YouTube has an audience the size of a quarter of the world’s population

YouTube’s massive user base is growing.
YouTube’s massive user base is growing.
Image: Reuters/Osman Orsal
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YouTube says more than 1.8 billion users log into the streaming platform each month to watch videos. That’d be about a quarter of the estimated 7.6 billion people on the planet last year—if individual people held each account.

The figure represents people who registered for and signed into their YouTube accounts while on the platform. It’s a 20% lift from a year ago, when YouTube reported 1.5 billion logged-in users per month. In 2013, YouTube said it had 1 billion monthly active users on the platform in total, including those who weren’t logged in.

YouTube announced the latest user number at its annual Brandcast event on Friday, where it presented new programming to advertisers. Parent company Google is the world’s largest advertising platform with more than $95 billion in advertising revenue (pdf) in 2017, capturing an estimated one-third of all digital advertising dollars. EMarketer estimates that YouTube accounts for about 11% of that advertising revenue, though Google does not break out revenue for YouTube in company filings.

Scale hasn’t come without a price. YouTube has struggled to monitor the videos its billions of users upload to the site every day. It caught flak last year when brands inadvertently funded extremist content and hate speech through ads on the platform. It had to reprimand YouTube stars like Logan Paul for inappropriate content. And it’s been grappling to contain conspiracy theories and videos that appear to exploit children. Last month, a disgruntled YouTube user opened fire at the company’s headquarters over how the company pays creators.