Deep Dive into the Product Growth Model of Youtube

Product-led growth
March 21, 2023
8 mins read

Today, It is reasonable to say that the video streaming network has ascended to new heights. Of course, a big part of this triumph goes to YouTube.

Since its inception in 2005, YouTube has evolved from a platform for amateur films to one that distributes original material. It was first designed to allow anybody to submit any video material they wanted. Then, it was planned that users would be able to freely publish, exchange, and watch material on the site. 

Let's look at the invention of YouTube first. How did it come into existence?

The legend of Nipplegate is well-known. Janet Jackson is a famous singer, breast, covered with a nipple shield, was revealed to the viewing public for nearly half a second during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime performance, which was broadcast live on February 1, 2004, from Houston, Texas, on the CBS television network. The episode, known as Nipplegate or Janetgate, sparked an instant response and sparked a national discussion about perceived obscenity in broadcasting.. A mismatched wardrobe. The MTV-produced pop extravaganza altered the globe in several ways. But one of the most significant is likely the least well-known: it gave birth to YouTube.

YouTube Origins: How Nipplegate Created Streaming Site - Rolling Stone
Image Courtesy: Rolling Stone

A year after the spectacle, a trio of PayPal tech men were having dinner and discussing Janet Jackson's controversy. Chad Hurley, 29, Steven Cehn, 28, and Jawed Karim, 25, all expressed frustration with the difficulty in finding any footage of the event on the internet. There was no such thing as a "viral" video in February 2004, and even an iconic event like the Nipple Bounce was still a matter of "If you missed it, you missed it." Everyone was chatting, blogging, and Aiming about Janet and Justin — but if you didn't watch the Super Bowl or set your TiVo or VCR, you didn't get to see what all the commotion was about, save from edited news excerpts.

That’s when the idea of YouTube was born. They thought it would be interesting to establish an internet portal where people could share video of the Super Bowl fiasco. They started YouTube a year later, to little fanfare at first. On April 23, 2005, Karim posted the site's debut video, a 19-second video of himself seeing the elephants at the San Diego Zoo. After a year, almost everyone on the planet was addicted to YouTube.

YouTube was a brilliant invention that came at the perfect time. In February 2004, social media was just getting started: Myspace was gaining traction, and Facebook launched three days after the Super Bowl. On Valentine's Day in 2005, YouTube was launched. 

Like many others in Silicon Valley, the platform began as an angel-funded venture with improvised offices in a garage. In 2006, Google rushed in and bought the website to assist grow the search engine's online advertising empire. Advertisers followed viewers as their desire for content drove them to internet platforms. YouTube not only transformed the way we consume entertainment, but it also changed the way advertisers target viewers. 

The age of digital marketing is here.

The age of digital marketing is here.

YouTube is a classic case of a "platform shift," bringing parties together who would never have met otherwise. The corporation accomplished this by establishing a whole new client niche known as "YouTubers." The majority of YouTubers are not content creators who opted to start an internet channel, but rather ordinary folks. They left their previous life behind once they were offered the opportunity to express their ideas.

YouTube used such content makers to build a self-sustaining supply of resources. One of the main components of exponential development is automating as much of your business as possible, as YouTube has done.

YouTube uses its product which is the platform itself as the main tool to acquire customers. With this model, a business offers users free access to its product with the expectation that the product itself will persuade them to become paying customers. And youTube has done that exactly. This is a classic example of product led growth.

As per our research, here are some of the interesting features of YouTube that, we believe, are transforming the product led growth.

YouTube Originals

It was reported in November 2018 that YouTube planned to make some of its premium shows available for free on an ad-supported basis by 2020; the YouTube Originals.

The above clip is of one of the popular YouTube Originals nowadays, Wayne.

The Premium subscription would continue to include ad-free access, timed exclusivity windows for original content, and access to content that is not made openly available. 

Playlists and cards

YouTube cards are interactive cards that appear at the conclusion of YouTube videos and allow creators to offer clickable links to pertinent information throughout the video. Cards may be added to each video up to five times, and they can be used in any video, including TrueView Ad Campaign videos.

For creators, on days when you are not uploading or making videos, you can take time to develop playlists and arrange material. As you create a large playlist inventory, you'll want to link videos from those playlists.

Community engagement

The YouTube Community Tab is a tool meant to enable creators to interact with their audience outside of the videos they submit to their channel. Polls, text-based posts, and photos are all examples of Community Posts.

YouTube Success Stories page

YouTube Success Stories page
Snippet From the Success Story Page of YouTube

The page shares the stories of people all over the world, and how businesses of all sizes are reaching their goals with YouTube Ads. A very witty idea. The fact that they persist 7 days, as opposed to 24 hours on other social media platforms' stories, is a fascinating feature. Bottom line: YouTube Success Stories are worthwhile. You may expand into new markets and get more leads. You will position yourself as an authority if you add content steadily and consistently.

Video chapters function

Viewers frequently come to videos with preconceived notions about what they want to learn. Having your video divided into precisely titled chapters assists a viewer to locate what they are looking for and decreases the danger that they will start watching your material and then click away after a few seconds because they are unwilling to wait for what they are looking for.

Video chapters provide information and context to each segment of the video clip and allow you to effortlessly replay different sections of the video. Creators have the option of adding their own video chapters to each submitted video or relying on automated video chapters. In YouTube Studio, creators may now opt-out of automated video chapters.

Audio Retention and Video Retention Report on YouTube

One of the most significant variables on the YouTube creator studio dashboard that helps rank videos on search engines is YouTube viewership. Aside from SEO, keywords, and views, the capacity of the videos to hold the viewer until the finish of the material is a vital aspect in boosting the overall authenticity, credibility, and rank of the channel.

Final Thoughts

YouTube has transformed from a website for sharing content to a platform for creating user-generated content. If there is anything that we have come to understand based on the analysis of the product led growth model of YouTube is that that it is among the excellent examples of product led growth. The features introduced every other time have come to benefit both the content creators and the content viewers. That's a win win situation. YouTube used these content makers to build a self-sustaining supply of resources. One of the main components of exponential development is automating as much of your product as possible, and let's agree; YouTube has done that.


Mahima Arora
Associate Product Marketer at
A marketing enthusiast, trying to influence society by means of media and drive sustainable good.
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