YouTube Users Now Watch 1 Billion Hours Per Day

YouTube’s reliance on algorithm-driven traffic expansion continues as it reaches views of 1 Billion hours per day, as reported in ZeroHedge.

In a dramatic confirmation of the relentless growth of online video, at the expense of the agonizing, slow death of conventional TV, YouTube said that its worldwide viewers are now watching more than 1 billion hours of videos a day, on pace to eclipse total US TV viewership over the next few years, a milestone facilitated by the Google aggressive embrace of artificial intelligence to recommend videos. By comparison, Americans watch 1.25 billion hours of live and recorded TV per day according to Nielsen, a figure that has been steadily dropping in recent years. Facebook and Netflix said in January 2016 that users watch 100 million hours and 116 million hours, respectively, of video daily on their platforms.

According to the WSJ, YouTube surpassed the “psychological” figure, which was far higher than previously reported, late last year. Indicatively, in 2012 when Google started building algorithms that tap user data to give each user personalized video lineups designed to keep them watching longer, users spent 100 million hours on its platform, a ten-fold increase in under five years, growing at a pace of roughly 200 million hours per year. Of course, what makes YouTube so unique, is that a vast majority of the content is crowdsourced: feeding the AI recommendations is an unmatched collection of content: 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube each minute, or 65 years of video a day.

What is surprising is that despite YouTube’s massive size, it remains unclear if it profitable. Google’s parent Alphabet doesn’t disclose YouTube’s performance, but people familiar with its financials said it took in about $4 billion in revenue in 2014 and roughly broke even. Like most of its social network competitors, YouTube makes most of its money on running ads before videos but it also spends big on technology and rights to content, including deals with TV networks for a planned web-TV service. When asked about profits last year, YouTube Chief Executive Susan Wojcicki said, “Growth is the priority.”

Get cash without a card using your mobile.Meanwhile, in a near-monopolistic synergy, YouTube benefits from the enormous reach of Google, which handles about 93% of internet searches, according to market researcher StatCounter. Google embeds YouTube videos in search results and pre-installs the YouTube app on its Android software, which runs 88% of smartphones, according to Strategy Analytics.

That has helped drive new users to its platform, and the statistics are staggering: about 2 billion unique users now watch a YouTube video every 90 days, according to a former manager. In 2013, the last time YouTube disclosed its user base, it said it surpassed 1 billion monthly users. YouTube is now likely larger than the world’s biggest TV network, China Central Television, which has more than 1.2 billion viewers.

A recent adjustment to the YouTube algorihms helped:

 YouTube long configured video recommendations to boost total views, but that approach rewarded videos with misleading titles or preview images. To increase user engagement and retention, the company in early 2012 changed its algorithms to boost watch time instead. Immediately, clicks dropped nearly 20% partly because users stuck with videos longer. Some executives and video creators objected.

Months later, YouTube executives unveiled a goal of 1 billion hours of watch time daily by the end of 2016. At the time, optimistic forecasts projected it would reach 400 million hours by then.

YouTube retooled its algorithms using a field of artificial intelligence called machine learning to parse massive databases of user history to improve video recommendations. Previously, the algorithms recommended content largely based on what other users clicked after watching a particular video, the former manager said. Now their “understanding of what is in a video [and] what a person or group of people would like to watch has grown dramatically,” he said.

And while it hardly needs it, YouTube’s reliance on algorithm-driven traffic expansion continues: “last year YouTube partnered with Google Brain, which develops advanced machine-learning software called deep neural networks, which have led to dramatic improvements in other fields, such as language translation. The Google Brain system was able to identify single-use video categories on its own.”

Meanwhile, per just released research from the EIA, according to the latest Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) the number of TVs in active use per US household is declining: an average of 2.3 televisions were used in American homes in 2015, down from an average of 2.6 televisions per household in 2009.

As shown in the chart below, the number of homes with three or more televisions declined from the previous survey conducted in 2009, and a larger share of households reported not using a television at all. Televisions and peripheral equipment such as cable boxes, digital video recorders (DVRs), and video game consoles account for about 6% of all electricity consumption in U.S. homes.

The study also found that entertainment and information devices vary by age: younger households tend to have a lower concentration of televisions per person and a higher concentration of portable devices such as laptops.

The good news: the slow death of corporate-owned, legacy mainstream media continues; the bad news: it is being replaced by the hyper-corporate Google and FaceBook, which in recent months have decided to put on the mantle of supreme arbiters of what is and isn’t considered “fake news.”

How 3 Core Shifts in Marketing Automation Can Transform Your Business

From the Marketo Blog.

The marketing automation industry has snowballed over the past few years, and yet it’s only just getting started.

According to Marketing Automation Insider, in the past five years alone, we’ve seen over $5.5B worth of acquisitions made, and an aggregate vendor revenues increase from $225M to $1.65B!

At the current rate of adoption and innovation, you may be wondering where marketing automation is headed, which trends are emerging, and how it will all benefit your business. Well, my friend, you’ve come to the right place! Here, we’ll explore three major shifts in the marketing automation industry and how they’ll impact your businesses on both a macro and micro-level. Let’s get started…

1. Predictive analytics is making guessing a game of the past

One of the major trends emerging in the marketing automation industry is the use of predictive analytics and machine learning to power sales and marketing decisions.

Predictive analytics uses clever statistical models to identify what your customers will likely do next and then automatically uses those insights to trigger certain actions.

In 2012, Amazon filed a patent for a predictive analytics system that would allow them to begin shipping products before a customer even ordered them. (Crazy thought, right?!) But by predicting the probability of someone buying a product based on their behavior on the website and previous history, Amazon could reduce its shipping times and move product faster.

There are countless uses for this type of technology, but in the context of marketing automation, it provides the opportunity to eliminate guess work.

How long should you wait between sending two emails in a lead nurturing sequence? Which content (blogs, ebooks, etc) should you send to a certain type of lead? How should you score a lead from a particular marketing channel?

While experience tends to provide good answers to these questions, predictive analytics can provide dynamic answers that, like a good bottle of wine, become better over time, ultimately surpassing that of an experienced marketer’s hunch.

As a result of this, marketing and sales will become less of a guessing game. The most important consequence of this is that companies using predictive analytics will have the competitive advantage.

Predictive analytics adoption is still in its infancy, providing the innovative early birds with a great opportunity to get a head start. The question is, will it be you or your competitors that gain this competitive advantage?

2. Intelligent multi-channel marketing is becoming the norm

Tests have shown that when you target a customer both in their inbox with an email and on Facebook with a matching ad, the customer is 22% more likely to purchase, as opposed to if you had only sent the email.

In multi-channel marketing, the whole is usually greater than the sum of its parts. This is especially true when you add a layer of personalization into the mix, which is of course possible with marketing automation.

Let’s look at time for an example. Let’s imagine that you’re the marketing director of a company that sells kitchen appliances online.

A prospect named Molly visits your website and adds a fridge to her shopping cart (obviously a very large shopping cart.) Molly enters her details to check out but never completes the transaction.

In this situation your multi-channel strategy could look something like this:

  • After 30 minutes, an automated email is triggered encouraging Molly to complete her order (in case she got distracted by a phone call…or Game of Thrones).
  • Using retargeting through a sync with your marketing automation platform and Facebook, Molly sees an ad saying “Molly, are you refurbishing your kitchen?” and linking to a separate landing page. If this landing page is engaged with, Molly would be entered into a whole new sequence with upsells and offers incentivizing her to buy more items.
  • If after one day Molly still hasn’t bought the fridge, a text message could be sent asking if there’s anything your support team could answer or help her with.
  • If after several days later there’s still no purchase, a separate email and Facebook ad campaign could be triggered targeting Molly with different fridges and freezers relating to her original search criteria.

This type of multi-channel nurturing is immensely effective for a number of reasons:

  • It’s underused. Despite being very effective, few companies are running such hyper-personalized campaigns. This will likely change over the next few years, as more and more companies realize its effectiveness.
  • With more channels, you can capture more data from your customers, leading to more relevant targeting. The more relevant your targeting, the more likely a conversion will be.
  • It makes it virtually impossible to lose a customer due to distraction, as you’re able to communicate with the buyer across devices and platforms and at different times.

We’re likely to see a lot more multi-channel marketing over the next year or two. As marketing automation tools improve their offerings and features, and as more case studies emerge, more and more businesses will begin to use this powerful tactic.

Could this sort of multi-channel marketing help your business convert more leads into customers?

3. Marketing automation is becoming widely adopted

There are two colliding waves in the marketing automation industry that are converging to form a tsunami-like surge of businesses interested in marketing automation. These waves are 1) the increased awareness of the value of marketing automation and 2) the increasing impact and capabilities of marketing automation software.

Since 2012, the amount of case studies, articles, webinars, and events covering marketing automation has exploded, resulting in a heightened awareness of the impact of adopting a marketing automation solution.

Simultaneously, marketing automation software is becoming more and more powerful. With new features and functionality, such as real-time personalization and adtech-geared tools, as well as an increasing pool of experts readily sharing best practices, the scope of what marketing automation software can achieve is continuing to expand. Word—and excitement—is spreading like wildfire.

These two converging waves have an obvious result: more and more businesses (your competitors included) are implementing a marketing automation solution. As such, it pays to get ahead of the game and start building your marketing automation campaigns early. That way, by the time your competitors are building out their first campaigns, your business could have hundreds of active, fine-tuned campaigns already working on leads. Get to it!

Conclusion

As far as we can tell from the data, marketing automation is becoming smarter, more tailored, and more accessible. The combination of these trends explains why the industry has grown so rapidly over the past five years and why it does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

For business owners, the lesson here is simple and Darwinian: evolve now (aka get automating), or risk losing your market share to your competitors.