Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

YouTube: What the world watched in 2020

People in the UK and globally have embraced digital culture this year to help them overcome adversity, according to YouTube.

 In its first global Culture and Trends report the Google-owned video-sharing platform has today announced the top trending and music videos that captured the UK’s attention, supplementing it with research from IPSOS that demonstrates how creators and viewers changed their behaviours.

 Roya Zeitoune, Head of YouTube Culture & Trends, EMEA says: 2020 has brought about astounding change. It’s altered the way we work, communicate, learn and live. But Brits haven’t let this year’s challenges stop them

 And YouTube is now firmly established on the living room TV, as well as mobile and PC platforms, with 20 million people in the UK watching it on a connected TV. That has implications for advertisers and agencies and how they see the evolution of activity across screens, according to YouTube UK Product Marketing Manager Adam Burrows. 

 In a year of enforced lockdowns, self-isolating, homeschooling and working from home there has been a focus on health, fitness and participation, with personal trainer Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) topping the UK charts for trending videos and was both the top creator and breakout creator. 

 It is a trend seen globally, with IPSOS reporting that 72% of people used YouTube during 2020 to exercise or keep fit. 

 And 78% of people used YouTube during 2020 to watch or access educational content accelerating the edu-trends seen on YouTube through previous years. Trends such as “teachers teaching teachers” reached a peak in April with 90% of the world’s enrolled students – or 1.5 billion people turning to YouTube to get help with homeschooling.

But it is not just for pupils – in the UK, for example, people of all ages turned to the platform to learn new skills and educate themselves.  Some 72% of people using YouTube during 2020 searched to ‘develop a new hobby’ and 82% of people used YouTube during 2020 to ‘learn to do things myself. 

Another key trend was overcoming adversity with creators and views alike looking to make and view content around issues such as Black Lives Matter, environmental issues and other crises such as the devastating Australian Bush Fires at the beginning of the year. 

 Culture and sport were given a much-needed shot in the arm, with theatre groups, pop stars and sportspeople able to reach audiences when stages and stadia were empty.

Proof, says Burrows, that YouTube today goes far beyond entertainment as an outlet to express thoughts, learn and connect with others. It entertains and informs people of all ages, with so-called ‘senior’ creators on the rise, perhaps as a result of the pandemic, which gave more people the impetus to do something they might long have considered. 

 This, coupled with the rise in connected TV viewing should encourage advertisers to explore how YouTube should not be considered in isolation but alongside TV, and as a channel for a huge variety of audiences. 

New Digital Age will explore the advertiser opportunity as well as dig deeper into the trends that matter in an exclusive interview with Burrows later this week.