The 2015 edition of YouTube’s annual Brandcast is in the books, and the world’s most-watched video site made sure to let advertisers know it is still number one. Instead of pitching the original programming it recently announced, YouTube let its star creators speak to attendees, offered testimonials from brands, and shared some impressive stats about its ongoing growth. Among other numbers, CEO Susan Wojcicki noted how YouTube now has more viewers on mobile alone than any cable channel.
YouTube’s ongoing growth on mobile is just one part of its continued upswing. Wojcicki said the number of viewers on the site is up 40% since last year, and watch time is up 50%. Many of these new viewers are coming to YouTube via smartphones and tablets, where watch time is up 90%. “Successful entertainment platforms of the future will all share those five characteristics,” said Wojcicki, “they’ll be global, diverse, mobile, social and on-demand.”
YouTube spent the majority of its presentation parading out a selection of its biggest stars, all of whom shared personal stories about creating videos on YouTube. Grace Helbig, iJustine, and Ze Frank all told advertisers why YouTube content deserves ad dollars, but the most interesting presentation of the night came from John Green who took the stage to “scare” advertisers. “Most people on stage tonight are arguing why you should advertise on YouTube,” said the Vlogbrothers co-host. “I’m going to offer you something different. I’m going to offer you a vision of what will happen if you don’t.”
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Green explained how YouTube content creators are using merchandise, live events, Patreon, and other moneymaking methods to build “a world where they don’t have to rely on ads.” He noted how just 20% of the revenue of his online video business comes from ads, and he warned that if YouTube content continues to be “undervalued by advertisers,” those advertisers will lose touch with “an entire generation of viewers.”
Green’s address summed up a major theme of YouTube’s past few Brandcasts. The site has positioned itself as a necessity for brands looking to reach young viewers, and by inviting some of those fans to its Brandcast presentation, YouTube showed just how engaged its users truly are. Each creator’s introduction drew cheers from the small section of fans that resonated throughout the Madison Square Garden Theater.
“Young people are engaged,” stated Green. “Young people have created a fascinating community of deep engagement online. And the place to find that community? YouTube, of course. “I, and the most passionate creators on YouTube, we are not in the distraction business,” said Green. “We’re in the community business.”
Photo credit: FilmMagic for YouTube