Google, YouTube lean in on the learning culture in world of brands

Photo: Reuters
Learning is to Google what sharing is to Facebook, the one big differentiator for Google and YouTube in the universe of internet platforms. And this is the edge the global giant holds over the rest, giving it leverage in the world of brands and advertisers.

“Indian consumers love video, and not just for entertainment. They use it to search for, learn about, review, and research products before making purchase decisions,”  said Vikas Agnihotri, country director –Sales, Google. Categories such as lifestyle, education and business have shown 1.5x-3x growth in the last two years, which shows how-to videos are an indispensable part of the consumer lifecycle.

People use YouTube to learn how to do something, from “how to tie a tie” to “how to be an Indian fashion designer” according to YouTube. They turn to Google to search for explanations around anything and everything. In fact, 71 per cent of online video viewers go first to YouTube to watch videos to learn something. According to Ipsos, 68 per cent of millennials choose YouTube to learn something new. 

Source: Google Year in Search report, 2019

For advertisers across categories—be it pharma companies looking to push their over-the-counter fare or a beauty company offering a new shade of lipstick—these numbers are a window in to the mind of the consumer. And the search function thereby opens up a bouquet of opportunities. It lets them target their communication, customise the offer and reach the customer when the time is right.

According to Google’s Year in Search 2019 report, the number of searches from non-metro areas is fast exceeding the metro regions. Outside the big towns, people are looking for products related to international travel destinations, beauty and life insurance more frequently than their counterparts in the metros. The report also found that digital hasn't quite worked out for retailers, in the sense that while users are learning and discovering things online, there is still a need for physical retail. 

Ashish Mishra, MD, Interbrand noted that the mainstream segments of a billion-plus demography have a huge pent up demand. “Demand is across professional growth opportunities through skilling and personal expression or indulgence realisations. Understandably the former has a stronger drive for the smaller towns while indulgence and entertainment drives urban,” he said. 

YouTube has used this insight to push itself as a learning platform. In fact, an online coaching centre is the top educational channel in India with over three million followers and over 30 live streamed videos every day. Its poster boy for the learning space has been a young railway porter who cleared a state civil services exam by studying between jobs on the platform. This is a big opportunity and Mishra said, “Brands that can build purposeful narratives that spawn real, relatable and engaging content will build following and revenue opportunities.”