YouTube has seen exponential growth in video consumption figures in recent years, and it announced on Tuesday that its users now watch a billion hours’ worth of content each and every day on the platform. The Google-owned site received around 100 million hours of daily views just four years ago, so the latest figures represent a staggering increase.
Video is now central to the vast majority of content marketing campaigns, and it is a vital tool for enabling brands to engage with target audiences through creative clips and ads. The new figure of one billion hours equates to around 8.4 minutes each day for every human, which suggests that many viewers are binge-watching their favourite content.
“If you were to sit and watch a billion hours of YouTube, it would take you over 100,000 years,” YouTube VP of Engineering Cristos Goodrow said in an official blog post. “A few years back, we made a big decision at YouTube. While everyone seemed focused on how many views a video got, we thought the amount of time someone spent watching a video was a better way to understand whether a viewer really enjoyed it.”
The new milestone also underlines just how content consumption habits have changed during the last five years as more and more people use digital channels rather than traditional outlets such as television. However, YouTube also dwarfs other digital behemoths such as Netflix, where 116 million hours of content are streamed daily, and Facebook, which recently hit 100 million hours of daily views.
YouTube’s press page claims that the site now has a billion registered users, which is “almost one-third of all people on the Internet,” while the majority of content is now consumed on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The trends again highlight the importance of tailoring visual content on mobile for brands to increase awareness and drive engagement.
YouTube has played its part in the video boom by introducing complex algorithms that make use of user data to serve up clip recommendations. These developments as well as the fact that content creators have embraced the platform — 400 hours of video are now uploaded every 60 seconds — have helped to boost viewership numbers significantly.