All around the world, executives in the content strategy and development arena have the daily task of deciphering their audiences’ viewing habits and turning those insights into compelling content, all while trying to stay on top of current trends. Video showrunners at TV networks, in particular, have an interesting role to deal with; they must try to figure out what digital content to produce that will complement not only their networks’ linear shows, but also their overall goals, messaging, and branding. It must be a daunting assignment for some of these showrunners to figure out how to harness digital trends for a traditional media outlet.
If you’re one of these network showrunners, have no fear! We have an easy way for you to stay on top of video trends: our State of Online Video Q2 report. In it, we discovered some of this year’s most-watched trends across social video, one of which — room tours — we’ll break down in this article and also show you a few different ways to capitalize on the format for the benefit of your network. So let’s dive into the recent “room tours” phenomenon and see what we can make of it!
Room Tours Fascinate Viewers Around the World
Tubular has tracked a lot of data over the years, and one thing we keep finding is the trend of living vicariously through other people’s content. This was the situation from Q4 2017 to Q1 2018, when videos of room tours shot to popularity and raked in millions of views across social platforms. In Q1 2017, for example, there were 637 million views on room tour content on YouTube alone!
So what constitutes as a “room tour?” It’s both as simple as it sounds, and also a lot more creative than it sounds. In a typical room tour video, a YouTube creator will take viewers on a digital tour of one room of their home (usually the one they film in, such as their bedroom or studio, or one of their favorite spots like a media room or garden) in an intimate, behind-the-scenes peek into their lives. For example, beauty influencer Jaclyn Hill uploaded a video in February which she claims was the “most requested” on her channel: she took viewers on a tour of her massive walk-in closet, complete with custom-built shelves for her shoes. This clip pulled in 4.4 million views, a solid 3.1 million average 30-day view count (V30), and an incredibly high 30-day engagement rate (ER30) of 5.5x!
This documentary-style format isn’t just limited to “normal” rooms in a home — or even a single room, for that matter. As noted above, some creators have gotten very, well, creative about what abode they choose to film. For example, a quick search in Tubular’s software for “closet tour” from the last year shows a clip featuring the miniature closet of one creator’s American Girl dolls and their accessories, while a search for “house tour” included the walk-through of the California mansion inhabited by gaming group FaZe Clan. Creators have even uploaded tours of their hotel rooms, pet cages, and more!
How TV Networks Can Use Room Tours in Their Content Strategy
Fortunately for video showrunners in the television industry, it’s easy to capitalize on the interest surrounding room tours. While home-focused media brands like HGTV and DIY Network are obvious shoe-ins for such a topic, networks from a variety of industries also have a huge opportunity here to work with the room tours trend and create some fantastic digital video content. Here are just a few ideas for you to consider:
Sponsor a room tour video
The simplest way for almost any TV network to hop on the room tours bandwagon is to sponsor these types of videos. Again, while especially fitting for a company like HGTV to do so, don’t be afraid to think outside the box if you focus on other industries. Let’s say you’re a sports-themed network; partner with a sports creator and have them host a tour of their closet, gym, or garage. Likewise, if your network centers around nature, you can sponsor garden tours or outdoor space tours. Travel brands can also team up with creators to conduct hotel room tours, resort tours, and more.
Create behind-the-scenes content
The very nature of room tours is taking someone behind-the-scenes to experience a small portion of the way creators live every day. Likewise, as a TV network, you can create “pull back the curtain” experiences. Does your network have a famous host or celebrity whom audiences love watching? Have them present a room tour of their own, whether it’s in their own private homes or even from their in-studio makeup and dressing room. What about one of your hit TV shows? Give a behind-the-scenes tour of the set or filming location.
Use the room as a backdrop
Think outside the box! Your “room tour” doesn’t even have to be the focus of your video. Why not use this setting instead as a backdrop while you perform other tasks within the space? For example, Vogue has a celebrity interview series “73 Questions” where the brand asks digital and traditional stars alike a series of questions while walking around their home or property to get a sense of how they live. Likewise, you could show viewers how to cook a particular meal while touring your kitchen, or talk about the importance of a historical figure while showing audiences the room that person grew up in.
The room tours trend is just another way for viewers around the world to experience the way someone else lives, if just for a few minutes. It’s a compelling format with a very personal audience connection, which makes it a powerful trend for any TV network to use in their digital video strategies. How do you plan to make it work for you?