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Finding comforting content on social media

Growing interest for comforting content on social media

How to calm down from stressful days? Some look for comforting content on social. Last year, there were more than 65 billion views of soothing, often sedative, videos related to so called “whisper videos” (ASMR) on YouTube. And a survey shows that one of the categories using a  lot of soothing content is Gen Z,  Roya Zeitoune, YouTube Head of Culture and Trends in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, writes in a blog

A new Ipsos survey of thousands of Gen Z respondents shows that 83% have used YouTube to watch soothing content that helps them relax, she writes.

“ASMR videos (so called “whisper videos”) have been around for many years and continue to be amongst the most watched formats in this category. Other popular forms of soothing content include nature films,  cottagecore videos, and compilations of ‘oddly satisfying’ clips.”

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“Gen Z is a young cohort — the oldest ones are just 25 — but this generation is a major force in shaping international culture and consumption, both online and in-person. Being conscious of their needs and interests is key to creating relevant messaging and connecting with them on a deeper level”, she writes.

A popular category is armchair travelling. The survey shows 90% of Gen Z say they have watched a video that helped them feel like they were in a different place.

Popular formats of soothing videos include animal live streams and immersive nature films that are 10+ hours long, often set to meditative music, Zeitoune writes.

“ASMR is short for autonomous sensory meridian response. When we talk about ASMR videos, we’re talking about soothing, often sedative videos that typically include placid sights and sounds. This content often features people whispering (or making soft sounds), which can help listeners relax and give them a gentle tingling sensation across their scalp and body.”

“While this type of “brain massage” may be seen as obscure by some, the numbers tell a different story. In 2021 alone, there were more than 65 billion views of videos related to ASMR on YouTube.”

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And ASMR is a trend. The Victoria and Albert museum in London, for example, has an ‘ASMR at the museum’ video playlist in which they make soothing ASMR sounds with artefacts from their collection.

Zeitoune says the company’s research shows growing interest amongst Gen Z for nostalgia watching. “They will revisit older videos and tune into their favourite channels, even if the creators are doing something mundane.”

Zeitoune writes marketers need to be sensitive to this emerging reality, and aware of how Gen Z has formed new habits to cope.

“In the past, young generations were typically associated with loud music, risk-taking, and short attention spans. This research challenges those stereotypes and shows us that Gen Z are simply trying to cope with the stress of life… just like everyone else.”

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