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A year on YouTube: The videos the U.K. loved to watch in 2020

Authors: OPTS Mobile Planning Team


Google have collated the top YouTube trends for the pivotal year that was 2020, summarising breakout creators, the rise of the digital experience, videos that cut-through adversity, and the top YouTube ads in 2020.


Breakout creators

A 2020 YouTube summary would not be complete without a mention of Joe Wicks - the at home PE teacher phenomenon, who helped families with children to stay in shape together at home.

Other notable breakout creators include the group Sidemen, who entertained the nation with a steady output of challenges, pranks, and gaming streams, and Patricia Bright, who shifted her usual beauty and fashion content to financial and budgeting advice.

Amongst the darker times of 2020, people turned to creators for comfort and happiness, epitomised by John Krasinski’s SomeGoodNews channel, which provided viewers with positivity.


Communal virtual experiences

With Covid impacting any public or social event in 2020, experiences moved online. Popular events that were held virtually (for example Notting Hill Carnival and London Fashion Week) showed that viewers were looking for a a shared moment. 'Co-watching' has become a new activity for people to come together virtually. This exists outside of YouTube, as viewers are also utilising add-ons such as Netflix party or joining revision live-streams on TikTok to feel a virtual connection.


Videos that confronted adversity

While the early months of 2020 saw searches and views of 'How to' videos sore, the second half of 2020 saw people gravitate to online video to scrutinise history, explore identity, and call for advocacy, allyship, and action. In the U.K., creators and industry leaders came together to celebrate Black British culture. Within the first week of June, views of videos titled with “how to be an ally” increased 23% from viewership in all of May.


The ads that cut through in 2020

Brands were quick to reflect the changing social and cultural environment. While brands like Dove and Dettol showed their support of hospital and NHS staff, other retail brands like Ikea and Tesco reminded us to love our homes and food, bringing a wholesome attention to the current state of being for the majority of the population. Simple messages of solidarity were also on display, as Guinness encouraged people to take care of each other and toast again when the time is right and Nike released their feel-good ad encouraging the world to never give up.


More than ever before, the monumentus year of 2020 meant that YouTube reflected the changing consumer behaviours and human needs due to social and cultural factors. Samsung's innovative technology should be demonstrated through creative video buying strategies that show that we can meet these changing needs whiling breaking through adversity and adding meaning to pivotal cultural moments.

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