Search and Rescue: Google x MuteSix on Creating YouTube Shorts That Sell
In addition to automation and privacy /measurement, the most significant area of investment for Google in 2023 will no-doubt be video. Or, more specifically, “the shorter side of YouTube,” known as YouTube Shorts, which has become the spot to shoot, share, and binge 60-second or less videos since its global release in 2021.
The reason for the investment is clear: Shorts, which piggy-backs off the short-form video craze ignited by TikTok, is booming. According to Google, 82% of all internet traffic is for video for consumers, with YouTube reaching 92% of the U.S. adult population.
And yet, YouTube Shorts, whose mobile-first, vertical videos are heading to TV screens soon and will soon feature product tags and other shopping features, remains one of the most undermonestized platforms, considering its reach versus investment, and direct response success.
As advertisers debate which short-form video platform to invest in, we encourage them to think holistically so as not to miss out on the success of YouTube Shorts, with its 10 trillion views, 6x lift in brand searches, 20% jump in purchase intent, 400% growth in revenue, and 107K+ watched hours.
As a Google Premier Partner and front-running Paid Search agency, MuteSix joined fellow Search heavyweights from Google on October 18 to tackle all things YouTube Shorts–from how long-form content differs from that of short-form, how to differentiate your YouTube Shorts content from that of TikTok, and how best to structure your campaigns.
Tune in (or read on) to learn what Google and MuteSix’s Harrison Hunt (VP, Paid Search), and Greg Gilman (Chief Revenue Officer) had to say about what it takes to win big using Shorts for the long haul.
… on What YouTube Shorts Can Do for Brands.
“YouTube is a function of telling your brand story. There are a lot of different ways to do that–whether it’s through product intros, testimonials, or founder stories. Whatever the format, it’s important to get those stories out there in many different ways because with only one type of ad concept, ad fatigue can come into play.” – Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix
… on Implementing YouTube Shorts into an Omnichannel Solution.
“We leverage an omnichannel approach at MuteSix, so based on what we find to be successful on other channels, we test them out on YouTube–and that can be very successful. So, we take a concept, then iterate on this concept based on different audiences. With this process, you get five different deliverables falling under one umbrella of a concept, but with different types of messaging for each audience. Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen with over $10 million in ad spend on YouTube, we’ve been able to drive over 1.5X ROAS. So, you get a lot more bang for your buck not just in terms of reach, but when it comes to direct response.” – Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix
… on Shooting Footage for YouTube Shorts.
“The name of the game when shooting content is to get as much footage as possible, thinking of all the possible angles you would want to work. In addition to high-production Branded Response Content, we also shoot behind-the-scenes footage, UGC content, and TikTok native content because the last thing you want to do is spend 2-3 weeks scripting, a week of shooting, and a week of post, and then, for whatever reason, it doesn’t work, and then you regret not capturing different angles. With our Creative Studio, we’re essentially reverse-engineering to consider all platforms and stages of the funnel, and ultimately which types of personas we want to attract with each type of content.” – Greg Gillman, Chief Revenue Officer, MuteSix
… on Campaign Structures for YouTube Shorts.
“When it comes to building out great YouTube programs, it’s not just about the creative. You need strong campaign structures. With YouTube, we really make sure the funnel is broken out by each stage, so, for example, acquisition is true acquisition without retention and remarketing audiences. And, on an even more granular level, each audience will have its own type of creative because if someone is already engaged with a brand, they’re going to need different creative compared to someone who is net-new and doesn’t have any kind of familiarity with the brand itself.” – Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix
… on YouTube Shorts Winning Creative.
“In terms of best practices, when it comes to building out that creative, you’re running ads on YouTube, which is high production-quality video organically, so you want to match that. It’s the same name of the game with social–you want to match your content with what users are accustomed to engaging with. So, on YouTube, you want to make sure you have high-quality production, text overlays, and strong audio. With higher-produced content, when someone is watching a YouTube video and an ad appears, it won’t feel like an awkward transition. – Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix
… on YouTube Shorts vs. TikTok, etc.
“You can take learnings cross-channel, but that doesn’t mean one platform’s format will work on another. We’ve had times when we’ve tested TikTok content on Facebook and it works, but there are other times when we’ve taken a high-performing UGC reel and thrown it on YouTube and it flops. So, we reverse-engineer. It’s important to learn what formats and story angles work best for different brands on various channels, then take the best of each.” – Greg Gillman, Chief Revenue Officer, MuteSix
… on Long-Form YouTube content.
“At the end of the day, you need to ensure that your long-form content meets best practices when it gets to users engaging with the ad. So, having a strong hook within the first 3 – 5 seconds for a 30 second ad on YouTube is important, because you can skip after the first six seconds, so make sure that user is captivated by what you’re introducing them to. Use text overlays to keep them engaged as they pass that skippable mark–these can range from value props of the product to what makes your brand better than that of a competitor. Using music audio is key, too, because one of the biggest differences between Paid Social and YouTube is that audio component.” – Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix
… on Different YouTube Shorts Formats.
“The six-second bumpers, the 15-second unskippable, and the 30-second skippable deliver the best results for us. When you’re thinking about creating content for each type of format, you have to consider how that format is going to be laid out in the actual Google / YouTube space. If it’s a six-second bumper, you’re really just focusing on the hook, and ensuring that person is already familiar with that product because you only have six seconds. But, with 15-second skippable, you want to compress what’s going on in the 30-second video, and focus on the hook in addition to whichever value props of that brand or product you’re advertising.” – Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix
… on Long-Form vs. Short-Form Video Content.
“Long-form is best when it’s enriching and empowering, and you’re able to tell a brand story and you have that arc. If you remember Dove’s True Beauty from a few years ago, the ad itself was three minutes long and had 70 million organic views on YouTube living alone because it told such an empowering story.
Short-form content is fun and it’s snackable. When you’re creating that sort of content, you need to create it with the user in mind and try to portray your message extremely quickly. It’s no surprise that with the rise of TikTok, short-form content is becoming more and more popular. Three-fourths of adult U.S. users say they watch at least 30 minutes of short-form content a day–and that makes up about one-fourth of digital video consumption, including streaming networks.” – Mike Hilgeman, Account Executive, Google
… on YouTube Shorts Best Practices.
“First, you want to capture attention early. So, you have some sort of hook, with your branding and a reason to give users to watch your video. Second, feature one message–and this is one of the biggest challenges I’ve seen with clients because they have three or four messages that they want to portray, but Shorts aren’t designed for that. The third is to lean into trends. Shorts are great for UGC content, but what works on TikTok may not work on Shorts, so you should always test and learn.” – Mike Hilgeman, Account Executive, Google
… on YouTube Shorts Audiences.
“The consensus is that it’s the younger audiences watching the more snackable content, but it’s getting older and older each day. More people are getting accustomed to shorter content, whether you’re 18 or 45. It’s becoming the new norm, so the idea that we should advertise this type of content toward a younger audience is a thing of the past because we’re moving to a much wider audience.” – Harrison Hunt, VP, Paid Search, MuteSix
… on the Potential of YouTube Shorts.
“I think for a platform like YouTube, especially with the amount of data Google has to better target, it’s a great option because they’re capitalizing on both long and short content and working with DTC brands to better tell their story. The format is there, and it’s the early adopters who honestly have to pave the way. It’s not perfect, but best practices aside, everyone needs to think outside of the box to think how they can position their brand better on the platform, and then hopefully soon we’ll be talking about those wins based on the work of those early adopters.” – Greg Gillman, Chief Revenue Officer, MuteSix
For more industry-leading tips on maximizing success using YouTube Shorts, tune in to the full MuteSix x Google presentation here.
Or, head here to master the MuteSix x Google formula for winning Q4 in the face of fierce economic headwinds and here to transition confidently to Performance Max and scale profitably as a result this Q4 and beyond.