Mobile

In challenge to TikTok, YouTube Shorts gains new creation tools like Collab and Q&As


As competition with TikTok and Instagram Reels heats up, YouTube today announced an expanded suite of creation tools for its own short-form video platform, YouTube Shorts. Among the new features are tools for remixing, adding effects, stickers, going live, and others aimed at encouraging inspiration. The company is also starting a test of a new mobile-first vertical live experience that will help live creators get discovered in the main Shorts feed.

Explains YouTube, Shorts are now being watched by over 2 billion logged-in users each month, prompting the release of more tools to improve the Shorts experience for creators.

One of the key new tools arriving starting today is “Collab,” a way for a creator to record a Short in a side-by-side format with other YouTube or Shorts videos. The feature joins other remixing tools like Green Screen, which uses a YouTube video or a Short as the background of a Short, and Cut, which lets a creator snip out a 1 to 5-second clip from a YouTube video or Short to remix into their own. Collab, meanwhile, offers a variety of side-by-side layout options for a split-screen format and is available from the same “Remix” option on videos.

Collab is coming first to iOS with Android to follow.

Image Credits: YouTube

YouTube is also adding a new Q&A sticker that lets creators ask their audience questions and get responses in the comments. Plus, creators can now reply to comments with a Short video to continue the conversation — a feature similar to one on TikTok.

Image Credits: YouTube

For live creators, YouTube will begin testing the insertion of live videos in a new version of the Shorts feed, again similar to TikTok.

Viewers in the test group will see previews of the live videos mixed in with other Shorts as they scroll. If they tap to watch a live video, they’ll then be placed into a feed of just live videos, as on TikTok. YouTube notes that with its new, lower eligibility requirements to join the YouTube Partner Program, the live feed could unlock more possibilities around monetization for live video creators.

Image Credits: YouTube

The company is also rolling out new tools aimed at encouraging inspiration. One new feature will bundle both the audio and the effect from a video you’re remixing automatically, so it’s easier to jump into a trend. To do so, you’ll tap the Remix button and choose “use sound.” YouTube will then surface both the effect and the same audio time stamp from the Short you had just watched.

Another recently introduced option is the ability to save Shorts to playlists on YouTube, which could serve as a way to curate videos with effects you’ve been inspired to use in later Shorts, for example.

While most of the new features are rolling out today, YouTube says it will soon start to test new “recomposition” tools that will help creators turn horizontal videos into Shorts. These will work by allowing creators who choose to remix a video to adjust the layout, zoom, and crop of the segment, in addition to using split-screen elements. The feature, which is due to begin testing in the next few weeks, would broaden the number of videos that could be remixed into Shorts.

The changes follow a recent announcement from TikTok which would allow creators to make video ads to earn more money on the platform, as well as another from Instagram that added a new feature that made it easier to create Reels from templates.

Shorts has seen healthy growth since its debut thanks to its deep integration into the YouTube platform. Last year, the company said 1.5 billion monthly logged-in YouTube users watched Shorts and that number grew by another half a billion as of this month’s earnings announcement, and the company touted that “watch time and monetization are moving in the right direction,” as well, without citing exact metrics.