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173 million U.S. Internet users watched 32.4 billion videos in January

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According to comScore Video Metrix, nearly 173 million U.S. Internet users watched 32.4 billion videos in January 2010. Do the math and you'll discover that viewers watched an average of 187 videos per viewer during the month.

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If you drill down into the data, you also see that 135.4 million viewers watched 12.7 billion videos on YouTube, which is an average of 93.4 videos per viewer. It also represents an increase of 50 percent versus year ago.

Whether you look at online video in general or YouTube in particular, these are big numbers. How big? Well, this year's Super Bowl was watched by more than 106 million people, surpassing the 1983 finale of "M-A-S-H" to become the most-watched program in U.S. television history, according to the Nielsen Company.

So, this is big.

But, as I reported over the weekend in my post about The Value of Social Media Report by Econsultancy, only 49% of companies are using YouTube in social media campaigns. By comparison, 85% of companies are using Facebook as part of their marketing strategy and 77% are using Twitter.

So, what gives?

Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't use Facebook or Twitter. But you should also be using YouTube.

As The comScore 2009 U.S. Digital Year in Review noted a month ago, six out of seven U.S. Internet users now view online video content in a month, with YouTube continuing to experience rapid increase in viewership. By comparison, nearly four out of five Internet users visit a social networking site on a monthly basis and Facebook and Twitter propelling much of the growth in the category.

Do the math and six out of seven (86%) is bigger than nearly four out of five (80%). Yep, online video is that big.

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