Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The Positive Content Digital Boom

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way the world operates, and many people have been looking for ways to keep calm – and entertained — during lockdown. Ofcom now reports that UK adults spent a quarter of their waking day online during lockdown – a record high. From learning how to bake sourdough bread, to workouts with Joe Wicks in the garden, a number of trends have popped up. One that seems like more than a flash in the pan is the increase in positive video content consumers are watching online.  

Leading digital studio TheSoul Publishing is seeing weekend viewing figures, which are normally significantly higher than weekday viewing figures, every day throughout this period. In particular, life-hack videos, which empower viewers to try fun things at home, have become a big hit. On Instagram, one video “Genius bathroom hacks you need to try,” quickly reached more than 2 million views. Similarly, “How to make anything with a 3D pen” was the most viewed 5-Minute Crafts video in May, collecting more than 70 million views and watched an impressive 71 million minutes. 

Overall, TheSoul found that through the course of lockdown, light-hearted and entertaining content is booming as audiences search for positive videos.  One of the company’s most popular channels is Brightside, which quenches viewers’ never-ending thirst for knowledge with recent discoveries, tips for self-improvement, and challenging riddles. It saw an overall subscriber growth of 75% since the lockdown began in March. In the same period Slick Slime Sam, a DIY, comedy and science channel showcasing family activities, grew its following by 66%. 7-Second Riddles, a channel focusing on riddles and answers, saw a 43% boost.

Research earlier this year by Channel Factory gave further insight into why positive content is increasing in popularity since the start of the lockdown. It found that 80% of consumers go to YouTube to improve their mood as they stay home and practice social distancing. It also found that 69% of respondents felt that YouTube offers more uplifting content than other social media channels.

Victor Potrel, Vice President of Platform Partnerships at TheSoul Publishing says the positive pivot is here to stay. “It would be easy to conclude that positive content is only seeing a temporary boom, as people seek to distract themselves while stuck at home. However, we are seeing no sign of this trend changing as people move out of lockdown. On the contrary, early data shows it is increasing further still and new subscribers and followers are continuing to watch this type of content.”

Figures from YouTube show the company’s 123 Go channel, which produces, life hacks, challenges and beauty tip videos, has seen a 30% increase in subscribers between 1st-10th June. And over the same period, Slick Slime Sam has seen increases in viewership by 12% and subscribers by +18%. 

This phenomenon is not only happening on YouTube. On Pinterest, TheSoul Publishing’s 5-Minute Crafts page saw a significant search spike since the beginning of June, amassing 11M impressions, a 233% increase compared to the previous period.

Victor summarizes, “Even as lockdowns are easing around the world, this clear demonstration that viewers are specifically looking for positive content is important for advertisers and creators to note. Whether it’s taking some time away from a work proposal, or escapism from global events, viewers see video entertainment as a way of balancing their mood.  

“The increase in viewers seeking positive lighthearted content was seen across our portfolio of channels and a range of different platforms. It’s clear that sometimes people need to take a break and want to have a quick infusion of lighthearted positivity when they’re online.”

The findings are likely to make advertisers think twice about cutting their activity across social channels. With corporate advertising budgets under pressure because of the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with fears over safeguarding from harmful content, brands have been hesitant to push the activation button. 

Whilst it does not come as a shock that people staying home for long periods of time has resulted in increased screen time, if advertisers are to spend their money. it is important to dig deeper and understand trends in order to have an impact. 

With many unable to decipher what the world will look like after the pandemic, particularly in the digital space, it has never been more important for brands to have their fingers on the pulse of their target audiences. Indications from TheSoul Publishing suggest the new normal will be led by viewers who are hungry for positive, empowering and humorous content.