Whatever any of us thought would be top YouTube trends of 2020 changed virtually overnight in March as COVID-19 engulfed the world. From then on, YouTube, along with Netflix and other streaming platforms, became a lifeline to the housebound as social media usage increases.
Statistics show that YouTube had a 500% increase in viewership on March 15th compared to its daily average. YouTube also showed upticks in three specific areas of content:
- Meditation (up 55% from mid-March 2019)
- Cooking (up 100% from mid-March 2019)
- Working out (up 200% from mid-March 2019)
If it’s possible to predict trends for this unprecedented year for YouTube, online streaming content will undoubtedly remain essential, especially in the above three areas. Let’s break it down to trends based on information from March 2020 forward, when life as we knew it changed.
Music Videos Still Reign
Throughout the U.S. and worldwide, music videos and music influencers on YouTube remain the most popular category streamed throughout the pandemic. Almost a quarter of the top 100 YouTube video searches are music-related, according to various statistics.
Live TV vs. Network TV
Millions of viewers also turn to YouTube to watch live TV rather than turning on the television. Viewers are watching news and sports (when there are sports to be viewed). YouTube has a dedicated channel for live streaming; however, viewers can find random live feeds in their suggestions.
ASMR Videos Go Mainstream
ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. ASMR is the opposite of a YouTube video in which you might hear someone’s fingernails scratching a chalkboard (ouch). An ASMR video instead offers sounds that give you a relaxing, sedative or euphoric tingling in your body.
ASMR is a relatively new video style in which YouTube creators make content filled with sounds that evoke a calming feeling. Some examples of ASMR YouTube videos include the sounds of folding towels, magazine pages flipping, gentle rain or ocean waves. You name it, and there’s probably a soothing ASMR YouTube video about it. The category is poised to continue growing.
A Resurgence in DIY
From making your own sew and no-sew face masks to brewing your own hand sanitizer, DIY YouTube videos have proliferated and exploded in viewership. This is all out of necessity. With the prospect of the virus resurfacing again in the fall and winter, these videos will stay important and relevant.
Working remotely is the new norm and may be for some time or permanently, say many experts. About 74% of CFOs surveyed by Gartner expect remote work to become permanent after the pandemic ends. Working from home poses challenges, such as troubleshooting tech issues, setting up a comfortable space and finding ways to stay psychologically motivated to work.
There’s been a proliferation of videos about addressing these and other issues, including content related to Zoom meetings. As more remote-work technology surfaces, so will the need for more tutorials, such as those on how to utilize different platforms’ features.
In-Home Fitness Friends
Gyms are closed, beaches (for the most part) are closed for walks and walking around the block can get very crowded. That’s why so many people have turned to YouTube for fast and free fitness help. Even kids can get in on this trend, seeing as heading out to playgrounds is all but forbidden.
In the UK, Joe Wicks, a YouTube fitness trainer, began livestreaming daily “PE With Joe” lessons; his first class logged 2.1 million views. A number of clubs, such as Planet Fitness, and yoga studios began to livestream free classes to members during the lockdown. After the lockdown, many of these channels may offer reduced membership rates for continuing online classes.
Relaxation, Mental Health and Stress-Busting Content
COVID-19 has caused people globally to experience excess stress and anxiety. In response, YouTube wellness content has focused on coping with anxiety and stress, along with tutorials on meditation and yoga. Videos about coping with mental health issues have skyrocketed in popularity. Overall, views of meditation-related YouTube videos are up 35% from the same period in 2019.
One indication of the need for good news is the YouTube channel that actor/director John Krasinski started only a few weeks ago. Called SomeGoodNews, it shares positive stories from around the world. Krasinski presents them from his makeshift home office/studio. Even with only a handful of videos under his belt in a few weeks, Krasinski has a whopping 2.25 million subscribers.
Meal Prep and Cooking Help
Food and grocery shopping panic set in early as shoppers decided to stay out of stores, and those who did grocery shop were faced with empty shelves. Those who rely on restaurant food were also at a loss when eateries shuttered and pivoted to delivery and curbside pickup. In response, lockdowners are either practicing frugality with pantry staples or doing the opposite by learning to cook gourmet food now that they have time.
Helping everyone out are cooking influencers who are able to succinctly show YouTube viewers how to prep and cook tasty meals and how to concoct the best cocktails. Ongoing food-shortage fears will keep viewers turning to YouTube for even more tutorials on how to not only cook but also to stay organized and inspired.
Student Study-Along Sessions
From kindergarten through college, students of all ages were forced into at-home learning in virtual classrooms when schools closed. Globally, more than 1.3 billion students began working at home due to closures, according to estimates from UNESCO. With that came the need to quickly learn time management, and virtual study sessions became an integral part of learning.
Study-along YouTube sessions started to become popular in 2019. As lockdown took hold, study influencers began to stream more sessions to motivate and inspire students who are typically unproductive when studying in complete silence.
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