Google has been closely tracking user engagement with its platforms during the pandemic and leveraging that information into new advertising tactics. A recent Think with Google article illustrates why YouTube viewers are turning to the internet to satisfy basic human needs and why that’s a good thing for digital marketing advertisers.
The article features insights from Susan Kresnicka, a cultural anthropologist who studies ‘the relationship between fundamental human needs and consumer behaviour.’ In it, she identifies three core needs shared by all people: self-care, social connection, and identity.
With in-the-flesh human interactions limited due to social distancing requirements necessitated by COVID-19, people are looking to fulfill all three needs on social media platforms, including YouTube.
“When the pandemic upended life as we knew it, many of the ways we were used to meeting our needs became untenable,” Kresnicka said. “So people are learning new techniques to soothe their anxious minds.”
In the self-care category, for example, YouTube reports that viewership of ‘nature sounds’ videos, which are often used as sleep and meditation aids, is up 25 per cent. In the social connection category, viewership of “With Me” videos, where viewers participate in out-of-the-home activities through a creator, is up a massive 600 per cent. And for identity needs, viewers are increasingly turning to hair-cutting tutorials and virtual worship services.
In other words, video content creators, including digital marketing agencies, are uniquely suited to fill the social and emotional voids left by antiviral safety measures.
“Why is a 100-year-old soda brand still the market leader?” Kresnicka asks. “Because it boosts our energy and mood (self-care), brings us back to previous times in our lives (identity), and makes us feel connected to others who shared the same experience.”
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