How Should YouTube Celebrate Its 10th Birthday This Coming May?

YouTube has just turned 10 years old. The company was founded by three former PayPal employees, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim, on February 14, 2005, and Karim uploaded the first video to YouTube, “Me at the Zoo,” on April 23, 2005.

However, the video wasn’t made public until May 29 of that same year, which is the date YouTube considers its official birthday.

Last year, the site celebrated its ninth birthday by inviting some of its favorite performers to star in “YouTube Birthday Karaoke Night,” a mashup of memorable musical moments from the previous nine years.

With such a lame celebration, it’s no wonder that some digital marketers may still think of YouTube as a modest video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California.

They may not know that:

  • YouTube has more than 1 billion users.
  • Every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.
  • The number of hours people are watching on YouTube each month is up 50 percent year over year.
  • 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  • About 60 percent of a creator’s views comes from outside their home country.
  • YouTube is localized in 75 countries and available in 61 languages.
  • Half of YouTube views are on mobile devices.
  • Mobile revenue on YouTube is up more than 100 percent year over year.

Digital marketers may also be unaware that:

  • More than 1 million advertisers are using Google ad platforms, the majority of which are small businesses.
  • 85 percent of YouTube’s TrueView in-stream ads are skippable.
  • Google Preferred has been a huge success – YouTube has secured upfront commitments from many of the top agencies including OMG, Digitas, IPG, Carat, and SMG, and sold out the majority of its product offering.
  • Variety found that top YouTube creators were more popular than mainstream celebrities among U.S. teenagers.

And furthermore they may also not realize that:

  • Partner revenue is up more than 50 percent from 2013 to 2014.
  • YouTube has been investing in its creators:
    • Opened YouTube Spaces in Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, New York, and Sao Paulo, so far bringing in more than 60,000 people who’ve created more than 6,500 videos that have generated more than 50 million hours of watch time, the equivalent of more than 5,700 years.
    • Launched multimedia promotional campaigns highlighting top creators on YouTube in seven countries around the world, increasing awareness for those featured by up to four times.
    • Of the more than 100 channels YouTube funded in 2011 — 86 of those channels are in the top 1 percent of all YouTube channels, 25 have more than 1 million subscribers, and collectively they’re getting more than 575 million views a month.
  • More than 1 million channels in dozens of countries are earning revenue from the YouTube Partner Program, and thousands of channels are making six figures per year.
  • YouTube has invested tens of millions of dollars into Content ID, its copyright management system. Since 2007, YouTube has paid out more than $1 billion to partners who have chosen to monetize their claims using Content ID.

So, how should YouTube celebrate its 10th birthday this coming May? Maybe it’s time to take a victory lap.

Life Before YouTube

One way to do this is to try to imagine “Life Before YouTube.” That’s the title of an article by Chris Tryhorn of The Guardian published back on August 29, 2008. He says, “You know how it is with technology – once something becomes so ubiquitous and so universally used, it is simply impossible to imagine life without it.”

Embedded in his article is a funny video by Matt Koval entitled, “YouTube in 1985 (collab).” It imagines what the personal video sharing service would have looked like 30 years ago. When Koval calls to submit his latest video, a woman on the YouTube staff asks, “On VHS or Betamax?”

Another way to recognize just how ubiquitous and universally used YouTube has become is to produce the sequel to last year’s April Fools’ hoax, “YouTube Announces Upcoming Viral Video Trends #newtrends.”

A third way would be to re-enlist more than 25 YouTube creators including Epic Meal Time’s Harley Morenstein, Rhett & Link, Toby Turner, Freddie Wong, and Tyler Ward, to co-host another event like the Super Bowl Halftime Show produced by Collective Digital Studio. From Kurt Hugo Schneider’s “Epic Patty Cake Song” to the “Elephant’s Toothpaste” science experiment with Science Bob, the show delivered a one-of-a-kind experience for YouTube fans.

Whatever YouTube decides to do to celebrate its 10th birthday, it’s got to be more memorable and fun than throwing another karaoke night.

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