Audience Demographics: Who’s Tuning In

Picture for a moment the “average YouTube user.” What do you see? We hear a lot of misconceptions about who is—and who isn’t—on YouTube. Here are some of the most common myths about YouTube viewers, and the data-backed demographic insights that break them down.

Myth: Only millennials love YouTube
Reality: YouTube watch time continues to grow among older audiences, too.

-From 2015 to 2016, time spent on YouTube more than doubled among adults 18+
-From 2015 to 2016, time spent on YouTube almost tripled among adults 55+
-From 2015 to 2016, time spent on YouTube grew 40% faster among adults 35+ than among adults overall
-From 2015 to 2016, time spent on YouTube grew 80% faster among adults 55+ than among adults overall
-According to comScore, YouTube reaches 95% of online adults 35+ in a month
-According to comScore, YouTube reaches 95% of online adults 55+ in a month

Myth: The average YouTube user is a young, single male
Reality: The average YouTube user is just as likely to be female as male, and even more likely to be college-educated and have a family than not.

->50% of YouTube’s audience is female
-YouTube users are more likely to have a college degree compared to the general population
-YouTube users are more likely to have kids compared to non-users

When, Where, and What People Watch

When it comes to the latest trends on how people are watching YouTube videos—when, where, and even what—there are plenty of misconceptions. Here we break down the latest stats on YouTube watch behavior and bust some common myths.

Myth: When people watch YouTube on their mobile devices, it’s during the day and “on the go”
Reality: The majority of watch time on YouTube is mobile, yet many marketers still believe mobile viewing translates to short, daytime, on-the-go sessions. In fact, when it comes to YouTube viewing behavior, mobile is a lot like TV: The world watches at home, during prime time, and on horizontally oriented screens.

-On mobile alone, in an average week, YouTube reaches more adults 18+ during prime time than any cable network does
-3 in 4 adults report watching YouTube at home on their mobile devices
-Home mobile YouTube viewing occurs primarily during prime time
-7 in 10 people default to horizontal viewing when watching videos on their phones
-YouTube mobile users are 2X as likely to pay close attention while watching YouTube compared to TV users while watching TV

Myth: YouTube is only for watching viral videos
Reality: People get lost spending time on YouTube for a lot of reasons. Whether they want to learn, laugh, catch up on pop culture, jam out to their favorite music, or lean back for a show, people can find whatever they’re looking for on YouTube.

-Almost 4X as many people prefer watching video on YouTube as on social platforms that are less video-centric
-The top two reasons viewers watch YouTube are “to relax” and “to feel entertained”
-The top four content categories watched by YouTube users are comedy, music, entertainment/pop culture, and “how to”
-68% of YouTube users watched YouTube to help make a purchase decision