Chances are, you've probably spent an afternoon falling down a rabbit hole of YouTube videos.
I certainly have, and I think I'd be pretty embarrassed to see the total amount of time I've spent on the platform.
While it's a great source of entertainment, YouTube has also proved itself to be a valuable tool for marketers. In fact, 70% of viewers bought from a brand after seeing content on YouTube. And, with a global user base of more than 2 billion people, it's also safe to assume that your target audience is on the platform.
However, just as it is for all social networks, building a presence on YouTube requires understanding which segments of your audience are already there and what they're watching. Having that information makes it easier to create content that speaks to their interests, maximize ROI, and achieve general marketing success. In this post, we'll go over key YouTube statistics you need to know for 2021 to help you succeed in your marketing efforts.
Below, we'll go over the most critical YouTube statistics that show marketers how global audiences are using the platform.
General YouTube User Demographics
- YouTube is the second most visited website in the world. (Hootsuite)
- YouTube accounts for more than 25% of total worldwide mobile traffic. (Sandvine)
- YouTube has 2+ billion users, making up almost one-third of the entire internet. (YouTube for Press)
- These 2+ billion users are present in over 100 countries and consume content in 80 different languages. (YouTube for Press)
- YouTube users watch one billion hours of content daily. (Hootsuite)
- YouTube is the second most popular channel for businesses sharing video content. (Buffer)
- 70% of viewers bought from a brand after seeing content on YouTube. (Google Ads)
- YouTube will make 5.6 billion in advertising revenue in 2021 in the U.S. (eMarketer)
- YouTube is the top video streaming app, and the average user spends 23.2 hours per month watching content. (App Annie)
- The most popular YouTube search query is “song.” (Hootsuite)
- The most popular YouTube video is Pinkfong's Kids Songs & Stories Baby Shark Dance, with 7.85 billion views. (Statista)
- The three most popular videos on YouTube are commentary videos (like vlogs), product reviews (like unboxings), and how-to/tutorial style videos. (MediaKix)
- Global users watched over 100 billion hours of gaming content in 2020. (YouTube)
- YouTube TV ended Q3 2020 with 3 million subscribers. (Alphabet)
- 70% of people used YouTube to exercise in 2020. (YouTube)
- Livestreams on YouTube grew 45% in the first half of 2020. (YouTube)
YouTube Age Demographics
- In Q3 2020, 77% of 15-to-25-year-olds and 70% of 45-to-64-year-olds in the U.S. used YouTube. (Statista)
- 21.2% of YouTube's global audience is between 25 and 34, and 17% is between 35 and 44. (Hootsuite)
- 80% of U.S. parents with a child age 11 or younger say their child watches videos on YouTube, and 53% of those children use the platform daily. (Pew Research Center)
- Outside of China, 77% of Gen Z, 75% of millennials, 61% of Gen X, and 44% of Baby Boomers visit YouTube daily. (GlobalWebIndex)
- 18-to-34-year-olds use YouTube to view video content on their TVs 7.9% more often than basic cable and 14.5% than premium cable. (Variety)
- 46% of Gen Z and Millennials in the U.S. and UK say they've watched a virtual event on YouTube. (GlobalWebIndex)
YouTube Gender Demographics
Please note that audience data for individuals who do not identify as cisgender men and women are not reported.
- 45.8% of YouTube's total advertising audience is female. (Hootsuite)
- 54.2% of YouTube's total advertising audience is male. (Hootsuite)
- Male and female internet users in the United States use YouTube at equal levels. (Statista)
YouTube Geography Demographics
- As of February 2021, 16.6% of YouTube site visits come from the United States, 9.4% comes from India, and 4.9% comes from Japan. (Alexa)
- YouTube has launched local versions of the platform in more than 100 countries. (YouTube for Press)
- eMarketer predicts that the number of YouTube users in India will reach 342 million in 2021. (eMarketer)
- 86% of U.S. viewers say they often use YouTube to learn new things. (Think With Google)
What Different Generations Watch on YouTube
What Gen Z Watches on YouTube
- 85% of teens use YouTube, making it the most popular among teens. (Pew Research)
- 7 in 10 said watching videos with others helps them feel more connected. (Think With Google)
- 80% of Gen Z teens say YouTube has helped them become more knowledgeable about something. (Think With Google)
- 68% of Gen Z teens say YouTube has helped them improve or gain skills that will help them prepare for the future. (Think With Google)
- When asked which platforms they turn to when they want to relax or cheer up, Gen Zers said YouTube was number one. (Think With Google)
- Eight in 10 of Gen Z teens said they proactively share YouTube videos with their parents or other adult family members. (Think With Google)
Takeaways for Video Marketers
Based on the research, Gen Z turns to YouTube when they want to learn something or improve a skill. They also use the platform to deepen real-life connections and take a break from the stress of being a teenager. If you're targeting Gen Z, educational and entertaining content will reign supreme.
What Millennials Watch on YouTube
- 70% of millennial users watched YouTube in the past year to learn how to do something new or learn more about something they're interested in. (Think with Google)
- Nearly 60% of millennial women on YouTube say they are more likely to remember a brand that's LGBT-friendly. (Think with Google)
- 45% of millennial YouTube users agree that a YouTuber inspired them to make a personal change in their life. (Think with Google)
- YouTube reaches more millennials than all the TV networks combined. (The Shelf)
- When learning something new, millennials are 2.7X as likely to prefer to do so by watching a YouTube video compared to reading a book. (Think with Google)
- Millennials prefer watching:
- News and human interest stories to keep up to date
- Unboxing and product review videos to influence spending
- Quick and fun entertainment content (The Shelf)
Takeaways for Video Marketers
Similar to Gen Z, millennials go to YouTube when they want to learn something or be entertained. Additionally, they go to the platform to be inspired, watch TV, and catch up on the news. If you're targeting millennials, news stories, product reviews, entertaining content, and inspiring content will win out.
What Gen X Watches on YouTube
- 75% of Gen Xers watch YouTube videos that relate to past events or people. (Think With Google)
- Gen Xers search for things such as “Prince Purple Rain” or “Commercials from the 90s” on YouTube. (Think With Google)
- Gen Xers spend more time watching video content on their computers and smartphones than they are on traditional TV. (Nielson)
- 73% of Gen Xers watch YouTube to learn how to do something. Similarly, they enjoy DIY content for things like cooking and home repair. (Think With Google)
- 68% of Gen Xers watch YouTube to stay up to date on news and pop culture. (Think With Google)
Takeaways for Video Marketers
Gen Xers are goal-oriented. They usually go to YouTube with a purpose — either to learn something, watch nostalgic videos, or stay up to date on news and pop culture. To properly target Gen Xers, consider posting DIY videos and throwback content.
What Boomers Watch on YouTube
- Some of baby boomers' most-watched categories on YouTube are entertainment, music, and news. (Think With Google)
- 67% of Baby Boomers, ages 57 – 75, watch YouTube. (The Shelf)
- Boomers are 1.3X more likely to prefer watching a YouTube tutorial video than reading instructions. (Think With Google)
- 1 in 3 boomers say they use YouTube to learn about a product or service. (Think With Google)
- 68% of boomers say they watch YouTube videos to be entertained. (Think With Google)
Takeaways for Video Marketers
Baby boomers have the most spending power of any generation and they go to YouTube to learn how to use products and watch tutorials. Additionally, they want to save time. If they can catch up on their favorite news and entertainment on the site, that's where they go. If you're targeting Boomers on YouTube, you can post how-to and tutorial content.
How to Target the Right Demographic on YouTube
While each generation might watch fairly similar content, it's important to remember that the goal is different. For Gen X it might be to reminisce, while for Boomers it's to save time, and for Millenials and Gen Z it's to learn something new.
To properly target the right demographic on YouTube, pay attention to the most popular categories and types of videos they watch on the platform.
Let Data Drive Your YouTube Strategy
Use these statistics to create a YouTube marketing strategy that speaks to your audience's interests, drives revenue, and increases conversions.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.