience.
- Scroll down to find the bars indicating audience activity and identify when most of your viewers are online.
For example, if you notice that your audience is most active from Friday to Sunday, between 4-7 pm - schedule your Short for 3:30 pm on Friday. This way, you'll have a couple of hours to gather as many views as possible while your audience is actively scrolling on YouTube.
Extra Tip #1: When creating a short on your phone, upload it as unlisted instead of public. Later, in YouTube Studio under Content, you can switch it from unlisted to scheduled.
How to Make YouTube Shorts Go Viral?
To answer that question, you need to understand how YouTube algorithms work. In 2023, the key insight about the YouTube algorithm is that it's more focused on the user than the video. When determining which videos or Shorts to recommend, the algorithm aims to connect viewers with the content they'll enjoy.
YouTube's algorithm suggests videos to viewers through two main criteria:
- First, it ranks videos based on factors like views, likes, watch time, and other stats.
- Second, it pairs videos with users, considering their past viewing history and similar content.
For your Shorts to go viral, it's essential not only to leverage YouTube Shorts creation hacks but also to help YouTube algorithms better understand your Shorts. Let's learn how to do it!
17 Viral Hacks for YouTube Shorts
We all know the basics of YouTube Shorts – make them short, vertical videos, 60 seconds or less. It's good to stick to a theme and post regularly, but what about more tricks to make your Shorts go viral? To help you with that, we've put together a list of 17 hacks for getting the most out of YouTube Shorts.
1. Spot a Big Audience
One common mistake many small channels make is creating cool videos with amazing editing, but the hitch is that people just aren't into the topic. To sidestep this, use Google Trends to catch the wave of popular interest:
- Go to the Explore section on Google Trends.
- Choose YouTube in the dropdown to spot the current trends and search terms.
- Type in your niche or content pillars.
And voila! You've got the hottest topics on YouTube. Now, grab your phone, talk to the camera, and create content that reflects the trend to catch a big wave. But remember to always prioritize your audience! If a trend doesn't fit your niche, think twice before jumping on it.
Extra Tip #2: YouTube has created its own YouTube Shorts Report. You can sign up for it to get emails with the latest updates, new features, and inspiration, including trending content ideas on Shorts.
2. Aim for over 100% of YouTube Short View Duration
In YouTube Studio's analytics tab, the key metric to focus on for YouTube Shorts is the average view duration. When people watch your YouTube video, you want them to stick around for more time than the video's actual length. A good goal is to aim for over 100% view duration.
One way to achieve this is by looping your video. You can do this by posing a question at the start and holding off on answering it until the last couple of seconds. This isn't about making false promises but using storytelling to guide viewers to the answer at the end.
Some creators smoothly connect the end and beginning of their videos. This way viewers might watch it again instead of swiping away after watching, boosting your average watch time.
3. One Word in a Title Can Change Everything
Titles mean a lot not only for regular videos but for Shorts as well. The first step to finding the perfect title is to come up with the idea of a title and type it into the YouTube search bar. Then, navigate to Shorts, apply a filter for the last 30 days, and look if there are Shorts with similar titles that hit the mark. If you don't spot videos with the desired view count, it could signal two things:
- The audience for that topic might be too small.
- You might need to tweak your title keywords.
Even a one-word difference in your title can significantly impact search results. If your initial search doesn't yield satisfying results, keep refining until you understand what works best. But remember, avoid clickbait! Viewers and YouTube algorithms don't appreciate clickbait videos.
4. Never Forget About SEO
Ensure the YouTube algorithm understands your Short by optimizing it for SEO. Craft an SEO-friendly title, description, and tags. Tools like VidIQ can help you find relevant keywords with high volume and low competition to hit as many views as possible.
5. Make the first few seconds count
Don't leave an awkward pause at the start — begin talking immediately! If it's a voiceover, let the audio play from the very first second. That is important in order to create an engaging hook to grab your viewers' attention.
6. Hook With a Question
Viral Shorts often start with a question in the first three seconds. The most successful questions challenge common beliefs or just sound unusual like: "Did you know that you can learn while you sleep?". Here are just a few examples of questions for different topics:
- How do you make the perfect dessert without using sugar?
- How can you experience a dream vacation on a budget?
- What's the secret to maximizing your smartphone's productivity?
- How can you achieve a full-body workout without going to the gym?
- How do you create a stunning home decor piece from everyday items?
The good thing is that questions go with any type of content, so you can definitely leverage its potential.
7. Adopt a 5-Second Rule of Change
Keep your Short engaging by changing something visually every 5 seconds. Instead of just talking to the camera, try changing angles, adding on-screen text, or using dynamic video edits. Make sure these changes engage your audience and keep them watching till the end. Make your Shorts pop by adding stuff like videos, screenshots, or pictures while you talk. It gives your tale a boost and makes your video more interesting.
8. Keep Your Short's CTA Short
When people hear creators starting their 'follow, like, subscribe' spiel, it's a sign for them that the video is over, and it's time to swipe to the next piece of content. If you decide to add verbal CTAs at the end of your Short, it's better to keep it concise. You can say something as simple as 'double-tap this video,' and that would be enough for a Short.
9. Pin The "Next Step" in Comments
Consider dropping your call to action in the pinned comments of your Short. Thanks to platforms like TikTok, people are accustomed to checking out comments. So, if you put your 'do this next' content in the top comments of your YouTube Shorts, it's likely the first thing someone will see. Use this spot to guide people to the next action you'd like them to take, such as grabbing something special or following the link to the main channel content.
10. Add Captions and On-Screen Texts
As you scroll through YouTube Shorts, notice how most popular videos have words or captions on the screen. Using closed captions is a big deal because it makes your video feel speedy, keeping people watching.
Extra tip #3 Display only a few words at a time, maintaining a fast-paced and engaging video.
11. Hashtag Your Short
Add some hashtags on your Shorts — they help your video get noticed. If someone clicks on a hashtag, your Short might pop up, getting more views.
Now, let's bust some myth-bubbles. People say things like, "Only three hashtags!" or "No, go wild, use 15!" YouTube sets it straight. If you cross 60 hashtags in a video or playlist, they'll ignore them all. Overdoing it might even get your video kicked off the search. So, you can use any number of hashtags under 60. Just keep them tied to your video and relevant for the SEO we talked about earlier.
Extra Tip #4 Check out Google's hashtag use policies on YouTube to maximize their effectiveness.
12. Use Trending Music
Do you know how on TikTok, using popular music can boost your views? Well, you can do the same on YouTube! Just head over to a 'trending' tab and click on "music." Here you'll find all the latest trending songs and music videos.
Now, check out the descriptions of the music video you like. Scroll down, and you'll spot Shorts remixing that video. To use that music in your Shorts, find the music video on your phone, hit the remix button, and click on the sound. Follow the steps, and voila, that music's now your background groove generating more views for you!
Extra Tip #5 You can also use copyright-free music for your Shorts from the YouTube Audio Library.
13. Chat in Comments
Reply to every single comment you get. It's a double win. First, when you respond, it adds another comment to your Short. So, if you get 20 comments and reply to each one, then you've already got 40 comments—more engagement, and that's awesome. Second, sometimes people come back to the comments after your reply and add more. It's like a comment party that keeps pushing your Shorts higher.
14. Repurpose Video-to-Short Wisely
When repurposing your existing videos into YouTube Shorts, the golden rule is to ensure your Short kicks off with an engaging intro. If you're just taking a segment from the middle of your video to turn into a Short, chances are that the segment's intro doesn't work like a hook should. Here's a workaround for you:
- Record a super short hook to grab viewers.
- Add it to your repurposed clip.
- Throw in some extra edits with captions or on-screen text.
- And you're good to go!
You can even use an AI voice to introduce the beginning of your repurposed Short. Find the perfect AI tool for that in this list of AI tools for content creators.
15. Drive Audience To The Right Place
Let's be clear: most creators use Shorts not to become Shorts creators but to drive traffic to their other types of content. Use Shorts to funnel people toward your long-form content. Use pinned comments to direct viewers to it. Make sure there is some kind of connection between your Short and the video for better results.
16. Create a Series of Shorts
Just like with regular YouTube Playlists, a series of Shorts will help you keep your audience hooked. The series creates a natural flow they can follow from one piece to the next. Also, doing Shorts as a series lets you break down complex topics into bite-sized videos. Let people know that there's more to watch on the topic to encourage them to watch more.
We'd be happy to hear that your Shorts went viral from the very beginning, but that happens rarely. Success is always about consistency. If you can't post Shorts three times a day, that's okay; you can do less, but keep experimenting!
- Try different topics and formats
- Experiment with hooks and titles
- Edit differently
- Keep an eye on analytics to see which Shorts perform better and where viewers are skipping.
Test it until you see your view count skyrocket and your Shorts go viral! Remember, AIR Media-Tech is right here to help you grow on YouTube. Just drop us a line, and we'll share all the tricks, hacks, and strategies that have already helped more than 3000 of our partners boost their YouTube Channels.