From its beta launch in May 2005 to now, YouTube has become a household name and one of the biggest search engines around. In November 2006, Google bought YouTube for around 1.65 billion, calling it the “evolution of the Internet.” It turns out they were right. YouTube is available in 61 languages in 75 different countries, with 300 hours of content uploaded every single minute. Online video has revolutionized the way that we consume content, right down to the length of our attention spans. YouTube has also created a unique culture surrounding many of its more famous contributors. In 2007, YouTube launched its partner program, allowing people to be paid for their viral content. By 2008, many of the lead contributors were making six figures. In a story that is becoming increasingly common, the New York Times reported that one YouTuber, Michael Buckley, was able to quit his day job when he realized he was making more money from his videos than his daily salary. Since then, the effect that top contributors can have on important aspects of pop culture and even the political stage has grown significantly.
Social media has become an important tool for social activists. The world saw social media’s suitability as a vehicle for change during the Arab Spring, the revolutionary wave of protests, riots, and civil wars that occurred in the Arab world in 2011. Facebook and Twitter were used as important methods of communication, while YouTube was used to disseminate messages of freedom and democracy. In August of 2012, YouTube became the go-to place for information regarding the presidential election by featuring speeches from both the Republican and Democratic conventions, as well as content from multiple reliable news sources like ABC News, Al Jazeera English, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Recently, YouTubers Bethany Mota, GloZell Green, and Hank Green interviewed President Obama, asking important questions about healthcare, education, and issues of police brutality. Their questions were derived from things that concerned both them and their viewers and created an opportunity for young people to learn about the issues that affect them in a familiar and accessible way.
The YouTube community has also had an effect on pop culture. In 2009, Justin Bieber signed a recording contract with Def Jam Recordings and was launched into fame when Usher introduced him to the world via YouTube. Bieber’s music video for the song “Baby” is one of the most viewed videos on the Internet, with over 1 billion views. At the end of 2010, MTV columnist Dan Savage launched the “It Gets Better” project to send messages of hope to LGBTQ teenagers across the world who were being bullied or rejected because of their sexuality. The project went viral and ended up being so successful that even President Obama joined in. In 2012, the Olympics were shown on a live stream, meaning that people from all over the world could watch the event from whatever device they had available, including phones and tablets. In 2013, YouTube even won a technical Emmy for its personalized video recommendations.
The video sharing service has become a veritable titan since its launch ten years ago, giving contributors a previously unheard of opportunity to affect people and create unique communities and cultures. So what’s next for the media giant? In 2014, Google put ad chief Susan Wojcicki in charge of the YouTube team. In an interview with Forbes, she gave some insight into what her team is focusing the most on. “We’re not just trying to enable YouTube to reach the next generation,” Wojcicki said. “We’re trying to enable advertising across the entire web to reach that next generation. A large brand or advertiser can’t reach all these individual sites, so how can we aggregate it for them so they can reach the right audiences right at the time they’re interested.”
Check out the other articles that we have written about the second largest search engine on Earth. Here is a link to our previously written YouTube Marketing articles. For those who are bold, check out Fluid Advertising YouTube channel!