YouTube in 2020: Powerful Stats You Need to Know

Did you catch YouTube's Culture & Trends Report for 2020? The global year-in-review highlights the rise of virtual events, emerging creators, and collective resilience during a challenging year.

The way we tell stories, as well as who gets to tell those stories, keeps evolving. That’s the underlying message of YouTube’s latest Culture & Trends Report, a statistical breakdown of how global events influenced video creators and viewers alike. With data showing the rise of virtual events and relatable content creators, the report proves video is still a powerful medium for expression - maybe the most powerful.

From the constant popularity of online gaming to our shared experiences around virtual events, here are the key insights from YouTube’s report.

New Creators Made YouTube Their Storytelling Home

According to YouTube, a large number of people became video creators in 2020. There was a 95% increase in new YouTube channels on the platform, and most likely, this contributed to a diverse group of emerging creators.

Ash Chang, YouTube culture and trends manager for the Asia-Pacific region, said as much in his video summary within the report:

“More than ever, it feels like the creator archetype of what we think a creator should be, should look like or should make content about has broadened and evolved to meet an audience more receptive to a diversity of stories and storytellers.”

Statistics around these diverse creators, as well as their genre-bending content, were also highlighted in YouTube’s report:

  • 47% of people said it’s hard to place their favorite creators into one genre. Bailey Sarian, a U.S. creator who mixes makeup with true crime content, is a great example.
  • 58% of people said they’d watch online content from creators in any age group.
  • By October 2020, VTubers (animated AI characters) were viewed 1.5B times per month.
  • Nancy Risol, an indigenous creator from Ecuador became one of the top creators in Latin America, growing her channel from 100K subscribers to 1M in 2019.

In 2020, Video Connected People to New and Exciting Experiences

We’ve shared video experiences before, but not as fervently as in recent months. Instead of watching digital events solo, many viewers decided to watch alongside their favorite creators for a shared experience.

One example is rapper Travis Scott’s virtual concert on Fortnite. Viewers were able to watch for free on the gaming platform, and more than 12 million fans decided to do just that. However, Earnest Pettie, trends insight lead for YouTube, said many viewers tuned in to their favorite creators’ live streams, watching them react to Travis Scott’s concert instead. The same thing happened during other online music, sports, and gaming events this year.

By itself, online gaming is a popular watch category across the web. Here are the statistics from YouTube’s Culture & Trends report:

  • 73% of people watched gaming content via online video platforms.
  • In the U.S., “Minecraft Speedrunner VS 3 Hunters Grand Finale” is one of YouTube’s top 10 trending videos of the year.
  • At 201B views, Minecraft was the most-viewed game of the year.

Online Video Helped Us Reckon With COVID-19, Racial Injustice, and More

Humans have always known adversity, but 2020 challenged us to address several global issues at once. Through video consumption, viewers channeled their desire for socio-economic progress, as well as pandemic stress relief.

Here are the key statistics from YouTube’s Culture & Trends Report:

  • 54% of people watched humorous content online to cope with challenging moments in 2020.
  • Daily views for two songs spiked during widespread protests. In June, “This Is America” by Childish Gambino was viewed 1.6M times each day. “Fight The Power” by Public Enemy was viewed 30K times each day for the same month.

Whether you’re a content creator or consumer, YouTube’s Culture & Trends Report proves the continual power of online video. It helps people of all backgrounds express themselves, connect with others, and share ideas about the world at large.