Friday, 22 March 2013

What YouTube's 1 Billion Monthly Active Users Milestone Means For Marketers

imageYouTube has announced on its blog that the video sharing and streaming site has surpassed the 1 billion monthly active users mark, the second social media site after Facebook to reach this milestone.

Like Facebook, YouTube took eight years, from its conception in February 2005, to hit 1 billion MAUs. Twitter, in comparison, has just celebrated its seventh birthday and has just over 200 million monthly active users.

So, 1 billion, that is a mindboggling amount of viewers! In the announcement post on the YouTube blog, the YouTube team have put that enormous figure into perspective, asking “What does a billion people tuning into YouTube look like?

  • Nearly one out of every two people on the Internet visits YouTube.
  • Our monthly viewership is the equivalent of roughly ten Super Bowl audiences.
  • If YouTube were a country, we’d 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. That’s a lot of Gangnam Style!”
What is powering this growth?

In another post on parent company Google’s Agency Blog, Advertising Research Director Gunnard Johnson explains that Generation C, a phrase coined by Nielsen to describe a demographic “defined by the Internet, mobile, and social - consuming content when and where they want”, is to thank for YouTube’s high viewing figures.

Generation C, or Gen C for short, is the name given to a group of primarily young adults who are defined by their constant access to multiple devices, often having a screen in their living room, their office, their bag and their pocket, with each one capable of accessing the internet at any time.

”On YouTube,” says Johnson, “this generation thrives on 4Cs:

  • 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.”
In the United States 76% of 18-34 year olds (the main demographic constituting Generation C) own smartphones, as opposed to 60% of the general population. Gen C spent 74% more of their time than last year accessing YouTube on these smartphones.

The percentage of Gen C watching YouTube on more than one device has also increased: 67% of Gen C watch YouTube on more than one device, while 15% access it during commercial breaks on television.

YouTube has created a handy infographic illustrating all the statistical information above. To see it visit Think With Google.

What does this mean for YouTube marketers?

It is vital that YouTube marketers tap into Generation C as a potential target audience and, therefore, a huge source of revenue. Gen C’s potential as a source of revenue is backed up by a statistic Johnson quotes on the blog post: “Gen C is a powerful demographic”, he says, “not only are they cultural tastemakers, they influence $500B of spending a year in the U.S”.

Top marketers have already seen the potential for YouTube marketing, with every single one of AdAge’s Top 100 brands posting content on YouTube.

Brands marketing themselves on YouTube must be constantly aware of the 4Cs if they wish to leverage Generation C’s influence over YouTube popularity:

Connection: Generation C is active on YouTube across all devices. In fact, Gen C’s activity on smartphones and on desktop devices peaks at roughly the same points during the day. Marketers need to create content that can be played on both desktop and mobile devices. If a video is best viewed in high-definition, it will be wasted on smartphone audiences. Also, any hyperlinks on the video must take smartphone users to sites that are compatible with mobile devices.

Creation: marketers should stay abreast of what’s popular and topical on YouTube. Most recently the Harlem Shake was YouTube’s big thing and millions of versions were uploaded to the site. Brands like Red Bull and Manchester City FC did their own Harlem Shake videos, both of which received millions of views.

Community: according to Johnson, viewers are “discovering videos socially - 9% 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.” Marketers should encourage viewers to share their videos, incorporating hashtags for use on Twitter, or posting them on Facebook and Google Plus.

Curation: Members of Generation C love discovering something new and sharing it with their friends. 47% of Generation C find the majority of the videos they watch using search. Marketers need to give their videos titles which are both relevant and eye-catching. They also need to post regularly and during peak periods to ensure that the right demographics view their videos. Generation C only recommends the best videos to friends and family members, so brands and marketers need to make sure that their content is creative and original.

Johnson recommends two YouTube tools for brands who want to market their adverts across multiple devices:YouTube’s One Channel design ensures that brand channels are compatible with all devices, while TrueView video ads are cost effective adverts that charge marketers only if and when they are viewed.

In 2012, YouTube recorded almost the same viewing figures on smartphone devices as it did on desktop devices. To take advantage of the growing generation of viewers who can access YouTube 24 hours a day, whether on a computer, a laptop, a tablet or a phone, YouTube marketers need to ensure that they get the best out of YouTube’s advertising services, and that they upload the best advertising content possible onto YouTube.

Do you consider yourself to be part of Generation C? If so, what are your YouTube habits?


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