YouTube provides insight into how views for its new Shorts video format are counted, and explains whether it impacts channel metrics like average view time.
YouTube Shorts launched in September 2020 and currently remains in beta. The 60-second vertical format shares similarities with TikTok videos and other popular types of short-form content.
YouTube users in India have access to a Shorts creation tool integrated into the mobile app. Users in other countries can contribute Shorts content by uploading vertical videos (up to 60 seconds in length) and including #Shorts in the title or description.
Shorts are shown on a channel’s page and a home page carousel where users can tap through and view Shorts as they would view Stories on other apps.
Up to now it has been unclear how views of Shorts are counted in a channel’s analytics. The lack of information has lead to legitimate concerns about views of Shorts dragging down other metrics.
Questions are answered in a new video from the YouTube team on the Creator Insider channel. Here’s what we learned about YouTube Shorts in analytics.
Shorts Data in YouTube Analytics
Creators can see how many views their Shorts are receiving in YouTube Analytics. Navigate to the Reach tab and then scroll down to the Traffic source types card.
As shown in the example above, YouTube reports on Shorts as a traffic source for video views. A view is attributed to Shorts when its viewed by a users swiping through in the Shorts player.
Views will not be attributed to Shorts when they come from clicks on the home page carousel. Those views will be attributed to Browse or Suggested videos.
This data can also be found in the advanced analytics section, though it’s displayed differently.
Views of Shorts Count As Regular Views
In YouTube Analytics, views of Shorts are counted the same as regular videos. They do not get filtered out of a channel’s total view count.
With that being the case, views from Shorts have the potential to impact channel metrics like average view duration and click-through rate.
YouTube confirms views from Shorts has the potential to reduce a channel’s average view time. If a channel is increasing its video views, but they’re going toward 60-second videos, it makes sense average view time will go down as a result.
However, average view duration is not a metric that impacts channel performance in any way. YouTube’s algorithm does not consider channel metrics when deciding which videos to recommend.
A metric that can impact channel performance, at least monetary performance, is RPM. There’s concern among creators that Shorts can negatively impact RPM.
RPM determines how much money a channel earns from monetized video views. It’s in a creators best interest to keep that number high, but if you’re not eligible to run ads then it’s of no concern.
RPM goes up or down based on the number of views generated by monetized videos. Shorts are not eligible for ads, which means they’re counted as un-monetized video views.
In theory that would drag RPM down. However, YouTue confirms views of Shorts are filtered out of calculations for RPM.
A channel’s earnings will not be impacted by Shorts. That make sense for the time being, but eventually YouTube needs to offer creators the ability to earn revenue from Shorts.
Many would argue the lack of revenue opportunities with Shorts is stunting the format’s adoption, but that’s a whole other story unto itself.
For more on YouTube Shorts in analytics, see the video below: