Does Google have any regrets over its 2010 acquisition of YouTube? Not if Google’s announcements of recent days are to be believed, and the figures the company have been quoting are certainly impressive.
Google used its 16th July earnings conference call for the second quarter of 2015 to showcase the increase in user engagement with the video platform. Omid Kordestani, chief business officer with Google, said that YouTube has surpassed US cable networks in the draw to attract the key 18-to-49-year-old advertising demographic. Figures for year over year show that the amount of time spent by YouTube users watching videos on the site has risen by 60%. This is the fastest rate of growth in terms of viewing time that YouTube has experienced in the past two years.
It will hardly be a surprise to learn that the spurt in user engagement on YouTube is attributable in the main to mobile devices. Over the past year, the average time spent by mobile users viewing clips on YouTube increased more than twice over. The time users spend watching YouTube clips on mobile devices is now 40 minutes on average.
The good news for YouTube did not stop there. Ahead of the VidCon event in Los Angeles, YouTube itself said that advertisers drawn from the list of the top 100 brands, as ranked by Interbrand, were spending 60% more compared to 2014. Tara Walpert Levy, Google’s managing director of agency solutions, believes that advertisers see young YouTube content providers emerging into the mainstream as celebrities and, by extension, drawing viewers to the site.
Profits – or lack thereof – is an issue that continues to hang over the YouTube/Google deal. Figures from 2014 show that YouTube contributed around $4 billion in revenue to Google’s coffers, but it did not do much to boost Google’s bottom line. The question of profitability at YouTube for 2015 did arise during the earnings conference call, but Google executives were reluctant to be drawn on it. However, the rise in user engagement with YouTube points in one direction only: upwards.
What the latest figures make clear is that those in the video production business – as well as those in advertising – have to include YouTube as a key element in their overall strategies.