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what are the main insights for brands?


YouTube recently published a new Culture & Trends report with a focus on understanding how Gen Z creators and viewers are driving the latest video trends.

The report contains research insights from more than 10 countries to provide a deeper look at what’s hot in pop culture today.

The report shows that today’s digital culture stands out with personally relevant content, i.e. 65% of Gen Z (ages 18-24) agree that content that is personally relevant to them is significantly more important than content about which many other people are talking about – the famous viral videos.

From all the analyzes done, three main trends types emerged at the center of this new, personally relevant pop culture. They are:

Community Creativity

In the digital world, communities are taking niche passions and uniting around a common interest, turning them into larger, shared experiences.

YouTube has become a key framework for these internet communities to create and expand, making communities and their creators the primary way we understand pop culture.

According to YouTube, fandoms are one of the most powerful forms of community, where 61% of Gen Z describe themselves as super fans of something or someone. These fan communities used to be a side effect of entertainment, but today they are the center of that experience. As is the case with K-Pop fandoms, with a legion of dedicated fans and billions of views distributed on YouTube channels dedicated to this exponentially growing community.

Creativity in multiple formats

Trends are appearing on a wider variety of media and formats. An example of this is the growing rise of short-form video, which has led to the emergence of creators in various formats in order to capitalize on major trends and reach new audiences.

Videos are breaking through the limitation of having only one successful format. Cultural phenomena flow freely between the short and the long form. This is proven when 59% of Gen Z use short-form video apps to discover things they can later watch in the longer versions.

Thus, hybrid creators feel comfortable creating different media and use this to their advantage to increase and strengthen their engagement with the audience. So it’s very likely that these hybrid creators and continually remixed trends will become the new norm.

Besides videos, another popular way to produce and consume remixable content these days is through memes.

  • 63% of Gen Z followed one or more meme accounts in the last 12 months.
  • 57% of Gen Z agree they like it when brands participate in memes.

This format is a highly interactive cultural expression that can provide diverse and creative content productions.

Responsive Creativity

Responsive creativity refers to the tendency to create and consume content to meet psychological and emotional needs. YouTube noticed that people were turning to videos that address specific personal needs, such as relaxing content formats and ASMR, which have become increasingly popular during the pandemic.

As a result, 83% of Gen Z used YouTube to watch content that helped them relax.

These “comfort creators” are a recent phenomenon where audiences identify creators whose familiarity offers them comfort. 69% of Gen Z agree that they often find themselves watching creators or content that they find comforting, and 82% have used YouTube to watch content that made them feel nostalgic.

You can also find comfort in horror content…

That’s what 53% of Gen Z agree on!

It may seem contradictory, but for a part of this generation, horror content serves as a kind of “ointment” for anxiety and trauma, as well as the calming content for another portion of these young people.

In summary, the future of creativity will be:

  • Where there is dialogue with digital communities;
  • Fluidly distributed in different formats;
  • And that responds directly to the needs of the public.

Therefore, the depth and personalization of content will be increasingly relevant and decisive for the success of a brand. It is evident that pop culture is undergoing change and today’s video technology needs to evolve along with it!

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