Trends with Benefits: How brands can tap into key audience trends on YouTube to stay relevant and drive results

October 2019

What audiences watch, and the way they watch, is constantly changing. Identifying these trends can bring massive benefits to marketers looking to tap into the next obsession. From an 80% increase in U.K. watchtime of football highlights to a 55% increase of supercar videos – learn about the latest video trends we’re seeing on YouTube and how brands have incorporated them into their campaigns.

Trends with Benefits: How brands can tap into key audience trends on YouTube to stay relevant and drive results

Footy fans are watching beyond 90 minutes

At its heart, good sport is about drama. The most engaging sporting content allows fans to immerse themselves in the highs and lows, heroes and villains, with smart insights, off-kilter analysis… and, okay, a hefty chunk of behind-the-scenes gossip. When it comes to football, not only are fans coming to YouTube to catch highlights – with an 80% increase in U.K. watch time this year1 – they’re also tuning in for pre- and post-match content from their favourite creators, as well as documentaries, interviews and bite-sized news reports. In fact, 58% of U.K. viewers say the video content they watch gives them something to talk about2 – and, for brands, this represents an audience of ultra-engaged fans ready to receive and react to relevant advertising.

Get inspired by: Adidas

To generate excitement about the launch of its Nemeziz football boot, Adidas tapped into viewers’ love of everything around the beautiful game. Using YouTube’s video ad sequencing tool, the team then created a tailored sequence of video content that was served to viewers depending on whether they watched or skipped the first ad. Viewers who engaged the most were served extra content, while those who skipped were shown a final product ad. The final score? Adidas’ smart sequencing led to a 33% lift in awareness, a 20% lift in ad recall, and a 317% lift in product interest.

Find out more about how Adidas moved fans through its ad sequence.

Trends with Benefits: How brands can tap into key audience trends on YouTube to stay relevant and drive results

Foodies are hunting out healthy options

From soft-shell tacos to veggie burgers, YouTube is where foodies go to make their mouths water… or get some help with their efforts in the kitchen. And, it’s working; YouTube viewers are 1.4 times more likely to say that content they watch taught them something than those who watch other platforms.3 This year, watch time of cooking recipe videos in the U.K. was up 55%.4 One surging trend is for healthy variations of recipes; for example, catering to a keto (low-carb) diet. For brands, this trend towards more conscious eating means an opportunity to join a bigger conversation, whether it's through health-oriented ads or food-focused how-tos.

Get inspired by: Quaker Oats

As a brand with solid name recognition but little audience affinity, Quaker Oats wanted to remind customers of the health benefits of breakfast. To do so, the brand mapped its audience profiles - including consumers already eating well and those trying to do better - to segments of YouTube's viewership. With creative informed by Search trends, it dynamically varied text on ads to ensure each viewer got the right message. The results? A 4.25% lift in retail sales, alongside a healthy 122% lift in brand interest.

Find out how Quaker Oats used consumer insights for brand lift.

Trends with Benefits: How brands can tap into key audience trends on YouTube to stay relevant and drive results

Beauty lovers are doing it themselves

Few categories move as fast as beauty, with fans flocking to Disney Princess transformations one moment and GRWM (that’s ‘Get Ready With Me’) videos the next. One overarching trend, though is for content that's truly helpful, with 32% of British viewers saying they feel the need to learn something new, develop a new skill or get smart through online video6. As such, it's no surprise that watch time for "makeup transformation" videos in the U.K. has increased by 50% this year.7 To tap into this audience need state, think about how your content can be genuinely useful - especially at the bottom of the funnel. When beauty creative is optimised for late stages of the purchase journey, results are up to 2 times stronger. And to make your content really take off, consider how partnering with creators can give you an authentic gateway to an already-engaged audience. 

Get inspired by: Fenty Beauty

From the day it launched with 40 shades of foundation, Rihanna’s beauty brand Fenty has always been about empowerment. But it’s a word the brand itself avoids – preferring to show, not tell – with helpful content featuring everything from useful DIY beauty tutorials to a launch ad filled with a truly diverse array of faces. The result? The biggest beauty launch in YouTube history, but also the creation of the ‘Fenty Effect’; a movement in which every beauty brand saw the value of offering a wider range of shades for all.

See how Fenty Beauty delivered a wake-up call to the industry.

Trends with Benefits: How brands can tap into key audience trends on YouTube to stay relevant and drive results

Tech buffs are diving deeper

Technology video consumption is becoming increasingly diverse, with viewers searching for Silicon Valley news one day and unboxing videos the next. In the U.K., watch time for Culture & Technology videos - largely representing searches about digital art, from SLR reviews to drawing tutorials - has increased 50% this year.8 In particular viewers are chasing content that gives further insights into their passions: 56% of U.K. consumers say they’ve watched something on YouTube in the past 24 hours that allowed them to dig deeper into their interests.9 This rising demand for detailed, product-led content is something U.K. creators such as SuperSaf and Mrwhosetheboss are already tapping into – and that brands can learn from. Reach everyone from novice enthusiasts to tech experts with videos that are genuinely useful – and team up with creators who are already immersed in their world to make it stick.

Get inspired by: Samsung

To position its Galaxy smartphone at the top of the pack for video, Samsung decided not to make a traditional ad. Instead, the brand created a series that was entirely shot on Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Pairing established YouTube creators with newer up-and-comers, the resulting ‘Make’ series showcased the product in an organic way and helped viewers dig deeper by weaving it into the fabric of the story. And it worked: 17% of those who were exposed to the ads were more likely to purchase the Galaxy as their next phone.

Find out how Samsung reached viewers in an authentic way.

Trends with Benefits: How brands can tap into key audience trends on YouTube to stay relevant and drive results

Petrolheads are looking for all things automotive

From aspirational to functional, every automotive passion point is represented on YouTube. For example, U.K. watch time of supercar videos has increased 55% this year.10 Auto channels on YouTube are trialling longer form content which gives greater room for in-depth breakdowns on every class of vehicle. Plus, it’s a key space for consumers searching for information on their next investment, with video searches for "which [product] should I buy" doubling since last year.11 And that presents big opportunities for brands to authentically connect in two ways: first, to fuel viewers passion for all things auto, and second, to help them navigate purchase decisions within the category itself.

Get inspired by: Ford

Putting data at the core of its campaign, Ford found new ways to connect with potential car buyers by identifying the pain points of buying a car. Based on insights about what people search for on YouTube and industry-specific keywords, Ford created five unique videos pitched at Europe’s five biggest markets, each using the TrueView format to encourage interaction. The result? Best-in-class results for ad recall and a significant increase in brand consideration across its key territories, helping steer viewers directly to the dealership door.

Read about how Ford used data to get deals.

This content originally featured in "Viewernomics: The art and science of audience engagement" – click to download the full magazine below.

Reach more than just viewers: Play into passion points, capture attention, and deliver results on YouTube