The novel coronavirus has impacted our world in so many ways over the last several months. One of the largest changes has been a spike in media consumption. Across the board, audiences are up, but the lack of new content, programming, and live sports is changing how the world is consuming.
Coronavirus Spurs Consumption Shifts
According to JP Morgan’s “Media Consumption in the Age of COVID-19,” since late March, Twitter’s daily active users are up 23% versus 2019; The New York Times had double-digit engagement increases with better than expected subscriber levels, and Cable news ratings doubled. And with broadcast television, the story takes a unique twist. Scott Rosenberg, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Roku told AdWeek,
One clear trend we are seeing as a result of the shelter-in-place orders is accelerated migration from linear into streaming. We saw our streaming hours climb roughly 80% year over year in April. Fundamentally, we believe that the COVID-19-related shifts we are seeing now will accelerate television viewing changes already underway, encouraging brands to rethink their media mix strategies to grow investments in OTT.
Rosenberg goes on to compare the shift to OTT (over the top, or internet-delivered TV) of today to the early 2000s shift from print to digital. Those behavior changes never swung back in print’s favor, and he believes the consumption shifts of early 2020 will also be permanent. Live sports are still postponed; big-budget production has yet to make a full comeback. Without new content from the usual sources, audiences have turned to on-demand media to fill their hours. One of the major sources of sustained new content is YouTube.
How Shifts to Streaming Impact YouTube Audiences
Nielsen’s 2020 Total Audience Report found that YouTube made up 21% of consumer’s streaming time. More recent data from The New York Times showed YouTube traffic increased by more than 15% at the end of March.
Many people turned to YouTube early on for how-to’s on effective working from home practices or in-home workouts. A study from Channel Factory found that 80% of U.S. visitors to YouTube during the coronavirus pandemic came in search of entertainment and mood boosters. These visitors became regulars, and overall traffic soared. User-generated curator, Collab, found that YouTube daily video view count was up 29% and daily watch time was up 40% as of early April for American 18-34’s.
And keeping up with all this new traffic, YouTubers creators have not slowed down. Thanks to at-home production, YouTube creator schedules have been virtually unchanged. Uploading over 300 hours of content to YouTube every minute, these creators have provided a steady source of new content these last few months.
Increased YouTube Traffic Implications for Advertisers
While pre-roll or “True View” advertisers saw decreased CPM’s (cost per mille or thousand) due to audience spikes, our advertisers experienced the opposite. More viewers and more time spent on YouTube actually result in better rates for our advertisers. Campaigns from months back were rebirthed as new consumers began watching previously posted episodes. With host-read ads embedded into the episodes, more views resulted in lower campaign CPA’s (cost per acquisition) and reach beyond the original terms.
So if you’re wondering where your consumers have gone, odds are, they’re on YouTube. Contact us today to learn more about this expanding medium so we can help you re-connect with your fans and develop new ones, too.