YouTube Trends of the Moment for Savvy Advertisers, September 2018

VTubers, classroom setups, relaxation videos

Virtual YouTubers have generated over 500 million views since the beginning of last year YouTube

For brands, relevancy means tapping into modern culture. And modern culture unfolds daily on YouTube. In this fifth installment of “YouTube Trends of the Moment for Savvy Advertisers,” Earnest Pettie—a YouTube trends analyst who spots videos piquing viewers’ interests—shares three kinds of videos trending now and the insights they reveal.

Virtual YouTubers

Is this real life? Is this just fantasy? For Virtual YouTubers and their millions of subscribers, it’s both. Virtual YouTubers—also called VTubers—are two- and three-dimensional animated characters played by creators. The creator’s face and motions are mapped and tracked by a camera, translated through computer software, and then applied to the VTuber’s character.

Channels that describe themselves as Virtual YouTubers have generated over 500 million views since the beginning of last year, and the trend is only getting hotter. This year, there were over four times as many daily views of VTuber videos compared to last year.

What it means for brands: As the technology used to create VTubers becomes more accessible, their numbers are expected to rise. That will open up big opportunities for brands, which some—especially those based in Japan—are already starting to seize. For example, the first VTuber, Kizuna Ai, is now the travel ambassador for the Japan National Tourism Organization. And another VTuber partnered with a laundry detergent for a live washing machine event.

Classroom setups

September means back to school, which, in turn, means renewed interest in classroom setup videos, where teachers set up and give tours of their classrooms.

It’s not exactly a new trend—we first noticed it three years ago—but it’s definitely one that’s growing. For example, in the month of August alone, there were over 2 million views of classroom setup videos, with watch time hitting 300,000 hours.

What it means for brands: Education is a huge category on YouTube. In fact, there are more than 1 billion views of learning-related videos on the platform every day. That’s why, as hard as it might seem for brands to dabble with this type of content, it’s well worth making the effort—as companies like Make Up for Ever have found.

Relaxation videos

Would you believe me if I told you that people are spending hours and hours watching YouTubers play with slime and cut soap? It might seem strange, but it speaks to a broader trend that brands should start paying attention to: relaxation.

More than ever before, people are turning to YouTube to access a diverse and growing selection of visual and auditory videos to help them decompress. Interest in videos related to “relaxing” is rising, with watch time increasing over 70 percent in the past 12 months.

Some elements of this trend will be familiar—meditation and yoga videos, for example. Others might be a little more surprising, such as aquarium videos and slime ASMR. Interest in videos related to stress management is also on the rise, with watch time increasing by more than 60 percent year over year.

What it means for brands: As the global wellness industry continues to expand, brands are seizing the opportunity by incorporating parts of it into their products. For example, Ikea’s Hjärtelig Collection focuses on wellness and self-care, and Whole Foods launched a wellness-inspired home goods shop.

Earnest Pettie is a YouTube trends analyst who looks at trending videos piquing viewer interest and what they say about human behavior.