What makes most Americans similar and others a bit more unique? You can tell a lot by who's the most tuned into YouTube advertising.

At Strike Social, we tapped our data science team to find out which advertising audience in each U.S. state is the most engaged on YouTube, based on view rate. After crunching the numbers, certain trends surfaced, along with a number of nuances.

TLDR

Some states turned out to be what you might expect (for instance, nightlife enthusiasts rose to the top in New York). But in others, the results were a bit more surprising (shout-out to all the fashionistas in North and South Dakota!). And while the majority (41%) of YouTube's most ad-friendly Americans are thrill seekers, there's still a strong streak of individualism out west in Montana (home to an active constituency of comics and animation fans).

The complete results of our data analysis are lised on the map below: a visual guide to America's YouTube nation.

Related: A guide to YouTube ad targeting

What's an affinity audience?

Affinity audiences are a targeting option that enables YouTube advertisers to reach people who might be interested in specific products or services. There are several categories to select from, such as pet lovers and cooking enthusiasts.

YouTube audience by state

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The states with the highest YouTube view rate by audience

Want another way of looking at these audience insights? Below we've listed the top three states in VR for each of the most popular affinity audiences on YouTube.

Thrill seekers

1. Nevada: 32.3% (VR)

2. Idaho: 31.8% (VR)

3. Minnesota and Nebraska: 31.6% (VR)

Pet lovers

1. Utah: 31.4% (VR)

2. Idaho: 31.2% (VR)

3. Maine: 30.7% (VR)

Cooking enthusiasts

1. Washington: 70.8% (VR)

2. Arkansas: 68.3% (VR)

3. Connecticut: 67.6% (VR)

Mobile enthusiasts

1. Wisconsin: 31.7% (VR)

2. Iowa: 31.5% (VR)

3. Maine: 31.5% (VR)

Outdoor enthusiasts

1. Maryland: 30.2% (VR)

2. Wyoming: 30.2% (VR)

3. Virginia: 30% (VR)

Comics & animation fans

1. Wyoming: 30.9% (VR)

2. Montana: 29.9% (VR)

3. Alaska: 29.3% (VR)

Fashionistas

1. North Dakota: 30.3% (VR)

2. West Virginia: 30.2% (VR)

3. Kentucky: 29.9% (VR)

Health & fitness buffs

1. Alaska: 29.7% (VR)

2. Hawaii: 29.6% (VR)

3. Maine: 29.6% (VR)

Auto enthusiasts

1. Nevada: 30% (VR)

2. Nebraska: 29.7% (VR)

3. South Dakota: 29.6% (VR)

Do-it-yourselfers

1. North Dakota: 30.1% (VR)

2. Wyoming: 30% (VR)

3. South Dakota: 29.6% (VR)

Movie lovers

1. North Dakota: 29.9% (VR)

2. New Mexico: 29.6% (VR)

3. Montana: 29.5% (VR)

Nightlife enthusiasts

1. Connecticut: 32% (VR)

2. Minnesota: 30.8% (VR)

3. Oregon: 30.6% (VR)

Social media enthusiasts

1. New Mexico: 29.2% (VR)

2. Mississippi: 29% (VR)

3. Alabama: 28.7% (VR)

Related article Understand what is behind your YouTube VR Learn how to use this metric to get an accurate count of an ad’s conversion. READ MORE

Top takeaways for YouTube advertisers

  • America is the land of the brave — and the epicurean too. Thrill seekers and cooking enthusiasts are the two audiences with the highest VRs in most U.S. states.
  • Cooking enthusiasts are the most highly engaged. The top affinity audience in each state has a VR of about 30%, but when it comes to cooking enthusiasts, the numbers reach much higher — all the way up to 70%, depending on the state.
  • Think outside the box. In a lot of more rural states (Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Vermot), mobile enthusiasts are the most highly engaged with YouTube advertising. Meanwhile, in Delaware, North Dakota and South Dakota, it's all about fashionistas. The main takeaway in all of this? When running your YouTube campaigns, always consider testing out new audiences that might not fall directly within your typical target.
Ligia Aguilhar

Ligia Aguilhar

Ligia Aguilhar is a Content Specialist at Strike Social and holds an MS from Medill. She was born in Brazil and has traveled the world, from Silicon Valley to Seoul, to cover tech.