Colourful line of illustrations which reads YouTube User Statistics by Generation.

YouTube Statistics, Demographics and Usage – by Generation

Who is using YouTube? How many users does it have? How many videos get watched every month? And how do older consumers use the platform compared to younger buyers? We cover that, and a lot more in this post.

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YouTube has 2 billion monthly users.

YouTube is the OG of the video content world. Launched back in 2005 (on Valentine’s Day), YouTube now has over two billion unique users every month. To put that in perspective, nearly half the people on the entire internet are using YouTube. That is A LOT of people.

80% of YouTubers are outside the U.S.

Eighty percent of YouTubers are outside the U.S. The platform’s available in 80 countries and in 100 languages.

YouTube’s the 2nd most-visited website in existence.

Right? No surprise there. YouTube is the second most visited website in existence AND the second largest search engine in the world after parent company Google.

Side note: Baidu search numbers were unverified, so we’re excluding China’s biggest search engine from our little rankings pool. But just know that YouTube receives more search queries per month than Yahoo, Bing, Ask, and AOL combined.

A billion hours of UGC and branded content are uploaded to YouTube daily.

And that’s not even hyperbole! The range of content across YouTube is phenomenal, namely because it’s all user-generated content. Over a billion hours of video are watched every day on the platform, and you can find videos on a crazy range of topics from…

…. Learning how to boil an egg so it’s easy to peel

…. To getting a behind-the-scenes look at a movie  you don’t want to admit you love

… Or listening to the munching sounds of a guy who’s gotten kinda famous for eating on camera

There really is something for everyone on YouTube, and that’s what makes video marketing it such a powerful avenue to leverage in your marketing campaigns.

YouTube reaches more millennials than all the TV networks combined.

On mobile alone YouTube reaches more viewers between the ages of 18 and 34 years old than any and all of the TV networks.

Most Americans ages 5 and up watch videos on YouTube.

Seriously, if I’m not on there hunting for Marvel Easter eggs or watching Baron Zemo do a 1-minute dance uploaded as an hour-long loop (thanks, Marvel) or binge-watching Jim Kwik or James Clear or something, my pre-k and second grader are watching Jason, Ryan, and Blippi. And we’re the norm.

According to Statista:

  • 77% of US internet users 15 to 35 years old watch YouTube
  • 73% of 36 to 45-year-olds watch YouTube
  • 70% of 46 to 55-year-olds watch YouTube
  • 67% of those 56 and older watch YouTube, and
  • 80% of parents say their children under 11 watch YouTube

So, your audience is probably on the platform.

Video ads get 3X the eyes of regular TV ads.

This is important because people are 3X more likely to pay attention to online video ads over television ads. They are twice as likely to give their attention to a YouTube video ad, even over Instagram and Facebook video ads. No doubt that has a lot to do with the platform’s targeting capabilities.

70% of the content people watch on YouTube are recommendations from YouTube.

YouTube’s algorithm is STELLAR when it comes to matching user behavior with other types of content… even when the ads that get shown to users are woefully mismatched (like, what is the deal with that??). One more reason to go with an influencer, no doubt.

YouTube is a MAJOR product discovery source for users.

It’s not going to be super shocking to learn that 90% of YouTubers say they discover new brands or products when they watch YouTube videos.

70% of people say they bought a brand after seeing it on YouTube.

That’s the newest stat from YouTube – 70%. Now, compare that to the 40% of we reported just two years ago of people who say they had purchased something after seeing it on YouTube.

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Video Content and Social Media Marketing

I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve seen a marketer acting like video is the only strategy out there. Of course, YouTube is probably what comes to mind when video marketing is mentioned, but it isn’t the only video platform out there by any stretch of the imagination.

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn all have video features that can breathe new life into repurposed content and pivot your brand from being a name in the network to being a human-centered collective of professionals that other organizations know, respect, and admire.

YouTube can add a touch of mid-funnel magic for the sales cycles of marketers and brands. The platform allows for creative, high-impact storytelling that your team can personalize (YouTube has a video ad sequencing tool) AND scale.

People watch more than a billion hour of YouTube videos every day.

Surely, I’m not the only one who has fallen into a suggested-video-fueled rabbit hole and lost (or invested depending on how you look at it) HOURS to a random, yet interesting, parade of YouTube videos. People are watching more than one billion hours of YouTube videos every day. That’s more than Netflix and Facebook combined.

And, we’re not just watching it on our computers either.

People watch more YouTube on their TVs than Netflix.

People are watching YouTube on their TVs 80% more than pre-covid numbers. Over 94% of consumers who stream services to their TVs watch YouTube, compared to 75% of those who stream Netflix.

And we’re spending more than 40 minutes each session watching content on our mobile devices, too. The platform is steadily spreading throughout our lives to become one of our main sources of video content.

The Pandemic Turned YouTube Into a Social Network

So, this is an interesting tidbit that actually prompted me to update this two-year-old post. I caught the YouTube Trends Report yesterday just to see what’s popping in the world of online video, and there are some interesting shifts worth mentioning.

I used to refrain from referring to YouTube as a social media platform. I would group Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat and TikTok as social platforms, then refer to YouTube and Pinterest as search engines. Because for a long time, they were – search engines.

But YouTube has been instrumental in helping people to stay connected over the past 18 months by allowing them to synchronize their activities through video. What do I mean?

85% of people watched a live streamed event in the last year.

For me, that included attending weekly worship services. For my older daughter, it meant signing up for live dance classes offered for free by a well-known dancer or flexibility influencer.

For my ballerina-obsessed four-year-old, it meant learning the basics of ballet through pre-recorded princess ballerina videos.

Sometimes, I’d get up early enough to join Nardia with her live HIIT workouts at 5:30am (but she goes so hard, I just…😴). Lately, I’ve been online to catch Haith Johnson’s Big Wigz Show, broadcasting out of Detroit, an area we all know has been hit pretty hard by the pandemic.

Why am I watching? I saw it in my feed, and I recognize Haith and Henry from when I lived in Detroit a decade ago. I don’t even wear a wig but it’s actually kind of fascinating to watch Haith talk about the nuances of buying and taking care of wigs. So… I might.

For a lot of people, synchronicity meant tuning in to study to Lofi Girl throughout the day. YouTube became an important platform to help people stay connected.

79% of people say they achieve deeper connections when they watch YouTube TV. 

The idea of virtual presence became a thingjust knowing other people are participating in the same activity, even if the only way of knowing that is by the view counter and the stream of comments on the right side of the screen – is sufficient enough to make people feel closer and more connected to one another.

Case in point…

When I grabbed this video embed 👇🏼, it was live streaming to 38K people. At 1:33PM on a random Wednesday.

YouTube User Demographics

67% of Baby Boomers, ages 57 – 75, watch YouTube.

Many marketers seem sort of bent on getting young Millennial eyes on their products, but brands can reap huge rewards by targeting the mega-spending generation known as Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers should be a BIG DEAL to brands and marketers. They spend more time online than Millennials, and they have greater spending power.

Be honest. Boomers are probably the folks you expect would spend the LEAST amount of time watching YouTube videos. But in reality, the cool kids who make up the 55 and up crowd account for 24 percent of YouTube viewers – that’s like 31 million people.

HOW BABY BOOMERS CONSUME YOUTUBE CONTENT

With an estimated 10,000 Boomers retiring every day, you would think this generation had oodles of time on their hands. But, according to a survey run by Google, one of the big reasons Boomers love YouTube is because it helps them save time. YouTube is a GREAT place for Boomers (and every non-tech person) to go to get a better understanding of tech, gadgets, new software… that sort of thing. It’s sort of a mid-funnel buying guide they can easily use without having to go to a store, spend hours on with tech support, or call in a younger (know-it-all) relative.

That said… Baby Boomers are far more likely to respond positively to data-driven product reviews (think “here is the product, here are the specs”) than opinion-based product reviews of another YouTuber’s experience with a brand or product. Boomers often skipped programmed TV in favor of bite-sized chunks of short-form video content. Like the rest of us.

Video content serves as a vehicle by which Boomers can learn new skills – something a lot of Boomers are really into post- empty nest. So, whether they want to learn how to play guitar, pick up a new language, or even become a social media influencer themselves, they’re turning to video to learn how to do it.

TYPE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO CONTENT BABY BOOMERS PREFER:

  • How-to videos for learning new skills
  • Entertainment roundups to keep up to date
  • Online tutorials that can save them time
 Infographic image on YouTube watch habits of Baby Boomers.

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7 in 10 Generation Xers, Ages 41 to 56, watch YouTube.

Born into a world that drastically changed around them as they grew up, Gen X is probably the most adaptable generation. When the older Gen Xers were the youngest people in the world, having a TV in the home was juuuuust becoming the norm.

Now, programmed TV is becoming obsolete as people spend more time consuming content online than watching live TV (and TV manufacturers were smart to make televisions essentially 50-inch computer screens for watching YouTube and Netflix – that definitely kept electronics companies in the game).

HOW GEN XERS CONSUME YOUTUBE CONTENT

Gen Xers spend A LOT of time watching video, and especially old school content – stuff from their teen and adolescent years. In fact, 75 percent of Gen Xers use YouTube to get access to nostalgic videos.

While this generation is all about the nostalgia effect, they’re still spending more time watching video content on their computers and smartphones than they are on traditional TV. Gen Xers account for over 1.5 billion views on YouTube every day, so the incentive to engage with them is definitely there.

Gen Xers aren’t just spending time on YouTube though. While it is an important platform, Gen Xers share content – especially video – more readily to Facebook than any other site. This is closely followed by YouTube and Twitter, showing that in order to reach this generation (well, any generation really), you’ll need to develop an omnichannel approach.

TYPE OF VIDEO CONTENT GEN XERS PREFER:

  • Nostalgia-driven video to take them back to their childhood
  • DIY videos they can follow along
  • Current news and trending events
Infographic image on YouTube watch habits of Generation X.

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3 in 4 Millennials, ages 27 to 40 watch YouTube.

YouTube’s mobile viewers reach more 18 to 34 year-olds than any other TV network. That’s mobile! Browser views aren’t included in that number. Millennials are constantly checking in on social media (for many of us it’s every hour), short-form content wins hands down as we don’t really have the time to watch lengthy content throughout the day, and we prefer to watch a video over reading an article.

AND Despite Instagram and Facebook Live being thrown in the mix, YouTube is still the video platform of choice for most Millennials. We marketing folks often look at YouTube as another social network because it’s SO socially-driven and people enjoy consuming YouTube content together. Technically, YouTube isn’t a social media network, but if it were, YouTube would be the third most popular social platform out there.

HOW MILLENNIALS CONSUME YOUTUBE CONTENT

Millennials are avid YouTubers. Fifty-four percent of Millennials check YouTube daily. Cool, right? Well, this is even cooler: While about 1 in 10 Millennials use ad blockers, and more than half only watch YouTube ads to the Skip Ad point, 29 percent of Millennials actually watch YouTube ads all the way through. And don’t forget our earlier stat about the 90 percent of people are using YouTube for product discovery. YouTube’s video ads are very well-targeted these days.

Contrary to popular beliefs about how Millennials relate to brands, many Millennials (especially Millennial women and moms) want and expect to see sponsored content (we talked about that a bit in the What Makes They Buy post), AS LONG AS it’s the right ad targeting the right person on the right platform at the right time. And many Millennials are actually kinda sweet on well-targeted video ads.

Thirty-seven percent of Millennials admit to binge-watching a block of something every day, and upwards of 65 percent of Millennials binge-watch at least once a week. So, it’s definitely good news to marketers that 62 percent of Millennials actually take action after seeing an ad.

TYPE OF VIDEO CONTENT MILLENNIALS PREFER:

  • News and human interest stories to keep us up to date
  • Unboxing and product review videos to influence our spending
  • Quick and fun entertainment content
 Infographic image on YouTube watch habits of Millennials.

Courtesy of: The Shelf

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77% of Gen Zers, ages 15 to 25, watch YouTube.

Enter Gen Z, the largest and most diverse generation in history. These social media natives are growing up in a world of selfies, influencers, and hashtags. They know how to navigate the online world better than anyone else, and their video consumption habits reflect this.

Their most used platform is YouTube closely followed by Instagram – so video is clearly a priority for them. How they’re consuming this video content is even more important for marketers.

HOW GEN ZERS CONSUME YOUTUBE CONTENT

Fifty-nine percent of Gen Z video consumption is through social media, where they spend twice as much time as they do on streaming services, and five times as much as on traditional media. What are they watching, though? Here’s a hint: It’s not music videos.

That’s right 80s and 90s babies! While it may seem like MTV just sold its platform to YouTube, unlike teenagers back in the day, kids today aren’t using the world’s largest video platform to watch music videos. In fact, only four percent of Gen Zers name YouTube as their preferred music platform. Spotify and Apple Music are the top music streaming services, with 60 percent and 26 percent (respectively) of teens using those platforms as their go-to.

As a brand, YouTube has more influence over this generation than big names like Oreo, McDonalds, and even Lego. So, it’s safe to say that if you’re targeting Gen Z, you need to be targeting them through video.

TYPE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO CONTENT GEN ZERS PREFER:

  • Humor – They love videos that make them laugh
  • Short and snappy content to compete with their busy lives and busy minds
  • Unboxing and product reviews to keep on top of trends
Infographic image on YouTube watch habits of Generation Z.

Courtesy of: The Shelf

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Conclusion

When you’re talking about online video, you should always begin with the powerhouse – YouTube. YouTube has blazed a trail that other platforms have tried to follow. The major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn notoriously give preference to video, eventually introducing well-trafficked video platforms of their own like Facebook Watch and IGTV. Still, no other platform comes close to the reach and impact of YouTube or its AMAZING search capabilities and predictive algorithms. #Facts

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