Use these YouTube trends to influence your customers' decision to buy

Libby Margo in Growth hacking on 25th of Sep 2019

Use these YouTube trends to influence your customers' decision to buy from your online store

In the old days, someone looking for a birthday or a last-minute wedding gift would have asked a friend or visited a store for inspiration and advice.

Today, the modern shopper is simply going online.

A study published by Bazaarvoice found that in-store shopping behavior was significantly influenced by online research. The same report also discovered that over 80% of smartphone users did a quick search on their phones for advice related to the product in question before making a purchase in-store.

And on YouTube, watch time for shopping-related videos grew more than 5 times in the US between 2016 and 2018 (Google Data).

With many customers being inspired by shopping-related videos today, it comes as no surprise that shopping has been behind one of the most popular YouTube search terms in 2019. Here are 3 shopping-related trends that have made their way to YouTube this year as well as the lessons your business can take away from them.

People are trying the best (and worst-reviewed places) in town

People don’t believe everything a brand tells them, but they’ll believe what other people say about a brand. It’s a no brainer: a recommendation from a friend or family member will be worth more to your potential customer (and be weighted heavier in the decision-making process) than anything you will say to them.

According to SEO agency BrightLocal, online customer reviews are the next best thing. A study conducted by the agency found that 84% of online shoppers rate online customer reviews as reliable as a recommendation from a trusted friend, making customer feedback an important tool for marketers and business owners. Additionally, 82% of shoppers will actually read customer ratings or reviews before making a purchase (Pew Research).

But are these online reviews reliable? Not always, according to a study published by The Journal of Consumer Research. For one thing, very few people will take the time to leave reviews. Should we be relying on the opinions of say, 15 people out of 1,000 if we’re part of the other 985? Another reason why online reviews should be treated with a grain of salt is that they’re often circumstantial. For example, the sentiment of reviewers from travelers tend to depend on why they were traveling (for business or leisure) and who they were traveling with — business travelers tend to be more negative than one half of a couple celebrating their honeymoon in the Greek Islands.

To see just how accurate these negative online reviews were, YouTube Creator Philip Solo decided to try not only the best-reviewed places in his home city, Alberta but also the worst ones. Solo started documenting his experiences with Alberta’s so-called worst restaurants and hotels, before doing product reviews on everything from swimming pools to baby food. To date, Solo has almost 480,000 subscribers and has spurred a legion of copycat reviewers.

Today, more than half of customers say they do a Google search for a product before going on to YouTube to learn more about it (Google and Magid Advisors). In addition to the positive product reviews that are becoming more popular, this latest YouTube trend is likely to result in more customers interested in watching negative reviews about a business before they decide to buy from them.

People love a shopping challenge: the rise of “haul” videos

Everyone loves a challenge video. They’re fun, engaging, and have spawned some of the most iconic moments on YouTube (ice bucket challenge, anyone?).

Earlier this year, YouTube Creator MrBeast uploaded his first “Anything You Can Carry, I’ll Buy” video. In these videos, MrBeast grants a lucky friend or family member permission to accompany him to a store — and he offers to buy them whatever items they can physically put in a shopping cart up to the cash register without dropping them. We’re not entirely sure what it’s in for MrBeast or any of these copycat YouTubers (this trend has been a hit in the US and UK) but one thing’s for sure: these videos are garnering hundreds of thousands of hits.

The reason why these videos have been so popular is that people love a good old fashioned shopping spree. And “haul videos,” homemade online videos in which shoppers show off their shopping triumphs or “hauls,” have netted in millions of views on YouTube. MrBeast and his fellow shopping Santas have understood the power of TV game show nostalgia combined with the adrenalin rush of a (very generous) shopping spree to attract followers in droves.

For brands competing in the e-commerce space, this trend presents valuable opportunities. According to Google, about 40% of shoppers who watch haul videos will go to a brand’s website or their physical store where they’re likely to make a purchase. For this reason, e-commerce retailers should consider finding ways to make haul videos work for them, either by engaging influencers to create haul videos featuring their products or perhaps by creating haul-like videos of their own.

People are letting other people choose for them

Some of us know about the paradox of choice; the more choices the customer has, the less satisfied they are. For example, a diner who sits at a restaurant may marvel at an extensive menu with lots of options. A few minutes into perusing the menu, however, the same diner may begin to feel frustrated and debilitated by the choices he or she must make. Essentially, too many options are paralyzing — just ask Borat.

To overcome the overwhelming feeling of having to choose, YouTube Creator Derek Gerard decided that, for 24 hours, he would buy whatever food the customer in front of him at the queue has just purchased. Gerard applied this rule at his local supermarket, at fast food outlets, and at coffee shops. By leaving his purchase decisions up to fate, Gerard launched a shopping trend: in April and May this year, more than 1,200 videos of YouTubers doing the same thing were uploaded. And to date, these videos have amassed 75 million views.

Gerard’s videos may seem random, but they’ve taught us one thing: there’s so much choice out there that shoppers are feeling so overwhelmed. Thus, anything — or anyone — that makes the decision-making process easier for them is welcomed with wide, open arms.

The rise of video

Whether or not these trends will endure for decades or become nothing but a passing fad, one thing’s for sure: people have always sought input from others when making purchase decisions — and today, that information is increasingly coming from online video.

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