Brand new: YouTube shorts
OMD Germany
3 August 2021

This article has been translated into English and was originally written by Sophie Block, Creative Campaign Manager. 

Google’s answer to TikTok and Instagram Reels. A declaration of war or a copy?

The boom in short video content should not be downplayed: platforms such as TikTok or formats such as Instagram Stories and Instagram Reels are firmly established in the social media landscape. Now, Google has entered the ring, launching the new short video feature YouTube Shorts. But how has the new function been received by users?

OMD Germany, in partnership with Appinio, conducted a representative online survey, seven days after its launch in Germany, to shed light on the usage and interest of YouTube Shorts amongst German users.

The results of the OMD survey shows how well YouTube Shorts has been received by users just a week after launch with 44% of the 932 respondents aged 16-65 can imagine using YouTube shorts in the future. Only 9% currently state that they will not use the function because they are already using other platforms for short video content and 27% of the respondents generally reject the use of the short video feature YouTube Shorts.

Just seven days after the launch, 10% of YouTube users are already using the new format. As expected, the younger participants are more eager to try it out: 46% of those who have already used it are younger than 34 years – including a disproportionately large number of men, which corresponds to the slightly more masculine general user base of YouTube.

Overall, the interest in the new video feature is high and the competitive pressure from the short video pioneers TikTok and Instagram Reels is low. There are three indicators that speak for the feature to prevail even after the beta phase and for YouTube to continue to be the leading platform for moving images:

  1. Large selection of music: Due to far-reaching deals with major players in the music industry, users can add music from over 250 labels to their short videos.
  2. The expected integration of YouTube Shorts in the Google search results is a real USP, which will certainly increase the traffic for YouTube Shorts content and thus offers a clear competitive advantage over the competition.
  3. With YouTube Shorts, not only can new viewers be reached but the entry barriers for creators are also reduced because the new in-app feature enables videos to be created and edited directly within the app.

YouTube’s short video format has been tested in 26 countries since September 2020 and introduced within the mobile app in more than 100 countries worldwide from July 14, 2021. The videos are created and played in portrait format (9:16) with a maximum length of 60 seconds. Similar to TikTok and Instagram Reels, a swipe takes you to the next video and the interaction options are currently; likes, dislikes, comments and shares, but no duet functionality like TikTok, yet. The content is played according to a recommendation algorithm based on your own interests.

“In a way, the development of YouTube Shorts represents a reflection on the roots of the video platform: back to viral video clips,” says Sophie-Lulu Bloch, Creative Campaign Manager at OMD. “The chances for creators and brands as first movers to achieve a high organic reach through YouTube shorts are enormous these days. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen how the function will develop sustainably and how it will be used to create really innovative, creative and unique content – at the moment, content that has been extended by TikTok to YouTube Shorts predominates.”


Click here to download the “YouTube Shorts” report. 

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