Started in 2005, YouTube remains the biggest global video-sharing platform in 2021, raking in great numbers in 2020. Social media networks are growing faster than ever, so there is no sign of slowing for the video giant.
Over the past 16 years, YouTube has had an upwards trajectory to its current reputation. 2020 was a big year for digital media consumption, and it definitely shows, especially in the uptick in live events and viewership.
Anyone trying to forge their path on social media should know the breakdown of key statistics that inform the platform’s successes and pitfalls, and YouTube is no different.
This allows brands, businesses, influencers, creators, and more to develop a strategy that works best with the social media platform.
Incredible YouTube Statistics
If you’re looking to make big moves in your YouTube strategy this year, take a look at these 30 YouTube statistics to help you make the right decisions and keep your channel growing and delivering the right results.
Finding out all of this info on your own can be quite time-consuming, so we’ve put them all together on this go-to guide.
Let’s start with the most common YouTube FAQs and then get straight into it!
These are the 5 most commonly-asked questions about YouTube from around the web.
1. Who owns YouTube?
YouTube was an independent company that was charged by the three co-creators until 2016, when Google bought the company for $1.65 billion dollars. It was a wise acquisition, and some of the statistics that we’ll discuss below will make that clear.
2. Why do people like YouTube so much?
There are a variety of different reasons that YouTube has become the success that we know today, but a specific answer to this question is a bit difficult, as it can be relative to each person.
These are some of the top qualities that have made YouTube so popular today:
- Global reach to billions of users
- Monetization opportunities
- No signup required for use
- Usable on a variety of media types— mobile, web, TV, and more
- Video sharing is easy and quick
- A lot of creative opportunity and potential
The first video to reach 1 million views was in 2005, the same year it was created, and this was a huge milestone that proved the power of global reach that the YouTube platform would eventually harness.
3. Which YouTube video has the most views?
With so many videos on YouTube, it may be hard to imagine which videos would be the ones viewed most frequently. Understanding the top viewed videos gives an insight into what becomes popular on YouTube as well as the power of a viral video.
These are the top 5 viewed videos on YouTube:
- 8.17 billion: “Baby Shark Dance”
- 7.25 billion: “Despacito”
- 5.22 billion: “Shape of You”
- 5.01 billion: “See You Again”
- 4.98 billion: “Johny Johny Yes Papa”
Heard of any of them? The #1 video, Baby Shark Dance, was released in 2016, and eventually went viral. It has shot up to hold the top spot 5 years after it was released. The #5 video was also released in 2016.
Both of these videos are kids videos, which shows both how going viral can take you to completely new heights, and also how popular YouTube is amongst kids.
4. How can I get more views on YouTube?
This is without a doubt the most frequently asked question in relation to YouTube. Video views are the main driver of profitability on YouTube as well as algorithm performance and video recommendation.
You have to have a certain number of YouTube views in order to move forward with monetizing your channel; not only that, if you’re looking for higher sales or conversion, you also need to have a high number of views.
Here are a few tried-and-true tips that can help you get more YouTube views:
- Optimize your video’s thumbnail image
- Include a watermark in your videos
- Work with a YouTube growth service such as UseViral or SidesMedia
- Use cross-channel promotion to advertise your videos across other social media networks
- Create video playlists
- Use end screens to keep users viewing
- Create unique and engaging video content
- Ask viewers to subscribe
- Include embedded links throughout your videos
When you use all or a combination of these tips, you give yourself higher odds of scoring more video views. YouTube strategy needs to be considered carefully; it’s vital that you create videos your target audience wants to watch and use a thumbnail image and title that attracts people.
What’s more, YouTube also has SEO, so brushing up on some SEO title tips can also help.
5. How do I make money on YouTube?
There are a variety of different ways to make money on YouTube, and this is just another reason why the platform has become as popular as it has.
You can make money on YouTube in the following ways:
- Monetize your viewership with YouTube Partner Program (YPP)
- Become an influencer and get brand sponsorships for content creation
- Sell your own branded merchandise
- Begin a paid membership program or subscription
- Become an affiliate marketer and do product reviews
- Sell online courses
These are some of the ways that you can word towards earning money on YouTube. The YPP is available for activation only after a user has met the following criteria over the past 12 months:
- Have 1000 subscribers
- A total of 4,000 watch hours
It can seem like a tough thing to do, but this is how you can get your channel monetized. It’s wise to use a couple of the above strategies to maximize your potential profit on YouTube.
Now we’ll dig into the following 30 YouTube statistics that can help inform your YouTube best practices.
1. More than 1 billion hours of YouTube video is played daily
It seems like a huge amount, but it’s true— 1 billion hours of YouTube video is watched daily. Maybe it’s not such a small world after all!
How is it possible that there are 1 billion hours of video being watched on a daily basis? A couple different user trends have boosted YouTube video hours to this level of viewership. For one thing, it’s rare that a user pops onto YouTube, views only one video, and leaves.
In fact, it’s possible that videos are viewed back to back, and also left playing in the background for many different reasons. With these types of habits, it’s completely possible for this much YouTube video to be watched very day.
There are even some bizarre videos out there, like a 10-hour video of a crackling fire log to “warm” up your home. If you can think of it, it’s probably on YouTube!
2. YouTube is the world’s second-most visited website
Since Google has owned YouTube since 2016, Google officially owns both the #1 and #2 most-visited websites on a global scale. That’s a pretty big deal.
Google’s flagship website is the top website visited worldwide, with YouTube coming in second.
While many people use YouTube via mobile app, YouTube is still a fully-functional website, giving it an even larger reach to those who aren’t comfortable with or don’t prefer to watch videos on their mobile phone.
Some social media networks, such as Instagram, limit functions on their website, but YouTube has done a good job of making pretty much all features available no matter how you access their website, helping them to expand their usage.
YouTube still hasn’t quite edged out Facebook, the most used social media network around the globe. Facebook clocks in at roughly 3 billion monthly active users— 2.8 billion if you want the exact figure .
Instagram and TikTok are dueling it out as well, bothing vying for 3rd place with their 1 billion monthly active users. TikTok exploded in 2020 and has caught up in a big way.
Thus, YouTube remains comfortably in spot #2 with their 2 billion monthly active users. Unless TikTok or Instagram can pull out another billion monthly active users, it will likely remain there.
4. Social issue videos surged in June
Since more and more people are actively using social media, it has become a bigger reflection of where society currently is and what the biggest social issues are. This was made very clear in 2020 for a variety of reasons.
It’s a clear indicator that people take to social media to help propagate meaningful change and raise awareness about a variety of different important causes.
With the growing unrest in the U.S. surrounding the Floyd murder and police brutality t the end of May 2020, the phrase “how to be an ally” surged with an increased view rate of 23%; half of people conclude that online videos help them to understand new perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of cultural issues.
Songs that were related to protest including “This is America,” “Fight the Police,” and others also experienced an increase in plays during the same period.
5. The U.S. holds the largest single source of YouTube visitors
Only 16.4% of YouTube traffic actually comes from the U.S., but it is the largest single source of YouTube viewers. Even though it’s a big consumer, it’s definitely not the only country that likes to check out YouTube.
The U.S. YouTube visits only compose a fraction of the overall views from around the world, and both India and Japan make up a pretty decent chunk of YouTube traffic with India bringing in 9% and Japan about 5%, respectively.
YouTube Business Statistics
Anyone looking to up their game on YouTube for business should know about the following statistics. Before we dive into who is using YouTube and what their trends are, we want to take a look at some business-specific tidbits that can help to boost your performance.
Knowing these YouTube business statistics can help you to get your strategy moving in the right direction and understand how your content and target ads can keep up with the ever-changing YouTube landscape.
6. Live Streams Increased Significantly in 2020
Many users became dependent on YouTube to fill in the gaps that the Coronavirus left behind in terms of live events, and that means that creators boosted their live stream content as well.
In fact, there was a 45% increase in live streams over the first 6 months of 2020. This is a big deal because it changed the way people view live online events and the potential market that there is for them.
Live streams provide a different way to connect with your target audience and implementing them in your YouTube content strategy might be a good way to get your viewers involved in something bigger.
7. There was 50% more views on videos including the word “beginner” from March to July, 2020
Again, thanks to COVID-19, many people were stuck at home due to pretty much worldwide lockdowns and quarantines. For this reason, there was a trend that stuck out in 2020— the word “beginner” boosted video views, getting 50% more views on videos that included that word in the title.
There were 9 billion views of videos that included the word “beginner” worldwide. From learning new hobbies to learning how to do things yourself, there were plenty of people with the same idea.
These are some of the things that people wanted to learn in 2020:
- Bread- baking sourdough bread videos increased by 458%. I guess a lot of people wanted to make their own sourdough, probably because the grocery store didn’t have any more!
- Gardening- March-July brought in over 6 million views
- Bike maintenance and repair: 90% increase.
- Beauty tutorials: 50% increase. All dressed up with nowhere to go? Makeup for post-quarantine parties? We’re here for it!
- Haircuts: speaking of beauty, many people were lost without their barbers and hairdressers. How to do a haircut at home was definitely surging.
- Guitar: there were about 160 million views on guitar between March and May.
- Self-care: people needed some love, and videos related to this topic saw an increase in 215% daily uploads.
- Raising chickens: we can’t make this stuff up. Videos including this phrase in the title saw 160% increase in views.
Picking up these trending topics and getting content out there to meet them is important— you always need to know what is going on in the moment and how you can ride the wave.
8. Roughly 51% of B2B decision makers research possible purchases on YouTube
YouTube is possibly the top option for getting B2B advertising to deliver results considering that over half of B2B decision makers are researching products for purchase on YouTube.
This means you have a lot of room to develop some awesome content and boost your conversion rate. The second option was Facebook with 48.5%, and LinkedIn with 33% of decision makers using it for B2B purchase decisions.
A great option could be to go for all three and expand your cross-platform marketing, but the biggest percentage was held by YouTube.
9. Gaming had over 100 billion hours watched in 2020
Yes, gaming was incredibly popular in 2020. It’s popular not only on YouTube, but on other social media networks including Twitch, which is the principal network for many different people trying to make their name sharing video game live streams.
There are currently 912,000 YouTube gaming channels, 80,000 of which have a minimum of 100k subscribers. The most viewed video games of 2020 were the following:
- Minecraft: 201 billion views
- Roblox: 75 billion views
- Garena Free Fire: 72 billion views
If this is part of your target audience, it’s good to note that there is a big presence on YouTube; if it’s not, maybe you should consider including this target group.
10. Videos including the phrase “home office” skyrocketed in March of 2020
Staying on top of trending topics and becoming a part of the action is definitely a key takeaway from 2020 as many things changed at the drop of a hat. Social media was no different, and there were ample opportunities to pick up on trending topics.
Home office was one of those topics considering many people became forced to work at home. Videos with this phrase in the title were up by 210%, which is a huge number. If you can stay on top of these trends, you’ll be able to offer your audience something that is valuable to them.
Other phrases were also up, such as “at home,” which was up an incredible 700% in March. Other buzzwords including “quarantine” and “routine” hit a high number of video views as well, reaching as high as 10.5 million views.
Taking action quickly is something that businesses, brands, and content creators must do in order to stay relevant, and these usage trends show that it can have a potentially big payoff if you keep up with what’s going on.
People use social media based on their needs and wants, so staying in tune with those can help reform your strategy.
YouTube User and Usage Statistics
Our next section will take us closer to those who are using YouTube and what their usage actually means for the platform as well as for your YouTube strategy.
11. YouTube has over 2 billion monthly active users
We’ve mentioned this a few times in relation to other statistics, but just in case you missed it, YouTube holds 2 billion monthly active users on a global scale, making it second in active users only to Facebook.
This means users that logged in, and since YouTube doesn’t require users to register or sign in to use the platform, the actual number could, in fact, be higher.
If these unaccounted viewers were somehow discovered and reported, there is a chance that YouTube could beat out Facebook’s 2.8 billion monthly active users.
12. Viewers 18 and up spend about 42 minutes on YouTube daily
When considering the 1 billion hours of YouTube videos viewed daily, the amount of time people actually spend on YouTube should also be considered. This can easily explain why there is so much.
The average time that people 18+ spend on YouTube is 42 minutes; that means they don’t just pop in and out real quick, they stick around and view more than just one thing.
A key strategy is to put end screens on your videos and embedded links to other videos so that people have multiple opportunities to check out your other videos and keep watching. This will help you to increase your video watch time.
13. Viewers are checking out roughly 8.89 pages on a daily basis
In addition to the 42 minutes, this stat takes it even deeper to explain that people are viewing almost 9 pages daily, affirming the fact that people don’t just come on for a one-and-done watch experience.
This means they’re checking out more and navigating around on the platform. This is how YouTube analyzes user patterns and figures out what their algorithm should recommend to this viewer to keep them watching longer and spending more time on YouTube.
This is really important as the algorithm plays a huge part in what people ultimately decide to view on YouTube.
14. Almost half of YouTube view time is done via mobile app
Well, getting there— actually more like 41% of YouTube watch time comes from the mobile app. YouTube’s web version is complete and valuable, but they’ve been able to replicate that very effectively for mobile, making it easy to use no matter what device you’re on.
People almost always have their cell phone either in their hand or right next to them, so it’s easy to grab it real quick and access YouTube at any moment. For that reason, YouTube mobile usage has increased over the years.
That doesn’t mean it’s taken away from it’s website success, but it’s just added another notch on the YouTube belt.
15. 70% of users watched YouTube to replace live events in 2020
With live events up 45%, 70% of users decided to partake in those live events and watch on YouTube. They didn’t really have too much of a choice, but it’s pretty cool that people embraced the change in a big way.
It also allowed content creators, artists, and more to stay in contact with their fans and still get their music and videos out there.
16. Three-quarters of U.S. teens and adults ages 15+ watch YouTube
75% of teens and adults over the age of 15 in the U.S. are YouTube viewers. This is one of the biggest age ranges, and there are a couple important breakdowns here:
- YouTube is most popular with people from 35 and under, but only by a small amount
- 76% of people between 36-45 use YouTube
- 70% of people between 46-55 use YouTube
- 67% of people over 55 use YouTube
This is a big distinction for YouTube in comparison to other social media platforms as it commonly drops off at higher ages, but YouTube has bridged the generational gaps in the U.S.
It may be because YouTube is available easily via the web, or perhaps because registration isn’t required— only speculation .
17. More than half of all YouTube users are male
There is only data for genders male and female, but according to statistics there are 56% of users that are male and 44% of users that are female. This isn’t a super significant difference, but there may be value there if you’re looking to hone in on a specific target audience.
18. 80% of U.S. Parents confess that their kids (11 and under) watch YouTube
Kids no doubt love YouTube and their parents can attest— it’s a great way to keep your child busy, learning, and entertained. 80% of parents say that their children 11 and under like to watch YouTube.
From those parents, another 53% say that their child watches YouTube every day. YouTube doesn’t have a minimum age requirement because it’s not even required to register to watch, so children can get started watching YouTube as soon as they can figure out how to use a phone (if their parents didn’t already put it on for them).
19. Over 70% of what people watch on YouTube is based on recommendations from the YouTube algorithm
The YouTube algorithm is a powerful thing, and it analyzes user behavior to be able to suggest videos that they would most likely watch. This keeps people on YouTube longer and also helps them to have a great user experience, discovering content that is relevant to them.
When a YouTube video ends, YouTube populates recommendations for the viewer, and it’s often that users go for that option— 70% or more of what people watch is because of this YouTube algorithm.
Understanding the algorithm as well as what your target audience’s habits are can help you get more natural reach for your videos and perform well.
20. YouTube is popular amongst streaming service users
Since YouTube has a U.S. TV service called YouTube TV, they’ve been able to keep up with some streaming services. Not only do streaming service users also view YouTube, YouTube has become the most popular digital video platform in the U.S.
In fact, 94.5% of people who use streaming services also watch YouTube.
Netflix is up there as well, with 75% of streamers using netflix.
The viewership of YouTube on TVs has also increased over 80% from prior year. This could be for a variety of reasons, including the advancements of smart TVs and the buy-in from consumers to download more apps onto their TVs.
YouTube Ad Statistics
Here we’ll discuss some tips to help you make some more effective ads on YouTube and understand some of the most important reasons why they may be a good idea for your YouTube content.
21. 70% of viewers bought from a brand they saw on YouTube
This stat comes from February of 2020, and it’s based on a study from Talkshoppe. In this study, 2000 users were observed ranging from ages 18-64.
The results showed that 70% of these 2,000 people bought something from a brand after seeing it on YouTube. This is promising, but it’d be great to have a larger sample size to understand deeper implications.
In any case, it’s clear that YouTube exposure makes a difference and there are a lot of different ways you can design your ads for people viewing YouTube.
22. Channels making $10k USD per year increased by 50% year over year
This is likely to combine ad as well as other revenue that a channel may have generated through YouTube, but even still, that’s a good indicator that people continue to reach high levels of success on YouTube.
This is a year over year growth, but what year isn’t indicated. What’s more, channels earning 6 figures, $100k per year, also grew by 40%. There is still huge potential for YouTube monetization if you strategize correctly.
23. $5.6 billion is the expected amount YouTube will earn in ad revenue for 2021
Ads are huge for almost any company out there, and YouTube is no exception. They are projected to make $5.6 billion USD in ads in 2021, which is a $1.5 billion increase over 2020 if it is fulfilled. They are projected at close to 7 billion in net ad revenue by 2022.
There are many different ad formats these days, one of the most popular being TrueView for Action which allows people to create interactive ads that provide calls-to-actions (CTAs) for users, which can boost leads and conversions.
In 2020 alone, this type of ad was up 260%. That’s big.
24. Nike’s “Never Too Far Down | You Can’t Stop Us” was the most popular YouTube ad of 2020
The most popular ad on YouTube was “Never Too Far Down | You Can’t Stop Us,” and this isn’t because it had the most number of views.
The success of a YouTube ad is based on the following 3 factors:
- Audience retention
- Watch time
- Organic and paid views
25. Targeting by user demographic isn’t as effective as targeting by user intent
Ad creation was commonly devised according to user demographic, but this may not be the best way— targeting by intent actually proves to have a 100% higher lift in purchase intent, which is an important point.
People are addressed at a base level when you go by intent, hitting their wants and needs. Not only does it increase purchase intent, it also increases ad recall by 32%.
The most effective option was to fuse intent and demographic, but only slightly. Intent was better than demographic alone, showing that you should always focus on intent.
YouTube Must-Know Facts
The following 5 facts are things you should know about YouTube so you can understand where it came from and where it’s headed. There are some key details here that may help you shape your own future YouTube strategy in terms of monetization and the importance of YouTube for your brand or business.
26. There are 37 million YouTube channels and counting
From 2019 to 2020, the amount of YouTube channels grew by 23%, landing at over 37 million. That goes to show that YouTube is still quite popular and increasing their registered user base every day.
Because YouTube doesn’t require users to sign up to use the platform, this number could continue to grow for years to come. 500 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, so there’s no doubt people want to continue to share content to their channel.
27. The first YouTube video was posted in 2005
The first YouTube video was posted by one of the co-founders of YouTube, Jawed Karim. He posted this video which he titled “Me at the zoo” on April 23rd of 2005. It was a short video of only 19 seconds.
You can still check it out! It’s still on YouTube and has 158.4 million views.
28. YouTube accounts for 37% of all mobile internet traffic
Data is measured in megabytes, which may be one of the reasons why YouTube takes up so much mobile internet traffic, but in any case, it took over and beat out Facebook by quite a bit.
Facebook only brought in 8.4% of web traffic even though it has more monthly active users than YouTube. The stat is from 2019 so it would be interesting to have an update today, especially since Netflix has surged in popularity since then.
Netflix only made up 2.4% of mobile traffic according to these statistics, but it’s also not as common to view Netflix from mobile.
29. Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion
The 3 co-owners of YouTube were former PayPal employees, a company owned by eBay. Google bought YouTube in 2016, putting a big powerhouse company behind the platform and creating different features like subscription services.
30. YouTube has millions of paid subscribers
Wait, paid? Yep, you heard that right. YouTube has, over the years, implemented a variety of different paid subscriptions options for viewers to opt into, and they’ve taken the bait. YouTube has seen tremendous success in these areas.
One of the biggest draws to YouTube Premium was the fact that you can view videos on mobile without keeping the app open. It can be pretty frustrating to want to keep music going and answer a message, but if you close out of the app, the audio will cut and the video will pause.
This doesn’t happen when you are a YouTube Premium subscriber, and there are about 20 million YouTube users that are.
In the U.S., users can also subscribe to YouTube TV, and at the end of 2020 Q3, there were 3 million people subscribed.
YouTube continues to believe there is room for growth in these numbers, so we will see how they fare in bringing in more paid subscribers.
YouTube Statistics: Summary
So, there you have it! 30 key YouTube statistics. Here’s a quick rundown before we let you go:
- YouTube is the second-most visited website
- There are over 2 billion monthly active users of YouTube
- The U.S. makes up 16.4% of YouTube viewership
- There are more than 37 million YouTube channels
- Over 70% of what people watch is based on the YouTube algorithm
- The average user is watching YouTube for roughly 42 minutes per day
- Targeting by user intent is more effective than targeting by user demographics
- 41% of YouTube watch time is carried out via mobile
- There are slightly more men on YouTube than women
- Kids love YouTube according to 80% of U.S. parents
- Roughly a quarter of adults in the US use YouTube
- Live streams increased 45% from January-June 2020
- Over half of B2B decision makers are actively researching products on YouTube