YouTube has become a content phenomenon. Back in 2005 when the first YouTube video Me At The Zoo was uploaded, nobody would have imagined just how important this video sharing medium was going to be. Google clearly saw the potential of YouTube, however, and only 18 months after YouTube’s co-founder shared his zoo visit with the world, Google announced it was paying $1.65 billion for the service.
Since then the power and influence of YouTube have grown at breath-taking speed. It can even claim to be the world’s second largest search engine - after Google itself. Some of its statistics are quite staggering:
- Total number of people who use YouTube - 1,325,000,000
- Hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute - 300 hours
- Number of videos viewed on YouTube every day - 4,950,000,000
- Average number of mobile YouTube videos per day - 1,000,000,000
Google commissioned a survey in 2016 to understand what the latest viewing trends on YouTube were. Some highlights of the survey were:
- 6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TV
- In an average month, 8 out of 10 18-49-yer-olds watch YouTube
- On mobile alone, YouTube reaches more 18-49-year-olds than any broadcast or cable tv network
In 2017 Google turned their attention to people watching YouTube on their televisions sets. Highlights from this study include:
- The time people spend watching YouTube on a tv has doubled in a year
- 2 out of 3 YouTube viewers say they watch YouTube on a tv screen
- Just like tv content, watching YouTube on tv screens peaks around prime time
- Watch time of YouTube on TVs peaks at the weekend
So, with so much time spent watching YouTube, on a wide variety of devices, what types of content are people watching? It turns out that people watch a wide variety of things actually, which is probably reflective of the fact that YouTube viewers now span the whole spectrum of ages and types of people.
Of course, to many people, YouTube has one purpose only – it’s an easy way to watch music videos. And music videos can’t be ignored - there are so many of them! According to the Wikipedia List of Most Viewed YouTube Videos, "See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth has had an incredible 2.916 billion views, and has recently overtaken the long-time King of YouTube, "Gangnam Style" to be the leader. In fact, music videos take up 77 out of the 80 videos in this top list.
But there is much more to YouTube than simply music videos. From an influencer marketing point of view, official music videos offer little opportunity for influencer promotion. There are many other types of videos giving better opportunities for marketers, however.
Summary: Quick Jump Menu
It is impossible to avoid seeing funny animals on the internet - Facebook feeds, in particular, seem at times to be full of the critters. People just love seeing cute animals, particularly when they are doing something out of the ordinary - videos of cats sleeping aren't the rage this year!
YouTube also has its fair share of funny animal channels, some depicting videos of real animals pigging the limelight, others - like Simons Cat - being animated.
There are also, of course, numerous serious animal channels, including National Geographic videos featuring the renowned David Attenborough.
We may have deliberately excluded the ubiquitous music video from this roundup, but we couldn’t exclude this category of video, despite it being where number 1 influencer, PewDiePie rules the roost.
Young males (the most common type of gamer) were the first type of people to embrace YouTube, so it should be no surprise that there are thousands of channels related to video gaming. Minecraft alone is popular enough to have a website devoted to listing over 1,000 top Minecraft YouTube channels.
A common type of gaming video is a walkthrough, where somebody plays a game, commentating as they progress through the game. One of the reasons for Minecraft’s popularity (despite its old-time graphics) is that the game is easily moddable, and the filmmakers make use of this feature in their videos, where they often play as modded characters.
There can be huge engagement between gaming video makers and their supporters and there can even be live play sessions.
There are three types of learning style: visual (by seeing), auditory (by hearing) and kinesthetic (by doing). Everybody learns using a combination of these styles, but most people find one of the methods easier than the others. Good teachers try to use a mixture of all three methods in their classrooms.
While it will always be hard to teach kinesthetically in a video, it is the perfect medium for those who love both visual and auditory learning experiences. A well-structured video, that encourages you to work alongside the presentation, can even be useful to the more kinesthetically-inclined.
There are so many How To videos on YouTube, that you are likely to find something to help you do virtually anything you can think of.
These videos have an advantage in that they are almost timeless - the only reason that a video would date is that the activity itself changes or goes out of date.
There is a clear trend, nowadays, for people to turn to the internet when they are considering making a purchase. They want to discover what other people think about products that interest them.
YouTube is no different from other social media channel in this sense. People flock to the channels of those they trust to see what they think about various products they have reviewed.
Polls have regularly shown that consumers are more likely to make a purchase if they see a positive review online.
It obviously depends on the product, but YouTube is the perfect medium for many products. People find it so much easier to relate to a review if they can physically see the product being used, whether it is makeup being applied, a car being test driven, or the latest kitchen gadget being put to use.
People having an interest in celebrity gossip isn’t exactly new - newspaper tabloids have thrived on this for years, and indeed there are whole cable television channels focused around this topic.
It comes as no surprise, therefore, that people come to YouTube to keep up-to-date with their celebrity gossip fix. Many of these videos do still seem like they are straight out of the tabloids, of course, and you certainly can’t believe everything that you see and hear in these videos.
Probably the best-known celebrity gossip YouTube channel is an offshoot of the TMZ celebrity news website.
A blog, actually short for weblog but most people have forgotten that nowadays, started off as a web-based log of what a person did each day - a form of Internet-based diary. Of course, blogs have diversified since then, but you will still find bright and breezy people happily writing about their daily breakfast and what they managed to achieve the day before.
Vlogs are video blogs, and the idea is, to some extent, the same as what the original blog was. They are effectively a video equivalent of your old diary.
Of course, being on YouTube they are somewhat more public than a diary hidden under the bed, so the content is usually more engaging.
Like a diary, vlogs use unscripted dialog and generally come across as an authentic look into the video maker’s mind. They often focus on a specific topic.
Vlogs are often the YouTube equivalent of reality television. You get a chance to see into the life (or at least as much as they are prepared to share) of the vlogger. Just as reality television can generate some scarily high viewing numbers, quite a few vlogs channels have a considerable number of followers.
Quite a few people make comedy and sketch videos to keep their audiences amused. Of course, sense of humor is quite personal, but there are so many comedy videos online that you are sure to find somebody who matches your style.
These comedy videos are among some of the most shared, often finding their way onto Facebook and other social media. This is one of the most likely types to go viral.
Some of the YouTube comedy channels generate audiences greater than many network comedy television shows.
Many women, in particular, enjoy watching people going on shopping sprees for things they can only imagine themselves buying. You may not be able to go to high-end shoe shopping yourself and buy a dozen pairs of brand-name shoes, but you may enjoy watching somebody else do that.
Shopping spree videos, more traditionally known as haul videos, focus on people out shopping for particular products. The most common of these types of videos tend to be in the beauty, fashion and lifestyle channels.
These videos give a clear opportunity for brands wanting to engage in influencer marketing, as long as the products being purchased match the types of products that the channel viewers love and yearn for.
Unboxing videos are very much a 21st Century phenomenon. A surprisingly large number of people like to watch somebody else take a new product out of a box!
These are extensions of both shopping spree/haul videos and product review videos - in reality, they fit somewhere in between the process of purchasing a product and the act of using and reviewing the product.
In some ways the love for these videos can be paralleled by a child’s love of Christmas morning - half the fun is unwrapping the presents and seeing what is inside. It is the same for unboxing videos, as the viewer is given the opportunity to join in with the anticipation of seeing for the first time the contents of the package.
As with both haul videos and reviews, unboxing videos can have a huge impact on consumer buying decisions and can be very lucrative for brands. This is another area with huge potential for influencer marketing.
We’ve separated out educational videos from How To’s here, although How To guides obviously educate as well. The two categories are big enough to stand apart.
There are a few large channels, like the TED and National Geographic ones, that belong to large official organizations and share these organizations’ material. Indeed, there are many other businesses, large and small, that share educational videos on their sites.
A second type of educational video channel focuses on providing educational videos for young children and school students.
They try to provide thought-provoking and interesting videos for their young target audiences.
This is another category which can be considered evergreen, in that many of these videos get new audiences year after year, and often receive repeat visits. They only “die” if their educational value goes out-of-date.
Although a specialist type of comedy video, parodies are popular enough to count as a separate type of YouTube video.
There are quite a few parody video channels - some more successful and talented than others. Some of the best make parodies of music videos, often making quite a professional looking job.
In some ways these are the hardest type of video to make - there can be such a fine line between a successful well-written and performed parody and one that fails to connect with its audience.
A decade ago Johnny Knoxville made his name with Jackass - which in many ways was the forerunner to all of the YouTube prank videos. They are certainly amongst the most shared videos, not just on YouTube but on Facebook and other social media platforms too.
These videos feature practical jokes on friends, family and unwitting members of the public. While it may not always be the most comfortable type of video for the participants to make, these videos are definitely a way to make social media stars of people.
There are quite a few series of videos where people play pranks on each other, only for that person to gain their revenge in the next video. There are even series of prank videos featuring husbands and wives.
Some of these pranks can be quite controversial, so any brand wanting to be connected to a prank channel, had better ensure that their company values, and those of the pranksters, make a good match.