Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Cracking the Code: Understanding YouTube's Algorithm and the Short vs. Long Video Dilemma

 In the vast landscape of content creation on YouTube, creators often find themselves grappling with the intricacies of the platform's algorithm. A recent post on r/SmallYTChannel highlights a common concern among emerging content creators: the apparent success of short videos compared to longer ones. Let's delve into this issue and explore potential strategies to navigate the ever-evolving world of YouTube.

The Short vs. Long Video Debate:

The original post on r/SmallYTChannel raises an interesting dilemma: why do short videos garner more views compared to longer ones? The community offers diverse perspectives, pointing out that YouTube's algorithm heavily promotes short-form content. Short videos, often referred to as "shorts," receive preferential treatment in terms of visibility, as they are prominently featured on the platform.

However, seasoned creators in the discussion highlight the importance of a long-term strategy. They emphasize that while shorts might offer quick visibility, the real challenge lies in converting those short-form viewers into long-form content consumers. It's a delicate balance that requires creators to use shorts as a teaser for their longer videos, enticing viewers to explore more of their content.

Insights from the Community:

  1. Engaging Introductions: Many contributors suggest that the initial moments of a video are crucial for retaining viewers. Crafting engaging intros becomes vital, especially with YouTube's new feature allowing users to preview videos without watching them entirely.

  2. Algorithm Understanding: Creators need to grasp the dynamics of YouTube's algorithm. While shorts gain immediate traction, long-form content may take time to gain momentum. Implementing effective SEO strategies and optimizing video titles and thumbnails can enhance the discoverability of longer videos.

  3. Strategic Promotion: Utilizing shorts as a promotional tool for longer content is a common recommendation. Creating teaser content that sparks curiosity can drive traffic towards comprehensive videos, potentially improving watch time.


The challenges posed by YouTube's algorithm are not new, and the struggle between short and long-form content persists. Aspiring creators must embrace a strategic approach that combines the immediate appeal of shorts with the enduring value of longer videos. Building a dedicated audience requires patience, consistency, and a keen understanding of the platform's intricacies.

In the ever-evolving landscape of content creation, adaptability is key. While shorts may dominate today, the landscape can shift, and creators who master the art of balancing short and long-form content are likely to thrive in the dynamic world of YouTube.

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