… in the US alone. According to Comscore, 160 million unique visitors watched 20.9 billion videos (that works out to 130 videos each!) in October. The (American) internet as a whole had 184M unique viewers, so nearly everybody watched something on YouTube. Each YouTube viewer averaged 424 minutes in the month, which is quite a lot – a shade over 7 hours – although that means each video they watched was only 3 minutes and 16 seconds on average.
Any way you slice it, that’s a lot of people watching a lot of video. Nearly 2/3 of the US population watched video online in October, and that number won’t be going down anytime soon. Assuming the viewership ratio in Canada is the same (it’s probably higher, we love our internet in Canada), that means roughly 20 million Canadians watched video online.
Of course most of those videos are pure entertainment, but the statistic that I find most important from a marketing perspective isn’t the number of video views, it’s the percentage of the population that’s online and watching videos. The audience is there and it’s willing to give you three minutes if you make it worth their while. That’s six TV spots in a row, and you don’t pay a cent to post your video to YouTube.
Now don’t rush out and post a 3-minute monologue about how great your business is, because people don’t want to hear it – you have to adapt your content to the medium, not post TV commercials online. Viewers need to get something out of it; that can be entertainment, information or any combination of the two. You can use annotations to link to your website (maybe by offering a special deal to viewers?) and respond directly to comments. Use YouTube wisely, a lot of people are watching.