YouTube introduced new features and made big steps last year, but how's 2024 shaping up? Let's look at which YouTube trends are set to kick off, what the platform thinks will be important, and other nuggets of knowledge.
- More access to content creation
- Fandom is no longer gate-kept
- Multi-format viewing
- Experimenting with new tools
- AI-assisted tech
- One more time with meme-ing
- Personalized, inclusive content
- Focus on thumbnails
- Focus on community
- More VR content
- Crackdown on ad blockers
- YouTube Shorts as a name-maker
What does YouTube say the new trends will be in 2024?
We could wax lyrical about YouTube trends for days, but why not start with the folks who work there? Here's what they think the new YouTube trends will be, via the always-excellent Culture & Trends Report.
More access to content creation
When YouTube started, it was a hub for anyone to publish anything and go viral overnight — you remember the dramatic gopher, right?
But as time marched on and monetization turned YouTube into the genuine career option it is today, the 'amateur' side of content creation started slipping through the cracks. Not completely forgotten, but viewed as an antique from a bygone era. Something quaint to reminisce about over crackers and cheese — 'Remember Star Wars Kid?'
That old way of operating looks set to make a comeback, though. 82% of people say they've posted content online between May 2022 and May 2023, while 40% of participants actively described themselves as 'content creators.'
These people aren't posting multi-million-dollar MrBeast challenges. Rather, they're regular folks who want to get stuck into what's happening online. The democratization of YouTube — a partial return to its roots — is a trend that's more than welcome to come back in 2024.
Fandom is no longer gate-kept
Last time around, YouTube predicted professional fandom as a trend. A year later, they've widened their scope — any and all fans now have the tools and know-how to participate in the conversation.
User-generated content lets anyone, from beginners to ambassadors, get in on the action and say their piece. In fact, 54% of people prefer watching a content creator break down an event, like the Oscars or the Grammys, rather than watching the event themselves.
This extends to exclusively young demographics, too. 47% of Gen Z-ers — aged 18–24 — had watched videos made by fans of specific content, artists, or public figures between May 2022 and May 2023.
There are still 'professional fans,' but it's by no means gate-kept. The barrier to entry is so low nowadays, and with new developments like YouTube Shorts giving people extra ways in, it's never been easier to shout about what you love.
The boundaries of how we consume entertainment are changing — we're no longer doomed to watching something once, memory-hole it, then try to remember what that thing with that actor in it was.
68% of people said they've watched videos about a topic they're interested in multiple times, across different formats. So, they could watch a full-length podcast hosted on a creator's website, then a best-of video on YouTube, then a viral highlight on YouTube Shorts, and so on.
Multi-format viewing is one of the buzziest YouTube trends for 2024 because it just feels so now. There's never been a better time to experiment with new content formats, lengths, and delivery methods — creators who cover all bases will likely find themselves in a better spot than those who don't.
Experimenting with new tools
Last year, more than 14 million videos were created each month using YouTube's clipping feature. When you cast your eye over filters, two thirds (65%) of Gen Z-ers had used a filter, feature, or effect on a video app between May 2022 and May 2023.
These tools are just so accessible nowadays. You don't need to be a pro video editor or have spent years training — the popularity of programs like CapCut has opened up content creation like never before.
On top of that, you can now Remix on YouTube with the click of a button. In 2024, content creators big and small have gotten to grips with new technologies — they'll take to even newer ones like ducks to water.
Generative AI technology became super popular during 2023, and YouTube's betting on it remaining a trend in 2024. More than half (52%) of people had watched a virtual YouTuber between May 2022 and May 2023, and 60% were open to watching content generated with AI technology.
Last year, there were more than 1.7 billion views of videos related to generative AI tools. It's going to be interesting to watch going forward, and if YouTube themselves think it's a key trend, it's worth keeping an eye on.
One more time with meme-ing
Almost half (44%) of people surveyed had participated in a meme between May 2022 and May 2023. As culture becomes more rooted around these lightning-in-a-bottle moments, YouTube memes will surely become a bigger trend on-platform in 2024. If you're a brand trying to muscle into this territory, keep up with the conversation — people aren't against brands jumping into memes, but it needs to feel genuine.
Personalized, inclusive content
Closed captions and multi-language audio tracks have made YouTube content more accessible than ever. This inclusivity has broken down barriers, with 54% of people following YouTubers who create content in a language other than their own.
What are the new YouTube trends in 2024?
Now that we've seen what YouTube themselves will be big news, let's look through other hot trends you should keep track of in 2024.
Focus on thumbnails
Thumbnails are a structural pillar of YouTube content — they can make the difference between a click and a miss. In December 2023, YouTube started experimenting with thumbnails, allowing creators to upload multiple versions. YouTube would show different thumbnails to different viewers, feeding the stats back to the creator.
From there, creators would feel empowered to go with the thumbnail that received the best click-through rate. This kind of bold, creator-first behavior is a YouTube trend we'd like to see roll into 2024.
Focus on community
YouTube's community focus shone bright in 2023, lowering the threshold for basic monetization from 1,000 subscribers down to 500 — YouTube Shorts monetization finally happened, too. This meant that nano-influencers could thrive on the platform, focusing on a small but dedicated audience who could help them generate income without chasing the algorithm too hard.
More VR content
Virtual reality is still a fairly novel concept, but it's taken hold on YouTube — everything from gaming walkthroughs to virtual roller coaster rides garner views in the hundred-thousands. As VR headsets become more commonplace in the home, we can expect VR to become, at the very least, a smaller YouTube trend worth recognizing in 2024.
Crackdown on ad blockers
Ad blockers are a problem for YouTubers. In 2022, the global ad-blocking rate reached an eye-watering 35.7% — this leaves creators in the lurch, depriving them of potential ad revenue.
The platform started cracking down on ad blockers last year, giving a firm-but-fair 'three strikes' warning to users in specific territories. If we were to guess, a tougher resistance to ad blockers will probably be a YouTube trend in 2024.
YouTube Shorts as a name-maker
YouTube Shorts has established itself as a real short-form contender over the past couple of years, and 2024 should see the platform solidify those gains. Expect increased focus on Shorts-related content, more shiny features to lure creators and viewers over there, and more.
So, those were the latest, on-the-button YouTube trends for 2024, both content-based and platform-specific. We'll have to wait until December to see which predictions come true, but whatever happens, we're sure YouTube will keep us guessing.