Maybe one day Facebook will take the crown, but for now YouTube is still king.
Parent company Alphabet reported fourth quarter revenues last week, and according to the researchers at eMarketer, things are looking good for YouTube, which it calls “the grandfather of the digital video space.”
Consider these stats:
- Alphabet’s Q4 revenues were up 22 percent year-over-year. The big reasons why were YouTube and mobile search revenues.
- YouTube counted 180.1 million U.S. users in 2016. Growth is slow at 3.2 percent this year, but that’s only because it’s already near the saturation point. Everybody is on YouTube. So are their kids and grandparents.
- Among over-the-top video service users, YouTube is used by 95 percent. That’s “essentially true saturation,” eMarketer says. The next highest is Netflix at 66 percent — and it doesn’t take ads.
- YouTube’s ad revenues are also growing, with a 30 percent rise in 2016. Look for new offerings such as advanced targeting options to continue that trend, eMarketer advises. It predicts 20 percent ad revenue growth this year.
With the free, ad-supported video market conquered, YouTube is turning its attention to subscription services. It wants to grow YouTube Red and YouTube Music, and become a rival of Netflix and Spotify. That means big investments in licensed content.
As for the competing social platforms, eMarketer says Facebook will have 171.4 million users in the U.S. in 2017, a year-over-year gain of 2.7 percent. Twitter will have 53.3 million U.S. users this year, and Instagram will have 77.0 million. Instagram is showing double-digit growth in 2017, but that will slow after 2017.
“Instagram is still growing nicely in the US, especially among users ages 45 and up,” says eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “While teens and young adults continue to make up the majority of Instagram’s user base, people their parents’ age are starting to become more of a presence. And this age group has a lot more disposable income, so they’re likely to be very attractive to advertisers.”