UK and US Content Consumption and Consumer Sentiment Amid COVID-19

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Channel Factory surveyed over 500 UK-based and over 1,000 US-based consumers to find out how the coronavirus is impacting their content consumption. The study uncovered that stay-at-home consumers on both sides of the pond flock to YouTube to cheer them up, a mission the video platform accomplishes better than any other channel.

The report also shows that while fewer YouTube viewers have seen brands running ads next to content that makes them look bad (a sure sign that brand safety on the platform is improving) a significant number of them feel that brands could and should do a better job of contextually targeting them and their moods.

Key findings: Almost 50% of the content being consumed is entertainment and music related in the UK, and entertainment and comedy related in the US; 89% of UK respondents go to YouTube to improve their mood, 9% more than in the US; and 81% in the UK find the platform’s content more uplifting than other channels compared to 69% in the US.

The proportion of respondents who want ads that both boost and align with their mood hovers at around 70% for both countries, and 26% of UK participants expect ads to be relevant to the content they’re watching compared to 29% in America.


YouTube’s about Entertainment, Information & Aligned Ads

The overwhelming majority of survey respondents in both countries indicated that:

  • YouTube is the perfect place to satisfy their quarantine-driven need for a mood lift;
  • They don’t mind seeing advertising as long as it aligned with their mood, their interests, and is contextually relevant to the content they’re consuming.


People are going to YouTube to stay entertained and busy

While 45% of UK people are looking at COVID-19 news updates compared to 33% in the US, most people are flocking to YouTube for escapism and distraction.

  • Entertainment videos are almost equally popular in both countries, at 47% in the UK and 48% in the US;
  • 56% of UK respondents are watching music-related content compared to 48% in the US;
  • comedy consumption stands at 33% in both the UK and the US;
  • 32% are feasting on cooking-related content in the UK, slightly more than the 29% in the US;
  • In the UK, 33% of respondents are consuming sports & fitness content and 30% are watching live streams;
  • and 31% of US respondents are looking at videos about DIY US.

500 UK respondents were asked what they are watching during the crisis

And the most popular influencer categories are…

The top influencers are giving their audiences the content they’re craving. In the UK, news experts top the list, with health and fitness as well as music personalities coming in just behind.

  • 41% put news experts in their top 3 influencers categories;
  • 39% put health & fitness influencers in their top 3 influencers categories;
  • 34% put music personalities in their top 3 influencers categories.

In the US, entertainment and at-home activities top the list, although people are looking for experts on COVID-19 too.

  • 46% put musicians in their top 3 influencers categories;
  • 40% put comedians in their top 3 influencers categories;
  • 30% put news experts in their top 3 influencers categories.


YouTube lifts their spirits and indulges their interests

People overwhelmingly choose YouTube over other channels for more control over their content, to lift their mood, and to satisfy their interests.

  • 89% of UK respondents and 80% of US respondents go to YouTube to improve their mood;
  • Almost the same proportion of UK and US respondents find highly mood and interest specific content on YouTube (90% in the UK and 89% in the US);
  • 81% of UK respondents find the content on YouTube more uplifting than on other channels, 12% more than the proportion of US respondents (69%).

1,000 US respondents were asked they are watching during the crisis

UK People want ads aligned with their mood

The majority of both UK and US respondents want ads that are uplifting and feel relevant. Advertisers should take note.

  • 69% in the UK prefer ads that help boost their mood compared to 70% in the US;
  • 69% prefer ads that align to the mood of the content they’re watching compared to 71% in the US.


UK People want contextually and interest-aligned ads

Around one-third of each audience are in favour of advertising supporting free content, but they want more alignment (34% in the UK and 31% in the US). Advertisers should take note.

  • 26% of UK and 29% of US expect ads to be relevant to the content they’re watching;
  • 21% of UK and 16% of US want ads to be relevant to their interests.

Channel Factory

Channel Factory is the world leader in brand suitability, content alignment and ad performance on YouTube. By harnessing a proprietary platform that leverages the deepest YouTube dataset in the industry, Channel Factory has implemented advanced brand…
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