You’ll recall I was enthusiastic about the new format a few weeks ago when they rolled out the new monetization program. I felt it was something that would fairly compensate creators similar to how the YouTube partnership program has worked for many years. Unfortunately that’s not the case. I take a deep dive into my experiences with YouTube Shorts in my latest video.
Shorts monetization is very different from YouTube’s partnership program for longform content. Revenue is pooled and creators receive 45% of that pool based on what looks to be on a rate per thousand basis (RPM).
Unlike the Partner program where YouTube is transparent about how much they are collecting from advertisers on a per video basis, the actual amount of the pool is not disclosed. And because it looks like whatever revenue they decide to share with the pool is shared equally, there’s no active marketplace like there is for long form where certain topics drive higher RPMs based on the topic.
The result is that creators can expect pennies on the dollar when comparing Shorts revenue vs. long form. Currently creators are reporting about 3 cents per thousand views on Shorts. Comparatively I generally see RPMs in the $5-6 range on my long form content.
With YouTube pushing Shorts as heavily as they are I’m concerned that they are trying to drive viewers and creators away from a much more fair model of revenue sharing. What’s even more concerning is that YouTube’s Creator Liason, Rene Richie, says that Creators shouldn’t even be thinking about YouTube revenue opportunities when planning content.
My fear in hearing this from a YouTube employee is that the company is trying to pivot away from their partnership model and into something more in line with Instagram and TikTok where there’s very little content that’s not bought and paid for. How I’m able to do what I do with very few sponsorships is because of revenue I receive from YouTube and affiliate marketing links.
With Shorts, there’s very little revenue shared and Shorts make it very difficult for users to visit outside links. Richie says that this is one of the opportunities of Shorts but in my own analysis very few people clicked outside links embedded in one of my Shorts and those who did were largely on computers – not mobile devices that make up a bulk of Shorts viewers.
The bottom line is that if I were to invest more time and effort into Shorts it would come at the expense of my revenue. It just doesn’t make good business sense for me especially as even just a few hundred long form views will generate far more revenue vs. thousands of views on Shorts.