- Over the past year, there has been a 50% increase in time spent watching funny sports videos and a 60% increase in watch time for interview sports content, according to a Think with Google blog post. How-to sports video searches have also doubled.
- Viewers are increasingly seeking out game highlights, with watch time for this content growing 80% over the past year. Seventy out of the top 100 sports videos on YouTube have “greatest,” “great” or “best” in their titles. There has been a 90% increase in football highlight video searches.
- Sports fans want to “watch on their own terms,” per the post, and that often means using multiple screens at once. Eighty percent of sports viewers report using a computer or smartphone to search for player stats and live scores or to message other fans while watching live sports, and 30% say they live stream sports on their smartphones or tablets.
Google’s analysis of sports fans’ YouTube viewing behaviors shows that, in the era of online video, being a sports fan is about more than the actual games. Fans increasingly access a variety of video content surrounding their favorite sports, teams or players, including bloopers, interviews, highlights and more. For high-profile live games, like the Super Bowl, fans expect a broad entertainment experience.
Consumers are increasingly seeking out higher-quality video content that is entertaining and educational. For marketers, this should further emphasize the power of video to drive engagement. Video is predicted to account for more than 80% of all online traffic, according to a study by Brandlive and IBM Cloud Video. In 2017, companies were planning to spend $135 billion on online video, nearly 2x what they were planning to spend on TV and 1.5x on digital ads, according to Magisto research.
The increase in streaming options and higher rates of cord-cutters are changing how viewers watch sports. Overall, sports ratings have dropped over the past few years, but people are still watching, just not as often and in shorter spurts, according to a McKinsey & Company analysis of Nielsen data. While the overall number of cable cord-cutters continues to rise, most sports fans are keeping their pay TV subscriptions because of access to live sports, but 82% of the subscribers would cut or trim the cord if it weren’t for sports.
With multiple instances of ads appearing next to unsavory content on YouTube, marketers have been treading more lightly when placing ads on the platform. But, most aren’t fully turning their backs on the billions of YouTube users. To put advertisers’ minds at ease, Google has recently announced tougher screening protocol for Google Premium videos to ensure that they are brand safe.