The Gen Alpha Experience Flows Between YouTube and Gaming

Co-viewing and co-gaming are premium bonding time for parents and kids

Every family-focused brand needs a YouTube strategy and a gaming strategy, but how do you engage and follow audiences as they move between the two?

Generation Alpha (Gen A, born 2010 to mid-2020s) is unaware of a world without easy digital access to everything. These digital natives navigate across platforms and devices seamlessly, creating their own experiences without regard for traditional business models.

The entertainment experience, especially, flows across digital services for Gen A, and a particularly compelling trend is emerging in the relationship between YouTube and gaming platforms like Roblox. New research conducted by WildBrain and Savanta sheds light on how brand owners can capitalize on this growing space.

Welcome to the family mediaverse

There’s a close, symbiotic relationship between YouTube and Roblox; kids and teens engage with content on these platforms interchangeably and simultaneously. WildBrain research shows that over half of U.S. Roblox players watch Roblox videos on YouTube while playing. Meanwhile, 62% of players looked to YouTube specifically for video tips on playing Roblox.

YouTube is the go-to place for players across all age groups to watch videos featuring Roblox gameplay, with well over two-thirds of 6-8-year-olds seeking out Roblox videos on the platform at least weekly, while over half of players say playing Roblox makes them want to watch videos about gameplay on YouTube.

And the kids are not alone: Parents and kids playing video games together is a key trend in the data, with 65% of parents reporting they co-game with their kids. Somewhat surprisingly, moms are twice as likely to play video games with younger children as dads, with more than half of moms (53%) co-playing with children aged 6-8 compared to 26% of dads.

Is co-gaming the new co-viewing?

Co-viewing content is a very popular activity for parents and children. In fact, 81% of U.S. families report they co-view content together several days a week or more. But the bigger revelation is that parents—and in particular moms—are also actively participating on gaming platforms like Roblox alongside their kids.

Parents are using co-gaming time as a valuable opportunity to bond with their kids and to relax, not simply just to monitor them. There is also a desire for realness in these virtual worlds, with 70% of U.S. gamers reporting they “loved” or “liked” seeing real-life brands in video games, sharing that the most popular reasons being that they make the game feel more “real” and “familiar.”

Integration is key to engagement

A deeper look into the family audience was achieved through WildBrain’s research with Savanta, and two of the most important learnings were unveiled that help answer that original question: How do brands engage and follow audiences as they move between YouTube and gaming?

First, kids and family players welcome real-life brands that enhance their playing experience. Second, positive brand experiences in the gaming metaverse can be smartly amplified in COPPA-compliant experiences across video ads on streaming services. Married with strong creative and smart media planning, brand campaigns can strategically engage these audiences, moving seamlessly along with them between YouTube and gaming.

So, as marketers look to reach this highly engaged audience of parents and their kids, it’s key they find the right partner to work with to avoid the misstep of bombarding them with content, messages and ads. In an entertainment landscape overflowing with choices, it’s critical to have a meaningful and impactful strategy that can appropriately engage kids and families.

For WildBrain, that strategy begins with data. As a leading kids and family entertainment company, WildBrain owns and operates one of the largest networks of kids’ content on YouTube and has ad inventory off YouTube through the largest network of channels for kids and families in the free ad-supported TV (FAST) and ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) universe. With data from over 400 shows—including such favorites as Peanuts, Teletubbies and Strawberry Shortcake—generating tens of billions of minutes of watch time each month, WildBrain understands the value of audience insights gleaned from their consumption behavior.

With Gen A in control of the remote, phone and tablet earlier and earlier, quality over quantity matters.

As EVP of audience engagement, Kate Smith oversees WildBrain’s global audience engagement teams responsible for delivering the company’s entertainment content to fans around the world. She brings a valuable understanding of how the intersection between content distribution and digital marketing can supercharge brand awareness and engagement.