Majority of YouTube viewers watch explainer videos

When I start typing “how to” into the YouTube search box right now, I can see, based on the autofills, that people are coming to the Google-owned streaming video site to find out how to do everything, from tying a tie to learning how to draw, how to solve a Rubik’s Cube, and even tackling some Fortnite cases.

It’s interesting because even if you think most people are there to binge on cat videos, content from prominent YouTubers and who knows what else to pass the time, a new survey shows that people are actually much more curious than that.

A Pew Research Center survey of nearly 4,600 US adults found, among other things, that 51% of YouTube users say they came to the site for the explainer videos. To learn how to do new things and not just sigh at cute cat videos. “About half of YouTube users say the platform is very important in helping them figure out how to do things they’ve never done before,” the Pew survey reports. “That equates to 35% of all American adults, once users and non-users of the site are taken into account. And about one in five YouTube users (representing 13% of the total adult population) say it’s very important to help them understand events happening in the world. »

The flip side, of course, is that while users may want to use this site to help them better understand the world around them, many also say they are having more and more negative experiences on the platform. -form. About 64% of users told the Pew team that they “sometimes” come across seemingly fake or fake videos while watching content and a further 60% say they sometimes come across videos that depict people in “dangerous” situations. or disturbing”. Perhaps most concerning of all, 61% of parents who let their young children watch YouTube content say they’ve come across videos they deemed inappropriate for young people.

Pew’s findings are instructive, especially considering this week’s midterm elections and the digital channels most people turn to when they want to consume news. Most social feeds aren’t what they used to be, at least for news consumption, but although YouTube wasn’t developed as a news site per se, more and more users l use exactly for that.

Data from Pew shows that the number of YouTube users who get news from the platform almost doubled between 2013 and 2018 (from 20% to 38%). “And this new survey,” according to Pew, “reveals that around half (53%) of YouTube users say the site is at least somewhat important in helping them understand what’s going on in the world – with 19 % saying it is very important to them for this reason.

Shirley K. Rosa