​YouTube's recent milestone presents new opportunities for social media marketing with video content.

​If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much value is in a high-quality video? Content marketers see the power of video marketing, and sites like YouTube help amplify brands’ core messages to an active user base. Brafton’s recent Social Media Horse Race infographic told the story of today’s most popular networks, and while YouTube didn’t take top prize, new data may have pushed it closer to the finish line in certain events.

The video-streaming website announced that it now serves more than 1 billion monthly active users. These consumers engage with both user-generated video content and branded media, sharing and liking content. Businesses can leverage the reach of YouTube to increase social referrals and website conversions, but many people still wonder just how popular the video-streaming site is in reality. Do people visit it as often as the hype would suggest, or does YouTube count one-off visitors as active members?

According to comScore’s research, Google sites made up the bulk of online video viewership in the United States at the end of 2012, with Facebook being the next closest media hub for visual content. Ask Your Target Marketing Research sought to understand how Americans use YouTube in their day-to-days. A recent survey examined how viewers consume YouTube content, and AYTM’s findings might inspire more brands to implement their own internet marketing campaigns via the site.

The study showed that 60 percent of U.S. internet users visit YouTube once a week, as of March 2013. Twenty-two percent visit the site every day, and 30 percent navigate to YouTube a few times a week. Notably, only 14 percent of consumers say they rarely visit the platform. YouTube commands the video-streaming space, and Google understands it has an opportunity to turn the site into an entertainment and commerce hub for both consumers and businesses.

YouTube marketing is a growing practice for both B2B and B2C brands, and Brafton sees the platform as the ideal network to build thought leadership through with custom content. For businesses just jumping on board with video marketing, it’s important to optimize Channels for search visibility and know where to include CTAs to drive referral traffic and increase online sales.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.