As the popularity of short-form video continues to rise, YouTube is adding some new features for Shorts that will open up new creative options in the app.
First off, YouTube’s expanding its current Green Screen option in Shorts, which will now enable creators to use any eligible YouTube video or Short as the background for their Shorts clips.
As explained by YouTube:
“You can create using both the audio + video or video-only if you choose to mute the audio. To use Green Screen, just select Create > Green Screen on the menu of options under the video you’re watching or press the 3-dot menu in the Shorts player and select Green Screen. The max length you can create with is 60 seconds.”
YouTube originally added Green Screen functionality for Shorts last October, an option that’s also available on TikTok and IG. But on release, YouTube’s Green Screen option only enabled users to upload content from their camera roll for use as their background image.
Now, you’ll have a much wider pool of content to choose from for your Shorts background, with the original creator attributed via a source link within the Shorts display.
The immediate use case that springs to mind is reaction videos, which are already hugely popular on YouTube. Pretty much every YouTube influencer posts reaction clips, where they’ll check out, for example, the latest memes, and react to them in their own way.
In some ways, it’s a lazy option for creating content – but then again, most people watch YouTube influencers because of who they are, their personality and insights, and as such, reaction clips align with user interest, while also giving creators a never-ending flow of content options, without huge cost or significant time investment.
The expansion of YouTube’s Green Screen for Shorts seems to lean into this use case, while for brands, there could also be a range of ways to use this to highlight industry-relevant clips, showcase product updates, promote your latest videos and more.
In addition to this, YouTube’s also rolling out its new, simplified Shorts iteration option to more users.
“Last month, we started rolling out a new way to create a Short – simply tap on ‘Create’ and select ‘Cut’ from any eligible YouTube video or Short to select a 1-5 second segment to use for your own original Shorts content. Any time a new Short is created from your own channel’s content, it will be attributed back to your original video with a link in the Shorts player.”
YouTube says that this option is now available to everybody using the YouTube app on iOS, while it’s also coming to Android soon.
YouTube continues to see strong performance with its Shorts option, with Shorts clips in the app now seeing over 30 billion views per day, a 4x increase on a year ago. The rise of TikTok has changed the way that all of the major social apps look at content presentation, with Meta reporting that Reels now make up 20% of the time that people spend on Instagram, while Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest are all looking to update their UI options to lean into the TikTok-led video trend.
But of all of them, YouTube poses the biggest threat to TikTok’s dominance.
YouTube’s advanced monetization program offers the most potential for creators to make money from their efforts, and while Shorts itself is not a clear pathway to revenue success, using Shorts as a supplementary feed for your main channel could be the most lucrative strategy for creators.
Will that eventually see more of them coming to YouTube instead?
Certainly, there’s a level of angst among TikTok creators around not being able to make enough money from their clips, and that could, eventually, see more of them shifting focus to greener pastures instead.
And even without that, the relative success of Shorts and Reels in particular is keeping many users in both respective apps for longer, as opposed to them downloading TikTok and turning their focus to that app instead.
But it does seem like YouTube could still end up the big winner here, especially with clever updates like this, which tap into another of YouTube’s key strengths – its unmatched database of video content.
We’ll wait and see what TikTok does next.
The updated ‘Green Screen’ options for YouTube Shorts is ‘beginning its gradual rollout’ on the iOS YouTube app from today, so if you’re not seeing it yet, you will soon.
The future of commerce is social. 5 brands getting it right.
Social commerce is the future of online retail. By 2025, Accenture estimates social commerce to more than double to a $1.2 trillion market worldwide. Following the onset of COVID-19, consumers adopted social commerce behaviors, such as discovering, purchasing, and finding support directly on social media apps, at an accelerated rate. Now, brands are embracing these tools to deliver a personalized customer experience on whatever platform customers prefer.
Live shopping, for example, is a powerful way for brands to educate, engage with, and sell to customers in an interactive live stream event featuring brand representatives or influencers. The audience can comment live, ask questions, and even make purchases from links in the live stream. In 2021, the number of people who purchased products in a live stream event increased by 76% globally.
Social media platforms are innovating to meet this growing demand for social commerce. Twitter announced a new Twitter Shops feature that allows brands to showcase up to 50 products on their profiles. Similarly, TikTok is testing shopping features to help brands manage their e-commerce within a second TikTok app. Moving forward, e-commerce brands will have more tools at their disposal to sell directly on social media and provide increasingly seamless customer experiences.
Brands Leading in Social Commerce
As the popularity and accessibility of social commerce grows, these brands have jumped in with both feet to connect with customers where they are:
Charlotte Tilbury provides engaging, personalized interactions for its customers on several channels using the latest live stream and meta verse technologies. The cosmetics brand was one of the first to create a digital storefront using virtual reality (VR). In November 2020, the brand launched a 3D digital store where shoppers can explore, shop, and receive personalized recommendations from virtual store associates. Charlotte Tilbury also hosts live events including makeup and skincare tutorials within the digital store.
A new feature, “Shop with Friends,” allows customers to invite friends and family to join a video call and navigate the virtual store together. The technology, similar to that in multiplayer video games, mimics the in-person shopping experience. While in the VR store, customers can also play a game where they navigate the store to find and collect hidden keys.
In addition to this social shopping experience, Charlotte Tilbury holds live shopping events on TikTok. During these events, the brand partners with influencers to showcase and demonstrate its products and even offers exclusive discounts for those who purchase directly on TikTok UK.
Petco uses live streaming, influencer marketing, and social shops to provide innovative experiences for its customers. The brand partners with Facebook to engage pet lovers and pet parents in shoppable live stream events. Its first live shopping event combined a pet fashion show with a dog adoption drive hosted by actress and model Arielle Vandenberg. Petco and its charitable foundation donated $100,000 to the dog rescue organization that participated, while also building awareness of its pet apparel brands. The event was highly successful, reaching more than 900,000 people and increasing sales by double the cost of the event.
Following that initial success, Petco partnered with more influencers, including Olympian Gabby Douglas, to hold more live stream events. During its live shopping events, Petco dedicated a team to interact with audience members in real time and promote relevant products on the screen. Remote and on-site employees work together to provide shoppable and engaging events.
The brand has also worked with Facebook and Instagram to establish social shops directly on the social media platforms. Additionally, Petco leveraged its existing influencer partnerships to launch a TikTok campaign that reached over 28 million impressions for its pet apparel brand.
KitKat introduced the first Facebook Live shopping experience in Australia, “Live from the KitKat Chocolatory,” during the 2020 holiday shopping season. The event featured its chocolatiers demonstrating new products, interacting with special guests, and providing exclusive offers to the audience.
The innovative experience included a shopping feature for live stream viewers to purchase products by simply typing keywords. A viewer could type a prescribed keyword into the comment box, triggering a Messenger notification including a link to purchase the product online. Technologies like this keyword artificial intelligence (AI) tool are becoming more pervasive as social media companies experiment with new ways to purchase products directly on their platforms.
Zimba, a global teeth-whitening brand, quickly adopted the Facebook Shops platform to bring its products directly to its customers on the social media platform. With Facebook Shops, Zimba created a digital storefront where customers can discover and purchase products without leaving the app.
To provide seamless customer care, Zimba also enables its customers to contact the brand directly on Messenger and Instagram Direct Message (DM). Customers can ask product questions, get support, and track deliveries before, during, and after they make a purchase on social media. As a result, Zimba realized a 6.7% increase in average order value from buyers on social media compared to buyers on its website.
H&M was one of the first apparel brands to invest in closing the gap between social media and online shopping. The brand created its own mobile sites that would list apparel and accessories from images in its Tweets that linked directly to purchase the products online. Today, the brand uses Instagram Shopping to promote its latest styles directly on the mobile app and link to products featured in every post.
The brand’s next step is to launch “Shop Live” at its H&M HOME Concept store in Kuwait’s largest shopping mall, The Avenues. With technology powered by Go Instore, customers can access instant live consultations with staff in the store while browsing online. The new tool provides personalized experiences regardless of whether customers choose to shop in person or at home.
Stepping into Social Commerce
Consumer demand has forced businesses to pivot online and social commerce has emerged as the sine qua non for brands looking to not only engage with consumers on social media, but convert them into customers. By leveraging the power of live shopping, digital storefronts, shoppable ads, and social shops brands are able to better meet customer expectations. However, according to a Forrester study, fewer than 30% of social commerce leaders are prioritizing customer engagement, failing to cultivate and nurture customer relationships throughout the social purchase journey, and putting their long-term social commerce growth at risk. One thing’s for sure, brands that don’t adopt social commerce now will fall far behind the competition, while the brands that embrace innovation will reach consumers eager for personalized and engaging experiences.
Finding the right social commerce solution to help you do this can be overwhelming. Download the Buyer’s Guide to Social Commerce Solutions to help guide you in finding the right fit for your brand.
A Simple (But Complete) Guide
The future of commerce is social. 5 brands getting it right.
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