Try a trend: Virtual humans, Majorette dancing and more
Apr 26, 2023 – minute read
Apr 26, 2023 – minute read
Today, we’re launching a new series where we surface trends that really pop, that our experts are seeing around the world on YouTube. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your next video, general YouTube knowledge, or opportunities to get ahead of rising trends, here are some key trends and insights to chew on.
As AI continues to have an increasing influence on creation, Virtual Humans indicate that audiences are open to engaging with generative Creators and humans alike.
What this is: You’ve likely heard of VTubers by now - animated personas who have exploded globally since their origination in Japan and are garnering over 1.5B views per month1. Combine that aesthetic with the recent rise of AI, and you have a good explanation for the arrival of Virtual Humans, with support from Gen Z in particular, in South Korea. Unlike the cartoonish depictions of VTubers, Virtual Humans are digitally-rendered personas with hyper-realistic appearances who are captivating audiences by creating videos for popular content categories on YouTube, such as dance challenges on Shorts, music videos, and song covers.
Why this matters: As AI continues to have an increasing influence on creation, Virtual Humans indicate that audiences are open to engaging with generative Creators and humans alike. Whether with the launch of a new channel, or a Creator looking to diversify the existing presentation of their content, it’s possible to still connect with audiences by using digital personas, realistic and cartoon-like, or your own face.
What this is: There has been an increase in spooky content popping up despite it not being October. Analog horror refers to a genre of horror content that uses vintage media effects from TV broadcasts, VHS tapes, and old films to enhance stories. It gained popularity through projects like Local 58, The Mandela Catalogue, and The Backrooms (Found Footage), which became one of the top trending videos of 2022. While these were all long form series, the most recent manifestation of analog horror is doppelganger Shorts, where Creators record their evil body doubles to bring mystery, and eeriness to a situation, using both audio from the Mandela Catalogue and Sirens.
Why this matters: Oftentimes, short form video in tandem with long form allows for different creative demonstrations on the same topic. In this case, instead of the typical longer storylines with analog horror, Creators are finding pithy and creative ways to demonstrate bite-sized interpretations of an already widely loved genre. This not only allows for new content trends to arise, but also meets varying audience needs and interests across formats.
What this is: There’s a new dance style taking over, and it’s modeled on majorettes. While majorette choreography is typically associated with marching bands, it has become a recurring inspiration for recent dance challenges such as Beyonce’s Upgrade U and Toosi’s Favorite Song (where even the artist got involved). Majorettes have always been a hallowed part of Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ tradition, but are getting more recognition in pop culture, including these dances have re-energized and expanded the definition of what short form dance trends can look like.
Why this matters: While dance trends are ubiquitous, majorettes show us that creative inspiration comes from spaces beyond the expected sources, which in this case would be artist videos and fan accounts. Looking beyond typical places of inspiration into other areas, such as marching bands for a dance trend, can bring about something fresh that audiences gravitate towards due to their uniqueness. No matter the genre, consider other verticals as fair game to help spark creativity.
What this is: Wash day routine videos detail the unique techniques, products, and tools used by people with textured hair. The U.S. represents the most viewership for this trend, followed by India, Turkey, and Great Britain2, as Creators and viewers around the world are able to bond over the time, patience, and effort textured hair requires. While older wash day videos focused on hairstyling, current videos focus on health and wellness - a broader phenomenon increasing in popularity on YouTube. In fact, daily views of videos related to the topic of self-care have increased 50% in the first three months of 2023 from the last 3 months of 20223.
Why this matters: Without needing to fully overhaul your content, topics and angles that are instructive towards or reflective of self-care are sought after right now, especially amongst young audiences. This slight shift in approach, as demonstrated by wash day routines, can make trends that have been around for years feel of-the-moment again, especially when that content has mass global reach and appeal.
With Nail Day coming up on May 5, we can expect a swell of content celebrating this global community.
What this is: Beauty content has always been a staple on YouTube, especially when it is mixed with learning. Nail art, where fingernails are enhanced and styled with various art techniques and accessories, is no exception, and garnered more than 5B views globally last year4. On YouTube, the nail art creator community is vast and diverse, and has seen massive success by tapping into cultural moments such as the World Cup, mainstream content trends like ASMR, popular soundtracks, and even pranks. With Nail Day coming up on May 5, we can expect a swell of content celebrating this global community.
Why this matters: While nail art seems like a niche category, Creators have found ways to take it mainstream by incorporating mainstream phenomena and moments that are naturally driving conversation. Online video and culture have mutual influence on one another, which is why tapping into topics that are already gaining attention helps render the content more easily relatable through common interests in music, global events, or video trends, despite the language spoken or content vertical.
1. Global YouTube views for uploads to channels identified as Virtual YouTubers through channel metadata and manual review, January 2016 to October 2020
2. YouTube data, Global, 22 Feb 2022 - 19 Feb 2023
3. YouTube data, Global, 1 Oct 2022 - 1 April 2023
4. YouTube data, Global, 2022