YouTube has started tests to give Shorts even more focus, as TikTok continues to reach milestone after milestone and disrupting how user engagement works.
“We’re currently testing out a new Shorts experience – if you’re in the experiment and you close the YouTube app while watching Shorts, you will be dropped into the Shorts player when you reopen the app (so you have direct access.) If you exit the YouTube app while watching any content other than Shorts, we won’t direct you right into Shorts next time you open the app,” says YouTube.
Shorts will now be the key focus for users who often engage with it. The app now opens to a full-screen, nonstop TikTok-like feed of Shorts clips.
The test emphasizes the growing impact of TikTok on trends for social apps. Users have gradually adapted to the gripping stream of active content, as they keep scrolling and glued for longer sittings.
YouTube Shorts will attempt to do the same. While the test is only available to a few viewers on mobile devices, the larger effect of the trial may be substantial. It can guide the focus on YouTube’s development and comparable features on other apps.
The best contender to TikTok is Instagram. It has noted that its TikTok-copy Reels is the main contributor to engagement growth in the app.
With the popularity of Reels, and backing from its parent company Facebook’s (Meta) effort to recapture its younger users, Instagram will eventually switch to a full-screen Reels feed.
Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has said that they will lean into video moving forward. It can follow YouTube’s approach by offering the option to Reels for users who left in past sessions.
If you are a short-form video fan, the Shorts update is a welcome addition. And you will see more of it on other social apps as well.
The influence of TikTok is amazing. With more users tending to use the format, competing apps must also supply to the demand whenever they can.
The test is limited for now. But it may be a forerunner of what will happen next across the social apps sphere.