Unveiling the emotion-driven landscape of healthcare videos on YouTube: unlocking insights through voice emotion analysis

In today’s digital era, videos have become a universal means of communication, seamlessly integrating into all aspects of our lives. Across various domains such as entertainment and education, the impact of video is unquestionable. For instance, YouTube alone boasts over 2 billion logged-in monthly users, highlighting the extensive reach and influence of this platform.

When it comes to healthcare, YouTube unlocks a world of insights and knowledge, with informative videos that cover everything from wellness tips and medical explanations to fitness routines and mental health guidance. It’s the place to discover trusted voices from medical professionals, researchers, and enthusiasts who share their expertise to help us make informed decisions about our well-being.

Beyond the obvious verbal and visual experience offered by video, lies a hidden dimension that shapes our perceptions and choices – our emotions. This becomes particularly crucial when dealing with health-related topics like vaccinations, where understanding the intricate interplay between human sentiment and medical choices becomes paramount.

At Day One Strategy, we embarked on a journey to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic shaped people’s emotions towards vaccinations, including the sentiments of the general public and experts.

We collected 351 vaccine-related YouTube videos relating to three specific COVID-19 time periods: pre, during, and post-pandemic. We analysed the videos for the emotion expressed through the speech (i.e., not what people say, but how they say it) and how it changed as the pandemic progressed and ended.

The voice analysis was conducted by Phebi.AI a voice analytics company that uncovers the five core emotions expressed through the pitch, tone, and rhythm of speech – happy, sad, strong, calm, and anxious.

The general public perspective

Amongst the general public, YouTube content posted by people showed higher levels of happiness towards vaccines during the pandemic and persisted afterward as the majority of society embraced the vaccination program. Anxiety towards vaccines, once dominant pre-COVID, receded during the pandemic. The reassuring voices of healthcare professionals (HCPs) fuelled this contentment, with videos on vaccine safety addressing concerns, and positive implications being key drivers of this sentiment.

Our findings illuminate the behavioural science principles that underpin this transformation. Social proof, risk aversion, authority, and normalcy – just some of the factors contributing to the surge in confidence and positive sentiment. The decline in anxiety is linked with heightened awareness and trust in vaccine safety measures.

The expert perspective

In contrast, YouTube content shared by experts (HCPs, news reporters, scientists) revealed an increase in sadness when talking about vaccinations post-COVID. This was particularly pronounced in videos underscoring vaccination significance and combating misinformation. But what could be the driving force behind an increase in sadness when the vaccination program had successfully ended the pandemic?

Logistical challenges, pandemic-induced disruptions, and HCP burnout fuelled these negative attitudes towards vaccinations. The overwhelming burden of delivering vaccine programs, exacerbated by pandemic-induced disruptions in healthcare services, was all-consuming for HCPs. It is clear the increased pressure on HCPs that COVID brought took a toll and manifested as negative attitudes towards vaccines.

By harnessing Phebi’s voice analysis, we unveiled a transformative shift in vaccine perceptions, providing pragmatic insights that prompt contemplation and disrupt vaccine attitudes. Our findings showcase the power of voice analytics in enhancing our understanding of the human experience.

So where next with voice analytics and healthcare topics? It could unravel public sentiments on emerging medical technologies, assess reactions to health campaigns, and analyse communication dynamics in healthcare, enriching decision-making across industries.

I encourage you to follow us here Day One Strategy to see what’s in store.

Ben Lorkin, Senior Research Director at Day One Strategy

Abigail Stuart