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YouTube is giving us all a glimpse into how the world responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with a new batch of data showing what we’ve been watching in 2020.

The insights reveal a wide-range of trends, but an overall theme of self-care and learning new skills runs throughout. 

Let’s check out some of the most revealing details from the report:

Home Cooking

As restaurant shutdowns spread in March and remain at least partially in effect across the nation, many have had to brush up on their cooking abilities or expand their repertoire. 

Add to this that the shutdowns gave many considerable extra time to try their hands at cooking things which take hours or even days to do properly, and you may start to understand why sourdough bread was a major trend on YouTube this year.

“By the end of March, one could make a legitimate case that a good portion of the world was simultaneously fixated on how to achieve a superlative sourdough starter. And the evidence for that was on YouTube.”

Similarly, users around the world increasingly searched for “restaurant-style” cooking techniques and recipes to replicate their favorite eateries from home. 

The company notes that it is extremely rare for countries around the world to all be searching for similar topics at the same time. Still, once the pandemic began in earnest earlier this year, global searches for cooking tutorials have been consistently heightened no matter where you live. 

Self-Care

This year has been uniquely turbulent, which has led many to use YouTube to assist in or to learn new techniques for coping with anxiety or stress. 

Specifically, people have been watching countless videos related to food, exercise, relaxation, medication, and peaceful sleeping since March. 

This includes heightened searches for a variety of topics including:

  • Yoga (Daily views have doubled since March)
  • Guided Meditation (Daily views increased 40% since March)
  • Home Workouts (Daily views increased 4x since March)
  • Nature Sounds

Keeping Close While Social Distancing

Perhaps the strongest way YouTube has helped people cope with the ongoing pandemic is by providing a way to stay connected.

“YouTube viewers used video to engage with each other directly and indirectly, sometimes in nuanced ways: even just participating in a rising coffee-making trend can make someone feel more connected to other people.”

This is most obvious when looking at the data for a few notable video trends:

  • ‘With Me’ Videos (Views of #WithMe videos jumped 600% since March)
  • Museum Tours (Daily views up 60%)
  • Face Masks (DIY tutorials have been viewed over 400 million times)
  • Dalgona coffee (A briefly viral treat connected users around the world)

Building Your Identity

Without our usual ways to express ourselves, many saw YouTube as both a creative outlet and a learning tool for further developing their identity.

“Video proved to be a unique way people could both express who they were and who they might become — say, by learning a new skill.”

This is reflected in a variety of video topics which have trended up since March, including:

  • Gardening
  • How to cut hair
  • Religious services
  • Video call beauty tips

YouTube as a Mirror

This data shows that people around the world have turned to a few basic needs when it comes to their content right now. From India to the U.S., YouTube says the uniformity of these trends has been “astonishing”.

When it comes to what people are watching right now, it all boils down to three basic needs:

  • Experiencing a sense of connection
  • Maintaining positivity
  • Projecting a strong sense of self

A new analysis of YouTube’s top 100 search terms of the year reveals more than just the most popular channels – it shows a subtle change to how users are engaging with the platform and what type of content they are most interested in.

While YouTube releases a few key findings at the end of the year, the company does not provide the data for the top 100 search queries each year. Thankfully, Ahrefs annually analyzes more than 800 million keywords used on the site using its Keyword Explorer tool to give us this report. 

Top YouTube Searches

Below, we are including the top 25 searches for both the US and worldwide. For the complete list of the top 100 search queries, check out the full report.

Top US Queries and Search Volume

  1. pewdiepie – 3,770,000
  2. asmr – 3,230,000
  3. music – 2,670,000
  4. markiplier – 2,380,000
  5. old town road – 2,040,000
  6. pewdiepie vs t series – 1,940,000
  7. billie eilish – 1,910,000
  8. fortnite – 1,630,000
  9. david dobrik – 1,610,000
  10. jacksepticeye – 1,580,000
  11. james charles – 1,560,000
  12. joe rogan – 1,560,000
  13. baby shark – 1,500,000
  14. bts – 1,350,000
  15. dantdm – 1,330,000
  16. snl – 1,260,000
  17. game grumps – 1,140,000
  18. cnn – 1,120,000
  19. wwe – 1,100,000
  20. lofi – 1,040,000
  21. minecraft – 1,030,000
  22. shane dawson – 993,000
  23. t series – 955,000
  24. fox news – 943,000
  25. msnbc – 936,000

Top Worldwide Queries and Search Volume 

  1. bts – 17,630,000
  2. pewdiepie – 16,320,000
  3. asmr – 13,910,000
  4. billie eilish – 13,860,000
  5. baby shark – 12,090,000
  6. badabun – 11,330,000
  7. blackpink – 10,390,000
  8. old town road – 10,150,000
  9. music – 9,670,000
  10. peliculas completas en español – 9,050,000
  11. fortnite – 9,010,000
  12. pewdiepie vs t series – 8,720,000
  13. minecraft – 8,560,000
  14. senorita – 8,290,000
  15. ariana grande – 7,890,000
  16. alan walker – 7,560,000
  17. calma – 7,390,000
  18. tik tok – 7,270,000
  19. musica – 7,140,000
  20. bad bunny – 7,040,000
  21. wwe – 6,870,000
  22. queen – 6,660,000
  23. eminem – 6,600,000
  24. enes batur – 6,600,000
  25. la rosa de guadalupe – 6,300,000

What We Can Take From This

While the lists are largely filled with the expected names like PewDiePie, Joe Rogan, and BTS, there are a few surprising placements that reveal a bit about what people are most interested in on YouTube. 

Most clearly is the rising reliance on YouTube for music. Users have always looked up the latest music videos and singles on the site, this year’s data show that people are increasingly turning to the platform for music in general. 

Nearly a quarter of the top 100 search terms in America relate to music (including the keyword “music” itself being in the third slot), and that number only goes up when looking internationally. 

It is worth mentioning that ASMR – in the second highest spot in the US – is also a uniquely auditory experience.

Additionally, the top 100 shows a rising interest in news and current events. Alongside respected outlets like MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, the complete list includes a number of satirical news figures like John Oliver and Stephen Colbert. 

Most importantly, the top search terms reveal that people are beginning to use broader search terms than in the past. Yes, they are also searching for specific branded content like fortnite and snl, but they are also using broad terms like “music”, “lofi”, and “memes”. 

Between this and YouTube’s suggested videos, this shows that the platform is still fertile with opportunities for smaller brands among the biggest names and influencers. 

To view the full report from Ahrefs, click here.

YouTube is launching a new tool to help small businesses with limited budgets or means create short, stylish promotional videos.

The company is releasing a beta version of the tool ahead of schedule in recognition that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made it unsafe to shoot in-person videos for businesses.

“Because businesses of all sizes are strapped for time and resources and in-person video shoots are no longer practical in many countries, we are accelerating the next stage of Video Builder availability.”

The YouTube Video Builder makes it easy to create videos between 6-seconds and 15-seconds long using an array of templates and aesthetics.

Importantly, you don’t need to have any existing video footage. Businesses are just asked to provide their own images, text, and logos which are then animated into a video.

You can customize the colors, fonts, and even music thanks to Google’s royalty-free audio library.

Once finished, you are free to share the videos anywhere you like. The obvious choice would be to use it to promote your brand on YouTube. However, you can also share it on Facebook, your website, or anywhere else you choose.

You can see an example of what a finished ad using Video Builder looks like below:

How To Use The YouTube Video Builder

As the tool is in beta access, you will need to sign up before you can get use the tool for the time being.

Once you’ve gotten access, creating a video is a simple process – as shown in the video below:

In the video, YouTube recommends creating your short video by taking these steps:

  • Select a layout suited for your goal
  • Upload your logo and select a color
  • Upload images and add copy
  • Select a font
  • Pick a music track from Google’s library
  • Click “create video” to see a preview of the finished video
  • Save the clip and upload it to your channel, website, and social media pages

The tool will save any videos you have created as a template so you can also iterate upon your finished product for several similar videos with small tweaks.

Finished videos can also be immediately used to create a YouTube or Google Ads campaign if you like, though it is not required.

For more information about using the YouTube Video Builder, check out the official help document.

YouTube is expanding its analytics tools to allow content creators and channel managers to better compare their metrics against other data and competitors.

Specifically, the company is changing how its “Deep Dive” section of analytics functions by allowing you to compare multiple metrics side-by-side simultaneously.

Deep Dive Data

The Deep Dive section is designed to allow creators to compare their channel’s and video’s performance over time. It can be found after clicking the “see more” button next to any metrics in your overview screen.

Initially, this section only allowed video managers to view the performance of a single metric at a time – such as their video views over time.

Now, you can view multiple metrics at the same time within the same graph, making it easier to get an understanding of how specific metrics improve your overall channel’s performance or how some metrics feed others.

For example, YouTube recommends checking out the comparison of ‘views versus comments’ to show if some videos are getting more or less comments compared to other videos with similar view counts.

Another recommended comparison is the chart of ‘views versus revenue’ if you are monetizing your content.

Other Ways To Compare Data

Along with allowing you to monitor several metrics at once, the Deep Dive section is being improved to make it possible to compare a few other types of data, such as:

  • Period over period: Compare month versus month performance, or year versus year.
  • Top videos: Compare a channel’s overall top videos from one month over another.
  • Audience: A geographic comparison shows where your audience is coming from month to month.

For more information about the new analytics comparison features and other upcoming improvements to YouTube analytics, check out the full video below:

Google is kicking off October – which just so happens to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month – by announcing three new ways for users to hide or delete their personal activity data when using Google products like Maps, YouTube, and Google Assistant. 

Incognito Mode For Maps

Incognito mode has been allowing people to browse the web while preventing data from being saved to their Google account or computer since 2008. Earlier this year, the company expanded the feature to YouTube, and soon it will be coming to Maps.

Once it is live, you’ll be able to quickly toggle incognito mode on and off by selecting it in the menu that appears when choosing accounts.

 

 

While the feature is coming to Android within the month, the company could only say it would be coming to iOS “soon”. 

Auto-Delete YouTube History

Google is also introducing a way for users to automatically delete their YouTube activity after a set amount of time. Specifically, you can select to keep data for 3 months, 18 months, or until you manually clear your history. 

A similar feature was introduced earlier this year for users’ location history and web activity and is expected to launch for YouTube this month. 

Managing Google Assistant Data

The search engine has introduced a way for people to control their Google Assistant activity using simple voice commands. 

For example, users could ask the Assistant to clear their history for the last week by saying “Hey Google, delete everything I said to you last week.”

 

This will be available to all Google Assistant users next week.

YouTube has ramped up its efforts to remove harmful content over the last quarter, as a new report shows the company removing over 100,000 individual videos. 

That is nearly 5 times the number of videos removed in the first quarter of the year, reflecting a big shift in activity following a new hate speech policy introduced in June. 

Additionally, the company says it has removed over 17,000 channels and 500 million comments in Q2. 

Notably, YouTube says a large amount of the harmful content is flagged using machine learning technology to remove the content before it is ever seen by actual users. According to the company’s data, more than 87% of the videos removed in Q2 were first flagged by YouTube’s automatic systems. 

The report also mentions that an update to YouTube’s spam detection tools has driven a 50% increase in the number of channels removed for violating the platform’s spam guidelines. 

YouTube says the report is only the first in a four-part series which will cover the company’s guiding principles:

  • Remove content that violates policies
  • Raise up authoritative voices
  • Reward eligible creators
  • Reduce the spread of borderline content

As such, you can expect to see more details about how YouTube is working to curate the best platform possible in the near future.

A new survey sheds some light into the real reasons why consumers like, share, and follow brands on social media.

As Yes Marketing reports, their survey of 1,000 consumers reveals:

  • 63% of consumers follow retailers on social to learn about sales.
  • 60% follow retailers to keep up with new products.
  • 29% follow to show support for the retailer.
  • 23% follow because the retailer shares funny and interesting information.
  • 23% follow because the retailer has a positive reputation
  • 16% follow because they agree with the retailer’s stance on social and political issues.

When it comes to specifically why customers engage with content from retailers on social media, here’s what people had to say:

  • 36% engage with content because the retailer promises a discount for sharing the post.
  • 36% engage in order to share a product update or sale with their followers.
  • 35% engage because they agree personally with the content of the post.
  • 30% engage because the post is funny or interesting.
  • 29% engage in order to share positive feedback with the retailer.
  • 20% engage in order to share negative feedback with the retailer.

As for which demographics are active on which social networks, the respondents broke down as follows:

  • Gen Z consumers are more likely to have YouTube (77%) and Instagram (77%) accounts than a Facebook account (74%).
  • Millennials (89%) and Gen X (88%) are most likely to be on Facebook.
  • More Gen Z consumers (56%) are on Twitter compared to Millennials (50%) and Gen X (39%).
  • Snapchat is the least used social network among all respondents (30%), followed by Twitter (36%).
  • Only 11% of respondents are not on any of the major social networks.

Get the full report here to learn more.

Hashtag YouTube

Hashtags are coming to YouTube. The video platform has begun displaying hashtags on videos to help users search and discover other videos on similar topics.

The hashtags appear on any video that has been optimized with the tags in web browsers and the YouTube Android app. So far, the hashtags are not being shown in the iOS app.

Up to three hashtags can be shown in blue text above videos’ titles and can be clicked on to open a search containing related videos.

Hashtags can be used to conduct manual searches for any video containing that hashtag, even if it is just in the video description. Hashtags can also be included in video titles.

There are a few restrictions on how hashtags can be used on YouTube, most of which are common sense. YouTube’s policies explicitly prohibit using hashtags to promote harassment or hate speech, as well as to mislead people about content.

Additionally, the platform discourages users from over-tagging their videos, which would be defined as using 15 or more tags on a single video.

Breaking these rules could lead to a variety of punishments depending on how severe the infraction is or whether someone has committed a previous offense. These could include having your hashtags be ignored, videos being removed from search results, or a video being removed from YouTube altogether.

For now, using hashtags to search provides pretty limited search results. But, I expect that will change as creators begin to optimize their channels.

YouTube Live

YouTube is arguably the largest online video platform on the internet (though Facebook is providing some tough competition), so it is interesting that the platform has been one of the slowest to provide a widely available way to live stream.

That may be starting to change, however, as YouTube is significantly lowering the number of subscribers a user needs before being able to stream.

YouTube only introduced its public live streaming feature back in February, although it has partnered with large events to provide live streams for years. Even then, a user needed to have at least 10,000 subscribers before they were allowed to start streaming.

Over the past week, that threshold was quietly reduced to just 1,000 subscribers. Rather than announce the change, it was only discovered after a change to one of YouTube’s help pages.

The subscriber requirement is just one of a couple different stipulations required for streaming. Users must also have a verified channel and have not received any live stream restrictions in the past 90 days. Live stream restrictions are punishments placed against channels that have violated YouTube’s terms of services.

To start a live stream, follow these simple steps:

  • Tap the camera icon
  • Grant permissions allowing the YouTube app to access the Camera, Mic, and Storage.
  • Verify your account if you have not previously.
  • Tap GO LIVE.
  • Name your live video and set the privacy setting for your stream
  • Tap FINISH when you’re ready to end the stream

YouTubeAds

Finding the right length for video ads can be a tricky balancing act. Too short and you can’t get your message across. Too long and you annoy or lose your viewers’ interest. Apparently, 30-second ads fail this tightrope walk, as YouTube has officially announced it will be doing away with 30-second unskippable ads starting next year.

In place of these ads, Google says it will focus on more interactive or user-based advertising.

“We’re committed to providing a better ads experience for users online. As part of that, we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers,” a YouTube spokesperson told AdWeek via email.

Of course, this doesn’t mean YouTube is ridding itself of all unskippable ads. The platform will still sell 15-second and 20-second ads that don’t give viewers the option to skip to their content. Additionally, viewers are likely to see an influx of six-second “bumper ads” instead of full-length ads that you can skip after five seconds.

Ultimately, 30-second unskippable ads lose too many viewers along the way. Some get distracted during the interval, while others entirely refuse to wait that long for their content. There is still plenty of time to make use of any ad campaigns you’ve been planning, but the decision to move away from this ad format underscores the ineffective nature of the format.