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85% of American Kids Watch YouTube Videos: Advertisers Take Notice

85% of American Kids Watch YouTube Videos: Advertisers Take Notice

With young kids at home during the pandemic, parents relied on YouTube for screen time more than they previously did. 

Kids channels, like Blippi, Khan Academy Kids and Peppa Pig, may have been working-from-home parents’ saving grace during conference calls or last minute work projects.

YouTube advertising revenue has grown significantly (by over 30% from 2019 to 2020). Of all the categories MediaRadar tracks on YouTube, education channels saw the largest positive shift in YouTube’s advertising breakdown between 2020 and 2021. 

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The majority of kids watch YouTube videos—policies get tighter

YouTube has grown up a lot over the last 16 years. It’s gone through different phases and seen countless viral videos. And the past year has shown that the platform is not just for adults.

According to research from Precise Kids, more than 85% of American kids, between ages 2 and 12, watch videos on YouTube. Not only that, but the platform is more popular than Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Netflix and other platforms.

Because so many children are using YouTube to access videos, YouTube, along with other social media platforms, have experienced pressure from lawmakers to make stricter rules on video content and advertising in order to protect young ones.

Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has pushed for a kids’ “privacy bill of rights for the 21st century,” and has proposed changes to the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). 

Lawmakers are also considering the KIDS (Kids Internet Design and Safety) Act which was proposed last month. The act would block features like autoplay, push alerts and like buttons, along with influencer marketing to this age group. 

These privacy protections come at the same time that YouTube is tightening its policies towards consumeristic (and often low-quality) kids content. YouTube’s recently updated ‘high quality principles’ vs ‘low quality principles’ on kids and family content may affect video performance. Creators that create ‘low quality’ content may be suspended from the YouTube Partner Program. 

Though it may seem like a very niche category and policy change, this update can have significant effects on popular kids’ toys review channels, like Ryan ToysReview. Five-year old Ryan and his family make millions of dollars from videos in which Ryan opens toys and shares his reactions. 

Though fun and games may be the theme of these videos, the ad numbers at stake are no joke. 

MediaRadar Insights

From the brands MediaRadar tracks, YouTube brought in $6.8 billion in ad revenue in the first three quarters of the year. Though the largest portion of that spend (29%) of that spend is invested in music channels, the largest shift in advertising was in education spend. 

In 2020, education channels drew in 5% of YouTube’s advertising revenue. 

2020 YouTube Advertising Spend by Channel Chart

In 2021, that number grew to 11%. Though it is still relatively small compared to the 48% of Music and ‘Other,’ it represents the biggest categorical shift in channel advertising.

2021 Advertising Spend by Channel Chart

Spend increased in Kid’s Education/Entertainment from $210 million in 2020 to $771 million in 2021 (January – September). 

Top advertisers new to the channel in 2021 include: 

  • Serta Mattresses
  • Superhero Kindergarten (TV Show)
  • The Boss Baby: Family Business (Film)
  • Samsung Smart monitors
  • The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (TV Show).

Advertising appears to target both the parents and children that are watching the content, which explains the mattress and monitor advertising.

The “Other” category grew by 3% year-over-year, but encompasses over 23 subtypes of channels including: Home, Science and Travel.

As content quality improves, we may see increased investment from relevant brands. But it remains unseen how the new laws will impact kids content monetization.  

For more updates like this, stay tuned. Subscribe to our blog for more updates on coronavirus and its mark on the economy.