youtube shorts looping

YouTube Shorts Looping: How to Do It and Why It Increases Video Views

On YouTube, one of the hottest new features is Shorts. This is unsurprising when you consider that industry trends are in the direction of shorter videos. Although short videos have been around for a long time in the form of TV commercials and other “spots,” they haven’t had a massive appeal on social media until recently.

It used to be that YouTube videos tended to be longer since people would record about things that interested them, and there weren’t a lot of commercial concerns. Now, although we still have plenty of long videos, short-form video has also become very popular. One reason for this, of course, is TikTok. Love it or hate it, this platform is giving everybody a run for their money.

What does this have to do with YouTube Shorts looping? Quite a bit. We’ll go into the benefits of multiple video views later, but the major question is how to get people to watch the same video over and over again.

What are YouTube Shorts?

Short-form vertical video content. While there are some exceptions, most shorts are a minute or less. And it is in this sense that YouTube shorts are most like TikTok. Furthermore, shorts can be recorded on your phone and uploaded to YouTube using the app.

For many content creators, shorts are a way to create teasers for longer videos. In this sense, they can be a lot like movie trailers. In addition, a lot of shorts are repurposed from TikTok or Instagram Reels, and as I’ve mentioned before, this type of cross-platform posting can be highly effective. Another effective way to use Shorts is to pass on pets and snatches of information.

Further Reading: 11 Tips on How to Grow Your YouTube Channel in 2024

What is YouTube Shorts Looping

If you have ever watched YouTube Shorts, the chances are that you have seen this phenomenon whether you realize it or not. Simply put, YouTube shorts looping is a built-in function within YouTube that loops shorts if the user does not swipe to change the video.

The major consideration with YouTube Shorts looping is that it allows people to watch the video several times. If you do it right, people may not even realize that your video has looped, and they’ll keep watching for a long time. However, this requires a certain technique and video type. You’ll also want to create very high-quality content, or people will scroll to the next one.

It’s worth noting that when a video starts over again, there’s often a little jump. This is true even if the video itself is relatively uniform. The trick is to keep people engaged with your content long enough to watch your videos a few times. Fortunately, this is much easier with the short format.

How does YouTube Shorts Looping Increase Video Views

Besides the fact that YouTube shorts are a lot of fun, there are several reasons why people like to watch the same video repeatedly. However, to leverage this YouTube feature properly, it’s important to understand exactly how it works. You should also know why it is beneficial to you, both as a content creator and as a marketer or advertiser.

The biggest benefit of YouTube Shorts looping is that when the users do not swipe up, the shorts videos start playing again. This may lead the user to watch the shorts again and again. Often, it’ll be obvious that the video has been restarted, but in other situations where the video is well-crafted for Shorts, this may be less obvious. Of course, you may not have to make the video smooth sailing in order to keep people watching. Sometimes humor can be just as effective.

For the YouTuber, having viewers watch the same video several times means increased watch time and audience retention, both huge factors in their algorithm. In turn, your content will be recommended to more and more people who are interested in your topic and those whom YouTube thinks might enjoy it.

Therefore, looping shorts is a growth hack for creators to increase their views and subscribers. After all, people don’t subscribe to channels unless they’ve watched a few videos first. A good YouTube short is like putting your foot in the door of potential subscribers.

Further Reading: 15 Useful Tips on How to Get More Views on YouTube Videos

How to Loop YouTube Shorts?

YouTube shorts are looped by default. In this sense, YouTube is just like TikTok or Reels. However, that isn’t to say that you should count on YouTube to bring use subscribers from repeating videos. In order for people not to scroll past your content before the videos are over, you need something compelling. They are a lot like TV commercials in that sense, except that rather than people choosing not to change the channel, they’ll decide not to scroll away or to watch your video several times.

5 Ways to Increase YouTube Shorts Watch Time

With that said, the best way to benefit from YouTube Shorts looping is by increasing your watch time. Because shorts don’t last very long, you can achieve this result primarily by having people watch the video several times. In other words, you need to achieve that effect of “trapping” the viewer in your looped video. Here are some techniques that can help.

Further Reading: 13 Powerful YouTube Tools You Need to Grow Your YouTube Audience

1. Smooth Looping

YouTube video

Try to create a video that has no well-defined beginning or ending so that a person doesn’t realize they have already watched your video multiple times. While this probably won’t result in somebody watching your video 100 times, it might mean that they’ll watch it five or ten times. And because a short is only a few minutes at most, you need a lot of extra views to increase your average significantly.

Of course, this also means your views count will increase rapidly. YouTube loves to see that people watch your videos a lot, and it’s unclear to what extent YouTube considers the number of views per person. But either way, the more times somebody watches your material, the better.

2. Keep It Short and Sweet

YouTube video

Make the video very short – under 15 seconds. The shorter the video, the greater potential there is that someone will watch the looped video without realizing it. One way that this works is that people will think that there’s more to your video and watch it several times before realizing that that’s all you have. Of course, if your videos are high quality, then people won’t mind watching them several times. They’ll only feel cheated if you put out an amateurish video.

Further Reading: The 11 Types of Short-Form Video You Can Leverage TODAY

3. Optical Illusions don’t Hurt

YouTube video

Adding one still frame to the start and the end of the video will make it harder for viewers to realize they are in a loop as well. You can see a similar technique in TV commercials where the company puts a brand logo at the beginning and end of the spot. However, in their situation, the aim is merely to make an extra impression before audiences either get up and make popcorn or flip the channel.

Similarly, some footage lends itself well to going from beginning to end and back again. A good example of this might be showing the same gymnastics jump over and over again. In this case, you would have an optical illusion whereby the viewer may be unsure if the gymnast is doing one somersault after another, and that’s the entire video. It may take a while for the viewers to realize that it’s the same YouTube Shorts looping. The possibilities are endless if you have some imagination.

Further Reading: Small Business Video: 8 Creative Ways Your Small Business Can Leverage Video Marketing

4. Silence is Golden

Don’t add music – this could ruin the “looping” effect because they will hear the repeating music and make the viewer recognize that they are being “looped,” and thus, they want to escape it. Many of us experience a similar phenomenon when we call customer service or a medical office and the place is on hold. Typically, the music will be a short loop of a minute or two, and then it’ll start over. When people are left on hold long enough, they start to go crazy.

Therefore, don’t add music unless the music itself is your theme like you would if promoting a new record album. And in this case, make it catchy so people will want to hear the riff or the chorus again and again.

5. Consider a Pleasant Surprise

YouTube video

This goes against the first tip, but it’s another approach: Make the ending such a surprising (and funny/shocking / etc. emotional-triggering event) one that people naturally want to rewatch and re-experience the build-up and release. In other words, don’t “dupe” people into the loop but make them want to watch your video repeatedly.

You’ll see something similar with comical YouTube shorts. For instance, I know of one YouTuber whose shorts feature their family dog. This dog supposedly carries on a funny monologue, and it’s hard to catch all jokes the first time. Many of them are outlandish!

Either way, the idea is to grab people’s attention and keep it.

Conclusion

Anyone who is trying to build their YouTube channel should know about YouTube Shorts looping. This automatic process on the YouTube platform is something that, if properly leveraged, can drastically improve both your view counts and your watch time. And in addition, both of these statistics help boost your position in the algorithm. It’s a classic case of the more engagement you get, the more it will help you increase your following.

Of course, as your subscriber numbers grow, and your shares are increased, you not only pick up subscribers but also improve the reach of your brand. Over time, your brand will become more visible to your target audience. Then, your reach can expand beyond the target and boost your overall sales and secondary buyer personas. What’s not to like about that?

Hero photo by CardMapr.nl on Unsplash

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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4 Comments

  1. It’s shit like this that’s ruining the internet. There’s no value in looping. It just serves to annoy.

    • When done wrong it can annoy. When done right it might actually add value. But it depends on the viewer and not the creator, as you suggest.

  2. God I hate channels that do shit like this. I hope they enjoy the extra 1-2 views worth of hits that I SOMETIMES give them from this, because whenever I see a channel that does this where they start they start the video with awkward wording and then end the short mid-sentence so that it loops. I always click the “Don’t Recommend This Channel” button on those that do this, and I sometimes even catch it before it has a chance to loop for the first time. Its easy since the majority are copyright content(clips from movies or shows or podcasts). I’ve been trying to find a way to have Shorts automatically move to the next one though.

    • Yes, user engagement – as well as dis-engagement – is something to consider for sure. Thanks for sharing your opinion!

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