What motivates people to watch YouTube

13 years of YouTube

Where would the internet be without a constant supply of adorable kittens, people falling over in amusing fashion or earnest teens emoting wildly about their favourite artists? Underneath all this essential content is the video sharing platform YouTube, the domain name "YouTube.com" was activated on February 14, 2005. Happy 13th birthday, YouTube!

To celebrate this momentous occasion, we’ve looked at some interesting facts about the service that you may not be aware of. Have a think about the following while watching the most important video the world has ever seen.

Source: Google/Ipsos Connect, A total of 1901 U.S. respondents ages 21-36 completed a device-agnostic survey. The study was fielded between April 27, 2017 and May 5, 2017.
Source: Google/Ipsos Connect, A total of 1901 U.S. respondents ages 21-36 completed a device-agnostic survey. The study was fielded between April 27,  2017  and May 5, 2017.

More content than you can shake a stick at

Every minute, more than 400 hours of content are uploaded to the site by its users. To put that into context, it would take 264 hours just to watch every episode of The Simpsons. Obviously, this is more content than it would be possible to have approved manually, even with an army of YouTube employees, so a powerful algorithm analyses the content as it’s uploaded to make it appear in front of interested audiences.

Animals are in YouTube’s DNA

Ever wonder why there seems to be so many videos on YouTube of animals being amazing? Besides their unquestioned cuteness, maybe it’s got something to do with how the very first video put on YouTube was in a zoo. YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim shot footage of himself in the San Diego Zoo and used that to test uploading functionality. Did that set the tone for many others to follow?

Counterculture

Underneath each video on YouTube is a counter - a number that shows how many times a clip has been viewed on the platform. While a bug that stops counting views at 300 temporarily has been well known since the site launched, Psy’s epic music video for his “Gangnam Style” song really broke the system. The video was so wildly popular that the counter simply couldn’t keep up, and YouTube engineers had to create a new counter system to prevent this problem recurring. This helped people making video marketing strategies get a better understanding of how their creations are trending.

Source: Google/Ipsos Connect, U.S., YouTube Human Stories: Gen X, n=1,004 respondents age 35–54 who go online at least monthly, Sept. 2016.
Source: Google/Ipsos Connect, U.S., YouTube Human Stories: Gen X, n=1,004 respondents age 35–54 who go online at least monthly, Sept. 2016.

Historical curiosities

While YouTube excels at instantly sharing what is happening right now with people around the world, it also works as a fascinating historical archive. Savvy archivists have uploaded the oldest surviving film footage from 1888 (three gripping seconds of people walking around in a circle), the first film footage from Australia (the 1896 Melbourne Cup, of all things) and, yes, footage of cats from 1894. The cats are boxing. It’s just too cute.

The baby nobody likes

Every video on YouTube can be “liked” or “disliked” - information YouTube (and its owners, Google) considers when determining how likely a video will be recommended to other users. It’s common for particularly viral videos to garner millions of Likes as it’s shared between people, but what is the most Disliked video? To nobody’s great surprise, it’s the official film clip to Justin Bieber’s “Baby” - over eight million people have given this a big thumb down.

The platform is expanding

At the dawn of YouTube’s existence, users were limited to uploading 10-minute videos, originally an effort to curb piracy issues but also to give their fledgling server infrastructure a chance to accommodate its growing user base. Now, thanks to Google’s massive server farms and the use of lighter video codes, registered users can upload 12 hours of content in one video. (And yes, you can even watch grass grow)  

Recently, the site has added live streaming so users can keep the camera on themselves 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For video marketing specialists, this has opened a wealth of possibilities, with live video streaming allowing brands to drop the stuffy corporate veil and enrich the customer experience through Q&A sessions, special announcements, interviews, live events and behind the scenes glimpses.

Source: Google/Ipsos Connect, Sports Viewers Study, U.S. among adults aged 18-54 who watch sports/fitness content on YouTube at least monthly, n=1,501, Feb. 2016.
Source: Google/Ipsos Connect, Sports Viewers Study, U.S. among adults aged 18-54 who watch sports/fitness content on YouTube at least monthly, n=1,501, Feb. 2016.

Video marketing strategies

Let’s take a look at how brands are innovating with their video marketing strategies

Lots of brands are jumping headlong into six-second ads including YouTube’s own marketing team. The key to success was to view the six-second ad as a blank canvas rather than a cut-down.

In an online world where consumer attention is limited, brands are realising that reach is no longer enough. Getting someone’s attention is more than the creative itself; it’s also about the way that creative is served. When ads are more personally tailored, audiences are more likely to gain attention.

Fixing marketing campaigns around live events like the Super Bowl, the Olympics, Australia Day or the Logies. The key is acting quickly and planning ahead as much as possible.

Influencer marketing has been getting a lot of publicity. Collaboration with YouTube creators is often more effective than traditional celebrity sponsorships. 

These are just a few ideas and practical tips on how to make YouTube videos that people love to watch and share.  Check out the YouTube Creative Playbook for Advertising for more.

iFactory has been a part of the internet for even longer than YouTube has been around, and we can help take your business to new audiences through online video marketing, website development and everything in between. Contact iFactory today to find out more. 

13 years of YouTube

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