STUDIES

Top 10 YouTube Trends 2021

David Morneau

By David Morneau
13 min READ | Apr 1 2021

Top 10 YouTube Trends 2021

A Pinch of History

In 2005, Jawed Karim from San Diego uploaded a simple 18-second long video, “Me at the zoo,” to the website. What followed from there would change the internet forever. At least for the foreseeable future.

Jawed Karim "Me at zoo" 2005

Around a decade later, YouTube became the world’s second-largest search engine, topped only by Google, which happens to own YouTube.

The power of YouTube is a force to be reckoned with for promoting your brand, product, or service. Youtube accounts for about a third of internet traffic worldwide, so that you can see the potential here. We previously published a YouTuber outreach guide and received a lot of feedback to continue our YouTube guides. This article will cover the top 10 YouTube trends 2021 that you need to consider before hitting a “record” button.

Leveraging YouTube For Your Brand

The 2020 pandemic saw a steep rise in YouTube consumption. The trend will continue in 2021, and there’s no way to stop that train. With the amount of videos uploaded by already well-established YouTubers and all the new YouTubers popping up by the hundreds each month, there are also thousands of new consumers of content on the platform.

Brands are taking advantage of this trend by promoting their products and services in 2 ways. They create their own channels, upload their own content, and negotiate with popular YouTube creators to promote their products and services.

Creator collabs on YouTube generate more significant ROI for brands, as YouTubers’ engagement rates are usually higher than branded channels, based on the already numerous audience these YouTube creators have. YouTube creators can promote brands by either mentioning their sponsors at the beginning, middle, or end of their videos.

Video marketing is where it’s at these days. According to this article posted by google themselves, 70% of people have bought a product after watching it on YouTube. Video is excellent at catching your consumers’ attention, and it is much easier to deliver information in an engaging way.

What YouTube trends should we keep our eyes peeled for in 2021? Let’s dive into them.

There Is No Stopping YouTube

At least for the foreseeable future, YouTube will continue to grow. During the 2020 pandemic, people worldwide took to the platform en masse, and viewership erupted like mentos in a coke bottle.

YouTube accounts for a whopping 25% of global mobile traffic and is available in 80 languages.

Even though most viewers on YouTube come from mobile, this report shows a 39% increase in views from TV screens in 2019, and in 2020 this number exploded to 80%, accounting for 450 million hours of watch time per day! Next up are the trends to watch for in 2021.

#1 YouTube Live

YouTube Live BuzzFeed

Most people who watch videos do so because they want to see a story. A brand story through a live stream is a very captivating and compelling way to deliver that story solidly. Live streams create a first-person interaction that makes consumers relate and connect with your brand in real-time. Consumers can speak directly to the brand via live chat, which motivates them to stay glued to the screen.

Today more people are likely to watch a live stream than a regular video. This trend is slowly shaking the foundations of regular videos. That doesn’t mean that people don’t or won’t watch regular videos, but it is more enticing to watch a live video as it creates a more personal connection between the viewer and the brand or creator.

To make the most of your live streams,  you should bear in mind three things before going live:

  1. Planning
  2. Creative approaches, and
  3. Promotion
Ingridients of a great YouTube livestream

It’s easy to think that because you’re going live, everything should be spontaneous and random. Successful streams usually have a balance between improvisation and structure. It requires some forethought:

  • Start by figuring out your goal for this live stream.
  • Plan out your topic. For instance, you can select your followers’ comments upfront and address them during your live stream.
  • After your live stream is over, it is saved in your library, so a little bit of thought upfront about the topic can make an excellent video for your viewers to watch later.
  • Consider bringing extra help to spice up or add some variety to your stream, like a co-host who can keep the energy up during the live stream and step in if the situation calls for it. A friend can also help you off-camera, act as a producer, or monitor the chat. The co-host is one of a myriad of creative elements you can add to your live streams.

The idea is to keep the live stream moving, so any extra ingredients that can help you keep your audience engaged will make your live streams much more enjoyable and boost conversions as a result.

Another way to keep your audience engaged is to add some element of suspense. Viewers love anticipation, so consider something that will keep people guessing, such as a game or a challenge.  Making a big announcement is also another way to keep your viewers on the edge of their seats, and it adds interactivity. Post a Q&A session or poll viewers on the following topic.

After choosing your topic and figuring out what elements you’ll add to your live stream, it’s time to get the word out.

To build a buzz around your live stream, you can promote your event on social media. Let your audience know you’ll be taking questions, posting a poll, maybe you’ll have a co-host or an expert in your industry on the live stream with you, or you may even ask for topic suggestions.

#2 YouTube Algorithms and Hashtags in 2021

By now, many people are slightly familiarized with the term “algorithm,” even if they failed maths or physics at school. Being the second largest search engine globally, YouTube uses powerful algorithms, and they are continually evolving by looking at the trends themselves. Among these trends are what viewers like to watch, hot topics, and many other features that help these machine learning algorithms determine how to present suitable videos to the right audience.

YouTube Hashtags

A compelling feature that can boost your brand’s views or the views of the creator you are working with is hashtags. Even though YouTube introduced hashtags quite some years ago, most channels never really paid much attention to them. Hashtags on YouTube work pretty much in the same way as Instagram hashtags do. They help people find a specific product, service, topics, how-to videos, etc.

YouTube Hashtags 2021

You can add hashtags to the video title. YouTube allows up to three hashtags per video title. Let’s say you have a brand that specializes in coffee grinders: CoffeeGrinderXYZ. Some people may be familiarized with your brand and want to find out more about your brand and some of your coffee grinder models.

By adding a hashtag like #coffeegrinderxyz, #coffeegrindersinmyarea, and #bestcoffeegrinders2021, you are giving YouTube valuable information to help people discover your brand or find out about a particular model they’ve been thinking about buying but aren’t convinced yet.

Titles are critical as they will tell the viewer exactly what you will show them in the video. Following the coffee grinder example, you could add a title like How To Use The CoffeeGrinderXYZ 20X Model. Titles are capped at 100 characters, so it is vital to use at least one hashtag followed by a compelling title. Using the year in the title is also a great idea, as people tend to click on recent videos. Even if your brand's videos are slightly old but still relevant, consider editing the title to include the current year. Many creators are doing that, and that is quite a trend these days.

How to use hashtags on YouTube

Just like titles, video descriptions should be very… well, descriptive. Make sure you write as much relevant information in your description box as many people tend to skim through that section to decide whether to watch the video or skip to the next. Consider it as an extension to your title.

YouTube Tags

Next is the tags. Don’t confuse with hashtags. Tags aren’t usually visible to the viewer, but they help the algorithm determine what kind of video you are posting. They are keywords. Tags are usually added below the description and should also be used wisely, without abusing them. CoffeeGrinderXYZ tags can include the brand name itself, “best coffee grinders in 2021”, “how to grind coffee,” and other relevant tags.

How to use Tags on YouTube

YouTube Thumbnails

Last but not least are the thumbnails. With so much competition to get the CTR (click-through rates) as high as possible, brands and creators resort to high-contrast pictures with lots of colors and attractive fonts and faces on them. Your thumbnail complements your titles and description.

I don’t mean just the captions, but the whole visual appeal must be appealing and click-worthy to stand out from the other videos fighting for that click. Don’t underestimate the power of a stunning thumbnail. Use tools like canva.com to help you create thumbnails. They have hundreds of awesome templates:

How to create YouTube Thumbnails in 2021

#3 Immersive Shopping

This study found that 80% of online shoppers watched a video of the product they planned to buy. Over the last couple of years, the views of “Shop with me” style videos have multiplied by 10. Another popular shopping style video trend is the “Does it work,” which has grown twelvefold, and the “Everything you need to know” video watch time has doubled in the same period.

YouTube Immersive shopping trends 2021

Brands should add product reviews and shopping guide videos onto their YouTube channels. Or, as we mentioned earlier, working with a YouTube creator who could represent your brand well can also be a good move.

#4 How-to Tutorials

Even though how-to videos on YouTube is not a new trend, it is still powerful and will continue to grow. YouTube’s parent company, Google, has made some changes to help “how-to” videos get gain more views.

When you type a “how-to” question on Google’s search bar, it will display a text-based result, followed by a string of videos related to your search query. Most people will definitely click on a video that will explain what they are looking for.

If people type in “How to grind coffee,” they will see a video of the fictitious company we created before (CoffeeGrinderXYZ) explaining how to grind coffee… with the CoffeeGrinder 20X model! So you gain a viewer and potentially a new customer too.

#5 Morning and Night Routine Videos

Viewers love watching stories. When a story resonates with the viewer’s lifestyle, they’ll get hooked. An excellent example of a “morning” routine video, once again using our coffee grinder company, could be “how to grind and brew the best coffee to kick start your day.” In this video, you will subtly introduce the audience to your star product. I said subtly because they are not explicitly looking for your video or brand. They just want to make great coffee to kick start the day with great flavor and energy.

Mogo.ca campaign on YouTube 2021

Mogo.ca video insert into Carter Sullivan’s routine video. Campaign by inBeat.agency

#6 YouTube Ads Over TV Ads

Television was for many decades the place where you would promote your brand. And it was pretty expensive. Small businesses could only dream of being featured on TV one day. Most small businesses relied on newspaper or magazine ads to promote their brands. Now it’s all changed. Social media ads are ridiculously affordable, even for the most cash-strapped new entrepreneur. For as little as a few dollars a day, you can present your brand to an audience as broad or as narrow as you want.

As TV viewership keeps dropping like flies in a freshly sprayed cornfield, it doesn’t make much sense to run ads on TV anymore. Most brands focus their marketing efforts on social media, and YouTube is one of the most powerful ways to promote your brand.

According to a recent study conducted by Nielsen, YouTube reaches more adult viewers on mobile than any cable network does.

Consumers primarily watch YouTube from their smartphones during prime time. Add to the previous statement that around 75% of adults watch YouTube on their mobiles from home and that YouTube mobile advertising is 84% more effective at grabbing consumer attention than TV ads. Now you have enough compelling evidence for investing in YouTube ads with a much higher ROI.

YouTube ads statistics 2021

#7 ASMR Videos

ASMR is a relatively untapped category of videos. Still, they are growing in popularity day by day. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) videos are usually professionally produced videos to deliver certain sounds and visuals. These videos are designed to invoke a variety of feelings and emotions that are satisfying, calming, and soothing to the viewers.

Some videos in this category include cooking, whispering, book reading, eating, cosplay, among many others. These videos are mainly produced by channels that focus on meditation, therapy, mental health, and wellness.

But brands in other niches can leverage the power of ASMR videos to invoke certain feelings. Once again, using our coffee grinder company example, you could create a video showing the different stages of coffee preparation.

For example, sound from the grinding, the water pouring into the coffee maker. Add to that the milk drop sound as it makes contact with the coffee, the spoon against the sides of the cup while stirring, the first slurp, and many other sound effects.

Here is an actual example of an ASMR video featuring the coffee brewing process:

ASMR video trends on YouTube 2021

#8 360-Degree Videos

Offering 100% immersive experience, these videos work great for real estate, hotels, house tours, travel and tourism, and video games. With 360 degree videos on YouTube, viewers can pause the video at any time and click and drag to rotate the view at any angle they want, giving them a VR experience.

Imagine promoting your real estate company and showing potential buyers a wholly immersive experience without leaving their current home.

You can showcase your town, village, or tourist attraction during these challenging times using a 360-degree video experience.

#9 YouTube Shorts

Although still in its beta stage, YouTube Shorts allow anyone to create a 60-sec (or less) video from their mobile and upload it straight from their phone onto the YouTube app. YouTube Shorts are a great way to start uploading quickly with huge potential to get discovered. It works a bit like Tiktok, and you can only upload videos in portrait mode.

Although there is a high potential for discoverability, you cannot monetize YouTube Short videos at this time. You cannot upload thumbnails either. Another downside of YouTube Shorts is that views don’t count towards watch time, so if you want to get your channel monetized, don’t rely on YouTube Shorts. It could all change in the future if YouTube Shorts become as successful as we all want it to be, so it is an excellent time to get into it before it’s too late.

#10 Makeover Videos

Whether it is from ugly to gorgeous or from rundown to Airbnb ready, these types of videos are buzzing now on YouTube, and there is no sign of slowing down. Take this channel, for example, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJdVb4j5X4U. On this channel, you can see how the creator transforms homes that look a bit, well, not very presentable and make them worthy enough to be on the cover of any magazine. At inBeat.agency, we collaborated with this channel for the Urban Ambiance campaign (USA-made luxury light fixtures), which generated a lot of buzz:

Urban Ambiance Campaign on YouTube 2021

These kinds of videos would be ideal for any brand in the home decor and interior works niche.

Videos that show a personal transformation, like from ugly to beautiful, are an excellent idea for cosmetics brands, hair products, nail care products, clothing brands, shoe brands, and any products in the beauty and clothing industries. You can find influencers on YouTube that are makeover gurus and will take your brand to the next level.

Bonus Trend: YouTube Gaming

Most gaming channels are on YouTube, and this niche saw a massive boost in their viewership during the 2020 pandemic. But before that, gaming channels on YouTube were already growing at an astounding rate. 2021 will follow the same trend and more. These videos could potentially benefit the electronic gadget industry and desktop peripherals and accessories brands. So do not overlook it.

For example, Nord VPN collaborated with gamers on YouTube for quite some time and generated impressive results. They combined in-stream video inserts with review videos from the same gamers for the maximum impact:

Nord VIP YouTube campaigns

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