"YouTube announced it had reached the milestone in a preview of the presentation it plans to make to advertisers May 1 in New York City, during the digital upfront," according to Dawn C. Chmielewski of the LA Times. "It hit 800 million monthly viewers in October 2011."
YouTube's milestone is important to more than 1 million content creators from over 30 countries around the world who are earning money from their YouTube videos as well as more than a million advertisers. Tens of thousands of YouTube partners have created channels and built businesses for passionate, engaged audiences. And all of the Ad Age Top 100 brands are now running campaigns on YouTube.
So, what does a billion people tuning into YouTube look like? According to YouTube:
- Nearly one out of every two people on the Internet visits YouTube.
- YouTube's monthly viewership is the equivalent of roughly 10 Super Bowl audiences.
- If YouTube were a country, it would be the third largest in the world after China and India.
- PSY and Madonna would have to repeat their Madison Square Garden performance in front of a packed house 200,000 more times in order to reach an audience the same size.
Generation C is Powering YouTube's Growth
Gunnard Johnson, Google's Advertising Research Director, posted a related story on the AdWords Agency Blog to explain what's powering YouTube's growth.
"The way people consume content is changing," Johnson said. "For the first time, an entire generation has grown up watching content on their own terms. This generation is defined by the Internet, mobile, and social – consuming content when and where they want. Nielsen calls this group Generation C because they are not just defined by their age group, but by their connected behavior."
According to Johnson, Gen C, which has also been called the Millennial Generation, thrives on:
- Connection: Gen C watches YouTube on all screens, constantly switching between devices.
- Creation: Gen C is deeply engaged with online video, watching, creating and uploading videos on YouTube.
- Community: Gen C thrive on community, defining what's popular on YouTube by sharing videos with friends and family.
- Curation: Gen C is made up of expert curators who care about finding content that matters to them.
According to The Millennial Generation Research Review by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Gen C is a powerful demographic – not only are they cultural tastemakers, they influence $500 billion of spending a year in the U.S. Yet they can be a hard to reach audience for brands. According to GfK MRI Fall 2012 data, members of Gen C are 45 percent more likely to be light TV viewers, choosing instead to consume many forms of content across many screens.
"Over the next few months, we'll take a deeper look at Gen C, sharing insights and trends about our audience on YouTube," Johnson added. "To start, we're focusing on how Gen C watches YouTube across devices."
Multiscreen Marketing is Essential to Reaching Gen C
According to Nielsen Mobile Insights Survey, Q4 2012, young adults are leading the growth in smartphone ownership in the U.S. For example, 76 percent of 18-34 year olds now own smartphones, versus 60 percent of the general population. To better understand how Gen C connects with YouTube across screens, Johnson worked with Nielsen to take a look at viewing patterns on smartphones.
They found that that the amount of time Gen C spends watching YouTube on their smartphones is up 74 percent from last year. In fact, in 2012 the number of Gen C viewers who regularly watch YouTube on smartphones caught up to the number of viewers tuning in on their PCs. 67 percent of Gen C watch YouTube on two devices or more, compared to 53 percent of the general population.
How Does Gen C Watch YouTube on Smartphones?
Gen C tunes in to YouTube throughout every part of their day. YouTube usage by Gen C on smartphones mirrors usage on PCs and peaks during prime time hours.
Gen C watches YouTube on their smartphones as a complementary activity to their lives. For example, 41 percent tune in to YouTube on their smartphone while waiting for something/someone, 18 percent while commuting from work or school, and 15 percent tune in while commercials are running on TV.
On smartphones, most members of Gen C engage with YouTube as a destination by actively searching for videos on YouTube (47 percent). Viewers are also discovering videos socially – 9 percent of respondents said they watched a video on their smartphone because it was shared by friends in an email, while 18% watched a video because it was shared on a social network.
YouTube Searches Now Available on Google Trends
In related news, Kevin Allocca announced on YouTube Trends that YouTube search has been added to Google Trends.
"Google Trends enables you to take popular search queries and explore traffic patterns over time and geography. Now we've added YouTube search data going back to 2008, making it another great tool to look at video trends," Allocca wrote. "Visit Google Trends and enter any search you'd like and then, on the left, choose "limit to" for YouTube. You can slice by region or category as well."