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Learning from COVID-19 YouTube Search Trends

Last updated on October 9, 2020
8 minute read
Key Takeaways

  • Data on how the pandemic has affected YouTube trends
  • Cooking, fitness, and connection-related search terms on the rise
  • How you can apply this data to your video marketing strategy

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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of our daily lives, including the things people search for online. We’ve already explored the ways in which Google search trends have changed during the pandemic. In this guide, we’re taking a closer look at search trends on the second most popular search engine in the world – YouTube. 

We’ve all turned to the web for one reason or another during the pandemic, whether it’s learning new recipes to make at home, finding new workout routines, or learning to garden. YouTube recently released a study revealing the most common search trends during the pandemic and the type of content that viewers have engaged with. This guide will touch on the trends most relevant to the tours and activities industry and offer some ideas on how you can use this data in your video marketing strategy. 

The Most Popular Searches

YouTube’s recent study compared the daily views of videos containing certain search terms between the start of 2020 and after a national emergency was declared in the U.S. in March. Not only did their general viewership increase significantly, but they noticed that certain search terms and video categories were quickly growing.


youtube data on pizza recipe videosUnsurprisingly, cooking videos have been very popular during the pandemic, as we’ve taken up new hobbies and tried to make some of our favorite comfort foods at home. Videos with the term “sourdough” had the largest growth, with daily views increasing by 458%, and average daily views for french fry recipe videos grew by 120%, while pizza recipe videos got over 700 million views between March 15 and May 7, 2020. 

Other trends might be more unexpected — for example, average daily views for videos with “raising chickens” in the title rose by 160%, showing that people are learning new skills and finding new ways to source fresh ingredients like eggs at home. 

Home Workouts & Self-Care

It’s harder to take care of your physical and mental well-being when you’re at home all day or when your gym or studio is closed. So, again, it’s not too surprising to know that videos related to at-home workouts, yoga, and meditation are on the rise.

Here are a few of the trends in this category: 

  • Daily views of workout videos with the terms “home” or “no equipment” in the title quadrupled after stay-at-home orders began. 
  • Daily views of exercise videos with the word “yoga” in the title doubled. 
  • The average daily views of videos related to guided meditation increased by 40%. 
  • The average daily views for videos related to bicycle maintenance increased by 90% between March and May. 

youtube data on bike videosConnection 

Videos are not just a useful way to learn new skills. They also provide a way to connect with each other when we can’t do so in person. “With Me” videos — where creators bring viewers along with them in an activity — have existed on YouTube for a long time, but the pandemic made them more relevant than ever. Views for “With Me” and similar types of videos grew by 600% after self-isolation began. 

We know all too well in our industry that it’s not just people that we miss — we also miss the opportunity to get to know new places or revisit the places we love. This is reflected in the rise of views of museum tour videos, which increased by 60%. 

What This Means for Tour Operators

Video content has long been an important tool to include in your digital marketing strategy. It is the most engaging form of content on social media and an ideal way for tour operators to truly show off the experiences you provide and allow potential guests to see for themselves participating.

Pro tip: Video has been increasingly important during the coronavirus pandemic – offering a way for businesses to stay connected with customers and expand awareness of their brand at a time when visiting physical locations has become more challenging. 

Understanding how viewers find and use YouTube videos can help you create or refine your video marketing strategy. For example:

shapeIf you have a food tour business, consider creating a series of recipe videos, potentially working with some of the food providers you typically visit on your tours.

shapeIf your business provides fitness experiences like yoga, take this opportunity to find new viewers by creating yoga videos & sharing tips for those who may just be starting an at-home practice.

shapeIf you provide city tours, share your expertise with an “explore with me” virtual tour series where you visit popular landmarks or share hidden spots in your city. 

Our industry has had to quickly adapt during the pandemic, and video has been more useful than ever in helping us stay in touch with our customers. If you’re just getting started with video marketing, check out our guide to tools and strategies for tour operators. If you want to take your video strategy to the next level, use our YouTube optimization checklist to make sure you’re making the most of the platform.

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