YouTube Culture and Trends Report – 2020 in Review

A review of YouTube's Culture and Trends Report for 2020.

Toward the end of last year, YouTube released its Culture and Trends Report for 2020, which according to YouTube was an ‘important moment to examine in the history of pop culture.’ 2020 or the COVID era as we now know it, accelerated the trends that YouTube had been seeing over the last few years. I highlight some of these trends in this blog post and share some key data points that may shape your perspective while creating a solid YouTube content strategy going forward.

A new age of creators

Whether it was the 67-year-old French grandmother who does ASMR or the 90-year-old gamer from Japan, new content creators dispelled the myth that you had to be a certain age to be successful on YouTube. In fact, according to the report, 58% of people were open to watching digital content made by creators of any age.

VTubers or Virtual YouTubers who use anime-inspired avatars of their personalities to create content feature as one of the most notable trends in YouTube’s culture and trends report. Already a growing trend in Japan since mid-2010s, views to VTuber channels grew to over 1.5 billion per month in 2020.

Gaming amassed over 100 billion hours of watch time in 2020 and accounted for half of last year’s most-subscribed creators. Gaming videos had always been popular on YouTube, but the year 2020 saw it reach a whole new level.

People relied on YouTube to learn new things in the pandemic. Conversely, people staying at home turned their attention to starting their own YouTube channels. New channels trying to build an audience increased 95% in 2020.

Content consumption and delivery modes

New, innovative formats rose to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19. With the closure of sporting events and concerts, YouTube audiences pursued shared experiences like never before. Livestreams and co-watch parties allowed fans to have that connection while being ‘together apart.’

Musicians and bands released their singles, and debuted 24-hour music releases. And people craving for that social, communal feel of a music concert lapped them up. More than half of the people who were surveyed agreed that watching live streams could be just as good as being at the event in person.

Adapting to adversity

The global pandemic threw many challenges at us, but YouTubers all across the world were up to it. ‘Adapting to adversity’ was a common theme visible globally. According to the survey data, 82% used YouTube in 2020 to learn new things. With the closure of schools, teachers devised innovative ways of communicating with students as they led a transition to remote education. Shutting of gyms and recreation centers led to a surge in home-based, guided workouts. Videos with variations of the word “beginner” in the title earned over 9 billion views in 2020 (up by 3 billion in 2019).

As the Black Lives Matter movement gathered momentum in the Summer of 2020, daily views for protest-related songs spiked. Black creators from across the world shared their first-person experiences of racial injustices in videos with the phrase ‘Being Black in….’ in the title.

You can view the full Culture and Trends report here. Hoping that it will lead to a better understanding of the evolution of content creation, and help guide video content creation for your brand.