YouTube Shorts Secrets Unveiled – Algorithm, Views, and More

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YouTube has recently addressed creators’ inquiries about its short-form video platform, YouTube Shorts, revealing some valuable insights into how the algorithm for Shorts operates, what qualifies as a view, and sharing best practices for creators aiming to optimize their potential on Shorts. The information, while not giving away the specifics of the algorithm, as TikTok and Instagram have done, provides creators with high-level guidance for making videos for Shorts. The product lead for Shorts, Todd Sherman, explained that the Shorts algorithm diverges from the long-form algorithm, as the former prioritizes a more diverse feed due to users flipping through hundreds of videos, unlike the 10 or 20 viewed in long-form.

Sherman also clarified the platform’s approach to counting views, stating that not every flip in Shorts is counted as a view. This contrasts with other platforms where viewing the first frame is considered a view. On Shorts, a view is intended to signify that the user had the intention to watch, giving creators a "meaningful threshold". The company refrains from publishing its view threshold to prevent users from manipulating the system. Sherman also emphasized that the length of the video does not necessarily determine its visibility, advising creators to focus on telling their story within the 60-second limit, a feature that distinguishes Shorts from TikTok, which is experimenting with longer videos.

YouTube Shorts: Insights for Creators on Algorithms, Views, and Best Practices

This week, YouTube released a video providing answers to creators’ questions regarding its short-form video platform, YouTube Shorts. The topics covered range from how the Shorts algorithm differs from the standard YouTube algorithm, what constitutes a view and other best practices for creators aiming to maximize their potential on the platform. Although YouTube did not reveal the full details of its algorithm, as TikTok and Instagram have done, it did provide some high-level insights to guide creators.

Shorts Algorithm vs Long-form Algorithm

Product lead for Shorts, Todd Sherman, explained that the algorithm for Shorts differs from the long-form algorithm in terms of user interaction. For long-form videos, users tap on what they want to watch, making a specific choice that influences future recommendations. However, with Shorts, users swipe through content without knowing what comes next. Despite both recommendation systems being designed to present enjoyable videos, the Shorts feed prioritizes a more diverse range of content due to users flipping through hundreds of videos compared to 10 or 20 in long-form.

What Counts as a View?

Sherman clarified that not every flip in Shorts is counted as a view, which differs from platforms like TikTok, where viewing the first frame is counted as a view. On Shorts, a view is meant to reflect some intent to watch, providing creators with a "meaningful threshold" of engagement. YouTube does not publish its view threshold as it occasionally adjusts it, and it doesn’t want people to try to game the system.

Creating for Shorts: Length, Thumbnails, and Hashtags

When it comes to video length, Sherman advised creators to focus on the time needed to tell their story rather than aiming for a specific length. However, he emphasized that Shorts will remain focused on videos that are 60 seconds and under, unlike TikTok which has started to experiment with longer formats. He also mentioned that creators shouldn’t worry about crafting custom thumbnails for Shorts, as most are never seen. Hashtags, on the other hand, can be useful, and creators are encouraged to use them, although this advice is hard to generalize.

Publishing Time and Quantity

Sherman stated that the time of day a Short is published is not a significant factor, except for news-focused content where timeliness matters. He also stressed that the quantity of Shorts published does not influence traction; it’s more about quality over quantity.

Understanding the Algorithm’s Impact on Views

Addressing why Shorts sometimes experience a sudden drop in view counts, Sherman explained that the algorithm attempts to find an audience for creators. Sometimes, the algorithm effectively finds a seed audience, and depending on the response, traffic may increase or taper off. He advised against deleting and reposting Shorts to boost views, as this could be perceived as spam.

Linking Shorts to Long-form Content

The company plans to introduce ways for creators to link from their Shorts to their long-form videos by the end of September, seeing Shorts not as a competitor to long-form content, but as a complementary feature. However, it recently disabled links in other parts of the Shorts experience as a spam-prevention measure.

New Features for High-Upload Channels

Additionally, YouTube plans to test a feature where channels with multiple current uploads will have all their content bundled together on a shelf. This will allow viewers to explore everything from a channel without pushing down other videos in the subscriptions feed.


Understanding the workings of YouTube Shorts is vital for creators aiming to maximize their potential on the platform. While the algorithm differs from long-form YouTube, focusing on quality, utilizing hashtags, and considering the intent of viewers can help creators succeed. As YouTube continues to refine and add new features to the platform, creators need to stay informed and adapt their strategies accordingly.

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