The Genius Shortcut to 4000 Hours YouTube Watch Time

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Carla Marshall
April 4, 2023
Genius Shortcut to 4000 Hours YouTube Watch Time

As a YouTube creator, you’re probably familiar with the struggle of reaching 4000 hours of watch time within 12 months to get monetized. Many creators spend years grinding without seeing a penny for their hard work, while others simply give up before they reach that goal. Don’t let that be you.

In this post, we’re going to share a clever tactic that can help you achieve that milestone much faster. It won’t happen overnight, but this is a game-changer. Read on, or watch the following video for more information:

YouTube Shorts and the Watch Time Shortcut

YouTube Shorts have the potential to get a massive amount of views. Unfortunately, those views don’t count towards the 4000 hours of watch time required to monetize using your long-form content.

So how can you use Shorts to your advantage if you’re needing 4000 hours of watch time for your long-form videos? Well, some various smart creators have found a loophole around this. We call it the shortcut strategy, and it is very, very simple. 

  • Step one, you create a Short that incorporates a key idea or engaging moment from one of your long-form videos. 
  • Step two 10, pin a comment under that Short directing traffic to the full-length video. 
  • Step three, relax and watch that additional traffic boost the watch time on that long-form video. 

Let’s unpack this just a little bit more. Look at creator Johnny Harris as an example. He made a Short explaining inflation in just 60 seconds, which got over 841,000 views. He then pinned a comment saying, “Of course, this is a very simplified explanation. I made a longer explainer on inflation here.” 

He links to his longer-form video and pushes a meaningful amount of traffic from that Short to his long-form upload. Johnny uses this tactic on many of his Shorts, effectively using Shorts to increase watch time on his long-form content. And it works. 

The daily views on that long-form video linked in the example increased by 40% during the first week after that Short went live compared to the previous week and continues to see additional traffic today. We looked into other channels and found similar results.

When a YouTube Short got an increase in views, the long-form video linked in the comments usually experienced a boost in traffic as well. More views, more watch time. 

How to Create a Killer YouTube Short to Drive Traffic to Other Videos

But of course, this won’t work if the Short doesn’t take off in the first place. One way to do this is to follow Johnny’s example and take the core idea of one of your long-form videos, then deliver it as a Short. Then the viewers who are thirsty for more can go watch the in-depth video.

However, if you are a TubeBuddy user, you can take the guesswork out of your content and find your best potential YouTube Shorts clips with our brand-new Suggested Shorts tool. 

Using AI, our tool gives you a solid idea of what part of your long-form video viewers found most interesting. The feature analyzes several of your uploads at once and finds the moments that generated the highest engagement in seconds. Use these insights to craft the idea behind your companion Shorts.

Find out more about our Suggested Shorts feature here.

The shortcut strategy is not just a great way to squeeze out more watch time or revive a video that’s losing steam, but the traffic you send over to that long-form video is more likely to watch longer. 

Hop into the advanced mode of YouTube analytics for one of your past uploads. You’ll notice that traffic sources have a big influence over watch time. For example, the average view duration on your videos might be higher from YouTube suggested than search. That’s because YouTube’s recommendation algorithm is clever and can predict which viewers are more likely to engage with your content. 

Search is more of a guessing game and comes down to which result comes first or sticks out to the viewer the most. It is way less personalized. But if a viewer watches your Short, goes to the comments, and decides that based on what they saw, they want to leave the Shorts feed to see the full video, it’s fair to assume that they’ll be more invested in your long-form content than someone who simply stumbled upon it. 

And the longer each viewer watches your long-form video, the better it is for your watch time goal of 4000 hours..

Carla Marshall Author

Carla Marshall

Carla Marshall is the Content Marketing Manager at TubeBuddy. She has 10+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, & SEO