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YouTube is a powerhouse for Google, with revenue up 46% to almost $7 billion

Business Insider logo Business Insider 2/3/2021 mcoulter@businessinsider.com (Martin Coulter)
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki Noam Galai/Getty Images © Provided by Business Insider YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki Noam Galai/Getty Images
  • YouTube's ad revenue rose to almost $7 billion in Q4 2020, marking an end to the pandemic-induced deceleration.
  • Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said both YouTube and Google Search drove strong quarterly results.
  • CEO Sundar Pichai revealed TikTok rival Shorts was getting 3.5 billion views a day. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

YouTube's advertising revenue hit $6.9 billion in the last quarter of 2020, bouncing back after a pandemic-driven deceleration in the middle of the year. 

That's up 46% from the $4.7 billion YouTube pulled in in ad revenue over the same period in 2019, and was driven by both brands ads and direct response ads.

On Tuesday, parent company Alphabet unveiled impressive quarterly results, outdoing forecasters' expectations with overall revenues jumping 23% to $56.9 billion.

All in, YouTube ads account for around 15% of Google's $46 billion ad revenue for the quarter.  


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"Our strong fourth quarter performance ... was driven by Search and YouTube, as consumer and business activity recovered from earlier in the year," CFO Ruth Porat said during an earnings call with analysts on Tuesday night.

CEO Sundar Pichai said more than half a million YouTube channels had live-streamed in 2020, including  artists performing in their living rooms to churches moving their services online." 

Pichai also highlighted the success of YouTube's growing TikTok competitor Shorts, a short-form video feature for smartphones. He said: "Videos in our new shorts player are receiving 3.5 billion daily views. We are looking forward to expanding shorts to more countries this year."

Philipp Schindler, Alphabet's chief business officer, praised YouTube's "TrueView for Action" platform, which is designed to help advertisers drive sales by adding prominent "calls to action" and headline text overlays to video ads.

"Just to give you a few numbers, 60% of TrueView For Action customers are new to YouTube and we more than doubled the number of active advertisers using TrueView For Action in the first six months of 2020," Schindler said.

Are you a current or former Googler with more to share? You can contact this reporter securely using the encrypted messaging app Signal (+447801985586) or email (mcoulter@businessinsider.com). Reach out using a nonwork device. 

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