18 Hacks To Make YouTube Shorts Go Viral

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25 Min


24 Jun 2024

18 Hacks To Make YouTube Shorts Go Viral

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. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • How Shorts can help increase views and subscribers for your longer videos, boosting your overall channel.
  • The best times to post your Shorts to get the most views from your audience.
  • How successful Shorts can drive more traffic and subscribers to your long-form videos.
  • Tips on creating engaging content that people will want to share.
  • 18 practical advice on making your Shorts go viral.

What are YouTube Shorts?

Skip to the next part if you already know what it is...

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 became more than just another short video platform.

Learn more about how YouTube Shorts work.

How Much can You Earn with YouTube Shorts?

Earning from short videos ranges from $0.01 to $0.06 per 1,000 views, which is much lower than what you can make from long-form videos. Long-form videos can earn between $1.61 and $29.30 per 1,000 views, with an average of $1.25 to $2.5.

So, making money from Shorts can be tough unless you’re getting hundreds of millions of views each month. You might wonder, why make YouTube Shorts at all? Shorts can significantly boost engagement on your main channel, increase subscribers, and get more views for your other videos. This can help raise your overall YouTube revenue while you also start earning from Shorts.

Learn more about YouTube Shorts monetization and how much YouTube Shorts pay.

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.

How to Create and Upload YouTube Shorts

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:

  1. The desktop version allows you to add a full description right away.
  2. If you use keyword search tools like VidIQ, it can help you add relevant keywords in your title and description immediately.
  3. 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.

Our partners recently reached 125 billion YouTube views, achieving milestones of 100K, 1M, 10M, and 100M subscribers. AIR Media-Tech is the ultimate space for content creators, offering tools and solutions for every challenge you might face. Join AIR Media-Tech and grow faster with us!

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:

  1. Go to the Analytics tab in your YouTube Studio.
  2. Navigate to Audience.
  3. 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.

Read more about the best time to post YouTube Shorts.

Can YouTube Shorts Affect Your Long-Form Videos?

From our experience at AIR Media-Tech, the performance of your YouTube Shorts can have a positive impact on your long-form videos. YouTube Shorts operates with its own algorithm, so if your Shorts don't do well, it won't drag down your entire channel. However, if your Shorts perform well, they can boost your longer videos.

Viewers often binge-watch multiple Shorts, much like they do with TikToks or Instagram reels. If your Short catches their attention, they might visit your channel to see more. This can lead to more views for your long-form videos and more subscribers for your channel.

We've seen this happen with many of our partners. A few viral Shorts can increase your subscriber count and drive traffic to your other videos. Engaging viewers with Shorts can really boost your overall YouTube presence.

Discover how short and long-form videos on YouTube can help each other grow.

How to Make YouTube Shorts Go Viral?

To answer that question, you need to understand how YouTube algorithms work. In 2024, 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.

How Does Analytics for Viral YouTube Shorts Look Like?

When it comes to analyzing viral YouTube Shorts, several key metrics stand out. First, the Average Percentage Viewed (APV) is essential. Many viral Shorts boast over 100% APV, indicating that viewers are watching them multiple times, which shows strong engagement. 

Another important metric is Watch Per Swipe, which measures how often viewers stop to watch your Short instead of swiping past it — higher percentages here mean more views. 

Lastly, view range matters. Shorts often start with 1k-10k views as the algorithm tests engagement. If your Short performs well, the algorithm will push it to a broader audience, especially if it receives high engagement through likes, comments, and shares.

Discover how to analyze viral YouTube Shorts and learn easy tips to make your own Shorts go viral.

18 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 18 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.

Use Google Trends to Find a Big Audience For Your Youtube Shorts

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:

  1. The audience for that topic might be too small.
  2. 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.

Use VidIQ for SEO Optimization of Your YouTube Shorts

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:

  1. How do you make the perfect dessert without using sugar?
  2. How can you experience a dream vacation on a budget?
  3. What's the secret to maximizing your smartphone's productivity?
  4. How can you achieve a full-body workout without going to the gym?
  5. 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!

Use Trending Music In Your YouTube Shorts

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.

Use AI Tools for Content Creators

15. Drive Audience To The Final Destination

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. Making Your YouTube Shorts Shareable

How can you make sure your YouTube Short gets shared by viewers? Here are three main things to consider.

First, always provide value. Think about your audience and what they might find interesting or useful. For example, you can make Shorts using quick facts about a trending topic. People love to share things that make them say, "Wow, I didn't know that!"

Entertainment is another big one. Your video should be engaging enough to make people smile, laugh, or even just feel something. 

Don't underestimate the power of inspiration. Motivational content can be incredibly shareable. We saw short with uplifting messages being extremely popular. People shared them because it was something they wanted others to hear.

So, next time you're creating a Short, ask yourself:

  • Is this interesting or informative?
  • Is it entertaining or funny?
  • Is it inspiring or motivational?

If you can tick off at least one of these, you're on the right track. Keep experimenting and watching what works best for your audience.

17. 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.

18. Post-Test-Repeat

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!

  1. Try different topics and formats
  2. Experiment with hooks and titles
  3. Edit differently
  4. 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.

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