All social media companies are in a race to win the short video war and Google is showing some progress against TikTok and Instagram. The search giant said during its latest earnings call that YouTube Shorts has crossed 50 billion daily views. The company previously reported 30 billion daily views as part of its Q1 2022 earnings.
While the growth performance is impressive, the number of views on Shorts lags on Instagram and Facebook. Last October, Meta said that Reels garnered 140 billion daily views across both social networks.
Just like other platforms, YouTube has been pushing users to view Shorts. In November, the company rolled out Shorts on TV. TikTok made a similar attempt to make its app available for multiple big-screened platforms, including Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and select LG and Samsung smart TVs in 2021.
Last year, YouTube said 1.5 billion logged-in users watch Shorts every month. In 2021, TikTok said it crossed the mark of 1 billion monthly active users. In comparison, Instagram has more than 2 billion users. The company has not revealed how many of those watch Reels — though it is hard to escape short videos if you log into Instagram.
Growing short video views is good news for Google but it will need to monetize those views as well. In Q4 2022, YouTube banked $7.96 billion in revenue — down 8% from last year’s $8.63 billion. In November 2022, the company said YouTube Music and Premium had more than 80 million subscribers worldwide. But it didn’t specify how much subscriptions contribute to YouTube’s revenue.
On February 1, YouTube kicked off a new program to share ad revenue with Shorts creators. That could incentivize more creators to make original content for the platform. Last November, the video platform also began testing shopping and affiliate marketing features with Shorts.
During the earnings call, Google’s Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler said that the company is “pleased with our continuing progress in early monetization.” The company’s Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said that YouTube is “prioritizing continued growth in Shorts engagement and monetization.”
The statements from Google’s execs mimic the sentiment from Meta’s top brass, who counted Instagram Reels and the company’s algorithmic recommendation engine as its top priorities in coming months.