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How YouTube Has Developed, Adapted, and Competed With the New Age of Video Consumption

When we want to watch a certain video, whether it’s an advert or gaming commentary, YouTube is our first call of action. With over 26 billion videos available on the video-sharing platform, YouTube is the king of video marketing. With 1 billion hours of video watched daily by its millions of viewers, YouTube’s popularity and growth is hard to get your head around. 

However, with the emergence of TikTok, video consumption is transforming at an exceptional rate, and longer videos which YouTube has mostly been known for, are being swapped out for short, snappy video clips that allow for quick and easy consumption. 

So what does this mean for YouTube? What is YouTube doing to combat this transforming video trend? And how has the platform managed to stay so relevant and populated through a whopping seventeen years of video evolution? To get some answers, let’s jump back in time to understand how Youtube started and how it has developed with its growing popularity.

    The History of YouTube

      Seventeen years ago a social media platform called YouTube was created by entrepreneurs, Jawed Karim, Steve Chen, and Chad Hurley. This video sharing platform transformed the use of video, increasing its popularity, evolution, and innovation after Google bought it for $1.65 billion in 2006. That 2005 start-up is now the second most visited website, right after Google itself. 

      Back in 2007, user-generated content such as ‘Let’s Plays’ and vlogging took the platform by storm. Long videos were praised, and growth was monumental. Creators were gradually growing audiences to the same size as television channels and as a result video consumption and creation skyrocketed.

      As time went on the use of video marketing on YouTube grew exponentially, resulting in brand deals with the already popular creators, as well as brands creating accounts themselves. This resulted in increasing monetisation for creators and ads before and within videos. However, over time YouTube has slowly become less of a user-generated video platform, and more a platform specialising in the marketing of brands, celebrities, and music. 

      Although some original YouTube creators have survived to this day, such as gamer and vlogger Pewdiepie who has amassed up to 111 million subscribers, many creators have now stopped making content due to them finding it hard to work alongside YouTube’s changing algorithm and terms surrounding copyright and monetisation. 

      So how has YouTube adapted to the recent developments in video consumption?

      Adapting to Change 

      1. YouTube Live

      In the early 2010s live streaming was introduced to social media, and YouTube was aboard the hype train, creating YouTube Live in 2011. As it allows a more personalised real-time viewing and relationship with creators, live-streaming has proven itself as the future of entertainment on social media. Although live-streaming has its limitations such as possible real-time technical difficulties and a lack of editing and polish, this hasn’t stopped its continued revamp of the video consumption market.

      Describing YouTube Live as a success is an understatement, but it is still struggling to take the number one spot in the live-streaming game! YouTube is the king of video, but Twitch is still the king of live video.

      2. YouTube Shorts

      A much more recent example of YouTube’s development was its introduction of YouTube Shorts in 2021. This TikTok competitor allows users to post 60-second user-generated clips similarly to Instagram Reels. As TikTok’s monumental growth continued, YouTube had to think fast to stay at the top of the video market. The future of video is all about convenience and speed. People now want short snippets of video content so they can consume it in quick breaks and gaps in time. 

      YouTube cleverly continued to focus on its longer videos while allowing creators to create ‘clips’ channels to showcase shorter, more clickable videos. The platform still remains victorious as it offers both long and shorter videos, while TikTok only offers the latter. Generating 15 billion global views, this marketing move, although shortening their videos, didn’t shorten their revenue.

      3. Video Chapters

      With a focus on shorter videos, why not segment longer videos into more manageable chapters? This is precisely what YouTube’s video chapter tool is used for. This tool allows creators to name and timestamp chapters in long videos to improve user experience and allow for easier bookmarking. 

      This feature not only tailors to those wanting to watch small segments of longer videos at a time but also encourages creators to produce longer videos with more chapters to achieve the best results using the SEO algorithm on the platform. YouTube managed to tackle the problem of shorter videos by creating a feature that still encourages the creation of longer videos.

      The Future of Video Consumption

      So we’ve established that YouTube is pro at adapting to the new age of video consumption, but what does this all mean for the future of video online? With TikTok’s overall watch-time taking over YouTube’s last year, is short-form video taking over? 

      In a world where time is limited, this may be the case. Whether it’s video marketing or just a vlog, it seems like shorter is better – something a few of us wouldn’t mind hearing in different circumstances. According to a study by Vidyard, 56 percent of videos created by businesses today are two minutes or less. In this attention economy, less is more and as YouTube continues to adapt to the modernising video market, could we see a continued decrease in longer videos? 

      It looks like video is now, but short-form video could be the future.

      That was our quick roundup of YouTube’s journey from its creation to its adaptation in the modernising world of video consumption! Do you think YouTube will still be as successful 10 years from now or do you think short-form video will have completely taken over the market? Let us know in the comments below!