What You Watch on YouTube Reflects How You Live Your Life

By YouTube Insights Archives
Cover image for  article: What You Watch on YouTube Reflects How You Live Your Life

I spend a lot of time watching YouTube. In fact, I've made it my job. Each week, I publish a newsletter called YouTube Re:View. With over four hundred hours of footage uploaded to YouTube per minute you could spend every waking moment trying (and failing!) to keep up with the latest videos. YouTube Re:View curates the most popular videos, quickly gaining momentum, to help marketers stay in the know with what's trending. This year, we brought you the birth of April the Giraffe's baby, live footage of the solar eclipse, and the best slime-making tutorials, among many other major moments.

With millions upon millions of views, these popular videos reflect what the world is choosing to watch. But we wanted to understand, on a deeper level, what motivates people's viewing preferences. So, we recently reached out to our friends from the advertising industry to gain a better understanding of whythey watch what they watch. Here's what I learned.

Susan Schiekofer, Chief Digital Investment Officer at GroupM

I like to think of YouTube as a visual archive of our human history. This also rings true for Susan Schiekofer, GroupM's Chief Digital Investment Officer.

Susan turns to YouTube to relive past events, just like the 75% of Gen Xers who choose to watch YouTube videos that relate to past events or people (Google/Ipsos Connect). Susan shared, "Steven Tyler's tribute to Paul McCartney is magical, my all-time favorite from The Kennedy Centers Honors' archive. For those who saw Battle of the Sexes, watch more tennis in the legendary Wimbledon match between Borg and McEnroe."  (The latter is pictured below.)

She added, "I also keep up with the popular videos trending today. For example, I'm a big fan of the BBC reporter who was interrupted by his kids during a live interview. And of course, my favorite is watching sports videos of my son Richie who is now off to college playing baseball!"

Alex Stone, Vice President of Digital Investment at Horizon Media

Next up, I met with Horizon Media's VP of Digital Investment, Alex Stone. He's a recent first-time homeowner who relishes the opportunity to dig into his mounting list of home improvement tasks. Alex is just one of the 70% of millennials who visit YouTube to learn how to do something new (Google/Ipsos Connect).

For example, Alex turns to YouTube to guide him through small — but very important — projects, such as installing a mailbox or trimming a tree. These videos, typically recorded by regular people in similar situations, are not meant to be entertaining, but instructional and useful.

Colleen Leddy, Head of Communications Strategy at Droga5

When I think of sports videos, I imagine game highlights. However, sports fan Colleen Leddy from Droga5, introduced me to a much wider range of content. Colleen grew up rooting for UCONN basketball and at her wedding she even danced with her dad to One Shining Moment, the NCAA basketball anthem.

Colleen gravitates to sports videos that inspire her: a basketball player who has overcome adversity, a hall-of-famer's moving speech about her mentors, or a classic speech that transcends sport to provide valuable life lessons. These stories humanize the players and make sports about much more than, well, sports. It's no surprise that 79% of YouTube sports viewers say YouTube has sports and fitness video content that they can't find anywhere else (Google/Ipsos Connect).

In speaking with these advertising leaders, I learned that they aren't simply going to YouTube to watch the latest hits. They're looking for videos that have deeper meaning for them personally and enrich what they're doing in their lives. To continue learning about what influential advertisers watch on YouTube, and keep track of the most popular videos and trends, subscribe to YouTube Re:View.

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