Which Youtube videos do you watch

Does YouTube have you under control?

Why do we sometimes spend so much time on YouTube even though we only wanted to watch a video for a short time?

Who doesn’t know that: You’re lying on the couch at home and you should really be doing something for school. But then you remember that new video on YouTube that your friends were talking about at school. Because you couldn't have your say during the break today, you go to YouTube and watch the video - and suddenly an hour is over. You only wanted that a To watch video!

You are not alone with the problem

According to YouTube, videos with a total duration of one billion hours are played every day! You cannot be solely responsible for this large number. But what makes YouTube so interesting for us? You might like to be on YouTube because the videos make you laugh, to distract you or to keep you up-to-date. Many others feel the same way. Regardless of whether it's cat videos, music videos or tutorials - you can find everything you're looking for on YouTube. Or maybe you didn't even know you were looking for it. Aren't we all watching YouTube videos longer than we planned?

YouTube is pushing us in one direction

YouTube also has its tricks to help us stay on the site longer, for example by automatically starting a new video after the previous one. One speaks here of autoplay. This “nudge in the right direction”, that is, watching a video, is what researchers call nudging (from to nudge: pushing).
The goal of nudging is to act exactly as someone else wants you to. YouTube therefore tries to influence users' decisions through so-called nudges (including autoplay). Without realizing it or feeling “remote controlled”! Nudging on YouTube is a good and successful strategy from the company's point of view, because we humans sometimes quickly get distracted from our actual tasks and simply stay longer on the YouTube platform. The longer you watch YouTube videos, the more money YouTube makes with us. So it's clear that YouTube is interested in nudging.

This is how YouTube pushes you to continue watching:

  • YouTube suggests videos on the side that you might like. YouTube knows you and pretty much knows what you're into. It's hard not to click on one of the suggestions and keep looking.

  • Ohoh, autoplay! Even if you really want to stop watching videos: If you click too late, Auoplay will start the next video ... and now you stick to it again.

  • You can find out about the best new videos via push message on your smartphone. Great, of course you want to take a look right away. And then you can't get away so easily with the other tricks ...

YouTubers also push us

But not only YouTube itself, but also the YouTubers on the platform use certain nudges to influence your behavior.

... and this is how YouTubers do it:

  • SHOCK! You will not believe it! OMG! With such clickbait titles, YouTubers keep getting us to click on their video.

  • Have you already watched parts 1 and 2 of the video? Sure, now you stay tuned for the next parts. This is how YouTubers manage to watch multiple videos even though it seems to be just one.

  • You like your YouTubers and they make you feel like you know them pretty well too. It goes without saying that you want to find out more about them and watch all the videos.

Our tip:

Be aware of the tricks YouTube uses to help you stay on the platform longer. Nevertheless, it is best to set a time limit for how long you want to stay on the site. YouTube shouldn't have you under control, but you should decide for yourself what you want to watch or how long you want to stay there.

Push yourself

But not only YouTube uses nudging. In everyday life, too, we get ourselves or others to show certain behavior. An example of how we can easily outsmart ourselves: Put a large water bottle on your desk to drink more throughout the day. Just try it!

This article was created as part of a cooperation between the mobile phone sector and the University of Hohenheim. The contribution was conceived by the master’s students Lena Valentin and Denise Dietrichs and edited by the Handysektor editorial management.

Article dated October 12, 2018.