The cultural composition of U.S. consumers is changing. On platforms like YouTube, these changes are reflected in viewership as well. For years, viewers have been skewing younger and more diverse, socially conscious, and digitally native than ever before. They’ve also shifted their viewing preferences to find the “on demand, in demand” content that they want, whenever they want it, right in their living rooms.
Multicultural audiences are adopting streaming services faster than the general population, making streaming their preferred way to engage with relevant video content.
New research commissioned by Google suggests that this shift is most prevalent among multicultural audiences, which for purposes of the study and this article, includes viewers who self-identify as Black, Latinx, or Asian. The research sheds light on what’s behind their behavioral shift toward online video, how these viewers consume it, and how brands can better reach them.
Here are three key facts to know about multicultural audiences, along with advice on what it means for your video marketing plans.
Fact 1: They are accelerating the video streaming boom
As TV viewership declines across all audiences, multicultural audiences are adopting streaming services faster than the general population, making streaming their preferred way to engage with relevant video content.1 On average, nearly two-thirds of Black, Latinx and Asian YouTube users use YouTube multiple times a day.2
For years, these audiences had to rely on whatever content was deemed relevant for them by networks who had the general population in mind. But now, online video is where multicultural viewers come for content specifically created by and for them to explore their personal interests, share values, and gain other perspectives across screens. According to Comscore, YouTube on connected TV is No. 1 in reach and watch time among ad-supported streaming services, among households with at least one person who identifies as Black, Asian, or Hispanic/Latino.3
Fact 2: Online video is where their identities and interests intersect
We know that mindset motivators like empowerment and community drive engagement with digital video content among the general population. Our research suggests they may be even more influential for viewers who identify with an underrepresented group: 79% of multicultural YouTube viewers say that they seek out content that makes them feel connected with the people with whom they identify.4 According to one such viewer named Terrence, “What makes [YouTube] so good is that everyone from every different type of community can come and share information on just about everything you can think of.”
In fact, multicultural audiences want and expect inclusivity and representation in the content they watch. On average, nearly half of Black, Latinx, and Asian YouTube users say that it is very important that the creators and content with which they engage share their cultural background5. It’s no surprise, then, that viewership of culturally relevant content categories like hip-hop and Latin music grew 10% and 25%, respectively, year over year on YouTube.6
Ensuring that your ads run alongside relevant content is only part of the formula for success, however. Reaching multicultural audiences with content that helps them explore their passion points is also key. More than 90% of multicultural YouTube viewers say that they are looking to be informed by the content they consume and to learn something new.7 As viewer Christine explained, “I identify as Latinx, but one of the things I like about YouTube is that I’m searching by interest. It would be most effective if ads addressed something I actually cared about.”
Fact 3: They want to hear from brands, especially when it involves shared values or quality content
Beyond exploring their interests, Black, Latinx, and Asian audiences also use online video to gather information along the path to purchase. More than 70% of them reported going to YouTube to learn about new products or brands.8
Online video builds community and trust between brands and their audiences, which drives engagement and can also play an influential role in driving conversions. This is particularly true when audiences feel aligned with what they’re watching: Over half of multicultural viewers say that whether a brand shares their values is an important factor in their decision to buy.9
These audiences also value hearing from, learning about, and engaging with brands when doing so adds to their watch experience. Seventy-five percent of multicultural YouTube users consider it very important that the content they engage with is high quality.10 This includes factors that contribute to a preferable watch experience, such as helpfulness, entertainment value, and reliability.
Commit to a video plan with inclusive reach
More than ever before, marketers must ensure that their video buys are inclusive to effectively reach multicultural audiences. And, as the U.S. enters an increasingly multiethnic and digitally diverse future, brands will need to go from marketing moments — like Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month — to an always-on strategy that accounts for cultural nuance, audience viewing habits, and a relevant slate of creators.