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The Data Daily

5 Ways People Are Turning to YouTube to Cope While Social Distancing

Last updated: 03-26-2020

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5 Ways People Are Turning to YouTube to Cope While Social Distancing

In a global moment that feels uncharted and unfamiliar, people are turning to online video to adapt, cope and find community. Across content genres, YouTube creators are offering handy advice to help their audiences adjust to changes in daily life and fostering human connection to help us all move forward together.

These are the five types of video content we’ve seen audiences gravitate toward in recent weeks.

As an increasing number of adults find themselves working from home, creators are sharing tips and tricks on how to do it effectively. From troubleshooting poor internet connections, to equipment hacks, to sharing creative ways for remote team collaboration, their advice is resonating. In the past week alone, searches for “telecommuting” in the U.S. reached an all-time high on Google and YouTube, with no sign of slowing down.

Students are adapting to a new reality, too, as school closures have forced at-home learning and a rise in virtual classrooms. For companionship and motivation, students are leaning into “study with me” videos, a trend that originally gained momentum in 2019. In the U.S., since January, views of videos containing “study with me” in the title are 54% higher compared to the same period last year. And in recent weeks, social distancing has given rise to a creator-led #WithMe campaign, offering entertainment and companionship across a range of different interests. Whether you are looking for encouragement, a study buddy or simply to be in the company of others, these videos deliver hours of uninterrupted companionship for people of all ages.

Non-perishable food items may get a bad rap, but they serve a significant purpose when people prepare for extended time at home. Fortunately, YouTubers are putting a fresh spin on these staples with simple recipes to prove that functional food can be tasty and fun. Looking for inspiration, hungry Americans are watching videos related to recipes and cooking at a rate 31% higher than they did in March 2019—and among these viewers, pantry meals are particularly popular. As people gear up for what may be a long haul, these videos help them get organized and equipped to manage in-home dining.

Between the uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus, its widespread impact and abrupt changes to everyday life, recent weeks and months have given us a lot to worry about. Many are turning to online video for help in coping with anxiety and stress. Within the genre, we see people leaning on everything from the expected—meditation and yoga—to the more unexpected: aquarium videos and autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) content. So far in the U.S. this year, views of meditation-related videos are 51% higher than the same period in 2019, and views and uploads of videos related to ASMR have hit an all-time high.

Those who regularly hit the gym or studio for a stress release are now finding ways to work out at home with the help of YouTube creators. More than 8,000 channels strong, YouTube’s fitness community spans all sorts of specialties, from high-intensity cardio, to muscle strengthening, to deep stretching and beyond. Even in these challenging times, people are tuning in to maintain their workout schedules.

Gina Shalavi is a product marketing manager for YouTube at Google.


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