InsightPress Release

YouTube trumps Netflix as biggest TV streaming platform according to WARC Media’s ‘Platform Insights’ report

LONDON, UK — YouTube, hit hard by the digital ad market slowdown, remains popular among consumers. It reaches half of all internet users globally (2.07 billion), and commands a strong position in the online video advertising market. 

With advertising investment forecast to reach $30.4 billion globally, the Alphabet-owned video platform is actively looking for ways to forge deeper connections with viewers, creators and brands through multi-format video strategies.  

YouTube is prioritizing Shorts and Connected TV engagement, and is innovating with unskippable 30-second ads and “pause experiences” on TV to help marketers engage audiences across screens and achieve both performance and brand building goals.


WARC Media’s latest “Platform Insights” report provides an overview of the key datapoints that advertisers need to know about YouTube, spanning investment, consumption and performance insights.

Alex Brownsell, Head of Content at WARC Media, said: “It’s been a tricky 12-month period for YouTube, which is increasingly battling on two fronts, against short-form video platforms like TikTok as well as long-form content streamers in the connected TV space. However, as trading conditions improve in digital advertising, YouTube can expect to see revenue growth improve.”

“In this WARC Media’s Platform Insights report, we take a closer look at YouTube to provide marketers with evidence-based insights on the challenges and opportunities the platform offers at a time when ad formats and technologies are fast evolving and understanding audiences is becoming ever more important,” Alex explained. 

Ad investment with YouTube is set to rise 4.0% this year to a total of $30.4 billion

The worldwide slowdown in digital ad investment has had an impact across the industry. However, YouTube has been hit harder than most. Q4 2022 ad revenue declined 8.8% year-on-year, as marketers shifted investment to retail media and search and it battled against TikTok, Instagram Reels and Apple’s ATT.

This year, YouTube’s ad revenue is set to rise 4.0% to a total of $30.4 billion. This is more than double the rate of growth recorded in 2022, with ad revenues expected to recover in the second half of this year. 

As trading conditions become more favorable, WARC Media forecasts YouTube’s revenue growth to accelerate 10.3% in 2024, to reach $33.5 billion by the end of the year.

Retail brands are expected to spend $4.1 billion on YouTube ads this year, up 4.6% on 2022

Retail remains YouTube’s most important category for ad investment: retailers are expected to spend $4.1 billion on YouTube ads this year, a 4.6% rise on 2022, according to WARC Media data.

Yet growth from other sectors has been harder to achieve. WARC Media data forecasts an increase this year in technology and electronics (+8.0%) and toiletries and cosmetics (+4.3%).

WARC survey of marketers in Asia Pacific found that YouTube is the most popular platform for digital display. Nearly half (49%) of brands in the region run display ads on YouTube. However, it appears less appealing to APAC marketers (17%) from a shoppable advertising perspective.

YouTube advertisers can reach 2.07 billion, half of all internet users globally. More than one billion hours of video are watched every day on YouTube

YouTube is the world’s most popular online platform and more than one billion hours of video are watched every day on YouTube, per Alphabet data. Its adult advertising reach is estimated to be 2.07 billion, almost twice as much as TikTok and Instagram respectively, according to Kepios

As the platform looks to improve user engagement and make it more shoppable, YouTube Shorts (videos lasting 60 seconds or less) will provide more opportunities for marketers to reach new audiences. 

However, Shorts’ 50 billion daily viewer total is some way behind the 140 billion daily views achieved by Instagram Reels, while under 18-second spend on average 60% longer on TikTok than with YouTube content.

YouTube has overtaken Netflix as the biggest TV streaming platform in the US

Overtaking Netflix in 2022, according to Nielsen, YouTube is the most popular ad supported streaming service in the US, accounting for 22.9% of OTT viewing in March 2023. It is also the most popular channel for US Gen Zs to use to catch up with sports news, and last year, it was the most popular platform for both music and podcast listening in the US. 

APAC is a key growth region for YouTube – from live shopping and Shorts to gaming. The region’s high mobile penetration, advanced ecommerce, and influencer culture has helped to shape YouTube’s global strategy.

YouTube delivers brand impact more cost-effectively than any other video platform, especially in Latin America, according to research by Kantar.

“Platform Insights: YouTube” follows the recent release of “Platform Insights: TikTok,” a new series of reports exclusive to WARC Media subscribers, which include an overview of platform investments, media consumption and performance insights. 

WARC Media provides rigorous and accurate benchmarks for media planning and strategy, helping marketers reach the right audience and maintain a competitive edge. More information available here.

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