With 20/20 hindsight, it’s relatively easy to identify the top online video trends in 2011. In reverse chronological order, they are:
On Dec. 1, YouTube introduced a new homepage, unveiled a new Channel design, and gave the video-sharing site a fresh coat of digital paint. With 48 hours of video uploaded every minute and with a hundred new channels coming soon from well-known personalities and content producers, YouTube wanted to make it easier for users to find and keep tabs of what they want to watch.
To make sure that most of its users, partners, and advertisers embraced this redesign, YouTube provided an early preview, code named Cosmic Panda, on July 7, 2011.
On Nov. 30, YouTube Analytics replaced YouTube Insight. YouTube Analytics includes a number of new features, including:
- A new overview that displays key information quickly, while also enabling YouTubers to easily access more detailed information.
- More detailed statistics so that YouTubers can get a more precise understanding of their content and audiences.
- The ability to discover which videos are driving the most views and subscriptions.
- The ability to see how far viewers are watching through their video in a new audience retention report.
On Nov. 28, comScore Video Metrix reported that 184 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in October for an average of 21.1 hours per viewer. The total U.S. Internet audience viewed 42.6 billion videos, representing an all-time high. Google Sites, driven primarily by video viewing at YouTube.com, ranked as the top online video content property in October with 161 million unique viewers and reached a record high of 20.9 billion videos viewed.
On Oct. 28, YouTube announced that even more talented creators and original entertainment will soon join YouTube’s existing channel lineup. This includes channels created by well-known personalities and content producers from the TV, film, music, news, and sports fields, as well as some of the most innovative up-and-coming media companies in the world, and some of YouTube’s own existing partners. The first of these new original channels started appearing on YouTube the following month and will continue to debut over the next year.
On Sept. 22, the first month of official comScore YouTube Partner Reporting rankings were announced. The data from the comScore Video Metrix service for August 2011 provided a never-before-seen comparison of viewership across hundreds of the 20,000 YouTube partners and their channels.
On Sept. 14, YouTube announced that you can edit your uploaded videos right on YouTube and maintain the same video IDs. This means you keep your view count and comments, and all existing links to your video will continue to work. No re-uploading necessary!
On Aug. 27, YouTube posted a playbook that compiles important tips, best practices, and strategies for Partners and content creators that go beyond the typical X’s and O’s that you’ll find in YouTube Help. Although some of the information in the 70-page YouTube Creator Playbook had appeared at various times in The Official YouTube Blog or been presented at YouTube Meetups and Gatherings, other tips were brand new.
On Aug. 8, YouTube announced that more than 1 billion video views had been delivered to advertisers via the Promoted Videos program. The program, which was initially called Sponsored Videos, was launched on Nov. 12, 2008. And YouTube started referring to Promoted Videos as TrueView in-search and TrueView in-display ads as of December 1, 2011. But whatever YouTube calls them, they are served and managed by Google AdWords. Get it? Got it? Good.
On May 9, YouTube announced that 3,000 of full-length feature films from major Hollywood studios were available to rent in the US at youtube.com/movies.
Meanwhile, in another post on the YouTube Blog, “Welcome to the future of video. Please stay a while,” Salar Kamangar, Head of YouTube, demonstrated that he has “the vision thing.” He said, “Six years ago, there were … two types of video: video you watched on your TV, and video you watched on your laptop. Today there’s increasingly just video, and it’s available everywhere: on a phone, a tablet, a laptop or a television screen, in your office, on your couch, in a cab.” He added, “YouTube isn’t about one type of device or one type of video. Content from traditional media partners, made-for-web and personal videos all co-exist on the site.”
On March 31, YouTube celebrated its “100th birthday.” In honor of this milestone, YouTube’s homepage was a reproduction of how you might have viewed it 100 years ago. Check out the “Top 5 Viral Pictures of 2011.”
On March 10, YouTube announced the creation of the YouTube Creator Institute. The first initiative from YouTube Next, the school offered aspiring video wizards everything except a Quidditch team.
On Jan. 12, YouTube buried its lead. Midway through a post that proclaimed “Music videos now on YouTube app for Android,” was the really important news for marketers: “YouTube now exceeds 200 million views a day on mobile, a 3x increase in 2010.” As of today, YouTube Mobile gets more than 400 million views a day, making m.youtube.com the No. 2 video-viewing website in the world, second only to YouTube.com.