YouTube Stats: Everything you need to know about the video giant (plus fun facts).
YouTube is an amazing success story. What began in April 2005 with a 19-second, rather unexciting video from the San Diego Zoo has, in a few short years, become one of the platforms without which the Internet would be unthinkable. Whether you're looking for the "Yoo-hoo, there's still sauce" Miracoli commercial from the 1980s or 24 creative ways to tie your shoelaces, whether you want to hear the choir of Pitcairn Islanders, watch an axolotl feeding or ride the world's steepest roller coaster live - there's hardly anything you can't find on YouTube. The platform leaves competitors like Vimeo, Metacafe or Dailymotion in the dust.
YouTube is not only the most important video platform by far. It is also the second most visited website on the Internet after Google. And it is the second most important search engine: With three billion searches per month, the platform already handles more search volume than Bing, Yahoo, AOL, and Ask.com combined in 2017. YouTube's role as a social network should not be overestimated: The commenting feature and the ability to respond to others' content with your own videos have spawned countless very lively communities around the platform's stars, and YouTube is the second largest social network after Facebook.
In other words, there is almost no way around YouTube for e-commerce. The platform has what it takes to create dream reach. The right videos can make brands famous overnight or, more modestly, turn casual customers into loyal ones. In the near future, YouTube will even become a shopping portal itself: The platform is currently testing new e-commerce features with some channels that will allow users to buy the product shown in the unboxing video. YouTube is relevant to you, too - and is likely to become even more so in the future. High time to take a closer look at the platform.
Key facts at a glance
YouTube was founded in 2005 - and sold to Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion.
YouTube now has 2.3 billion users. In recent years, YouTube has added between 100 and 300 million users per year. Tens of millions of potential users in Asia and Africa should ensure robust growth for years to come.
YouTube reports 2 billion unique visitors per month. Vimeo, the platform's main competitor, has only 230 million.
In Germany, YouTube reaches 47 million adults each month.
Every day, 122 million people visit the site, watching an average of 8.89 videos in 18 minutes.
More than 70 percent of the content viewed is recommended by YouTube's algorithm, an AI that evaluates user preferences. This means that if you want to be successful on YouTube, you need to pay attention to the YouTube algorithm.
41% of YouTube traffic comes from smartphones and other mobile devices.
YouTube also leads the way in turning clicks into revenue: In 2020, the platform generated $19.77 billion in revenue (mostly from advertising, with smaller portions from paid content). Hundreds of millions of dollars are distributed annually to YouTubers who monetize their content through the affiliate program.
YouTube is available in 80 languages and 100 country versions.
Every minute, YouTubers around the world upload 500 hours of video to the platform's servers.
YouTube user demographics
Globally, 82 percent of men and 81 percent of women use YouTube.
Ninety-five percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 91 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds use the platform. Even among 50-64 year olds, the figure is 83 percent. This makes YouTube by far the most popular social media site in all age groups up to 65, ahead of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat & Co. It is only in the 65+ age group that the popularity of YouTube and Facebook roughly even out at 49 and 50 percent, respectively.
And the kids? 80 percent of American kids 11 and under watch YouTube with parental permission - and 53 percent spend time on the platform every day.
The exact numbers come from the US, but are probably also roughly representative for Germany.
USA and India in the lead: These are the countries with the most popular YouTube channels
YouTube currently has about 51 million channels. The number of subscribers is in the single-digit to eight-digit range. Only 3.4 percent of all channels have more than 10,000 subscribers, and only 29,000 channels have broken the one million subscriber mark.
Of course, there are always surprises in the weekly statistics of the most-viewed YouTube channels, such as the Italian channel Panda Boi, which went from 3,000 to over 5 million subscribers in just a few weeks. But that doesn't change the fact that the majority of the most popular channels consistently come from the US. India is lagging behind.
Since 2019, however, the most popular channel has come from the South Asian country: T-Series, the channel of the Indian music label of the same name - which has made a name for itself with Bollywood soundtracks and Indian pop - is the most subscribed and, in most weeks, also the most clicked YouTube channel.
The country with the most YouTube users: India
YouTube is blocked in these countries
China, Iran, Turkmenistan, South Sudan, Sudan, Tajikistan, Syria, North Korea, and Eritrea completely block YouTube.
Why YouTube content has been blocked in Germany for years
Partial restrictions exist or have existed in other countries as well. For example, due to a dispute with GEMA, many music videos were blocked in Germany for years - as much as 60 percent of the 1,000 most popular videos at the time in 2013. In 2016, the dispute was settled, and since then the annoying blocking bar has become rare on German YouTube.
Would you have guessed? The most viewed YouTube video of all time is... "Baby Shark!"
The most popular YouTube video currently comes from South Korean children's video creator Pinkfong! - The irresistibly colorful "Baby Shark" was uploaded in 2016 and has been viewed approximately 10.09 billion times to date. Interesting "historical" tidbit: "Kleiner Hai", a low-resolution home video of the same song with German lyrics released in 2007, was one of the first German-language viral videos and even landed the funny bespectacled singer a record deal at the time. If you watch both videos, you know pretty much everything about how YouTube has changed and professionalized in less than a decade. Alemuel didn't get rich off her record deal, but other stars discovered on YouTube did, including Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Es Sheeran, Alessia Cara and Tori Kelly.
In the current top ten YouTube hits, children's entertainment (six videos) and music (five videos) are almost evenly matched. Luis Fonsi's romantic Latin hit "Despacito" has been in second place for some time. Third place is once again held by a children's video: The 3D animation "Johny Johny yes Papa" comes from the Romanian children's edutainment channel LooLoo Kids.
The second most subscribed channel: YouTube for kindergarteners
Pinkfong!, LooLoo Kids, ChuChu TV, El Reino Infantil: many of the most popular YouTube channels are edutainment offerings for young children. With the American channel Cocomelon (more than 128 million subscribers), the genre is currently the second most subscribed channel. The figures give an idea of the role that YouTube is now playing as a media service for the very young.
The most popular German YouTube channels
Every single one of the most popular German YouTube channels offers its videos either exclusively or at least also in English. Despite this concession to the global market, German channels play in the third league internationally - and some things are different in the German YouTube niche than in the global space.
Although the Kinder-Toys channel, a purely commercial offering for children, is also at the top here, the fact that Kurzgesagt - In einem Satz, a thoroughly sophisticated science channel, is among the top subscribers is probably somewhat unique.
Also in the top 5 are Haertetest - the first port of call for anyone who likes to watch iPhones, melons or eggs being run over by cars; Crazy Frog, the revived long-running hit from the Jamba ringtone commercials; and Ice Cream Rolls, a channel where you can watch delicious ice cream creations being made.
... and this is the richest YouTube star
American YouTuber MrBeast attracts attention with unusual stunts, elaborately staged competitions (such as a faithfully recreated squid game, minus the live ammunition), and generous charity campaigns - and will rake in $54 million in 2021. Most of its revenue is likely to come from lucrative advertising deals - and its own burger chain.
The first video to reach one million views was a Nike spot uploaded in 2005, featuring Brazilian soccer wizard Ronaldinho performing a trick on a pair of white-and-gold shoes. More likely to be remembered by most is the first billion-view video: PSY's "Gangnam Style," of course, in 2012, in just under six months.
The ten billion mark was recently broken by "Baby Shark".
Gaming videos are one of the most popular genres on YouTube
LetsPlays - videos in which you watch a YouTuber play a video game - are among the most popular YouTube offerings for kids (and not just!). In 2020, a staggering 100 billion hours of gaming content will be watched on the platform.
The immense popularity of the genre is illustrated by Swedish LetsPlayer PewDiePie, whose channel was literally the most subscribed YouTube channel for half an eternity (from 2013 to 2019). Currently, PewDiePie is still in fourth place with 111 million subscribers.
Explainer videos, product reviews, documentaries: key YouTube genres for e-commerce
YouTube users want to be educated as well as entertained. But they prefer it in a relaxed and humorous way. That's why, in addition to LetsPlays, music videos, comedy, more or less interesting personal commentaries on everything and anything, and compilations of the top 5/10/25/100 of the biggest/best/most exciting XYZ, videos that impart knowledge are among the most popular YouTube genres. How-to videos explain just about every known cultural technique, from tying a tie to baking Oreo cookies to building a smelting furnace. Engaging explainer videos impart all kinds of theoretical knowledge. Plus millions of product reviews and documentaries of all kinds.
Of course, nothing beats a viral video featuring your product or company. But the arithmetic of virality is more of the high school YouTube school. A more reliable way for companies to get their foot in the door is with well-made, useful videos: answers to questions about products, explainer videos that convey important knowledge about the company's field of expertise, documentaries and interviews that provide insights into company culture, production or sourcing: This content can generate real interest among customers and prospects.
With Corona, the popularity of how-to videos on YouTube has skyrocketed. In 2020, there were 50 percent more how-to videos with "at home" in the title and 65 percent more how-to videos with phrases like "step-by-step" or "for beginners" in the title.
And finally: What happened to the dislike button?
Unlike Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, YouTube not only has a "Like" button for every video, but also a "Dislike" button. Until November 2021, YouTube showed the number of dislikes as well as the number of likes. Lots of dislikes could be a sign of misleading videos and clickbait. Sometimes, however, dislikes were the work of haters.
YouTube is now putting a stop to that: The dislike button is still there, but only the uploader can see the number of dislikes. Not everyone is thrilled with this change. But one thing is for sure: In 2022, YouTube will be more relevant than ever - and a lot more positive.