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Just How Popular Is YouTube?

Facebook is the No. 2 online video property, but doesn’t hold a candle to YouTube’s dominance

April 5, 2013 | Video

When most users think of digital video, they most commonly think of YouTube. And it’s no coincidence, given the dominance of the video platform, that visits to YouTube trump those of any other video platform.

A study by AYTM Market Research examines just how popular YouTube is as a platform—and to what degree users consume YouTube content. The study showed that the vast majority of US internet users (about 60%) visited YouTube at least once a week in March 2013. Out of that percentage, 22% visited YouTube every day, and nearly 30% visited YouTube a few times per week.

Frequency with Which US Internet Users Visit YouTube, March 2013 (% of respondents)

Perhaps most striking are the low percentages of internet users who rarely or never visit YouTube. Only 14% of internet users surveyed reported “rarely” visiting the platform, and only 9% never did so.

To put YouTube’s popularity into perspective, AYTM also looked at the frequency of internet users watching videos on sites other than YouTube. Thirty-seven percent said they rarely watched on a site other than YouTube—11% said they never did.

Frequency with Which US Internet Users Watch Videos on Sites Other Than YouTube, March 2013 (% of respondents)

Although 16% watched on sites other than YouTube a few times per month, and 27% watched more than a few times per week, the amount of video consumed is likely dramatically lower than on Google properties. According to comScore data from December 2012, Google sites made up the vast majority of online video viewership in the US in terms of unique viewers, videos viewed and time spent per viewer. The No. 2 video property, Facebook, was dramatically lower in terms of unique viewers, videos and average time spent per viewer.

Top 10 Online Video Properties Among US Internet Users, Ranked by Unique Viewers, Dec 2012

YouTube’s ubiquity across Google sites and easy integration on other content platforms has contributed to its dominance. However, video views on other platforms—like Facebook, Vevo and NDN—also contribute to the overall growth in time spent with online video in general. eMarketer estimates the number of online video viewers in the US will grow nearly 6% in 2013, to reach 182.5 million viewers.

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