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The State of YouTube: Revisiting Where It Has Been to See Where It’s Going

The State of YouTube: Revisiting Where It Has Been to See Where It’s Going

Video is a keystone building block of any businesses’ digital advertising strategy. One company stands ahead of its competition in fulfilling advertisers’ needs for video.


What direction is YouTube headed this year and beyond? To answer that, it's important to examine where YouTube has been and what it has done.

A Look At YouTube’s Expanded Offerings

Since starting in 2005, YouTube has grown beyond a community for people to share videos. It has expanded to new experiences that users have come to enjoy in recent years. Those spinoffs include:

- YouTube Music: The video platform’s music streaming service that started in 2015.

- YouTube Premium: An ad-free version that users can access with a monthly subscription.

- YouTube TV: A live-streaming service that offers users access to traditional television channels.

All three YouTube spinoffs have experienced significant growth since their launches. YouTube Music and YouTube Premium are now available in only 30 countries. Meanwhile, YouTube TV grew plenty in the United States in 2018. More than 98 percent of American households now have access to it.

What About YouTube’s Creator Space?

YouTube built its reach on the shoulders of normal people. Despite YouTube's expansion into other kinds of video, creators are still going strong.

To help creators increase fan engagement, YouTube gave them a few new tools to use in 2018. These include:

- Stories: These mobile videos let creators connect with their audience in a casual way. They’re like stories on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

- Community Posts: Creators can use these to widen their conversation with their audience. Along with comments, community posts let creators share multimedia and polls with fans.  It’s not yet available for all YouTube Creators.

- Premieres: With Premieres, creators can watch and experience new videos with their audiences. This tool also lets creators create buzz around videos before they go live.

The previously mentioned features have been a hit among the creator community. As a result, original YouTube content is thriving. Channels with one-million subscribers doubled last year, according to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. Also, creators earning five or six figures per year grew more than 40 percent from 2017 to 2018.

TrueView: What Is It and Why Do Advertisers Like It?

TrueView is YouTube’s first direct response offering for businesses. Released in March 2018, TrueView allows advertisers to only pay for ads when viewers opt in to watch.

The returns are early, but TrueView has so far been a success. It has lowered the barrier of entry for businesses considering advertising on YouTube. More than 30 percent of advertisers who used TrueView in 2018 were new to purchasing ads on YouTube.

When it comes to TrueView ads, businesses have also enjoyed flexibility in content. There are no time limit restrictions for the length of TrueView ads. And as a result, advertisers have experimented with formats.

Despite its success, Pichai thinks that YouTube still has a long way to go. He believes YouTube is still in its early days as a “better platform for direct response.”\

Alphabet’s Vision for YouTube’s Long-Term Purpose

YouTube, along with Alphabet’s other product offerings, has one main mission in mind.

Make information more accessible and useful for everyone.

This is something Pichai emphasized in his remarks during his company’s Q4 2018 Earnings Call.

“Providing accurate and trusted information at the scale the Internet has reached is an extremely complex challenge,” the Alphabet CEO said. “And one that is constantly getting harder. But, we have twenty years of experience in these information challenges and it's what we strive to do better than anyone else.”

Many consider YouTube an entertainment platform, but Pichai thinks it's more than that. He notes there are also users who flock to YouTube hoping to expand their knowledge.

“They’re coming to learn about things,” Pichai said. “They’re coming to discover, to research. And so being able to match that intent over time in a way that we can bring the right value for our users and advertisers, I think, is a long run opportunity. And you know, we are taking all the right foundational steps to realize it.”

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