Why YouTube is more than just viewers

June 2018

Want more than just views? See how, why, and where audiences are watching YouTube.

How do people ‘show up’ to watch online video? YouTube’s audience come to the platform with strong intent; they want to be entertained, enlightened and educated – with confidence they can find the content they want, on-demand.


‘More than just viewers’ is a celebration of YouTube’s unique connection with its audience. In addition to some ethnographic studies we recently worked on with Revealing Reality, recent research suggests that when our viewers tune in: they are engaged, paying attention and primed for action.

Why viewers come 

According to a GfK YouTube Audience study, adults in the UK rank YouTube first amongst video platforms as the place to find content they can’t find anywhere else1.

A separate study by Flamingo/Tapestry also found that 81% agree it’s the place to discover new talent or new voices while 80% agree it enables new ideas and trends to grow and 83% agree it helps them find useful tips or learn how to do something2.

How viewers behave

When our audience arrives, they stick around. The GfK study found that 83% of viewers are fully or mostly paying attention on YouTube compared to 58% on average across video on social media in the UK3. They come to the platform with intent, familiarity and love – to find the content they want to watch.

YouTube content is now being consumed on the move across every screen. According to comScore, 70% of YouTube watch time by UK adults occurs on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets)4. We also saw that over half of YouTube smartphone watchtime in the UK occurs in full screen5.

The viewer's connection

Users spend over an hour a day watching YouTube on mobile6. YouTube is unique to each individual.

In our campaign, we investigate how 27 viewers are making, doing, learning and loving YouTube's content. From drumming to dancing, gardening to nappy-changing, sports viewing to sign language lessons, cooking to work out videos (to work off the food you've just whipped up from the cooking videos) – there's a little something for everyone; something you can relate to and something to connect with.

When there's intention, comes attention, and when there's attention, follows action – and with a fully tuned-in and mobile-immersed audience – here's why YouTube's audience is more than just viewers.

How to capture attention in six seconds