YouTube is looking to boost awareness of Shorts, its vertical-aligned, TikTok-clone within the app, with a new, global ad campaign that aims to showcase how people can use the option to add their own take on popular music trends.

As you can see here, the new Shorts ad campaign, which features popular musicians like The Weeknd and Camila Cabello, essentially spells out how people have been using TikTok for years, but with a YouTube-specific bent. Now, with Shorts available in all regions (in beta), people will be able to tap the ‘Shorts’ button when viewing a music video to quickly add their own take via Shorts, using sample audio from that clip.

Really, it’s an explainer on how TikTok trends work, which YouTube’s hoping will get more of its users interested in the option – and with music videos being among the most popular uploads on the platform, there does seem to be significant add-on opportunity in this respect.

Indeed, Shorts is already catching on. Shorts clips are already up to 15 billion daily views in the app, rising from 6.5 billion back in April, and many TikTok clips are actually gaining increased traction on YouTube, via compilation videos and alerts from top platform stars. Add to this the fact the YouTube is also going to start offering cash payments for top-performing Shorts and the building blocks all look to be in place for the option to become a bigger element – but will it actually stop users from switching over to TikTok instead?

Also, will Shorts really become a key element of the YouTube experience? 

It still feels like YouTube and TikTok serve very different purposes in terms of content consumption, and that having a separate TikTok-like element within YouTube won’t be enough to cater to this demand.

But maybe it will. Maybe, with payments and simplified access, and through this increased awareness push, YouTube users will actually start tapping in and swiping through their Shorts feed with more regularity, which could slow at least a proportion of users from heading to TikTok for the same. 

Either way, YouTube seems intent on pushing ahead, and with Shorts gaining traction in India, in light of the TikTok ban in the region, it may well be its best avenue to align with user trends, and at least temper some of TikTok’s growth momentum, which is gradually burrowing through its audience. 

YouTube’s new Shorts ad campaign will run primarily across YouTube, YouTube TV, and on social media including Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter – and interestingly, on TikTok itself.