For YouTube’s 15thanniversary, we decided to cover some current stats about the biggest video search engine on the planet. How it started, what it is today, and where it might be headed.
One of the big questions around video marketing and YouTube in general – is it worth the effort, or did you miss the bandwagon? We hope that this compilation of stats and facts will help you decide!
By the end of this article, we will even show you the best way to track your inner YouTube video positions (or ranks) with complete accuracy, plus how to track videos of all types correctly on Google.
Before we get to the juicy stats, we have a tradition in our blog to mention quickly the humble beginnings of the tech giants we cover and monitor. The contrast from a tech hatchling to a tech monster is always fascinating to observe.
Like Amazon and many other tech startups, YT too started in a garage. The iconic domain youtube.com was activated on February 14th, 2005. It was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. The three were former employees of Elon Musk when they left PayPal to start their idea of a video sharing platform. This is officially the 1st video ever published on YouTube:
By July 2006, it was one of the fastest growing websites on the internet, delivering more than 100 million video views a day and averaged nearly 20 million visitors a month! It was even outpacing MySpace and, in less than one year of activity, became the 5th most visited website in the world.
This activity, of course, didn’t go unnoticed by Google, which quickly realized the potential. On October 9th, 2006, roughly a year and a half after launch, it was purchased by Google for 1.65 billion. This figure may seem meager by 2020 standards, but back then, it was one of the largest deals ever made in tech.
The immense power of Google has helped YouTube become the giant it is today. And the best way to show you just how huge YouTube has become is, of course, through some sweet numbers!
Stats and facts
YouTube is currently the SECOND most visited website in the US and the world, trailing right behind Google, with an estimated 29.53 billion monthly visits. Even Facebook can’t compete and is ranked as the 3rd visited website most of the time. This ranking technically makes YT the SECOND largest search engine in the world, and the BIGGEST video search engine by a considerable margin. And each visitor spends there 23 minutes per day on average, watching more than 5 billion videos for more than 1 billion hours a day.
It’s not just about visits – YouTube also sports very high engagement rates. It has more than 2 billion logged-in monthly users, which is a quarter of the entire world’s population. Daily active users amount to more than 30 million.
YouTube also has more than 31 million active channels, and 16,000 of these channels have more than 1 million subscribers!
500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, 40% more than 2014’s amount, and this figure is only projected to grow!
While the average YouTube video is about 11.7 minutes in length, YT has no maximum video length limitations, and users are only limited by file size, which is currently set at 128GB. Thanks to that, we can also find videos such as this 10-hour gem of absolute silence:
And of course, the longest video on YouTube, with a record-holding 596.5 hours:
YouTube’s recommendation algorithm is always learning and is constantly being developed. Currently, 70% of what users watch is via recommendations. If you ever found yourself having a decision influenced by a YT video, know that it was thanks to A.I., which helped drive your decision. Like many sci-fi stories have correctly predicted – our life’s course is no longer solely determined by good old nature and our inner decision-making algorithm. Now we have another force, which will only grow and improve, shaping our lives more than ever before. Our child and successor – Artificial Intelligence.
Over 70% of all views are done through mobile devices. With the ability to screencast content on TVs, YT on mobile gets an even larger boost in traffic. YT is even the runner up to Netflix when it comes to broadcasting content; it’s the second most preferred source of content on TV screens among 18-34-year-olds. Plus, mobile has been beating desktop traffic on virtually all platforms since 2016, so it’s only a natural progression.
TV networks since their dawn operated via recognizable brand and star power to get ratings, but YT is different in that regard. On YT, the thing that matters the most is relevance. In fact, relating to a viewer’s interests is x3 more important than having someone famous in a video. There’s a good reason unique YT talent such as Pewdiepie flourishes on the network, while various famous actors that attempted to transfer their fame into YT saw lackluster success at best.
Also, the content relevance on YT counts more than the production budget. The simplest video done with a webcam can easily trump a highly lucrative video if it offers more relevance to the viewer.
Review videos, tech tips, and consumer guide channels thrive on YT and have made their creators very wealthy through various affiliate deals with sponsors. Viewing times for videos dealing with which products to buy have more than doubled since 2017!
Savvy marketers make sure they have a brand presence on all major social networks, be it in organic form or with paid/targeted ads. On one survey conducted by Buffer, 62% of businesses said they use YouTube to some extent.
Some cool records
The most subscribed channel is
Before Despacito took the record as the most watched video of all time, the first video to break the 1 billion views mark was Korean rapper Psy’s Gangnam Style. Gangnam Style almost broke YT’s system, which was never programmed to handle more than 2,147,483,647 plays per video. The new limit is set at 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 plays. This new mark will most likely be broken only if we become a Type III civilization and expand beyond the solar system. YT has some time to prepare until that happens!
Despacito also has the most likes for a single video, currently set at 36,290,889 likes.
The not-so-coveted record of most dislikes is held by YouTube themselves with YouTube Rewind 2018 currently set at 17,613,682 dislikes!
Most liked comment is “i’m the bald guy”, getting more than 2.1 million likes. It was made by YT creator Seth Everman on the Billie Eilish video “I’m the Bad Guy”. Here is Seth explaining the history of his record-holding comment:
Not shy of controversy and battles with traditional media
It’s no secret and a common understanding that YT is a major threat to traditional mainstream media, and has been for years since they opened their ad targeting features. This competition poses a problem for traditional media since most of their income is through branding deals and advertising. If an advertiser can spend less but get better ROI on YT than the threat becomes very clear.
As a result, traditional media outlets have been aiming for various shots and hit pieces at YT trying to weaken and control the platform, by attempting to inflate any controversy as much as possible. This situation makes brands that want to advertise on YT weary, and as a result, fewer ads are driven via YT and kept in traditional media outlets.
And YT is no stranger to controversy, such as this low-key pedophile ring that existed in video comment sections that featured minors, the various accusations of ads being placed on racist content, and of course, Elsagate.
The dynamic between YT trying to appease most users and grow, while also not bending the knee to old media is an amusing one to watch. Both forces shape and influence each other and are best described as frenemies. Both share a common goal trying to take a bite from our attention span, leading them to both work together and undermine each other (hint: YT is severely winning this war, in case you wonder where to place your bets).
YT’s decisions often hurt creators with demonetization, and you could also make the case; this is an attempt to limit freedom of speech with economic sanctions. Demonetization issues have hurt certain creators, which now must rely on external sponsorship deals.
Regardless of free speech ethics, most brands that use YT ad targeting would rather have their ad shown on a ‘clean’ video and wouldn’t want to be associated with controversial or edgy content.
The above may sound pessimistic for anyone considering placing ads on YT, but it’s far from that. The bottom line is the US market for advertising on YT is booming, and YT is projected to make 5.5 billion dollars in ad revenue alone! (not even including other territories which account for 83% of total traffic).
And more people are making money as YT creators than ever before. The number of channels scoring more than 10k dollars a year grows steadily by 50% each year. Combined, the highest-paid YT creators have made 127 million dollars (2017). And if you reach the goal of more than 10k subscribers, you can get a free studio to create at the YouTube Space LA complex.
Overall, YouTube has returned the initial investment many times over and is a highly lucrative child for Google, making 15.1 billion dollars of revenue in 2019.
How to monitor your YT videos on both YT and Google
While YT is part of the Alphabet umbrella of services, it has a unique ranking algorithm that functions independently of Google’s main algorithm. It was developed before Google purchased YT, so it has its own unique code. This means that if you have any YT videos, you should be concerned about how well they rank within YT.
But wait, that is just part of the picture! YT videos also rank well on Google, so essentially, it’s highly recommended that videos be tracked on both YT and Google.
So, let’s select a video for our example, and we’ll show you how to track that video with the most powerful SERP tracker on the market – Pro Rank Tracker!
Since it is YT’s anniversary, it’s only fitting we track the 1st ever video on YT.
“Me at the zoo”, for the keyword “first youtube video”. We will track it on YouTube, Google Video Carousel, and Google videos:
After you have added everything for tracking, here are just some of the things you can do:
- See the data neatly arranged in our data table
- Compare ranks with any other term that you track in a single chart
- Set notifications that will alert you of any important changes, such as your video entering the top10 positions
- Get automated white label ranking reports sent to any email with detailed progress graphs
- See local and global search volume for that keyword
- See the ENTIRE top100 search results represented in a single chart
- Discover additional relevant keywords with our Keyword Suggestion Tool
- And much more!
YouTube is only projected to grow and become more dominant. They are constantly improving their ad targeting methods, too, so even if you are not a video marketer, it is certainly worth exploring what advertising opportunities YT can offer your brand.
And if you use YT, make sure you track everything correctly, just like we showed you in this article. Brand presence on social networks is highly recommended, and YT is the largest social network to date, the biggest video sharing platform, and the second-largest search engine in the world.
YouTube’s rise goes hand in hand with the total rise of video content in popularity. Give our video marketing stats article a read while you are at it, and see the correlation for yourself.
About Pro Rank Tracker – the complete SERP tracking solution
We specialize in tracking all major search engines accurately for any SEO and SEM need.
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- And of course, as you saw above, YouTube SERP tracking with keyword search volume
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