How online video empowers people to take action

Online video has long been seen as a tool to build brand awareness. But after looking at video trends on YouTube and speaking to thousands of people around the world about why, how, and when they watch online videos, it's clear that consumers use video at every stage of their journey. Marketers, take note.

> 50%

More than half of shoppers say online video has helped them decide which specific brand or product to buy.1

Scroll down to see five ways YouTube drives action. Scroll down

People watch online video to learn new skills and pursue passions.

Online video is about more than viral content. Often people watch for learning and self‑improvement.

  • I learned how to bartend through YouTube. I watched a 2-hour video, told my manager, and now I’ve been doing it for a year with the company.
    — Jenny, 25 - Toronto, Canada
  • 4 in 5 say digital video helps them learn new things or reduce stress.2

  • I was overwatering my plants, and they would always die. … Once YouTube came around, I was able to grow more and start eating from my own garden.
    — Sam, 47 - Minneapolis, U.S.

When content is relatable, it motivates people to go from watching to doing.

Whether it’s to learn a new skill or get a product review, people want to see real experiences online — mistakes included. Authentic content makes learning or buying less intimidating and gives people the confidence they need to take action.

  • 3 in 4 viewers say it’s important that YouTube feature people who are genuine, authentic, or relatable.3

  • I prefer to watch someone who has done it before. They’re like me, trying to figure out how to do something. OK, they’ve mastered it so it can’t be that hard. That’s comforting.
    — Thomas, 30 - Québec City, Canada
  • The people I watch most consistently are real and down to earth, not faking anything. They’re going through things in life that I’m going through.
    — Yasmin, 45 - Cheshire, U.K.

Videos can jump-start action and sometimes purchases too.

Once people feel like they’ve learned enough online, they’re motivated to get started in real life. And that’s when “can do” turns into “must buy.”

  • After watching a YouTube video, I feel pumped; I’m ready to bake; I want to go out and buy everything I need and get going.
    — Irina, 33 - NYC, U.S.
  • >7 in 10 people feel empowered, motivated, or confident after learning something new from a YouTube video.4

  • YouTube empowers you to feel like you can do it. You watch a video and then think “that doesn’t look too hard!”
    — Dave, 22 - Minneapolis, U.S.

Though people might not watch a video with the intention of buying, they’re open to discovery.

As people watch videos to learn, they’re open to brands and products that help them reach their goals. Inspired by the potential of something new, this often sparks further research.

  • >90% of people say they discover new brands or products on YouTube.5

  • I watch a video, see a tool that is unfamiliar, do a Google Search to find out what it’s called, then go to the store to get it.
    — Jean, 27 - Pittsburgh, U.S.
  • 80% of people say they typically switch between online search and video when researching products to buy.6

Video empowers people at every stage of their journey — even at the point of purchase.

People turn to online video to learn how to walk the walk, find specific products or brands, and even replace the traditional shopping list.

  • >55% of shoppers say they used online video while actually shopping in a store.7

  • If I go to a store and forget what I need, I pull up the video in the store to see the ingredients. ... Everyone has their grocery list. Why can’t I watch my video?
    — Chris, 52 - Charlotte, U.S.
  • 110% year-over-year growth in watch time of “which [product] to buy” videos on YouTube.8

3 ways to ensure your online video strategy incites action

No matter where people are in their journey, be sure your brand is there to meet them with helpful and inspiring video ads and content.

Help people discover new products, brands, and ideas — even when they aren’t necessarily intending to buy in that moment.
Position your brand as a helpful expert, and answer people’s most common questions.
Enable people to take action — and even purchase — with a seamless, immediate experience.

Sources (8)

  • 1, 7 Google/Ipsos, Global (U.S., CA, BR, U.K., DE, FR, AU, JP, IN, KR), "How People Shop with YouTube" Study, 18–64-year-olds who go online at least monthly and have purchased something in the last year (n=24,017), July 2018.
  • 2-6 Google/Magid Advisors, Global (U.S., CA, BR, U.K., DE, FR, JP, IN, KR, AU), "The Role of Digital Video in People’s Lives," n=20,000, A18–64 general online population, Aug. 2018.
  • 8 Google Data, U.S., July 2017–June 2018.