Research: Social media engagement: What motivates user participation and consumption on YouTube?


This study unearths the motives for YouTube user engagement that has been conceptualized as active participation and passive content consumption. In light of the Uses and Gratifications framework, a sample of 1143 registered YouTube users completed online surveys that helped gauge user behavior. Results showed that for participation on YouTube, the strongest predictor for liking and disliking videos was the relaxing entertainment motive; commenting and uploading being strongly predicted by social interaction motive; sharing being strongly predicted by information giving motive. Passive content consumption in the form of video viewing was most strongly predicted by relaxing entertainment motive, and reading comments predicted by information seeking motive. Greater YouTube experience negatively predicted liking, and anonymity played a role in sharing and uploading videos. Males were most likely to dislike YouTube videos in comparison with females.

Keywords: YouTube, Consumption, Participation, Uses and Gratifications, Engagement, Social Media


  • This research examines social media engagement on YouTube based on a survey (N = 1143).
  • Users like & dislike for entertainment; comment and upload videos to socialize.
  • Users read comments for information seeking and relaxing entertainment.
  • Users like less as their YouTube experience grows.
  • Males were more likely to dislike YouTube videos in comparison with females.