Of course, this was always coming, but this week, as part of its latest earnings report, Google has confirmed that it’s launched an initial test of ads running between YouTube Shorts clips, its TikTok-esque short-form video feed.
And that’s not all – according to Google, Shorts is now averaging over 30 billion daily views. That’s a significant increase from the 5 trillion all-time Shorts views that YouTube reported back in February, which underlines the rising popularity of short-form content, and why every platform is now making it a focus.
Shorts ads will provide another monetization pathway for the option, a key consideration for YouTube, because while more people watching more Shorts content is good, overall, for the app, more time spent in Shorts also means less time spent with its other, monetizable video clips.
So really, YouTube has to monetize shorts, and fast, in order to dilute its impact on overall earnings, while it also needs to establish new pathways for Shorts creators to maximize their earnings potential, and you can’t directly monetize short-form video clips with mid and pre-roll ads.
That adds a level of complexity to short video monetization, something that Vine grappled with back in the day (which eventually led to its closure), and which TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube are also working to solve right now.
The main option that they’ve leaned on thus far is dedicated creator funding pools, from which creators can then earn an allocation of fund share based on the performance of their Shorts clips.
But that’s already proven problematic, with variable payouts and shifting incentives frustrating top creators, many of whom already earn big, reliable incomes from YouTube and Twitch, and are used to the established economics of online video streaming (which, it’s worth noting, may be changing on Twitch too).
The risk here is that if these platforms can’t establish solid revenue pathways for their top stars, then eventually, much like what happened with Vine, those top creators will gravitate towards the platforms that do offer more stable, lucrative funding arrangements. Which will inevitably lead them to YouTube anyway, which pays out billions every year to creators via its YouTube Partner Program.
In this sense, Shorts can act as a supplementary promotional channel for your main YouTube feed, where you can make real money – and with that as a lure, and with Shorts views rising so quickly, YouTube stands as the biggest challenge to TikTok’s ongoing dominance in the space, even if it does seem that, right now, TikTok is almost too big to fail at this stage of the game.
But it could – while Google also notes that:
“Over 40% of creators who received payment from the Shorts Fund in 2021 weren’t in the YouTube Partner Program.”
That’s a huge amount of new voices that are now being paid by YouTube for their Shorts content, and if YouTube can establish a clearer pathway to getting more of them paid, more often, that will inevitably lead to them sticking with YouTube as their key platform of choice.
Ads in Shorts is another element in this, providing another revenue pathway for the option, that YouTube can then funnel back into its creator funding process, or invest in additional ways to advance its revenue share models.
No one has ‘cracked the code’ as such on the best way to pay short-form creators, but YouTube’s system is far more advanced than others. Building a more sustainable ad process is another step in this evolution.
Pig butchering and the other peculiar cyber-scams on the rise
Pointing to a computer screen. Image by Tim Sandle.
The countdown to holiday period shopping is on. While sales are up, so are risks. Barclay’s estimate a 70 percent increase in scams the last year. Hence, consumers need to be even more vigilant with the deals they’re seeking out and the websites they are purchasing from.
To help Digital Journal readers be more mindful as to the key risk factors, James Walker, CEO at Rightly, explains the main issues. This includes an uptick in recent ‘brushing scams’ and fake reviews, as well as further details around other types of scams to watch out for.
Walker sees this period of time as providing ample situations for “Fraudsters to take advantage of innocent consumers. There are multiple tactics scammers use to convince people to part with their money, particularly in the run-up to a day which promises huge savings. One scam in particular we’ve been seeing an increase in is the so-called brushing scam in the lead up to the festive season, which involves unsuspecting people receiving unsolicited deliveries.”
Expanding on the strange deliveries, Walker says: “If you receive an unexpected package, it may be a scam that online sellers use to falsely inflate ratings and post fake reviews, and may mean your personal data has been compromised. If you have received an unexpected package from a company such as Amazon and suspect it to be a brushing scam, contact customer support directly. They can tell you whether your real account has been compromised and will cancel the fake account. The same goes for other marketplaces like eBay.”
Expanding on this tactic, Walker explains: “Unfortunately, such scams have also led to significant increase in fake reviews on Amazon, with an estimated 61 percent of all reviews classified as fake as fraudulent sellers try to manipulate buyers into making a purchase. Always be cautious when buying online and do as much background research as possible on a company or product before buying anything.”
Among the most prevalent scams, Walker cites:
Social media scams
This is where scammers take over your social profile, gaining access to influence your friends and family. But this is only the start of taking over someone’s life, this can lead to the opening of bank accounts and creating fake identities in your name.
This is when scammers buy a company for a reasonable amount and appear to trade, genuinely selling goods and services. They build up lots of sales, and then when the time is right, they move the money out and close down the business, leaving people out of pocket and either with fake goods or none at all.
Tickets to events
With the football World Cup taking place, it’s not too surprising to see that ticket scams are on the rise. Ticket selling scams happen when a scammer uses tickets as bait to steal your money. The scammer usually sells fake tickets, or you pay for a ticket, but never receive it. They are common when tickets for popular concerts, plays, and sporting events sell out. Additionally, scam artists purporting to represent musicians or bands have invited promoters to send offers for non-existent tour dates in a phishing email.
It sounds unpleasant, but so called ‘pig-butchering’ scams are on the rise. These scams happen when someone seemingly friendly and open befriends you online and over time, through a series of conversations, persuades you to part with money. It’s often a little at first, suggesting you put some cash into a ‘too-good-to-be-true’ investment. Only, of course, the investment is a scam and fraudulent.
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