Social Update: YouTube Back-to-School

YouTube is the social media channel for all things video, from self-promotion to how-to lessons to crazy cat antics. It’s the place where brands go to connect with a variety of audiences, where consumers go for information and entertainment, and where social influencers can make a living.

In August, Adweek published an article about what’s hot on YouTube now based on research that Zefr conducted on Gen Z and their YouTube habits. It’s no surprise that right now, back-to-school is top of mind for this generation, as many will be headed to college this fall. Here are the four main types of back-to-school videos they are watching.

1. DIY - 341 million views - Buzzfeed has turned this category upside down by inspiring brands to post their tips and tricks, and clearly it’s resonating. If members of Gen Z want to know how to do something, this is their first stop.

2. Essentials - 286 million views - Essentials feature what’s new in school supplies, clothing, tech and dorm reviews. Gen Z loves to research, so don’t expect them to buy a name brand product if it has received negative reviews. Word of mouth is king, and YouTube is one of Gen Z’s most trusted resources.

3. Commentary - 198 million views - When members of Gen Z need to find the answer to anything, they go to YouTube. It’s also where they like to share their opinions. In this category, you will find vlogs, skits, plus college comparisons and reviews.

4. Regimens - 132 million views - This is a pretty broad category that includes meal prep, hairstyle tutorials and getting ready routines. Gen Z is looking for ways to make their days more efficient.

If you’re marketing to Gen Z, here are three ways you can connect with this audience through YouTube.

1. Post back-to-school related content.  Think about what information Gen Z fans might find relevant or useful right now.  Topics like how to become a member of the student section, where to find game schedules and promotions, and how to easily attend games and events. If you want to be top of mind, you need to find ways to make your brand more relevant in their eyes. Become a friend, not just another business.

2. Place digital ads in back-to-school videos. The great thing about digital marketing is you can tailor your content to be presented in certain types of videos. If you are targeting this younger demographic, this is where they are. The numbers don’t lie: with a 100% YOY (year over year) increase in back-to-school video views on YouTube, this trend is not going away anytime soon. It’s the right place and the right time for digital advertising if you want to communicate with this audience.

3. Bring on an influencer. Research shows that Generation Z looks at social media influencers as bigger stars than TV and movie personalities. This is great for brands because it gives you an affordable and natural way to engage this audience. Social media influencers create their own content, so that’s less work your staff has to do on social media. Do some research, find an influencer who’s the right fit for your brand, and let them help you engage Gen Z.

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