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Social Media Case Study: YouTube


YouTube has become one of the most used websites and offers an array of video content, whether it is film trailers, music videos or sneezing pandas; it’s no surprise that it is the number one search engine for video, and now accounts for 4 billion hours of video viewed each month!

There are many factors to YouTube’s success, perhaps mainly due to search engine giants Google buying them for $1.65 Billion in 2006, but for now we are going to view it as a social success, because YouTube is so much more than viewing video, it’s about sharing, subscribing and commenting. So let’s take a look at what makes YouTube one of the top social media sites.


Sharing and embedding content to other websites has allowed YouTube to become a hub for video. Users can instantly share to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger, Tumblr, LinkedIn and many more. YouTube also allows you to share from a specific time in the video!


There is a great sense of community on YouTube and much like ‘following’ on Twitter, subscribing will keep you up to date with your favourite content. Once you have a strong subscriber base the potential is huge, and in fact much of the success of the viral video ‘Gangnam Style’ which has raked in over a billion views was due to the label YG Entertainment having 2.5 million subscribers prior to the launch.


Commenting on videos has become a form of entertainment in itself. YouTube comments can be rated and replied to, which encourages interaction between the community. YouTube are actually working on cleaning up the comments sections, for example, connections linked to your Google+ will automatically appear at the top.


Discovering new videos is what drives users to YouTube. The ‘browse channels’ section makes it really easy to filter through channels and a personalised ‘recommended for you’ category uses video history to suggest relevant channels.

As a video-sharing site YouTube is unrivalled as it has a critical mass of users that are engaged in the social aspects of the site. Although user retention is predominantly reliant on quality content, YouTube encourages them to become part of a greater online community, which is such an important factor in their success.

Content Assistant – Ben Hunt 


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