The recent virtual YouTube Festival highlighted new offerings for advertisers to connect with consumers as well as unique insights into the platform and the budding community of African creators and artists.
Alex Okosi, Managing Director, YouTube EMEA Emerging Markets, mentioned that the pandemic forced people worldwide to tap into their creative, entrepreneurial and social skills. ‘As the world transitioned completely online, one of the platforms that helped them navigate through this was YouTube. It helped to transform our homes into restaurants, schools, gyms and barbershops as we turned to the platform to learn these skills,’ said Okosi.
95% of consumers are spending more time on in-home media consumption activities than ever before. ‘During the pandemic, YouTube provided a way for brands to connect to consumers in a more meaningful way. Video accounted for a substantial share of this. Nielsen has estimated that being homebound has led to an almost 60% increase in overall global video watch time,’ said Okosi.
Brands have also played an important role in helping navigate these times. Despite the uncertainty around Covid, many brands responded with meaningful ads and messaging. ‘YouTube enabled brands to connect with consumers in a meaningful way and consumers felt that brands were there for them more than ever before,’ he said.
Fearghal O’Connor, Head of Music GTM, YouTube EMEA, said that music is driving creativity and culture in Africa. A highlight for YouTube was hosting the virtual Africa Day Concert with Idris Elba, which gave people across Africa and the rest of the world access to Africa’s most well-loved musicians and shone a light on the next wave of African musical talent.
‘During the pandemic, artists turned to YouTube to create the world’s biggest virtual stage. Consequently, music consumption on YouTube is at an all time high,’ said O’Connor.
He added that music fans come to YouTube for three reasons:
1. An immersive experience: fans come to watch, listen to and feel the music that they love.
2. Discovery and entertainment: Ipsos has ranked YouTube as number one for music discovery among Millennials.
3. A sense of community: fans use the platform to connect with one another.
YouTube has over two billion monthly logged-in music users while more than 50% of logged in users consume more than 10 minutes of music content each day. ‘Music on YouTube delivers great results for advertisers. Our research suggests that YouTube media campaigns that include music content deliver greater results for brand awareness, consideration and ad recall than campaigns that exclude music.’
More than 85% of music on YouTube is consumed in the foreground. What about the remaining 15%? For this, YouTube have launched audio-ads in sub-Saharan Africa. The new format provides connection to an audience during ambient and engaged listening experiences, be it while people are cooking, at work, at the gym, etc. ‘Audio ads offer efficient and incremental reach, serving where video ads do not serve, and at a lower price point,’ said O’Connor.
YouTube Select is another new service launched in sub-Saharan Africa. The suite of content solutions packages the most popular music into easy-to-buy and thematic line-ups, allowing advertisers to tap into charts such as the top 100 artists, localised genres, moods and relevant cultural moments, at scale.
‘In a time where brands need to cut through and take a stand with their audience, music on YouTube breeds culture and ignites connection. YouTube Select also extends to other popular content verticals such as sport, beauty, fashion, gaming, news, education and broadcast content, allowing you to align to the most popular content,’ said O’Connor.
Mobile devices are popular in Africa
YouTube’s internal data shows that over 120 million people watched YouTube or YouTube TV on their TV screens in December 2020. While TV is the fastest growing screen – watched and recorded live streams doubled in the past year – mobile devices are still the most popular consumption device, driving more than 60% of music watch time on YouTube.
In Africa, mobile-first is more prevalent than the rest of the world due to its ease of accessibility. A 2021 Ipsos study across South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya found that, on average, 87% of respondents watched YouTube on mobile phones. This is the primary device among young consumers, especially Gen Z.
Engaging with audiences across the funnel
Zanele Htatshwayo, YouTube Lead Africa, referenced the popular marketing funnel of awareness, consideration and action. ‘Connecting with your audiences on YouTube provides you with an opportunity to engage with your audiences across the funnel. When it comes to consideration, for example, customers don’t just discover new brands and products with video. They rely on video to help them make purchasing decisions, and they look for inspiration, guidance and confidence boosters in key moments. With consideration and mid-funnel solutions available, YouTube will provide opportunities for your audiences to engage and discover your brand,’ said Htatshwayo.