I was among the first to show that YouTube was the third largest search engine in a presentation entitled, “Getting Found in All the Right Places,” at a SEMNE event on Nov. 7, 2007. And I may have been the first to observe that YouTube was about to pass Yahoo! in expanded searches in a story that was published in Search Engine Watch on July 20, 2008. So, I suspect that the second part of the line, “YouTube has grown to become … the second most-used platform for searching,” is old news.
If anyone wants an update, here’s the U.S. data from comScore qSearch for May 2014: Google had 12.5 billion explicit core searches, YouTube had 4.0 billion search queries, Microsoft had 3.5 billion searches, and Yahoo! had 1.8 billion. I plan to present it on Friday in a new Master Class Webinar at Bulldog Reporter’s PR University.
Get it? Got it? Good. So, that leaves the first part of the line as the new news: YouTube has grown to become the second largest social media site. Now, in some respects, this is old news, too. But, it isn’t mentioned as often. Or, sometimes it’s overlooked altogether. In fact, some sites report that the top 15 most popular social networking websites are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, VK, Flickr, MySpace, Meetup, Tagged, Ask.fm, MeetMe, and ClassMates – in that order.
That’s why the students in the Mini-MBA: Social Media Marketing class that I teach in the Rutgers Business School executive education program are often surprised when I show them slide of the largest social media sites – using data from Compete PRO. Up until this past weekend, YouTube was the second largest social media site, behind only Facebook.
But Compete PRO has just published its June data set – and it contains some really big new news:
YouTube just passed Facebook and is now the largest social media site.
YouTube.com had 167,848,349 unique visitors in June 2014, up slightly from 167,737,934 in May. Facebook.com had 166,497,314 unique visitors in June 2014, down slightly from 168,320,857 in May.
Here’s the latest data from Compete PRO on the top 15 social media sites:
- YouTube.com had 167,848,349 unique visitors in June 2014.
- Facebook.com had 166,497,314 unique visitors that month.
- Answers.Yahoo.com had 50,751,728.
- Plus.Google.com had 49,391,153.
- Twitter.com had 48,203,344.
- MySpace.com had 46,812,498.
- LinkedIn.com had 42,774,157.
- Pinterest.com had 40,189,235.
- Instagram.com had 31,546,911.
- Tumblr.com had 25,598,422.
- Flickr.com had 12,887,199.
- Vimeo.com had 12,291,208.
- Dailymotion.com had 11,808,985.
- Vine.com had 7,361,214.
- IMVU.com had 5,938,173.
Now, Compete manages one of the largest panels of its kind in the industry, combining the online behaviors and attitudes from 2 million consumers across the United States. Its online panel is comprised of a statistically representative cross-section of consumers who have given permission to have their internet clickstream behaviors and opt-in survey responses analyzed as a new source of marketing research. The Compete panel is several times larger than traditional panels, which means that it’s hard to dismiss the data presented above.
But, please, please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Let's not bicker and argue about whose data is better than whose. Instead, let’s quibble about why some industry observers overlook YouTube and other video sharing sites when compiling their lists of the most popular social networking websites.
Isn’t YouTube a social medium? And, if you include Instagram, an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service, and Flickr, an image hosting and video hosting website, should you add Vimeo, Dailymotion, and Vine to your list, too?
Heck, YouTube has Community Guidelines. You can share YouTube videos on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger, reddit, tumblr, Pinterest, VK, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Odnoklassniki, LiveJournal, and Digg. And the YouTube Creator Playbook for Brands even says: “Don’t limit your purview to YouTube. Many viewers will encounter your videos through social media, other websites and blogs. Cross-channel, device-agnostic campaigns are the key to social success.”
“Be ready to deliver the right message to the right consumer at the right time. Remember:
- 500 years of YouTube videos watched on Facebook/day.
- 700 YouTube videos shared on Twitter/minute.”
So, let’s stop treating YouTube like a red-headed stepchild. And let’s stop treating video sharing sites as if they are social outcasts. YouTube has grown to become the largest social media site. And Vimeo, Dailymotion, and Vine aren’t chopped liver, either.