2020 was a heck of a year for YouTube, as people turned to videos to replace in-person events and activities. The YouTube stats here show how people are using this social video platform right now, and what marketers need to know to reach them effectively.
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YouTube user statistics
1. YouTube has more than 2 billion logged-in monthly users
That’s not quite as large an audience as Facebook’s 2.74 billion monthly active users.
But keep in mind that it’s possible to watch YouTube content without ever creating an account, so the “logged-in monthly users” number likely underreports the actual number of people watching YouTube content each month.
2. 74% of adults in the U.S. use YouTube
That’s more than Facebook (which reaches 68% of American adults). And it’s almost twice as much as the next runner-up, Instagram (40%).
According to Pew Research, YouTube is the most popular online platform in America.
eMarketer predicts the number of U.S. YouTube watchers will increase to 228.1 million by 2024, up from 214.9 million in 2020.
3. 77% of 15–35 year-olds in the U.S. use YouTube
YouTube is most popular with users 35 and under, but only slightly. 73% of Americans aged 36 to 45 use YouTube, along with 70% of those aged 46 to 55 and 67% of those 56 and older.
This is a very different pattern from other social platforms, where use drops off sharply in the older age groups.
4. 80% of U.S. parents of children 11 and under say their kids watch YouTube
And 53% of those parents say their child watches videos on YouTube at least once a day. This is also in stark contrast to the other social networks, most which require a minimum age of 13.
These last two YouTube user statistics combined show that YouTube has deep reach across every age category in the United States.
Source: Pew Research Centre
5. 94.5% of OTT watchers in the U.S. are watching YouTube
OTT stands for “Over-the-top” and it refers to streaming services watched on a TV. Almost all Americans who watch streaming videos on their TVs are watching YouTube.
YouTube is the most-used digital video platform in the United States. Netflix comes in second at 74.9%. In March, YouTube watch time on TVs increased 80% year-over-year.
6. 16.4% of YouTube’s site traffic comes from the U.S.
You’ve already seen how pervasive YouTube is in the United States. But keep in mind only a fraction of YouTube’s traffic actually comes from the USA.
According to Alexa’s estimates, while the United States is the single largest source of visitors for YouTube, it still represents only 16.4% of traffic.
The next runners up? 9.2% of YouTube viewers are in India, and 4.8% are in Japan.
7. 56% of YouTube users are male
And 44% are female. (Data is only available for male and female users.)
YouTube’s user based skews male, but there are still plenty of women creating and consuming content on the platform.
YouTube usage statistics
8. YouTube is the world’s second-most visited website
Right after its parent company, Google.
9. It’s also the world’s second-most used social platform
In this case, it comes in right behind Facebook.
10. People watch more than a billion hours of video on YouTube every day
A billion hours. Every day. That’s an incredible amount of content being consumed, all around the world.
How does that number get so high? The next couple of YouTube usage statistics provide some insight.
11. Viewers aged 18 and over spend 41.9 minutes on YouTube daily, on average
This includes usage across all devices: mobile, desktop or laptop, and connected TV. That’s an average of 4.9 hours per week or nearly 255 hours per year.
12. 40.9% of YouTube watchtime happens on mobile
This number has been shrinking recently as people spend more time watching YouTube on their TVs, but it’s still a significant portion of viewing time.
It’s important to consider because it means YouTube statistics showing how much time people spend browsing YouTube.com significantly underreport the amount of time users actually spend on the platform. (Since mobile views are more likely to use the YouTube app.)
In Q4 2019, 49.0% of YouTube viewing was mobile and 27.0% was on TVs. By Q3 2020, this had shifted to 40.9% mobile and 34.4% on TV.
13. The average visitor to YouTube checks out 8.89 pages per day
People are not just swooping into YouTube to check out one video and then ducking out. They’re sticking around to check out nearly nine pages, increasing both their total viewing time and the number of content sources they consume.
14. There were 4x more views of videos related to Black Lives Matter in the first 10 days of June 2020 than in all of 2019
The ways people use YouTube shifted fast in 2020, and this is one indication of major change. During this same period in early June, views of videos on “how to be an ally” increased 23% from all of May. And 48% of people now say they rely on online videos to “show them new perspectives on cultural issues.”
Views for protest songs like “Fight the Police” by Public Enemy and “This is America” by Childish Gambino also spiked in June.
YouTube for business statistics
The next several YouTube business statistics look at what people were watching on YouTube in 2020. This is important information for businesses looking to plan impactful organic content, or thinking about themes for paid YouTube campaigns.
15. View of videos with variations of “beginner” in the title increased more than 50% between March and July 2020
Globally, these videos got more than 9 billion views in 2020.
66% of people in Germany used YouTube to develop a new hobby in 2020, and a whopping 94% of people in India used YouTube to learn to do things themselves. Globally, 82% used YouTube to learn to do things themselves. What were they learning to do, exactly?
- Views of beauty tutorials increased nearly 50% in 2020.
- There was a 90% increase in bike maintenance and repair videos.
- Daily views of videos with “raising chickens” in the title increased 160%.
- Videos related to learning guitar saw 160 million views from mid-March to mid-April.
- Videos about container gardening saw 6 million views in the same period.
- There was a 215% increase in daily uploads of videos related to self-care.
- There was a 458% increase in daily views of videos about making sourdough bread (guilty!) and a 200% increase in daily views of recipe videos for bubble tea.
- Videos of how-to videos for home haircuts also spiked in April (guilty again).
16. People watched 100 billion hours of gaming on YouTube in 2020
There are now more than 40 million active gaming channels on YouTube. More than 80,000 of those channels have a minimum of 100,000 subscribers.
Minecraft was the most-watched game, with 201 billion views, followed by Roblox at 75 billion views and Garena Free Fire at 72 billion views.
17. 72% of people used YouTube to exercise or keep fit in 2020
There was a 515% increase in videos with “home workout” in the title in March alone. And people looked to develop some pretty specific fitness skills:
- There was a 195% increase in daily videos on how to do a handstand
- Dance workout videos saw 180 million views from mid-March to mid-May
18. Daily views of videos with “home office” in the title increased 210% in March 2020
And daily uploads of videos with “at home” in the title increased 700% in the same period. Videos with a combination of “quarantine” and “routine” in the title saw 10.5 million views in March.
19. Daily YouTube livestreams increased 45% in the first six months of 2020
This is not surprising in a year when live events were for the most part cancelled.
53% of livestream viewers say watching livestreams helps them feel connected to something larger than themselves. And 56% of people say watching livestreams can be as good as being at an event in person.
20. 50.9% of B2B decision makers use YouTube to research purchases
That makes it the most-used social platform for this purpose, outranking even Facebook (48.5%) and LinkedIn (33%.)
If you’re marketing to other businesses, you can reach top decision makers on YouTube.
YouTube ad statistics
21. 70% of viewers bought from a brand after seeing it on YouTube
This statistic comes from YouTube parent company Google based on a study of 2,000 users aged 18 to 64 conducted with Talkshoppe in February 2020.
22. YouTube ads targeted by intent have 100% higher lift in purchase intent than those targeted by demographics
They also have a 32% higher lift in ad recall. Combining demographics and intent only slightly increases ad performance above targeting by intent alone.
Source: Think with Google
People watching YouTube ads targeted by intent also skip ads less and watch ads for longer than people watching ads targeted by demographics.
23. The top YouTube ad in the U.S. in 2020 was Nike’s Never Too Far Down | You Can’t Stop Us
The ads leaderboard is based on “an algorithm that factors in organic and paid views, watch time and audience retention.”
24. In the U.S. alone, YouTube will make 5.56 billion dollars in advertising revenue in 2021
That’s a billion and a half more than YouTube made from ads in 2020. More people are buying more ads in more formats.
For example, the number of advertisers using YouTube’s TrueView for Action increased 260% in 2020
25. The number of channels that earn $10,000 USD per year or more on YouTube grew by 50%, year over year
And in the same period, the number of channels earning $100,000 USD per year or more grew by 40%.
Of course, this kind of income isn’t just from ad revenue, it might include multiple forms of YouTube monetization. Regardless, it’s tough to say if this is good news for all content creators on YouTube, or just the really successful ones.
(Note that YouTube says this growth happened year over year, but does not mention which years.)
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