Google announced its Q2 2015 results last week, and already more than 1,000 articles have been penned about the news. However, only about a half a dozen of the headlines tell video marketers important things that they need to know about YouTube, which are:
YouTube Q2 2015: Huge Increase in Session Watch Time
- YouTube Watch Time has increased by 60% year-on-year
- The average YouTube session on mobile is now 40 minutes
- Fastest growth rate in viewing time in 2 years
- YouTube's top advertising partners increased their ad spend by 60%
- On mobile, YouTube attracted more viewers aged 18-49 than any U.S. cable network
- Google confirmed that YouTube has more than 1 billion active users
- Viewers who entered YouTube via its homepage tripled compared to 2014
- The number of YouTube megastars earning six figures from the site has increased by 50%
Now, let me make one thing unmistakably clear: I’m a ReelSEO columnist who writes for video marketers, not a business reporter who writes for individual investors. So, I’m primarily interested in the number of people who discover, watch, and share YouTube videos, not Google’s stock price, market cap, and earnings per share. But, if Google continue to be more forthcoming with investors while the YouTube Statistics page continues to be updated once in a Blue Moon, then I’m going to go where I can get the latest data and spot the important trends in order to continue delivering strategic insights and tactical advice to you.
Apparently, tuning into Google’s quarterly earnings conference call is where we are going to learn about the updates to critical data about YouTube and an analysis of trends in the digital video marketing business. You can listen to the conference call yourself below:
YouTube on Mobile: Watch Time, Viewership, Engagement Up
So, what have we just learned that is well worth analyzing? First, according to the Q2 2015 results, total watch time on YouTube is up more than 60% since the same quarter a year ago. And YouTube’s mobile watch time is up more than 100% in the same period. And more people now watch YouTube on mobile devices than watch video on any U.S. cable network. This means that maybe vertical video isn’t that evil after all. It also means that we need to focus even more attention on leveraging YouTube’s top three Priorities: Mobile, mobile and mobile.
The results also confirm that the number of users who visit YouTube starting at the homepage - just as they might if they were using a TV - has increased by 3x year-on-year. Once those users land on the site, they are staying longer and spending more time per session watching videos. For viewers coming via mobile, the average viewing session is now more than 40 minutes, that's an increase of 50% compared to 2014. This increase in the amount of time people spend watching videos on their mobile devices means that channels like VICE News shouldn’t shorten videos like “The Islamic State (Full Length),” which is 42 minutes and 31 seconds long. It also means that brands like Expedia don’t have to shorten playlists like the one with 11 videos about travel destinations in Canada, which is 43 minutes and 25 seconds long.
Average Spend of Top YouTube Advertisers: Up 60%
The number of advertisers running video ads on YouTube has also increased 40% year over year, while the average spend of YouTube's top 100 advertisers has risen 60%. But that's just the start, according to Google, which confirmed that its focus was on getting even larger spend on YouTube.
This strong growth in advertising revenue means that YouTube’s business isn’t being hurt by the growth of video on Facebook. Instead, it now appears that YouTube and Facebook are both benefitting from the growing popularity of videos on smartphones and tablets. Also, the Google executives said the number of big YouTube Stars, like PewDiePie and Michelle Phan, making six figures per year was up 50%.
What does this mean? Well, at the ReelSEO Video Marketing Summit in 2013, Jim Louderback asked me, “Is YouTube a good place to build a business today?” And I answered, “Not yet.”It’s now two years later and it looks like YouTube has become a good place to build a business for thousands of YouTube Partners, especially the ones who have created the top 5% of channels in 12 categories that are part of the Google Preferred program. But, there are more than a million channels in dozens of countries earning revenue from the YouTube Partner Program. So, most of the creators of more than 95% of the YouTube channels that have been monetized shouldn’t quit their day jobs anytime soon.
Nevertheless, YouTube’s introduction of interactive cards in March 2015 has many YouTube Partners hopeful that they will be able to double the amount of merchandise they can sell, fundraising they can do, traffic they can drive to an associated website, and fan funding they can generate. So, who knows, the combination of cards and ad revenue could make YouTube a good place to build a business for significantly more Partners in the foreseeable future.