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YouTube now has a mind-boggling 2 billion videos totaling more than 11.8 billion minutes of video content. According to Bernstein Research’s Carlos Kirjner, it would take a team of 286 people their whole lives (assuming they started from the moment they were born and watched continuously until the end of life) to see every YouTube video (Barrons). As the catalog of available content grows, some types of YouTube videos now attract larger audiences and more engagement than others, leading content creators to double-down on making the most popular YouTube videos.
Knowing which types of videos perform best (i.e. attract large audiences and garner engagement in the form of “likes,” social shares, and comments) is also crucial for brands looking to maximize their marketing efforts and create impactful, high-reach campaigns with the platform’s top social media influencers.
For a more in-depth look at the 13 most popular YouTube videos, see our comprehensive explainer article here.
From vlogs to how-to’s to prank videos, these are the 13 different ways that top YouTubers—and the brands that collaborate with them to create brand-sponsored content—are engaging audiences and gaining millions of subscribers:
In product reviews, YouTube influencers offer feedback on a product or service. Because people rely on YouTube for information, product reviews are instrumental in influencing purchasing decisions.
Think With Google notes that 62% of consumers watch product review videos before making a purchase, and one poll found that customers are 52% more likely to purchase a product featured in a YouTube product review (Adweek).
Educational in nature, how-to YouTube videos help audiences learn how to do a specific task. Because this type of content is watched over and over, how-to videos can garner millions of views over time.
How-to videos are beloved by beauty, tech, travel, & automotive YouTubers & YouTube channels. According to Think With Google, searches for how-to YouTube videos have increased by 70%, year-on-year.
Vlogs, or “video blogs,” capture the everyday life, thoughts, & feelings of a YouTube influencer. While the frequency of vlogs can vary, the content is typically authentic, unscripted, & focused on a specific topic.
Much like television shows, today’s most popular vlogs attract thousands or millions of subscribers who tune in regularly to watch the “video diaries” of their favorite social media influencers.
Defined as any YouTube video that focuses on gaming, gameplay, or gaming lifestyle culture, gaming videos include Let’s Plays, walkthroughs, machinimas, & reviews of new games and gaming products.
YouTube gamers & gaming channels remain one of the most popular types of YouTube videos, with top YouTube influencers reaching billions of followers and fostering unparalleled levels of engagement.
Related Post: The Top 10 Gaming YouTubers
Among the most popular types of YouTube videos, creative comedic videos and content featuring entertaining skits are often the most likely to be shared by followers and achieve “viral” status.
YouTubers like Lilly Singh & Freddie Wong have risen to YouTube fame primarily from their comedy and skit videos. Top YouTubers each commanding audiences of millions are becoming more popular than traditional celebrities.
Haul videos feature a YouTuber showing off products—typically makeup, clothing, or home goods—after a shopping spree. By nature, haul videos highlight specific brands and may include a brief review.
Because they are adept at showcasing exciting new products and informing audiences about upcoming trends, haul videos have become a favorite of beauty, fashion, and lifestyle channels, influencers, and brands.
Made popular on social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, memes are funny, socially-relatable, and often demographic-specific pieces of content shared across social channels & networks.
On YouTube, meme videos take the form of YouTubers who take turns producing their version of a specific meme, theme, or “tag.” Popular meme videos include “draw my life” videos & “50 facts about me” videos.
Related Post: Rise Of The Instagram Meme Publishers
A slightly different take on product review and haul videos, favorite and “best of” YouTube videos feature a YouTuber sharing a product, service, or experience with their followers.
Many people now look to YouTuber influencers for advice about which products to buy, what to wear, and where to vacation—making these trusted recommendations one of the most valuable types of YouTube videos.
Education videos provide audiences with information through thought-provoking, interesting, and entertaining videos. These videos often target specific demographics, such as children or college students.
Because educational YouTube channels help keep viewers informed, answer questions, dissect complex issues, and/or provide interesting random facts, this content receives high traffic and recurring views.
Related Post: Why Snapchat Can Teach You More Than A College Degree
Unboxing videos capture a YouTuber’s reaction and initial impressions as they open a product’s box for the first time, allowing the audience to vicariously experience the excitement of the new item.
Now a cultural phenomenon, YouTube unboxing videos are often viewed en route to making a purchasing decision and have become an effective way for brands to increase awareness & visibility for products & services.
Question & Answer videos allow viewers to ask questions of YouTube stars, often by posting inquiries in the comments section of a video. The line of questioning is usually predetermined by the YouTuber.
Unlike traditional celebrities, YouTubers have amassed large followings by engaging directly with subscribers; Q&A YouTube videos serve to facilitate the connection between social media influencers and fans.
In a collection video, a YouTuber walks their viewers through a certain product they have been collecting over time. Typically collection items include makeup, accessories, tech, home goods, & apparel.
Though many YouTube collection videos integrate aspects of other YouTube videos (such as product reviews) as well, this type of content is often used as a way for audiences to learn more about their favorite influencer.
Like their television predecessors, prank videos on YouTube capture practical jokes and social experiments played by social media influencers on friends, family members, and unsuspecting members of the public.
YouTube prank videos are incredibly popular—many of today’s top YouTubers have amassed million of followers by creating hilarious prank videos, and videos with prank content are often shared and liked.
Related Post: The Best YouTube Pranksters & Prank Channels