Know Your Audience: MENA parents want 3 things from your YouTube videos

Angela Hundal July 2019

In today’s connected world, families look different to how they did in decades past. In many Middle Eastern homes, both the mother and father work, with parents moving around the world to better their career opportunities. Today, dads are also far more involved with their kids and everyday domestic chores, families prioritise quality time together more often, and regular flights to exotic destinations are the new norm for many households. Our latest research shows that YouTube is also playing a major role in the lives of modern families in MENA, with more mums and dads relying on the platform to act as a third parent or advisor who offers support. So, what exactly are they searching for on the platform? According to our data, it’s 3 things:1.

1- Parenting advice and guidance

It turns out that kids aren’t the only ones who learn fast. Our studies suggest that Middle Eastern parents are continually educating themselves, with increasingly flexible mums and dads ditching the rigidity of traditional parenting preparation (think parenting books) to learn on the fly and seek answers from generational family models. Today YouTube is something of an extension to the family, with parents viewing it as a trusted and inspirational advisor. The platform is the most-used site by parents in Saudi Arabia, and the second most-used site by parents in the UAE after Google Search with more and more millennials becoming parents, YouTube views on parenting content in the MENA region is growing 4.3x faster than the rest of the planet.

Education is a hot topic with parents in Saudi Arabia and Egypt in particular, with videos covering everything from learning English to better understanding religious practices and managing ‘big’ firsts, like breastfeeding, flying with children for the first time, or the first day of school. How-to videos and life hacks, especially for food, are popular too, with mums and dads seeking quick solutions to whip up healthy meals or pack the perfect lunchbox. DIY videos for parents looking to learn more about home improvements, child-proofing the house or making DIY toys, and health advice videos that mums and dads turn to in order to learn more about treatments, nutrition, hygiene, therapies, and health conditions, are also trending. Parents also look to YouTube for reviews on baby food, strollers, car seats, and more, finding the platform’s videos to be information-rich, with in-depth explanations given by other mothers and fathers making the content more relatable and authentic.

With the above in mind, YouTube is a great platform on which brands can reach and connect with parents in their moments of need. As mothers and fathers turn to YouTube to navigate the modern parenting landscape, well-known brands that parents consider to be experts can offer tailored content that solves parents’ problems, from how to change a diaper, to applying baby oil, to the safety features of a new SUV. We ran several surveys to see just how influential YouTube is at the upper and lower funnel of a purchase journey. Results show that YouTube is highly effective, with 54% of parents going to make a purchase, and 100% taking some form of action.

2- Connection

Research reveals that MENA-based mums and dads crave quality time with their kids, with YouTube serving as a way to connect. Parents today are particularly interested in being realistic role models who offer honest exchanges with their kids, speaking openly about any subject without limits or taboos. Videos that are popular with parents include family vlogs that feature families doing things together, with local creators seeing increased subscribers and views. Middle Eastern dads, in particular, love YouTube, challenging the status quo through not only the content they consume but also the content they create. Dads run the top 3 parenting channels in MENA, featuring vlogs and activities for the whole family.

In terms of consumption, father-daughter videos are gaining popularity, with tug-on-your-heartstrings videos showcasing emotional moments trending in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Pranks and challenges are also favourites, as is content that lets parent stay hip with the kids, with topics like the ‘Floss Dance’ and ‘Whisper Challenge’ getting plenty of views. With more families consuming videos from smartphones, YouTube often steps in as a family entertainer, offering on-the-go entertainment. Baby Shark, boasting over 3.1 billion views in July 2019, is the ideal example of a video that would probably never have become so popular if not for YouTube’s massive reach. Finally, nostalgic parents use the platform as a way to reminisce about their childhoods, showing their children the TV shows, music and games they loved when they were growing up.

3- Self-identity

Search data suggests that self-identity is crucial to today’s parents. Turning to the platform to nurture not just their kids but also their passions, modern-day mums and dads recognise that they are so much more than just parents and search for content that reflects their interests. In MENA, the biggest non-parenting content categories watched by parents include music, entertainment, sports, and gaming. While Middle Eastern mothers and fathers remember who they are, they never forget their kids. Our research shows that MENA-based parents adopt something called ‘fluid integration’, offering a way to integrate their kids into their everyday lives without compromising on their identities and passions.

Key takeaways for advertisers looking to reach parents

Big brands already recognise YouTube’s advertising potential when it comes to reaching MENA parents. Pampers Arabia, for example, did an incredible job using the platform toshowcase authentic regional mothers and theirunique relationships with the children. Kiri is another example of a brand that utilized YouTube to reach parents by giving mothers ideas for healthy meals. The brand partnered with mums from the MENA region, providing them with Kiri products and asking them to prepareinspiring and delicious meals for their families.

While our data proves that YouTube is a great platform on which to engage with parents, studies show that it also directly impacts their purchase decisions. According to our latest research, 54% of parents who say YouTube influences them go on to make a purchase, with 100% taking some form of action.

Throughout the day, modern Middle Eastern parents are actively looking to learn, connect, and nurture their identities, and they visit YouTube to do all of the above. With this in mind, the platform is effective for advertisers looking to reach mums and dads navigating the parenting landscape, even when they’re not watching parenting content.