YouTube just got even bigger. The Google owned online video streaming service announced today that for the first time, it is driving more than a billion unique users on the site, every month. That’s 1 in 7 people on the planet stopping by Youtube to watch viral videos from Gangnam Style to the most recent phenomenon, the Harlem Shake. YouTube crossed the 1 billion threshold five months after Facebook Inc. said its online social network had reached that figure. “If YouTube were a country, we’d be the third largest in the world after China and India. Nearly one out of every two people on the internet visits YouTube“, YouTube said in the blog post.
Google bought YouTube for $1.76 billion in 2006 when the video site had an estimated 50 million users worldwide. In October of 2011, YouTube had 800 million visitors per month, meaning it has taken the service approximately 17 months to reach the one billion mark.
YouTube said that all of Ad Age’s Top 100 brands are running campaigns on YouTube. A lot of what’s powering this growth is the new generation of multiscreen viewers, or what market research firm Nielsen calls “Generation C.” According to new numbers by the firm, the number of Generation C viewers who watch YouTube on their smartphones is now equal to those who tune in on their PCs.
“From the aspiring filmmaker in his basement and the next great pop musician, to the fans all around the world who tune in, subscribe and share their favorite videos with the planet, thank you for making YouTube what it is today. You have truly created something special“, said YouTube concluding the post.
The milestone news comes at a time when YouTube is actually de-emphasizing the sheer volume of views and shifting more towards engagement as a measure of success. How long viewers spend on the site, how often they share videos or subscribe to a particular channel are examples of engagement. On the other hands, Gen C tunes in to YouTube throughout every part of their day. YouTube usage by Gen C on smartphones mirrors usage on PCs and peaks during prime time hours.
Also, most of Gen C engage with YouTube as a destination by actively searching for videos on YouTube (47%).
I think these colossal numbers will only manifold in near future with advent of budget smartphones and affordable data plans. What do you think?