The Magic Behind Unboxing on YouTube – Cenk Bulbul, Google

By YouTube Insights Archives
Cover image for  article: The Magic Behind Unboxing on YouTube – Cenk Bulbul, Google

The holidays are just around the corner, which means the anticipation for giving and getting gifts is building with each day we cross off the calendar. That anticipation can be felt on YouTube, too, where unboxing video views have grown 57% in the last year*.

Unboxing is a genre of video on YouTube where people quite literally unbox a product to get a feel for it. Many are user-generated videos, but brands are starting to get in on the action, too. These videos not only document the experience of opening a product, but they often dramatize it, playfully showcasing products in all of their freshly unopened glory.

To explore how marketers can use this intriguing genre of videos to better connect with their consumers on YouTube, we turned to the data behind YouTube unboxing videos, looking at watch-time and views for 2013 and 2014 to characterize trends. The results, combined with Google Consumer Surveys of 1500 consumers conducted in October 2014, show that the magic behind unboxing videos is that they tap into the child-like anticipation we all feel for something shiny and new.

Unboxing videos are most-watched during the holiday season, when giddy anticipation is running high anyway. In fact, 34% of the views* for unboxing videos related to food, electronics, toys and beauty/fashion happen in the October-December time frame -- that’s 1.5 times higher than the average volume of unboxing video views in other quarters. There’s an opportunity to think about them playing a role for brands year-round, too. While toys, food and electronics unboxing videos see a definite holiday spike, we see pretty steady viewership of unboxing videos throughout the year.

Unboxing videos are practical too, giving consumers a look into what exactly they can expect when they get a product off the shelf and into their hands. According to the recent Google Consumer Surveys, 62% of people who view unboxing videos do so when researching a particular product. In this sense, unboxing videos can help marketers build anticipation and provide useful product information during the holiday season (and even beyond).

Unboxing videos for electronics are wildly popular, but there are now unboxing videos for just about any imaginable category. Brands that are interested in taking advantage of the unboxing phenomenon should keep the following tips in mind:

Unboxing is Relevant for Nearly Any Product

Chances are, if you have a tangible product, you should be thinking about how you can create unboxing videos to connect with your audience. From the super-simple to overly dramatic, unboxing videos run the gamut of styles. Take, for example, the recent “Experience the power of a bookbook” video by IKEA. This parody video is a great example of a brand leveraging the unboxing genre in a fresh new way.

Think Outside the (Holiday) Box

Look for occasions when people feel excited about your brand -- definitely around the holidays, but also beyond. Spring break, summer vacation, Valentine’s Day and even Back-To-School are just a few moments you might consider. Don’t forget about your product launches. Sony, for example, created a cinematic unboxing video for the release of its eagerly awaited PlayStation 4 to connect with their audience in a highly relevant and anticipatory moment.

* Source: 2013-2014 Oct – YouTube data - videos with unboxing in the title

Cenk Bulbul is the Head of Strategy and Insights for Brand Advertiser Marketing team at Google,Cenk Bulbulwhere he is responsible for the B2B marketing strategy for YouTube as well as publishing insights based on case studies and research. It is a good day on Cenk's team if their strategy and insights helped brand advertisers build successful marketing campaigns leveraging YouTube and other Google Brand Ad Solutions. Cenk can be reached at

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