YouTube, everyone’s favourite hosting site, has turned 7. Like many other internet phenomenon’s, YouTube has come a long way In 2005 three former PayPal employees struggled to share video content amongst themselves, turned that problem into the solution of YouTube. Seven years later it has exploded into a global video sharing platform, with 72 hours of video being uploaded every minute.
Bought by Google in 2006 for an astounding $1.65b, YouTube is now estimated to be worth somewhere in the region of 45-50bn. The site has been helped by massive growth in the uptake of Internet globally, which has accelerated thanks to the explosion of mobile phones, and thanks to videos hosted by it gaining prominence in the Google search algorithm it has eliminated competition.
YouTube has revolutionised how we consume our media, it took the music industry a while to grasp the power of YouTube, yet today music videos dominate YouTube, with artists such as Lady Gaga, Eminem and Justin Bieber making almost blockbuster productions. This has had a massive impact on how on brands interact with consumers. From flash mobs to rollerblading babies to create your own video ad, there isn’t a creative agency trick that hasn’t been employed by brands to grab and retain consumer’s attention. YouTube seems to be the only social media channel where brand placement and advertising has been embraced but users rather then alienated it. While YouTube itself, thanks to its own meteoric rise in both audience numbers and user generated volume it has established itself in its own right as a mega-brand.
Today must consumer brands are trying to cultivate consumer loyalty through creative content and user engagement. YouTube is now seen as a central part of any marketing or PR campaign, used by charities, political parties and commercial brands.
And importantly these videos are being watched, the number of users uploading content – home videos, music and TV clips – has more than doubled in the last two years. With over 800 million users and 4 billion videos watched per day worldwide, including home videos, business, filmmakers, musicians and humorous cats YouTube is now the third most visited website after Google and facebook.