YouTube’s revenue nearly doubled to $7 billion as digital ad spend rebounds in 2021

Youtube ad woman
Google exec Philipp Schindler said the ‘shift to online video and streaming’ was key to the firm’s success Sean Gallup/Getty Images
  • YouTube’s revenue soared 84% year-on-year to just over $US7 ($AU10) billion.
  • A post-2020 rebound in online advertising drove the company’s success.
  • The firm’s in-house TikTok rival YouTube Shorts more than doubled daily views in three months.
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YouTube’s revenue almost doubled to $US7 ($AU10) billion in the second quarter of 2021, fueled in large part by a rebound in online advertising.

The video-sharing giant unveiled a strong three-month performance as part of parent company Google’s quarterly earnings announcement on Tuesday, with YouTube’s overall revenue jumping a whopping 84% compared to the previous year.

Google’s core products – its search engine and YouTube – depend on online advertising revenue to survive, but the COVID-19 pandemic saw digital marketing spend fall off a cliff last year, hitting a number of tech giants.

Fast-forward to 2021, however, and YouTube smashed analyst expectations – which suggested revenues would be closer to $US6.3 ($AU9) billion – and contributed to Google’s overall ad revenue surging 69% on the previous year, to $US50 ($AU68) billion.

In an earnings call with investors, Google’s chief business officer Philipp Schindler said the “global shift to online video and streaming” had been key to the firm’s success, with its premium subscription service YouTube TV becoming the company’s “fastest-growing consumer service,” with 120 million monthly viewers in the US alone, up from 100 million a year ago.

The company also revealed its in-house TikTok competitor, YouTube Shorts, had “surpassed 15 billion global daily views,” more than double the 6.5 billion views it was counting up just three months ago.

Speaking to investors, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company had set “a number of records” over the past three months, adding that it had paid YouTube creators more than any quarter in history.

Tuesday marked Google’s first earnings report since March, when it announced its plan to shift away from tracking individual users based on their internet activity.

Google’s earnings also come as the company faces multiple antitrust lawsuits and likely a tougher regulatory environment under a host of new Biden appointees, such as Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan.

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