YouTube Shorts has pulled out a new weapon in its battle against short-form video juggernaut TikTok: watermarks.
Going forward, the video giant will add a watermark icon to YouTube Shorts videos that creators download to share elsewhere, like on TikTok and Instagram Reels. That way, if a video that originated on YouTube Shorts goes viral on another platform, viewers will see a visual indicator of that.
“If you’re a creator who downloads your Shorts from YouTube Studio to share across other platforms, you’ll now find a watermark added to your downloaded content,” the Google-owned video platform said in an Aug. 17 update for YouTube Shorts creators. “We’ve added a watermark to the Shorts you download so your viewers can see that the content you’re sharing across platforms can be found on YouTube Shorts.”
The addition of watermarks on YouTube Shorts clips will roll out over the next few weeks on desktop, with plans to expand it to mobile over the coming months, according to YouTube.
Google in June boasted that YouTube Shorts has more than 1.5 billion monthly logged-in users. YouTube’s overall advertising revenue growth has slowed in recent quarters; analysts speculate that may be in part because YouTube Shorts (which caps videos at 60 seconds) is siphoning viewing off of core YouTube, and Google only recently began extending ad campaigns across the Shorts side of the house.
A year ago, in a bid to spur the creation of short clips, YouTube launched a $100 million fund for YouTube Shorts, under which creators of top-performing videos could earn up to $10,000 per month. In April, YouTube said it was expanding payments to more creators and raising the amount creators can earn. Under the new policy, some creators who didn’t previously qualify may now earn bonuses under $100 — and other creators may start to see bonuses over the previous $10,000 maximum.
YouTube Shorts Will Add a Watermark to Videos — So If They’re Shared on TikTok, You’ll Know Where They Came From