Dreams of Lofi Girl and the Rise of Live Videos
- Live video streams are a growing trend
- ‘Another Room’ videos are becoming more and more popular as people search for escapism post-pandemic
- People are placing more value on longer-format video content and watching for longer.
Seeking a Tribe
Video has become an important and powerful part of all our lives over the past decade. Study after study continually confirms the increasing demand for video is not slowing down. New and old social platforms continually push to optimise for video creation and consumption. And it’s working, 75% of people surveyed reported they’d personally created and posted video content online within the last year.
In YouTube’s Culture and Trends Report, earlier this year, data suggested that more than ever people turned to online video content for a sense of connectivity and community. With the pandemic forcing us all to be less sociable in person, we turned to online content to fill the void. More specifically video was the championing media of choice for most people, with live format video especially showing massive growth.
Live and ‘Another Room’ Videos:
In the U.K. 78% of people surveyed reported they’d watched live steams over the past year. The looping animated-graphic channel Lofi Girl, where low-fi beats play over a graphic of a girl often studying or relaxing in different settings, grew to have 8.71 million subscribers. It has facilitated the growth of a multi-platform community of viewers watching live together.
Lofi Girl is part of an even bigger trend know as ‘another room’ videos. Content where viewers experience visuals and sounds which transport them to different locations, some real and others fantasy. Think ‘staycations’ but where you don’t actually physically leave the comfort of your house.
Long before I’d realised this was a trend I’d been passively consuming videos. I’d watch people walking through cities at night, and finding a sense of calm, but also a sense of culture, community and exploration.
While in some ways it may seem our attention spans are getting shorter and our expectations of immediacy increases – same-day delivery, faster loading times, fewer clicks. It seems the value we place on more immersive video content, of a slower nature, is in some ways increasing.
YouTube reports that the average length on the top trending videos was longer by >9.5x in 2019 than in 2010. Our tolerance for long-format is on the rise, as we seek out digital escapes to experience online as a collective.
So, what does this have to do with branding?
In short, everything.
Its common knowledge within the marketing industry that landing pages with embedded videos lead to higher conversion rates and video in general seems to lead to a higher ROI in terms of engagement, but why not go further?
As shown with the growing popularity of ‘another room’ experiences, video content can be used to create highly immersive content with little complexity.
We live in a time where a series of looping videos or animated graphics combined with an audio track (Lofi Girl) can hold its ground against a live stream of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. Why? Because its immersive, effortless to watch and widely relatable. One of the top comments on the ‘4 A.M. Study Session’ reads:
‘Everyone dreams to have a millionaire life, but I dream having Lofi Girl’s life.’
Everyone can relate to Lofi Girl studying alone in her room listening to music. Everyone can buy into her story. And branding is all about creating a narrative for your customer to buy into, often literally. It’s storytelling.
Earlier this year K-Pop band B.T.S. used a simple long-format live video on YouTube featuring an animated graphic of a melting bar of butter to build interest in their new upcoming album release. Over the course of an hour the story of the rectangular bar of butter slowly unfolds, melting into the shape of a heart featuring the B.T.S. logo. The video has no new music from the album. Instead is accompanied by the soundtrack of a sizzling fryer.
It currently has over 17 million views.
Perhaps it was simply the power of the already established following of B.T.S. Or was it, as with the Lofi Girl videos which facilitates a multi-platform community, the mundane relatable novelty of the melting butter simulated by motion graphics?
The album ‘Butter’ by B.T.S. has since been released and uploaded in full to YouTube.
It only has 1.9 million views.
Consumer behaviour is always evolving and it is often a challenge for marketers to keep up, especially across multiple platforms. Site and setting have massive impact and influence over the type and length of content people engage with – you probably wouldn’t expect to watch long-form video on TikTok.
However the evidence suggests that not only are we consuming more video than ever, but we’re also watching for longer, and there’s massive growth potential for brands within that.