Statistically, the largest streaming video website in the world, YouTube is now used by over 2 billion internet users every month—that’s around one-third of all people currently using the internet. YouTube has local versions in over 100 countries and 80 languages.
With such a large influence over the web, everything YouTube does is heavily scrutinized, and indeed most of what happens on the site is done on an exceptionally large scale. From the massive number of videos it hosts to the number of channels it removes each year, YouTube is hardly a website associated with small numbers.
In this post, we share some of the most impressive tidbits of information about this platform.
1. YouTube is the second-most visited website
With 2 billion users worldwide, it’s hardly a surprise that the YouTube website sees a ton of traffic. In fact, the only site that gets more visitors is that of parent company Google. Things have changed slightly since our last round of YouTube statistics in early 2019; at that point, Facebook had more visitors than YouTube.
2. Users watch over a billion hours of video per day
YouTube users view a whopping 1 billion hours of video each day. Each visitor spends around 19 minutes on the site daily (up from 17 minutes in 2020 and 13 minutes in 2019) and visits approximately ten pages before leaving the site. Over 70 percent of YouTube content is viewed via mobile devices.
3. The most-viewed video has more than 7 billion views
Until recently, Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” featuring Daddy Yankee was the most-viewed video on YouTube. However, now the infamous Baby Shark holds the top spot, with over 8.5 billion views. Other notable videos include Khalifa – See You Again ft. Charlie Puth with 5 billion views and PSY – Gangnam Style with 4 billion views.
4. YouTube’s Android app has more than 5 billion installs
According to statistics from the Google Play Store, more than 5 billion users have downloaded the YouTube Android app. It hit 5 billion in November 2018, so the actual number is almost certainly much higher now. There is no category yet defined that goes above 5 billion, but the one below covered 1-5 billion, so we can assume we will find out if YouTube ever reaches 10 billion installs.
After a couple of years of being the most downloaded app on iOS, YouTube was finally pushed off of the top spot. In fact, it slid to fourth place, after Zoom, TikTok, and Disney+.
5. T-Series remains the channel with the most subscribers
6. In the US, WWE is the most popular channel
Based on the number of views in the US alone, WWE takes the cake. It has over 37 billion views and 52 million subscribers. Toy review channel, Ryan’s World, is a close second with more than 34 billion views even though it has far fewer subscribers (23 million).
7. 74% of US adults use YouTube
A recent study by Pew Research Center found that almost three quarters of US adults use YouTube. Further, 72% consider it an important way of following the news. For contrast, that’s higher penetration than Facebook which is used by 66 percent of US adults.
Prior research from the same organization found that YouTube use among men (78 percent) is higher than among women (68 percent). When it comes to the age of users, the vast majority (91 percent) of 18-29 year-olds use YouTube, whereas usage drops a bit in older generations, to the point where only around 38 percent of those 65 and overuse the platform.
8. YouTube is a go-to platform for product reviews
Consumers frequently use YouTube before making purchases. Around 80 percent of shoppers claimed to have accessed a video review on the site in the early part of their shopping process. YouTube users watched over 50,000 years’ worth of review videos in a two-year period.
9. YouTube is also preferred over instruction manuals
Users are three times more likely to watch a YouTube tutorial video than deal with reading the instruction booklet that accompanies a product.
10. LEGO has the most popular brand channel
LEGO is one of YouTube’s biggest massive content producers. Although it doesn’t compare to some of the most popular influencer channels, it is the most popular brand channel. LEGO has over 12.5 million subscribers and its videos have amassed more than 14 billion views.
11. More than 80 percent of YouTube users live outside the US
While the US does account for the largest portion (15.6 percent) of YouTube’s visitors, that portion is still relatively small. Behind the US is India, accounting for 9.9 percent and then Japan, which accounts for 5 percent of users.
12. Google paid $1.65 billion for YouTube in 2006
Google’s acquisition of YouTube was big news (and big money) back in 2006. YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley received $334 million from the sale, co-founder Steven Chen received $301 million, and due to his business relationship with the company at the time, third co-founder Jawed Karim received $66 million. Sequoia Capital, the earliest YouTube investor, earned $516 million while Artis Ventures snagged $85 million.
13. YouTube generated $6.89 billion in ad revenue in 2020
YouTube is now a giant ad revenue machine, thanks in no small part to Google Adsense incorporated into videos and YouTube’s use of autoplay. The 2020 total was up 46 percent over the previous year, a total of $6.89 billion in profit.
14. The Content ID system pays billions of dollars to creators
YouTube allows content creators to monetize any of their content that exists on the platform (whether they created the videos using their content or not) thanks to YouTube’s Content ID system. By November 2018, the service had paid out over $3 billion through the system. The real number is much higher, though. In fact, it’s been revealed that YouTube actually pays creators around $8 billion per year.
15. 8-year old Ryan Kaji was YouTube’s highest earner in 2020
The young star of the channel Ryan’s World (previously Ryan’s ToysReview) earns his millions by reviewing toys and delighting his subscribers. With the help of his parents, he earned $29.5 million in 2020. Following Ryan as top earners in 2020 were Mr Beast, a prankster known for spending huge amounts of money ($24 million) and Dude Perfect, a group of former college roommates who set up a sports entertainment channel ($23 million).
16. YouTube’s 10 highest earners brought in over $200 million in one year
The above three stars along with seven other top earners netted a whopping $201 million. Aside from one of the children, all other top ten earners are men. Interestingly, only two earn their keep by posting gaming videos, down from five last year.
17. Viacom once sued Google for $1 billion because of YouTube content
In 2007, Viacom filed a lawsuit against Google for allowing copyright infringement on the YouTube platform. The case was eventually thrown out, although defending the lawsuit cost Google upwards of $100 million.
18. YouTube’s first-ever video has over 165 million views
The first video was posted to YouTube on April 25, 2005, by co-founder Jawed Karim. It is titled “Me at the zoo” and is 19 seconds long.
19. YouTube began as a video dating website
YouTube’s early version failed to inspire. Co-founder Steve Chen revealed at a 2016 press conference that on initial launch, YouTube had the tagline “Tune in, Hook up.” It was designed to provide people with a way to upload videos in a quest to find their dream partner. However, the idea never took off, even after the team offered to pay women $20 each to upload a video.
20. The YouTube logo barely changed until 2017
The site kept its original logo from launch until 2011. Even then, only very minor tweaks were made and the logo’s design didn’t change much until 2017.
21. YouTube initially launched with no limit on uploaded video length
However, the site instituted a 10-minute limit in 2006 to manage issues with copyright infringement. YouTube’s current upload limit is 15 minutes, with a longer limit allowed for accounts that show they can follow YouTube’s community guidelines. The maximum upload limit for those accounts is 128GB or 12 hours, whichever one is less for the video.
22. YouTube is blocked in some countries, including China
Access to YouTube is restricted in some regions, often due to government censorship. However, you can use a VPN to unblock YouTube in these countries.
23. YouTube removed more than 9.3 million videos in Q4 of 2020
YouTube mainly relies on automated flagging to decide which videos to remove, but a large number of videos are flagged by users or members of the “Trusted Flagger” program. Automated flagging is particularly important as it means videos can be removed before they are viewed. In Q4 2020, the main reason for video removal was “child safety” which accounted for 41 percent of removed videos.
24. Over 900 million comments were removed in Q4 of 2020
YouTube polices comments as well, and removed a staggering number in a three-month period. The vast majority of these (more than 99 percent) were removed by automated flagging.
25. YouTube removed nearly 8 million channels in 2020
As well as individual videos, YouTube takes down a surprising number of channels. 77.3 percent of the channels removed in Q4 2020 were deemed “spam, misleading and scams.”