Produce videos with global appeal
Certain video formats can work really well for audiences globally.
Three types of videos that resonate well worldwide
YouTube is a global platform where there is always a potential for reaching new audiences. In addition to platform tools like translated titles, descriptions, subtitles, and captions, the content on your channel is equally important in helping attract a global audience. Check out these three common video formats creators have found success with when making content that's more accessible for worldwide viewing:
- Universally-relatable: topics popular worldwide (like sports and lists).
- Culturally-specific: niche topics, trending content (like regional news or what’s trending in a particular place) or videos that offer a peek at some aspect of culture that could be of interest globally.
- Language-agnostic: topics that can be explained visually or without words (like toy unboxings, do-it-yourself, or ‘fail videos’.)
One place to start planning out videos for a global audience is your Demographics report in YouTube Analytics because you can see who is watching your content and from what countries. Do you see a lot of views coming from a country outside of your own? If so, this can indicate a region or language market to research trends in. Here are two research methods you can try out:
- Analyze what types of videos people from certain locales watch most on your channel. Is there a shared theme or genres? Can you build upon that theme or genre with new videos or series ideas?
- Do you want to try out new video formats? Research what types of videos are trending around the world. One way to do this is to go to the ‘Trending’ tab on youtube.com and then change your “Content location” at the bottom of the screen. This will bring up the popular videos in the locale you choose. You can also go to Trending on YouTube and change the country or date settings at the top.
- You can also expand the reach of your videos with translation tools like captions, translated titles and descriptions.
Videos with universal appeal
Making videos people relate to can help expand your channel’s audience. While topics of interest may vary based on time of year or major news stories, the following genres of video tend to export well to international audiences in all places:
- Music trends: You can tap into a global audience by doing a dance or instrumental cover to a song that is popular around the world. It can be a great way to get discovered even if you don’t speak the language.
- Sports: Fans who share an interest in sporting activities tend to span beyond the team’s hometown.
- International news: The effects or repercussions of a news story can often be felt globally. Topics like elections, environmental crises, and large cultural movements can be relevant outside of one's home country.
- New technology: Experimenting with new video technology like 360 video, or broadcasting live can attract the attention of people all over the globe.
- Compilations and lists: This format is easy to consume especially when the topic is accessible and intriguing like “Top 10 most" exciting, mysterious, weird, etc.
Videos that satisfy curiosity about local things are quite effective in reaching audiences outside of your own. They provide a window into a world that may otherwise be inaccessible because of language, travel expense, or cultural constraints. Many vloggers have found success sharing cross-cultural experiences that fuse national with international elements, like speaking more than one language in a video.
Here are a few suggested strategies for producing cross-cultural videos:
- Position yourself as an expert: Think about what aspect of your local culture is of interest to a global audience and how you can provide access to it.
- Share new experiences: Satisfying your own wanderlust can be a great way to use travel to your advantage and target videos to a wider audience. Learning to speak a new language, working with local people, or taking excursions can offer excellent opportunities for capturing intriguing footage and your impression of new places.
- Take advantage of the differences: Are there languages, slang words or accents you can explore? Habits, food, drinks, or different holidays?
- Collaborate: Collaborations with YouTube creators and celebrities popular in other countries can introduce your content to a new audience. Try looking for collaborations based on audience match (similar interests, same target audience), or a format where you bring different personalities to your show. Remember, not all collabs need to be in person. Brainstorm opportunities to do long-distance collaborations and also consider what an in-person meetup and shoot could look like.
- Infuse culture together for maximum accessibility: Creators have found success adopting styles that mix languages and cultural themes together.
- Don't forget to add translated captions and subtitles: If you produce a video in a language other than what you normally speak on your channel, consider using translation tools, like captions and subtitles, so that your main audience can understand it.
See it in action
Share local food traditionsMikey Bustos, vlogger from the Philippines, combines utility, humor and curiosity in his tutorials.
Fusing traditional and international beatsSaad Lamjarred’s breakout hit received 30M views in the first 6 months and expanded his channel's global viewership.
Music videos with multiple languagesKpop stars TWICE mix English into their lyrics for more globally-friendly music videos.
Language agnostic videos
Videos considered to be language agnostic are self explanatory through visuals. They are not dependent upon language or words. This genre typically focuses on showing instead of telling a story and relies heavily on visual design instead of spoken language. Language agnostic videos account for a significant number of top exporting channels in countries whose native language is not English--especially when supported with translated titles and descriptions.
There are many types of videos in this genre:
- Sports games shared cross-culturally (like soccer).
- How-to tutorials.
- Mime and animation.
- Action-based videos.
- Music and dance covers.
- Relaxation videos, instrumental covers, sound effect based or ASMR (sensory relaxation videos). Sound effects and music can be used effectively to convey emotion, decreasing reliance on language.
- Note: it would be harder to create a vlog that is language agnostic because vlogs usually are spoken from a first-person point of view.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when shooting language agnostic videos:
- Plan to shoot the concept in such a way that even if the person doesn’t understand the language, the message still comes out. For example, a how-to video could combine strong visual elements with simple text instructions, show the products, and utilize facial expressions to tell the story.
- Try to create a visual thumbnail that communicates what the video is about to anyone viewing it. Avoid language-specific words or numbers.
- Add translated titles and descriptions to your videos and playlists and channel. The video and playlist information will be displayed in the right language to the right viewers based on their language profile. This information can influence search and suggested video discovery.
See it in action
Relaxing ASMRMassageASMR, a relaxation-based channel from Australia, is amongst the country’s top channels watched by a global audience. The sound-based content makes it popular for language agnostic audiences. Try watching it with your eyes closed.
Dance tutorials1MILLION Dance Studio from Korea does dance tutorials for popular music numbers and has a majority of views from the US.
Cooking channelDecocookie’s content is highly visual, and she supports it with simple English text instructions. A high percentage of her viewership is from outside Japan and most of the comments are in English.