SPAIN – 2521/03/25: In this photo illustration, the YouTube app is displayed on a on the App Store … [+]
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There have been lots of jokes – and legitimate concerns – about how much YouTube costs when lost productivity. Few will admit it, but most of us have spent a lot more time than expected devoting ourselves to video after video. The platform is also showing no signs of slowing down.
The majority of Americans say they use YouTube and Facebook, and the two platforms dominate the online landscape, according to new data from Pew Research. 81 percent of Americans use YouTube compared to 69 percent who use Facebook.
More importantly, over the last year and during the novel coronavirus pandemic, only YouTube and Reddit saw significant growth. In the survey conducted by Pew Research, the first of its kind since 2019, YouTube remains the most widely used online platform, with 73 percent of Americans who most recently used the video-sharing service saw an increase.
At the same time, Facebook’s growth has reportedly flattened over the past five years, although it remains one of the most widely used social networks among adults in the United States. According to the latest research, 68% of American adults use Facebook, the same percentage as it was two years ago. In particular, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter and WhatsApp have remained statistically unchanged since the 2019 survey.
Heavy traffic and app spending
According to a Sandvine report last May, YouTube accounted for 15 percent of all broadband traffic for consumers worldwide. This exceeded the 11 percent of Internet traffic from the over-the-top video streaming service Netflix.
More than two billion people worldwide were using YouTube in May 2019, and that number has grown steadily in the nearly two years since then. New data from App Annie also showed that YouTube had become number one in terms of consumer spending in the first quarter of this year.
In-app purchases on YouTube included: YouTube Premium, a monthly subscription that removes ads for all videos; Channel Membership, which is a monthly subscription to a specific channel and offers a variety of benefits; Super Chat, where viewers can pay to participate in chat messages using a creator’s live stream; and Super Stickers, where viewers can pay to send “stickers” in a chat during these live streams.
Understand the growth of YouTube
A number of aspects could be responsible for YouTube’s continued growth, including the fact that many people turned to content directly related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“YouTube’s continued growth has been driven by a combination of factors including usability and accessibility and the volume / variety of content,” said Charles King, technology industry analyst at Pund-IT.
“You could say it’s the opposite of Bruce Springsteen’s eloquent exploration of cable television, 57 channels and nothing more,” remarked King.
“It’s the network effect,” added Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics. “It’s like gravity around a black hole – the bigger the black hole, the stronger the pull. The more people there are on a service, the faster it grows. I think what also helped YouTube grow faster is, that it has branched out into different areas like YouTube Music and YouTube TV, as well as the relatively loose control over what type of content people upload. “
Another important consideration is that Google owned YouTube is actually quite proactive in monitoring content, even with so much being created and added every day.
“While YouTube often struggles to keep up with and shut down dangerous or misleading content, the company has rarely been tarred for deliberately ignoring fake content that affects bottom line, as has Facebook and some other social sites.” suggested King. “In short, YouTube improves its service while avoiding mostly stupid or costly mistakes. In terms of social media, this is a recipe for continued growth and success.”