Why are My YouTube Shorts Not Getting Views? 4 Potential Reasons

Why are My YouTube Shorts Not Getting Views? 4 Potential Reasons

While most of us are used to making videos for YouTube, Shorts are much newer. Primarily a response to other platforms with their short-format videos, these pieces of content are intended for people to enjoy and then school on by. In some ways, it’s like the video version of scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed.

Unfortunately, getting views for your YouTube Shorts is often quite different him attracting views for your longer videos. One reason for this is probably that Shorts are suggested under a separate tab rather than people’s everyday feed. There is also a separate section for Shorts. In other words, Shorts are graded a bit differently, and they also have different competition in the algorithm.

For this reason, many of us have to ask why are my YouTube Shorts not getting views? There are four main reasons for low view counts. Let’s take a look at them. Then, we’ll talk about how to correct and avoid these issues when possible.

The anatomy of YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts are a new format on the platform. It used to be that YouTube was mostly long-form videos and that shorter ones were mixed in. For instance, the quintessential cat video on YouTube was frequently only a couple of minutes long, if that.

YouTube video

They’re meant to be short, engaging, vertical videos that are less than 60 seconds. While shorter YouTube videos can also be in landscape mode, Shorts are limited to vertical orientation. That is because YouTube intends for Shorts to mostly be watched from a mobile device. The shorter format also makes this content type excellent for people to watch while they’re on a break at work or while commuting.

Finally, it’s important to note that YouTube Shorts are typically watched one after another. That’s because you can scroll through them. Frequently, people will watch the same short two or more times before they moved to the next one.

4 Potential reasons why your YouTube Shorts are not getting views

Of course, like with any other content on YouTube you need eyeballs for the video to be successful. For this reason, if your content doesn’t perform well, it’s important to think about why are my YouTube Shorts not getting any views. Frequently, your Shorts are getting views, they just aren’t getting as many. For instance, they might still fill up in somebody’s keyword search or be watched by your subscribers browsing your channel page. It just means that you aren’t getting very much traffic.

Here are some reasons why your Shorts are underperforming.

1. It’s not triggering the algorithm

YouTube video

YouTube’s algorithm follows your audience’s response by testing it with different audiences. If your video isn’t getting views, chances are that your audience isn’t responding well to your Shorts. In other words, your Shorts aren’t engaging enough engagement.

One of the biggest factors with the YouTube algorithm is that it tracks engagement and views. Often, getting those first few content views is difficult, especially if you were channel is small and not very well established yet. And if you’re channel is not enough, YouTube may not quite understand your target audience, either. All of these factors can make it difficult to win with the algorithm. 

2. You haven’t given it enough time

Sometimes, YouTube may take some time to test your short with different audiences. The time may vary from days to weeks. The only thing you can do in such cases is to wait. Over time, YouTube will understand which audiences find your content most engaging. This should be the same as your existing audience or some variation of it.

Remember, YouTube makes money when your Shorts and channel views generate advertising revenue. Therefore, they have the incentive to bring viewers to your channel and to keep them watching videos.

3. You are using the wrong hashtag

YouTube video

Using the wrong hashtags can also throw off your Shorts into oblivion. Make sure the spellings are correct, and the hashtags are relevant. Obviously, you still want to use any branded hashtag that you are promoting since it helps to foster brand recognition. However, like many other social media companies, Google discourages keyword stuffing.

Let’s look at it another way. If you are looking for a particular type of video as a viewer, the chances are that you will use keywords and hashtags. If somebody miss classifies the video, it can be very annoying. And the chances are that you’ll immediately scroll away from the video. This is the sort of reaction that Google wants is for, and it’s probably penalized significantly.

4. You are making horizontal videos

YouTube Shorts are meant to be vertical. And if for some reason you’ve been uploading horizontal Shorts, it’s not helping you. You can publish a non-vertical video, but you can only do this if parts of your footage are removed. In other words, your options are a square image or a vertical rectangle.  

Square images tend not to do very well in video generally. Worse, in most cases making that square video will mean cropping a large part of the original image. This way, you end up sacrificing a lot of the artistic value of your footage, making your video less engaging.

By contrast, a vertical video has a higher chance of creating visual appeal. With that said, you should always make sure that your video looks nice when you film it vertically. Creating a compelling YouTube short means that your video should look like it was intended to be posted in that format. With that said, you can still create a short out of repurposed footage, so long as you make it look natural.

The art of making engaging YouTube Shorts – 6 Tips and Tricks

Once you have figured out why are my YouTube Shorts not getting views, you should be able to fix the problem. Sometimes, it’s as simple as changing the hashtags to ones that fit your content and audience better. However, in other situations, you may have to remove or rework the video. Let’s take a look at some of the options and best practices.

1. Know your audience

First and foremost, keep in mind whom your target audience is when brainstorming short ideas. What are they interested in? What kind of content do they respond to? If you already have a YouTube presence, it should be easy for you to find this information. Simply look at your existing analytics data for longer format videos.

Another option is to think about what works well for Instagram Reels or TikTok videos. Both of these content types are similar to your YouTube Shorts, so many of the patterns can apply across platforms. At the same time, if you have put out a lot of YouTube Shorts, then you can see which ones are performing a bit better. Analyze these videos and see what you can learn about your audience and what works for them. In other words, you can increase your performance by analyzing and building on successes.

Further Reading: 17 Smart Ways How to Get More Subscribers on YouTube

2. Create a strong hook

Your first 3 seconds are very crucial. If you cannot grab your audience’s attention in 3 seconds, you will lose them forever. Make sure your hook, verbal or visual, is pretty captivating. Sometimes the hook is clever, sometimes it’s an attention-grabbing statement. But either way, it invites people to finish watching your short.

For example, I know of a YouTube channel that has nothing but Shorts. The topic is a black lab dog who likes to make commentary on everyday life. What’s so clever about this is that the dog always asks something that seems so typical of a dog, such as asking if anyone has seen an intruder before. Then, he talks about how he treated the intruder.

YouTube video

Needless to say, if you love dogs this channel is hilarious. You should make your channel equally engaging.

Further Reading: 20 YouTube Statistics to Base Your Video Strategy On in 2024

3. Keep it short and sweet

With the attention span of most people being limited, it’s important to get your point across quickly. Even YouTube recommends that Shorts should be ideally around 15 seconds long. And that kind of makes sense. After all, that was the original length for TikTok videos before they started allowing 60 seconds.

YouTube video

Like on TikTok, you can create videos up to 60 seconds long. But the downside is that people may not complete it. And that’s a negative signal to YouTube’s algorithm. The trick is to find a happy medium between telling your story and keeping it short. Of course, you can always post a link in your description to more content. This lets you expand the value of your short besides an awareness campaign.

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

4. Make the title and thumbnail eye-catching 

YouTube video

The title and thumbnail can be the first elements of a YouTube short that viewers see. This is true whether people will first see your short under the Shorts tab, in their Shorts feed, or from your channel. If your potential viewer is not watching in a way that automatically plays each short, then you need to convince them to press play. On the other hand, for autoplay Shorts, you want to watch the whole thing.

If both your title and thumbnail are attention-grabbing, this can create enough interest to keep viewers watching the video entirely and thus increase watch time. Similarly, they may choose to like your video or comment on it. All of these positive actions from viewers help increase your YouTube statistics and boost the power of its algorithm in your favor.

Further Reading: The Best 14 Thumbnail Makers for YouTube

5. Be creative

This goes without saying. With YouTube being such a vast platform, there’s definitely room for creativity. Think outside the box and develop concepts to make your videos stand out from the rest. Especially when you consider the stiff competition for video views on YouTube, anything that you can do to create an advantage is worth doing.

Perhaps just as importantly, even a small improvement can make a big difference. Once the algorithm starts picking up your video as something that people want to watch, and it knows who wants to watch it, your video views can increase very quickly. In turn, you can get more subscriptions and other types of engagement from people who discover your channel through Shorts.

More video views and subscriptions can boost your revenue in a number of different ways. For instance, monetization methods like subscriptions and ad revenue might help you increase your income. For brands, greater engagement and a larger audience will boost the return on investment for this specific form of content marketing.

Further Reading: How to Make a YouTube Video in 6 Easy Steps (for Beginners)

6. Try to find an ideal balance between quality and quantity 

You need to balance quality and quantity when it comes to YouTube Shorts. If you produce too many videos, you risk their being low quality. That’s because in many cases you won’t spend a lot of time working on each piece of content. It will look and feel like a production line, and people don’t like to spend their valuable free time on this.

On the other hand, if you don’t produce enough videos, people will lose interest. For most YouTube users, having something from their favorite content creator appear in their feed regularly is important. Otherwise, they’ll be less interested in watching when the content does pop up.

There’s another aspect to regular content, too. The discussion around your content can help to build a community. This is valuable for content creators because it helps them earn viewer loyalty and in some cases the purchase of products. For a brand, communities also build loyalty.

The key is to find a sweet spot that works for you and your channel. When you have found the right combination, you shouldn’t have to ask why are my YouTube Shorts not getting any views. As the saying goes, if you build it, they will come. Just don’t build a house of cards.

Further Reading: Which is the Best Video Editing App? Choose from These 15

Conclusion

 Knowing why your YouTube Shorts are getting few if any views can be tricky. There are a lot of factors that go into scoring well on the YouTube algorithm. Fortunately, we know enough about maximizing videos for the algorithm that content creators can produce what their channels need for the best results. Once you do that, your channel should grow much faster.

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

Hero photo by Ante Hamersmit 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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35 Comments

  1. Well, my first shorts performed well, ctr above 60% and retention more than 150% but all of a sudden the last three shorts are blocked at 20/30 views, no exposure and also the analytics of these shorts are excellent (ctr above 90% and retention 200%). Same topic (cats), even better thumbnails, good seo, shared at same time. I have had another channel in the past that I closed because the same happend. Can you help me understand? If you want to take a look,my channel is “Cats NiceRascals”. I’m going crazy! Thanks anyway

    • Google, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram … these are all controlled by algorithms for which we have no control. They change on a regular basis. What I find helpful is to always keep an eye on my competition and when there is a change, see who benefited and who didn’t. If no one benefited, there might not be much that you can do. But if there are some people who benefited while others didn’t, you should do some more research for some ideas. I know this isn’t the answer you wanted but hoping it helps…

  2. for the first short i got 2920 views and then other shorts are getting 0 views i mean my shorts not shown to anyone. when the get normal views ? what happened to my shorts?

    • Sorry to hear about your experience but there are many reasons why this might be the case. You need to analyze the different factors covered in this post and become a detective to see what the potential reasons are. For instance, is the hashtag aligned with the content? Is the content of the Shorts the normal type that you publish for your channel? You mentioned the other video had 2920 views but how much time was that over? And how many views did it get in its first few days, etc. These are important things to consider to figure out what happened. Hope this helps!

        • Yes, the algorithm might have flagged you for deleting. So you might want to NOT delete videos for some time and see if that improves things. There is always a reason if you put your mind to it, so good luck!!!

  3. Hi, I was wondering, if i acquire my 1000 subs, but not 10 million views within 90 days to get monetized, what happens then? Can I retry again for another 10million views or is it only one shot for one channel? Much appriciated for an answer :)

    • I believe that it is NOT one shot but it is rolling – so whenever you get the required numbers, you will be able to apply then.

    • My short videos have about 20 views while they are of good quality. Previously, my short videos had between 2 and 10 thousand views. But now I don’t have visitors, what is the reason?

      • Wow – that is quite a drop! There are many things that could explain it, but I wonder if somehow someone reported one of your previous videos? Because that is a steep drop. You will have to analyze the contents, timings, and other things and build your views up again – unfortunately there is no shortcut, and just like the Google algorithm, the YouTube algorithm cannot be 100% controlled by us…I do wish you the best of luck and hope you find out what issues you might have had and are back on your road to success.

    • I think YouTube is messing around. You know nothing about YouTube algorithm. It just sucks. YouTube will die for sure. You mark my words. They have bullshit system. Amatureish programmers work. Suck YouTube. I hope YouTube die soon.

  4. I have been thinking the same but this made me feel better. I can now be better in making my shorts.

    • That can sometimes happens. It gives you lots of views the first day, and then newer videos win out. But sometimes the views will accumulate over time, but it might be more of a gradual increase. Of course anything can happen – this is just based on my own personal experience.

  5. At this point it’s not that the content is not engaging. Out of 6 videos there is a total combined of 16 views… the videos are objectively well constructed and perform extremely well on TikTok with an average of 900 views per post. Most of my shorts are not shown to anyone -> 0 people reached. This means the algorithm is not even testing to see if that video could work.

  6. Not true audience

    You cannot have audience and your first video could have zero or could jump to tousands of views

    Is youtube that have to push it to viewers screens

  7. YouTube doesn’t allow content creators to upload or modify Shorts thumbnails at this time, so making a catchy thumbnail isn’t an option.

    • That is correct, but there are recommended workarounds. Sorry for not mentioning them in the post, but please go here for more information. Thank you!

    • It’s late answer at this time, but i found a tricky way to add custom thumbnail, and it worked in ’23 february. Upload video, check which frame is the generated thumnail, then add the custom thumbnail image at that frame number over the video in any video editor. Export the video and upload again. The custom thumbnail is still there on my shorts.

      Nowadays it’s way more simple, since they added thumbnail selection on phone. Must add custom thumbnail image over the first frame in video editor(on phone i recommend capcut), then upload via phone. On upload page, open thumbnail selection, then ok at first frame.
      Hope it helps!
      Sorry, i just found this page because i’m searching for solutions why i still don’t get views with my content after 14 years (even on 2 channels), and why others get millions of views with similar animations and musics like my works.

      • Thanks for your comments and sorry to hear that your content is not getting the views they deserve. There could be lots of reasons, and I am sure you went over them all already, but just in case:

        1) niche – do all of your videos focus on one niche or are they “all over the place” – YouTube really likes to push videos from channels that are focused in particular areas

        2) thumbnails

        3) title

        4) descriptions

        5) lengths of videos

        and on and on. I recommend starting to analyze using a YouTube tool like TubeBuddy or VidIQ and following their suggestions.

        There are so many reasons why videos don’t get views but I hope the above helps…

      • Youtube is shadowbanning they learn how to control video audience

        Around 2010s YT gave free equitment to small group of creators how do they know those would be their YT stars?

        I dont belive about algorithm they use that as shield to avoid sue, you can control it on same code, that why they keep updating it

        Dont tell me you have to fix title, thumbnails blah blah amd vuala

        Copya a video and try if you can have same results i doubt it

        If they left the YT as the beginnings everybody has a shot to make views but now no more thanks to “sponsors” thats a lie too ad agencie dont care and put ad everywhere same for the bigcompanies

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