YouTube is the most popular video platform on the web right now and has seen unprecedented growth in the last decade. It only accelerated in 2020 due to the way the world changed in unimaginable ways, with people majorly staying at their homes spending more time on screens.
- If you’re a new video creator wanting to make money on YouTube, then this compilation of key YouTube stats is a great starting point. It will help you get more YouTube views and free subscribers.
- If you’re a seasoned marketer who wants to promote your YouTube channel, then use the numbers below to tweak your video strategy.
But the data below is only a starting point. Trust your creative instincts beyond that to not end up being another average video creator.
Table of Contents
YouTube Trends 2020 To Inform Your Content Strategy For 2021
The relationship between us and digital media majorly evolved in the last year. As people stayed indoors, they didn’t just look for entertainment from video creators — but for social connection, learning new skills, and more.
Indeed a Sandvine report claimed that YouTube accounted for over 15% of all global traffic during the worldwide stay-at-home orders.
Let’s look at the key YouTube stats to delve deeper into trends. YouTube’s COVID Impact report found that content trends were driving the following core human needs, as the KR&I Human Needs Model framework by Susan Kresnicka represents:
- An Ipsos MORI online survey conducted on behalf of YouTube found that 70% of people used YouTube during 2020 to watch online replacements of live events.
Some of my favorite bands, such as Radiohead and Rolling Stones, were releasing live concert footage every week. Here’s one from the Lollapalooza Festival, Berlin which has gotten over 1.5M views.
It wasn’t just old footage though. Many artists performed concerts live on YouTube from their homes.
- The total daily live streams on YouTube grew by 45% in the first half of the year. The Travis Scott Fortnite concert was attended by 12.3M people.
If you haven’t considered live streaming yet, perhaps it’s time to reconsider.
- 58% of livestream viewers report that watching livestreams helps them feel connected to something bigger than themselves.
Is your excuse that the experience just isn’t “good enough” compared to a physical event?
- Among livestream watchers, 56% of people agree that watching livestreams can be just as good as being at an event in person.
Ah, it’s probably time you add live streams to your context mix for 2021.
Video indeed isn’t about the entertainment value alone.
- 47% of people agree that this year, online videos helped them cope with a problem in their life.
- Specifically, in 2020 people learned skills ranging from gardening to baking to home improvement and more. Indeed:
- 66% of people in Germany used YouTube to develop a new hobby,
- 94% in India used it to learn to do things themselves.
- And videos with “beginner” in their titles garnered over 9B views.
Remember, even if you’re running an educational YouTube channel — crack a joke or two. It can help your watch time, and as I told you in my getting more YouTube views article: YouTube tries to quantify humor to a certain extent.
- Besides 54% of people agree that this year, watching humorous creators or content online helped them cope with difficult moments.
This brings me to our next subsection –
Top Content Topics And Formats
- Gaming, comedy, and positive-themed content have done particularly well in the last year on YouTube. Here are the top trending videos in the United States (US) in the last year:
- 72% of people used YouTube during 2020 to exercise or keep fit. It’s no wonder then, that living room workout videos with “home” or “no equipment” in their titles garnered steam — hitting a peak around April last year.
Fitness brands and creators can consider creating more “home-friendly” workout videos even in 2021 as most people will continue staying at home.
Even other brands can consider integrating “interactive” content in their strategy because people are craving social connections right now.
- 2020 was also YouTube Gaming’s biggest year, touching 100B watch hours.
- Live gaming streams saw 10B hours.
- Specifically, 350 creators touched 10M subscribers, and over 80,000 touched 100k subscribers.
- Among others, Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite were some of the biggest overall watched games.
As a video creator (or brand) even if playing games isn’t your thing, consider how you can weave gaming culture references into your content next year.
11. In September 2020, YouTube launched its new content format “Shorts” letting creators experiment with short-form videos and rivaling TikTok. The YouTube Shorts player surpassed 6.5 billion daily views globally (as of March, 2021).
The company even took credit for “inventing user-generated short videos” stating its first-ever video upload was the 18-second “Me at the zoo.”
Shorts continues to remain an opportunity for getting discovered as many channels featuring in the “Creator on the Rise” section are heavily reliant on them.
Sidenote: If you’re a gamer who would like to become a YouTube creator, latch on to this “shorts + gaming” opportunity. Nojroom leveraged it by creating funny YouTube shorts on a trending game: “Among us.” And he’s gotten millions of views on multiple videos.
Among other trends, social good and justice were major themes as we “adapted to adversity.”
- 48% of people rely on online videos to show them new perspectives on cultural issues.
As music is a regular part of social revolution, it’s no wonder that the daily views for protest-related songs have spiked.
- In 2020, over 1.6B students were affected by school closures. This led them to the virtual realm and about 78% of users turned to YouTube videos for educational resources.
But it has become a challenge for educators across the globe. Probably because:
40% of people said they participate in an activity simultaneously while they watched a video online.
So you never really concentrate on a single task.
YouTube Usage And Competition Data
Here are the top YouTube user stats that show the age groups, devices, regions, usage, and competition statistics about the video platform.
(Hint: It’s not just in English speaking nations.)
1. YouTube is the second most visited website in the world and each visit involves an average of 9.77 pageviews. In its most used social networks report, Statista placed YouTube at the second spot with 2000M users.
Though the data above could be unreliable because the video hosting company hasn’t shared its user count in the last year!
- YouTube hosts over 2 billion logged-in users every month (that’s almost one-third of the internet).
- The company has launched local versions of YouTube in more than 100 countries and users can navigate it in over 80 different languages.
Given the mammoth size of the platform, and the time people had on hand last year, what kind of competition can you expect as a new creator?
- Well, over 500 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every single minute.
And that’s not all.
- New channels trying to build an audience on YouTube were up 95% in 2020 as per the company’s internal data.
But don’t lose hope.
- The consumption appetite for videos is also high in YouTube users. They watch billions of hours of videos generating billions of views every single day.
- At 20%, YouTube had the second largest share of streaming video usage in the US as per a Neilsen audience report.
But where are viewers tuning in to YouTube?
TV screens account for a huge share of streaming but don’t forget smaller screens.
- YouTube is more than 25% of total worldwide mobile traffic by volume as per the Phenomena report by Sandvine. Based on mobile reach, YouTube remains the most popular mobile app in the US.
The prominence of usage on mobile calls for shrinking every video thumbnail to about 10% of its size — because that’s how a user on the smaller screen will see it.
If you aren’t creating custom thumbnails, get started right away. They are an important tool in getting the attention of browsers and getting them to click on your video. For instance, optimization of thumbnails helped Vevo generate millions of extra views.
- 70% of the views on YouTube are generated by its artificial intelligence-based algorithm, as per YouTube executives. In a Pew Research survey, 81% of US adults admitted that they occasionally or regularly watched videos that were recommended by the algorithm.
Here’s additionally why you should consider creating longer (and more engaging) videos:
- YouTube recommendations tend to point users to progressively longer content.
Also, irrespective of the starting criterion, YouTube recommendations tend to tilts towards more popular content.
This means that a few videos tend to get most of the viewership on the platform.
- Pareto’s Principle is valid on the platform as merely 10% of the most-viewed YouTube videos draw 79% of all views.
YouTube Statistics On Audience Demographics And Video Creators
- Digital video viewership is touted to continue growing in the Asia-Pacific through 2024. Just take a look at the video penetration in a few of the top countries:
YouTube leads the way in non-subscription digital video content in these areas, except for in China — where it’s banned.
- The video hosting platform is more popular among the younger demographics. 77% of internet users in the age bracket of 15 to 25 in the US used YouTube (as of 3rd quarter 2020).
But do these viewers have a preference for the kind of creators they want to watch?
- Well, 58% of people are open to watching digital content made by creators of any age.
No wonder, “Dad, how do I?” by a normal dad became a sensation, although the channel only taught basic life skills. YouTube calls this the evolution of the creator archetype with viewers consuming diverse stories.
So it’s time for you to put aside ageism related stereotypes.
- There are 728M people in the world over the age of 65 (and the number will double in the next 30 years).
Given that these baby boomers are economically influential, creating videos that appeal to them could be a great bet.
It might also be time for you to be open to experimentation across topics.
- 47% agree that their favorite online creators can be difficult to categorize into one genre.
Indeed, specific kinds of creators from Japan have enjoyed a meteoric rise: VTubers. They are basically avatars, but the accessibility of creating them has now increased.
- 47% of viewers are open to watching content from creators or characters who are fictional or virtual.
Creators continue to surprise with their creativities, eh?
YouTube For Business Statistics
If your brand wants to pursue YouTube marketing, then here are a few YouTube for business stats that you can use to create a data-informed strategy.
1.Social Media Examiner found that 69% of marketers plan on increasing their use of YouTube video, while 55% of marketers claim it’s their number one video channel.
The same report also found marketers curious to learn more about the platform. And they plan on increasing their usage of YouTube ads as well.
Next, let’s try to understand viewer habits on YouTube.
- In their viewing habits survey, the Google/Insights Strategy Group found that “personal relevance” was key. People decide what to watch based on:
- their passions,
- to dig deeper into their interests,
- to learn something new.
High-production quality and famous actors aren’t as important. So don’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on expensive gear and chasing high-production studios. Get to know your audience’s needs better by talking to them and researching their interests — then follow their behaviors and deliver something relevant.
How about if you want to use paid advertising to increase your video’s reach?
3.eMarketer found that the YouTube US net ad revenues will reach $4.04 billion in 2020, up 17.8% YoY.
- Specifically, in the US connected TV ad spending, YouTube led the way in 2020 with a gross revenue adding up to $2.89 billion.
- InfluencerMarketingHub social media benchmark report 2021 found that 37.6% of B2B decision makers discovered new brands via video sites like YouTube.
- YouTube and Facebook are also the most common social media platforms for B2B research.
While YouTube is valuable for businesses, can small video creators survive and thrive on the platform? Let’s take a look at the YouTube money statistics to find out.
YouTube Influencers Stats
You’ve already seen the cutthroat competition on YouTube and the prominence of popular channels in a previous section. If you’re a creative, is this platform worth spending your time on at all in 2021? You can answer this question for yourself using the Youtube earnings and creator stats below.
- In a survey of 400 creators, full-time YouTubers stated “expressing creativity” as their top goal at 51%. It was closely followed by promoting their business/brand at 34%.
- A substantial number of creators, almost 23%, mentioned the lack of time as their top challenge. As a one-man show, many are also starved of resources.
- YouTube users who follow creators and engage with their channels every day grew by 70% between 2017 and 2018.
So, how does it translate into tangible revenue?
- Well, “success” on YouTube might mean a life of poverty because even with millions of views every month, you might be unable to make rent. It’s no wonder that many creators consider YouTube as a creative project/hobby. Merely 27% use it for their work full-time.
There’s some good news though:
- The number of YouTube channels earning six figures per year grew more than 40% y/y. And those that earned $10,000 per year grew more than 50% y/y.
Do those income figures discourage you from starting a YouTube channel?
6.Graham Stephan, a YouTube millionaire, had six revenue streams as shown below.
So it’s a question of getting your priorities right.
Instead of chasing subscribers and millions of views, seek relevance and resonance with your audience. Also, don’t rely on the YouTube Partner Program alone to generate income. Depending on your channel’s niche, diversify your income sources by integrating affiliate marketing, online courses, sponsorships, and the like.
- Influencers are just as likely as celebrities to drive buying decisions. Indeed, YouTube creators are 4x more effective at driving lift in brand familiarity than celebrities. Google even plans to turn the video platform into a shopping destination.
- As YouTube videos demand more effort than Instagram posts, YouTube influencers can command higher prices. A YouTube creator with 100k subscribers can command roughly $2,000 per video.
And as we’ve seen in the previous stats, viewers don’t care about your age either. One of my favorite creators, Rick Beato, started his channel in his mid-fifties and now enjoys an audience of millions on Everything Music.
Final Thoughts [And Infographic]
YouTube is a great platform to build an audience. And hopefully, the above YouTube video statistics have given you ideas to tweak your YouTube strategy.
If you’re a marketer, I recommend you combine the data trends from this article with the video marketing statistics piece. This will help in creating a well-rounded video strategy for your brand.
How will you leverage the above stats on your YouTube channel? Are there any other crucial statistics about the video platform that I might have left out? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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