In this blog post (originally published on June 27, 2022 and updated in 2023) we discuss how YouTube viewership behaves during the summer months, why it doesn’t follow trends in linear TV, and why stopping YouTube advertising and sponsorships during this period doesn’t actually make sense.
Traditional TV viewership goes down during the summer months as people would rather enjoy their days out in the sun. This might lead you to make the conclusion that YouTube viewership will follow the same trend and, by extension, that sponsorships and advertising on YouTube might not make sense during this period.
Looking at the numbers, it turns out that this is actually far from the truth. Stopping YouTube efforts during the summer might actually end up hurting performance instead of saving money.
We have data from more than 11 million YouTube channels and we scan billions of videos per year. This allows us to make very reliable estimates of how YouTube viewership behaves during different parts of the year.
So we sat down to analyzed the data in further detail in order to answer how does summer affect YouTube viewership.
On the move, and on YouTube
Even when people are traveling more, spending more time outdoors, etc., they are still actively watching YouTube. When analyzing our data, we in fact found that viewership is relatively stable over the summer.
To prove this, we looked at sample data from our database of 11 million YouTube channels. The chosen channels have been around for at least the past few years. This allows us to estimate trends reliably and the data is not distorted by e.g. new, rapidly growing channels (which could of course make the statistics even better in terms of all of YouTube).
Graph: Total view trends based on data sampled from Matchmade’s database of 11M YouTube channels
From the data we can see that while there is some fluctuation each year, viewing does not drop substantially over the summer. In fact, while viewing dropped slightly in June in 2021, it again increased in July and August respectively.
This quite clearly demonstrates that YouTube does not follow trends seen on linear TV.
Mobile apps see increased usage in the summer months
When looking at mobile app use more broadly, the third quarter, which contains data from July and August, actually saw an uplift in time spent in apps last year when compared year-over-year and to the previous quarter.
Data available on Statista also shows time spent in mobile apps during 2021 increased in Q3 compared to Q2 and Q1 in all app categories (especially in gaming).
Similarly, Data.ai’s State of Mobile 2023 report found that time spent on mobile apps increased in yet again in 2022 in almost all markets.
In Q3/2021, people in the US already used 4.2 hours per day on average in mobile apps. According to Data.ai, downloads increased in Q3/2022 vs. the previous quarter and year-over-year. When combined with YouTube viewership numbers, this means that summer can actually be one of the best periods for user acquisition during the year when you use the right marketing channels such as YouTube.
On a macro level, it is also important to remember that the pandemic changed people’s behaviors and app usage in general. A lot of people who previously spent very little time with mobile apps, are now spending much more time on them.
This is a change that is very unlikely to reverse course, so summertime app usage across user groups will probably remain at a higher level even outside the most active users typically found in the younger demographics.
What are the implications for advertisers?
Based on these results, I would highlight the following takeaways:
1. Book creators early enough
Creators take holidays just like other people who want to enjoy the summer. If you haven’t done it already, you should secure creator collaborations for the summer as soon as possible to ensure their availability.
If you do not already work with Matchmade, we can help you reach out to creators at scale in an automatic and efficient way so you don’t need to spend time on building creator lists, manual contract negotiations, etc.
2. Do not reduce YouTube budgets over the summer
Looking at the viewership and usage data highlighted above, it does not make sense for most advertisers to reduce YouTube budgets during the summer. In fact, it might even make sense to do more creator sponsorships and run more YouTube ads given the increase in app usage and time spent on mobile.
For example, if you work in the mobile app user acquisition space, the summer can turn out to be one of the best periods of the year for you to secure new users so you should not neglect it.
The exception to this might be if you operate a seasonal business that sees significant downtrends during the summer. However, if you then depend on getting a lot of business in the fall months, leveraging YouTube over the summer could still make sense for brand building. This way you ensure you are the top brand in the consideration set when your customers are ready to buy again.
As can be seen from the statistics, YouTube remains a powerful marketing channel throughout the summer. It is especially good for app advertisers, as app usage has consistently over the summer months for years now.
Therefore, it is in most cases highly recommended that you do not neglect YouTube during the summer. Even when people are on the go, they are watching YouTube and engaging with apps and games more than ever.