Top 6 YouTube Trends in 2019 For Marketers

January 3, 2019

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YouTube Trends 2019 – Top Trends In Viewership, Creator Content, & Influencer Marketing

YouTube, the ultimate destination for online video, is dominated by YouTube Creators who produce hours of video content for their communities of followers. This creator-centric culture has lent itself to a staggering variety of online video content on YouTube.

YouTube released 2018’s #YouTubeRewind, an annual celebration of YouTuber culture which remixes the “videos, people, music, and moments that defined 2018.” Based on data from 2018 trends and a little forecasting, we explore the top YouTube trends for 2019.

  1. Shopping Videos
  2. Morning & Nighttime Routines
  3. Primitive Technology
  4. Mainstream Celebrity Channels
  5. Gaming Continues to Grow
  6. Arms Race for Monetization

1. Immersive Shopping

Shopping Videos

YouTube continues to be a destination for shoppers. The video medium is ideal for shopping because it allows viewers to see multiple angles of a product and real-life interaction. Common shopping video types include:

  • Hauls: A Creator shares each item they bought during a shopping trip, usually explaining how they chose the product, price point, and how to purchase.
  • Gift Guides: A range of recommended gifts, oftentimes themed around a specific recipient (e.g. tween girls) or holiday (e.g. Christmas).
  • Shop With Me: A YouTuber documents a shopping trip in the form of a guided tour at a mall as they visit various stores, pick out items, and make purchases.

Why it matters for marketers?

Users Go to YouTube to Shop


Viewers seek out YouTube as a destination for product research and shopping inspiration, and the data supports this:

  • Watch time has doubled year-over-year for videos on “which product to buy”
  • 70% of shoppers are open to learning about products on YouTube from brands

This unambiguously suggests that brands are well positioned to connect with engaged shoppers via YouTube.

Passive to Active

YouTube trends 2019_viewer_behavior_2018_3

Watching YouTube shopping videos has proven to be a surprisingly active experience, with many viewers using multiple screens to research products as they learn about them on YouTube. This active pursuit to shop translates into conversions for brands.

Back to Basics Videos

2. Morning & Nighttime Routines

What is a morning or nighttime routine?

A YouTube Creator invites viewers to join them for their morning or nighttime routines. YouTubers film themselves getting ready for the day or ready for bed, including all of their daily rituals.

Though these routine videos tend to center around makeup and skincare regimens, they often include other daily habits. A morning routine might include going to the gym, drinking coffee, or styling hair; a nighttime routine might include taking vitamin supplements, applying essential oils, or chatting with family on FaceTime.

Google cites the growth of this trend over the past year:

  • Morning routine videos – 3x increase in watch time
  • Nighttime routine videos – 80% increase in watch time

Why it matters for marketers?

Product Suggestions: Routine videos offer tons of opportunity to speak about products that YouTubers love enough to use every day. These videos are a product placement goldmine for beauty brands and other consumer product brands.

Intimacy: Waking up or going to sleep is intrinsically very personal, thus viewers feel a connectedness as they glimpse into a YouTube influencer’s daily practices. Advertisers can capitalize on the private nature of routines to evoke a visceral connection to their brand.

Habits: Routine videos invite subscribers to partake in a YouTube star’s daily habits, thus influencing viewers to adopt these same practices (and products) into their own daily routines. A successful sponsored placement in a routine video could add a new staple product to the consumer’s lineup.

3. Primitive Technology

What is a primitive technology video?

Primitive technology refers to the process of building something using only naturally available materials. Primitive technology videos demonstrate how to build something in the wild, with no influence from modern technology. Videos in this genre instruct viewers on survival skills within the natural world with the aid of man-made artifacts.

Items constructed from scratch in the videos include:

  • Crafting a pickaxe
  • Cultivating yams
  • Building a hut
  • Weaving a basket

As BBC puts it, “Primitive technology is more than just survival skills. It’s like hitting the reset button and seeing how advanced you could become if left to fend for yourself.” The Creator of the original Primitive Technology YouTube channel and blog coined the term, which has since spawned other content Creators to expand the genre. The survivalist movement has an active online community and subreddit. Between July 2017 and July 2018, monthly views on primitive technology, survival, and bushcraft videos have increased 248%.

Why it matters for marketers?

The barebones nature of primitive technology makes it a mismatch for conventional influencer marketing. Most primitive technology videos have no spoken dialogue, as the viewer learns by watching the Creator’s technique while sparse captions offer cues.

Takeaways for marketers are thematic. Google explains the appeal of content that brings us “back to our roots:”

  • Escapism: Primitive technology is a time warp, meaning it evokes the simpler days of yesteryear free from digital advertising and other distractions. Clearly, there’s a widespread appeal in putting down devices and relishing in a laborious, primal task like making fire. For example, travel brands can seize this desire to unplug by marketing tranquil, off-grid destinations.
  • Minimalism: Millennials embrace a minimal lifestyle which deemphasizes the importance of physical possessions, and instead values a connection to experiences and oneself.

4. Celebrity YouTube Channels

Mainstream celebrities are joining YouTube by launching their own channels, offering them a direct, personal way to connect with their fans. In contrast to the ubiquity of celebrities on social media channels like Instagram and Twitter, there are relatively few examples of celebrities releasing unscripted video content on YouTube. YouTube channels managed by record labels and traditional media publications have traditionally released professionally produced content in which celebrities appear.

Celebrities are launching their own YouTube channels left and right:

  • Comedian Jack Black debuted a gaming-focused channel called Jablinski Games
  • Actor Will Smith kicked off his channel with a daring Grand Canyon bungee jumping stunt
  • Pop singer Ariana Grande released a video diary series using a vlog “day in the life” format
  • Singer Rihanna does makeup tutorials using products from her cosmetic line Fenty on her beauty channel

Other celebrity-gone-YouTubers include actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, chef Gordon Ramsay, actor/musician Russell Brand, fashion designer Victoria Beckham, and supermodel Karlie Kloss.

Why it matters for marketers?

The jump in celebrity YouTube channels continues to blur the line between social media influencer and celebrity. Prior to social media, celebrity spokesmodels were the blueprint for influencer marketing today. Celebrities as YouTubers brings this concept full-circle, suggesting that the two similar but disparate brand ambassadorships will continue evolving. YouTube is a platform for them to showcase their personality and connect with audiences in a new, personal way.

Celebrity channels can be a powerful marketing tool in part because the platform is inherently personality-driven. Celebrities already have a built-in following based on their fame—YouTube provides them with ownership and creative control over their content. =

5. Gaming Continues to Grow

Youtube Trends 2019_Global_Games_Market_Forecast_per_Segment
While Twitch still dominates video game livestreaming, gaming content is wildly popular on YouTube. At over 81 million subscribers, the official YouTube Gaming feed showcases livestream video in addition to a diverse range of video game content. The global gaming market is projected to bring in more than $148 billion in revenue in 2019 and continue to grow through 2021.

Female Gamers

Youtube trends 2019_ computer-and-video-gamers

Research shows that the female gaming presence continues to expand and we expect that to play out on YouTube as the genre grows. A recent Google survey found that 30% of audiences that regularly watch YouTube gaming videos are female. This statistic demonstrates that the gaming space is becoming slightly more gender neutral, enabling the gaming industry to continue to reach new audiences.

Why it matters for marketers?

It’s clear that video games are becoming more popular each year, which means more gaming enthusiasts will be watching gaming content on YouTube. YouTube’s data shows that gamers are even more inclined to purchase goods like electronics and computers compared to the general online population. Marketers can embrace the gaming audience by developing campaigns that are suited for the online gaming community in terms of messaging, culture, and product offering.

6. YouTuber Monetization Will Continue to Be In Flux

In early 2018, YouTube famously changed their Creator monetization policies in such a way that smaller YouTubers (those with fewer than 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time in the past year) could no longer earn ad revenue from their channel. This change in policy, sometimes called “Adpocalypse”, curtailed the number of Creators who could earn money via their YouTube channels, prompting a backlash from the Creator community.

As a result, other social channels have improved their own creator monetization opportunities as a way to entice creators onto their platform. Twitch has earned “creator friendly” reputation through a diverse range of monetization options for video game streamers. Facebook recently overhauled its features for creators, empowering influencers to earn money by selling subscriptions and badges to their Facebook following.

Why it matters for marketers?

Creator monetization matters for advertisers because each time YouTube adjusts its monetization rules, it changes the goalpost for Creators.

This will change the playing field in the following ways:

  • Creators leaving YouTube for more and better monetization
  • Instagram and Twitch infringing on YouTube
  • Content will become the differentiator