An important milestone has this week been hit in the continued development of video service YouTube, with chief executive Susan Wojcicki announcing that half of YouTube’s traffic now originates from mobile devices, symbolic of the rise of the smartphone generation.
The Decline of Desktop
The heavy YouTube traffic that comes from smartphones conforms to the trend of ease that is so commonly associated with device applications. YouTube, despite the intentions of many users and brands is essentially the ultimate in time wasting tool, with viral video sharing becoming an important form of communication for many a social user. The ease of smartphone use has seen a 50% rise in overall watch time year on year, placing video browsing as a notable part of our daily routine.
Of course, the rise in mobile has led to the decline of desktop YouTube traffic. With general video sharing being the refuge of mobile, YouTube has effectively turned its back on its desktop beginnings. Of course, laptop and desktop usage still plays an important role in general video viewing online, with other online services providing another outlet with which to watch TV shows and films, signifying a shift from television.
The Future of YouTube Advertising?
So how does this user shift affect the way in which YouTube operates as a business moving forward? Early suggestions emerging from YouTube that the rise in mobile traffic could spark a dramatic shift in YouTube’s advertising system. Whilst YouTube’s revenue is currently very much ad-dependent, this important behavioural shift could well reflect a lack of patience for advertising and see other avenues explored.
Speaking at the US Code/Mobile conference, Wojcicki said: “YouTube right now is ad-supported, which is great because it has enabled us to scale to a billion users; but there’s going to be a point where people don’t want to see the ads.”
An important behavioural shift, the way in which YouTube traffic is generated has evolved and its important for YouTube users to consider this closely.