UPDATE October 9, 2018 — YouTubers are the voices and trendsetters of the world. Whether they’re giving their uncensored thoughts about a brand’s services or products or globetrotting to set a lifestyle example for millions of subscribers, YouTube content creators are changing the world with their ideas and opinions. These digital video stars represent a valuable asset to YouTube itself, to its individual viewers, and to any brand, company, or institution that knows how to leverage them.
We’ve compiled the most comprehensive statistics to determine who YouTubers are, how much they can make on the platform, and the type of power they wield online:
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Approaching the mass and dominance of Facebook, YouTube sees 1.8 billion users each month excluding non-logged-in users. As Google’s most popular service, YouTube has more users than Gmail and equates to almost one-third of the internet. The top 20 YouTube creators are likely at the helm of the video streaming service, boasting 430+ million total subscribers. As its user base continues to swell, YouTube presents a formidable presence and threatens to dethrone reigning social media champion, Facebook.
Long-form video has made social media its natural habitat, and most major social media platforms have their sights set on offering an even better media environment than video streaming giant, YouTube. As the competition plays out, the YouTube video ad revenue stream continues to flourish. Deriving 73% of its ad revenues from video in the U.S., YouTube will generate $3.36 billion in net U.S. video ad revenues.
YouTube net video advertising revenues were previously forecasted to make up 20% of total U.S. net video advertising revenues in 2018. Overall, YouTube hovers at 11% of Google’s net U.S. ad revenues, 1% more than formerly predicted.
YouTube has remained relatively coy about the money creators earn on the platform. But after VidCon 2018, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer, Neal Mohan, commented on creator monetization claiming that the number of creators earning five figures grew by 35 percent and the number of creators earning six figures went up by 45 percent.
Previously, on January 16, 2018, the company announced that the number of YouTube channels making over six figures has increased 40% year-over-year. YouTube’s treatment towards its creators has resulted in platform loyalty by influencers, making it the premier destination for video content on the internet. Payment of ad revenue to YouTubers has incentivized growth on the platform, leading to larger channels and high creator compensation.
Top YouTubers can be classified into four major categories: Silver, Gold, Diamond, and Ruby. YouTube awards its creators with Play Button plaques after a channel has surpassed a certain number of subscribers. There are four major subscriber milestones, 100,000 subscribers, 1 million subscribers, 10 million subscribers, and the near untouchable 50 million subscribers, each awarded respectively with a Silver, Gold, Diamond, and Ruby plaque.
In a study surveying 1,000 children aged six to seventeen, 3 out of 4 would prefer to be a YouTuber or vlogger over traditionally coveted career paths (e.g. doctor, athlete, lawyer). Children’s preference for pursuing a career as a video content creator coincides with how Gen Z and millennial demographics view YouTubers: in a Google case study, these demographics identify with YouTubers more closely than their friends, believe that YouTubers are changing the world, and seek out YouTubers’ advice when it comes to purchases.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki reported that YouTube content creators are uploading over 400 hours of content to YouTube per minute. That is equivalent to nearly 17 days of video content uploaded each minute or 65.7 years worth of video content uploaded each day! The plethora of video content on YouTube has led to immersive entertainment, where YouTube audiences are becoming more involved on the platform and are participating in creating video themselves. The excess of content has been followed by strong viewership, with reports showing a 10-fold growth in daily watch time and a total of 1 billion hours of video content consumed daily.
YouTube boasts the most comprehensive content creator base in the world, with over 50 million active references in its database, including more than 8,000 major broadcasting networks, movie studios, and record labels. The database has allowed for YouTube to pay out over $2 billion to creators who have chosen to monetize their content since 2007. In the music industry alone, musicians found on YouTube generated over $1 billion for the music industry from advertising. YouTube’s commitment to creator ownership has helped make it a safe space for anyone to upload and monetize their content.
YouTube has been investing in its creators in several ways, one of which is to provide physical spaces for YouTubers to produce and connect. YouTube Spaces, or YouTube’s initiative to foster a strong creative community, occupies 9 major cities in the world, including Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Tokyo. Spaces has helped many YouTubers produce their best work, totaling at over 10,000 videos that have generated over 1 billion views, and 70+ million hours of watchtime.
YouTubers are more influential than traditional celebrities. Studies have found that 7 out of 10 YouTube subscribers related better to their favorite YouTube content creator than with traditional television or movie stars. Interestingly, 40% of millennial YouTube subscribers believe that their favorite creator understands them better than their friends. Leveraging YouTube influencers is especially important, not only for exposure to a vast audience, but also for developing intimate and personal relationship with the audience.
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Unlike a traditional celebrity, a YouTube creator’s claim to fame is based his or her strong ties to the YouTube community. This means that YouTubers are more connected to their fans and more connected to other content creators on the platform, leading to a more engaged audience. Famous YouTubers will actually see more than 3 times as many views on their videos than traditional celebrities on YouTube, 2 times as many actions, and 12 times as many comments. Audience engagement on YouTube should be prioritized by brands looking for influencer partnerships on YouTube to increase organic reach opportunities.
YouTubers are the modern trendsetters, as determined by Millennials. YouTube is the most widely-used platform for accessing videos uploaded by other people in the world, and 70% of the YouTube audience believes that YouTube content creators are the drivers of modern culture. This means that the opinions of YouTube influencers play a significant role in driving consumer behaviors. In fact, 6 out of 10 people get advice on what to buy from their favorite creator, representing a huge opportunity for brands to advertise.
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