YouTube Culture & Trends Report: What it means for brands

YouTube’s 2023 Culture and Trends Report has dropped this week, featuring a whole raft of interesting insights across quite a wide demographic pool (with additional survey results from GenZ).

Join our Head of Creative, James, as he explores how these trends are influencing content creation for brands.

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September 1, 2023

James Pierechod

“Trends” as a term is basically a representation of the collision between the media, creativity, new technology, and content creators’ adoption speed.

New creative techniques, tools emerge daily, and the low barrier to entry (financially and technically); is how content creators can use these skills to create a wave of ‘feed frenzy’ over such a short period of time.

You can see this rapid adoption, experimentation, and speed to deploy – leading to a ‘tsunami of similarity’ in a very short period of time.

Fame can be fleeting, but seeing how these trends change the viewing behaviours of our audiences is far more interesting!


So, let’s use this knowledge to map out longer term patterns and how they are shaping the way we create content for brands:

Boundless consumption

We’re all used to multi-channel and multi-platform deliverables, right?

But this will be more constant, with interconnected narrative journeys.

In the past year, we’ve seen the integration of Shorts and TikTok’s into search results, both natively in the SERPS and on YouTube, and we’ve seen the Google Generative Search change the game in Rich Snippets.

We’ve seen films, TV, and advertising creatively explore mixed media and mixed format storytelling, and this is down to consumer evolution.

I remember when it was odd to see text messages represented as narrative components… it’s just part of the zeitgeist now.

68% of viewers are watching more and more niche content and are not negatively influenced by the format or narrative flow. We’re watching podcasts, live streams, scripted, and short-form in the same breath.

We’re seeing influencers change into brands

We’re seeing a huge shift in digital celebrity (influencers), with viewers showcasing a far more diverse range of engagement between casual enthusiasts and fervent devotees. We’re seeing these influencers become multi-channel brands far quicker. Forcing influencers to generate and deployment multi-platform structured content at a far more established level. Influencers become trusted advocates, becoming publishers in a matter of months!

Surprisingly, the recent surveys suggest a substantial percentage of individuals expressing a demand for consuming creators’ content to include deeper breakdowns of significant events over the events themselves. Within the Gen Z, a staggering 47% have engaged with fan-generated videos centred around this published content (from podcasts to breakdowns, tutorials to priority content). It’s not just the “advert” anymore. It’s how we got there, what we learnt, what we failed at, and anything else! Content is more open, authentic, and experimental. 54% say they have watched a breakdown or making of an event rather than the event itself!

Generative AI is being integrated into content

This is no shock to the creatives, but it’s a positive survey result for marketeers and brand managers who are unsure about where AI will fall within their professional landscape.

60% of people surveyed agree they’re open to watching creators who use AI to generate some of their content.

We’re seeing AI be used the way it should be; to elevate self-expression, enhance creative capability, and automate functional activities. There isn’t an agency in the country that hasn’t had AI discussions at some point or another – but these discussions are now feeling more deliberate. We’re creating policies, protecting ethics, and embracing potential!

Delving into the currents of trends is fun, but the deeper revelations lie in deciphering how these trends affect the landscape of ‘viewers’ behaviours’ in the future.