Youtube shorts are no joke these days, despite the amount of seemingly pointless ones you see (thanks TikTok). And to help you level up your shorts, we’ve curated 16 banging tips to help you hack YouTube shorts.
These tips are so good they feel like cheating. Use them wisely to grow your YouTube channel and get more views in 2023.
16 Tips On How To Hack YouTube Shorts
Before we launch into our first tip. Here’s the TLDR…
Replace the word algorithm with audience. All the YouTube algorithm does is try to serve up the right content, to the right person, at the right time. Its goal is to keep people on the platform with relevant content so they watch as many ads as possible.
So if you create engaging videos that earn good watch time stats and send positive viewer satisfaction signals to YouTube – there’s a great chance the YouTube Shorts algorithm will suggest your content to more people. Help YouTube make money, and they will boost your content.
All right. Let’s get into our tip list.
1. Be A Looper
If you want the YouTube algorithm to serve your clips in the shorts feed, one of the best things you can do is increase your video watch time stats.
And a sneaky way to increase your watch time is to loop your shorts. How do you do that?
Record the end of your short and the beginning of your short in a similar way so they transition seamlessly. So when your short ends, it flows right back into the beginning. Instead of swiping to the next short, your viewer might accidentally watch another half of your short while trying to figure out what’s happening.
Which can result in audience retention graphs that are actually over 100%. And there’s nothing like getting 110% if you want to score some sweet algorithm lovin’.
2. Do You Even Caption, Bro?
Captions are everywhere, and you’ve likely been told before you should caption your clips. But are you?
The fact is captions increase your watch time. It’s why all the big-name channels include captions on everything they put out. So how do they improve watch time?
Because a large percentage of viewers leave their sound off or have hearing loss. So captions increase accessibility. If you don’t add captions, many viewers won’t know what’s going on and will likely scroll to the next video.
There are a ton of editing apps out there that use AI to automatically add captions for you. If you want to learn more about AI editing, then read “Should You Use AI Editing Tools?.”
3. Find A Successful Format And Stick With It
When you find a short format that works, leverage it. It’s so much easier than trying to brainstorm and come up with new, fresh shorts every single time.
For example, 3 Things You Didn’t Know About “X.” If it’s getting views, keep the format and rotate subjects.
Give the people what they like and save time in the process.
4. Piggyback On Trending Music
This next one is super ninja. So we all know that on platforms like TikTok, using trending music can be a reliable way to get more views. But did you know the same applies on YouTube?
Music videos tend to get more views than any other type of video on the platform. Now, why should you, as a shorts creator, care about this?
Well, open any music video and click on more to view the description. If you scroll down, you can often see a list of suggested shorts that have remixed that video. In the description! So it’s another way to get discovered.
In other words, if you use an official music video as background music in your short, there’s a chance you’ll show up in the description of the trending music video. And that can lead to a crap ton of views, especially if you’re early.
All you have to do is navigate to the music video on your phone, then click on the remix button. And then, you want to click “use sound here” and follow the prompts.
So how do you find trending music to use?
Here’s what you can do. Open your YouTube app homepage on mobile, and click on the little compass icon in the top row (above the first video) to go to the trending tab.
On desktop, open the hamburger menu icon and scroll down to Explore, and click on Trending.
Once you’re on the trending tab, click on Music, and you’ll get a feed of the most popular videos in your region.
5. Irritate people
This next one can be fun if you aren’t worried about ruffling some feathers. YouTube videos that evoke emotion from viewers generally perform better than those that don’t. And anger is one of the most powerful emotions.
However, we don’t recommend going out there and blatantly trying to make people hate you. Sure, you might rack up views, but it’s probably not a great long-term strategy for success or self-preservation.
But do you have any unpopular opinions that you truly believe in? Like maybe you believe crunchy peanut butter is better than smooth? Ya…right. Like anyone could be so silly.
If you share your contrarian beliefs, you’ll hack a lot of people off. But do it right, and you’ll get respect for speaking your mind. And your fellow believers will love you for it.
6. The More, The Merrier
Until your YouTube channel gets so big you don’t have enough time, you should respond to every comment. And there are two reasons why.
- Engaging with viewers makes them feel heard and special. You will gain new subs and loyal followers if you spend time with your community.
- When you reply, you add a new comment to that short. If you get ten comments and you respond to them all, suddenly, your short now has 20 comments. And more engagement is a positive signal for the algorithm.
Sometimes your comment will even bring the original commenter back to the video to respond to your response. Gorgeous.
7. Become A Trend Spotter
Hopping on a trending topic is a clever tactic to get featured as a suggested video and lure extra eyeballs. But how do you know which topics are trending?
An easy way to get a rough idea is to visit the Google Trends website.
Then enter a broad search term related to your niche. Change the following drop-down filter options:
- Switch “your country” to Worldwide
- Set the date range to the Past Seven Days
- and then change Web Search to YouTube Search
And if you scroll down, you’ll find related queries and related topics. Here you’ll see different breakout topics that are currently trending within this particular sphere. If you find something related to your niche that you think you could create a short about, go for it.
It’s an easy way to rack up extra YouTube video views and grow your subscriber base.
8. Don’t Give Away The Game For Free
The best titles hint at what the short is about to create interest. But don’t give everything away. They create a little mystery or intrigue.
So don’t spoil your shorts in your video’s title. Unless your short is so outrageous that even if people knew what it was, they want to see it anyways. Because if you give too much away, then there’s no reason for viewers to actually watch.
9. Brighter Is Better
A bunch of YouTubers, including Mr. Beast, did a huge amount of experimenting and learned that a bright video intro outperforms a dark one. And this is especially important in shorts where your viewer can move on to a new video with a simple finger flick.
So if the footage at the beginning of your shorts is very dark, then at least try to make it brighter with editing or add brighter elements. Maybe like text, animations or emojis. Even better, tackle this before you film and make sure your scene is realistic but also well-lit.
When a YouTube user clicks on a hashtag, they see a list of all the shorts tagged with it. So if you add hashtags to your videos, you may get views sent your way when users click on hashtags in the description of other videos.
It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, though. You want the benefit of being seen on the hashtag shelf. But you don’t want your viewers to click away and watch your competitor’s video content.
So what’s a creator to do? If you use hashtags, put them at the very bottom of your video description. So it’s as unlikely as possible that your viewers will actually click on those hashtags.
Speaking of hashtags, a lot of people throw out these random numbers like, oh, you can only add three hashtags to your shorts. Or you can only add 15 hashtags.
If we look at what YouTube says about this, they say if a video or playlist has more than 60 hashtags, it will ignore each hashtag on that content. Over-tagging may also result in the removal of your video from uploads or search. So don’t put more than 59 hashtags to be safe. Which is likely way more than you need anyways.
11. Schedule Your Posts For Prime Time
When you create videos on your phone, you may want to upload them as unlisted so you can schedule them later.
Then when you’re ready to schedule the post, you can go to YouTube Studio, go to the content tab, and change your video from unlisted to scheduled.
And you can pick the time and date you want your short to go live. So that raises the question – when should you post?
Well, that’s the next hack in YouTube Studio. Head over to Analytics, then go to Audience. You’ll find data showing when your viewers are on YouTube.
So, for example, you might find that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are the busiest days. And you might also see you have the most viewers online between two to six am.
And so, it would make sense to schedule your shorts on those days to go live around one am. That way, by the time the majority of your viewers log on, your short is up, and there’s a chance it’ll be suggested to them.
And if your short gets positive engagement signals shortly after upload, the algorithm boosts it and serves it up to more viewers. This gives your shorts a chance to build momentum and go viral.
12. Where Are Your Views Coming From?
YouTube Studio is a gold mine of valuable info. It’s the best place to look to analyze video performance. If you go to one of your shorts and hover over it, you can click on the analytics icon to find out where your views come from.
When your content and channel take off, you should get a high percentage of your views from the shorts feed.
Until you get some solid traction, you might find your views are mostly coming from your channel pages, browse, or even search.
And if you see a lot of views coming from search, another interesting thing you can learn is what search terms your viewers key into YouTube before they click and watch your short.
If you find any interesting search terms on the list, you might want to create individual shorts for those search terms, as you know they are already being searched for.
So what does it mean if you find, let’s say, 50% of a short’s views come from browse? Well, it means viewers had to make a decision before they watched it. They had to decide whether or not to click on it or watch a competing video instead. Unlike in the shorts feed, where it just shows up as the viewer scrolls.
And so, this is a good time to review your title and video thumbnail to make sure they are as attractive as possible to improve your click-through rate.
13. Stop Doing That!
Let’s stick around in YouTube Studio a little longer, shall we? Open up the analytics for any of your videos.
You’re going to stay on Overview and scroll down to the bottom. Here you’ll see a graph that shows how long your viewers watch this short. It also shows how far into your clip they watch and when they click off.
So come in here for all your shorts, and determine at what points in the video you lose the most viewers. Look for major dips and declines in the graph.
What do you think triggered them to click off the short at that point in the video? Once you figure it out, don’t do it anymore and see if your results improve for new videos. Sometimes, the answer might be that your short was just a little too plain. It didn’t have enough going on to provide over-stimulated scroller’s brains the dopamine hits they crave. And that’s where our next tip comes in.
14. Mix It Up
Earlier, we talked about how important it is to maximize your watch time to get promoted by YouTube. And one of the simplest ways to improve viewer retention is to make your short less boring or more stimulating. You can accomplish this by adding more pattern interrupts.
What’s a pattern interrupt? It’s anything that switches the scene and introduces something new for the viewer’s brain to interpret. It can be as simple as a camera or angle change, b-roll footage, captions, effects, sounds, and much more.
Now, many of the best shorts on the platforms introduce some sort of pattern interrupt every two to 3 seconds.
Every rule has its exceptions. If you’ve got one piece of footage that is incredibly engaging on its own and doesn’t need any add-ons, then fine – let it roll. But as a rough rule of thumb, if nothing new has kind of happened visually in your short for at least 7 seconds, that’s a problem.
15. Forget About Jabs – Open With A Hook
So many of you guys and gals want to repurpose your existing videos into YouTube shorts. Nothing wrong with that on its own. The problem is that having an engaging intro and hook is incredibly important for a short.
And if you just take a segment from the middle of your video and repurpose it as a short, chances are it’s missing those key elements. Even short shorts need to tell a story and make sense.
So a sneaky way to get around that is to record a quick hook. You can summarize your video and try to grab viewers’ attention to convince them to keep watching. And then, just add it to the beginning of your repurposed clip. If you’re really lazy, go ahead and use an AI voice to create your intro.
16. Short Form Is The Gateway To Long Form
A ton of creators make YouTube shorts for the sole purpose of building their channel and promoting their long-form content.
And how do you do it? Basically, what you want to do is, whatever your long-form content is, condense it down into a video that is less than 60 seconds. And that might sound hard, but basically, you’re just creating a mini version or a highlights reel of your video and posting it as a short.
And as we just discussed, make sure it has a great intro and hook at the start. Then, at the end of the short, you should include a little call to action. Tell people to check out the comments for the link to the full video.
And you always want to add a link to the full video in the comments. And pin it to the top. That way, it’s the first thing people see in the comments section.
Get More Help And Grow Your YouTube Channel Fast
That concludes this week’s edition of our top YouTube tips to help you and Pinky take over the world. Some of these you’ve no doubt heard before, but hopefully, you walk away with a couple gems to put into action. And you shouldn’t try to do all of these in the same video.
Although, if you created a looping short, on a trending subject, with a trending song, where you pissed people off…And you also had a catchy title that didn’t give it all away, you opened with a bright intro and clever hook, you replied to every comment, used plenty of pattern interrupts to keep it interesting, used appropriate hashtags in the description, and scheduled your upload for your channels peak viewing hours?
And on top of that, you dug into your analytics to study its performance and learned how to improve your next video?
I mean, it’s kind of a scary thought. I’m not sure the rest of us are ready for that yet. So, maybe just start with one or two tips and go from there.
If you already have a profitable YouTube channel and you’d like some help or advice with your video editing – get in touch! We specialize in providing the assist to content creators just like you.
If you would rather read on and pick up more sage YouTube wisdom, check out these fine reads next: