YouTube is certainly a 21st Century sensation. Alexa ranks it as the #2 website in the world, only trailing Google (who, of course, own YouTube and operate it a subsidiary). Millions of people enjoy YouTube videos every day. So is it any surprise that YouTube is a highly important place where brands can find influencers?
Our list is loosely based on YouTube subscribers. Some of the most subscribed YouTube channels are not really suitable to be considered influencers for brands. We have excluded YouTube's own genre channels, such as Music, Gaming, and Sports (these are actually the three channels with the most subscribers, more than 97 million subscribers opt for YouTube’s music channel). We have also chosen to exclude official music channels for musicians, many of them VEVO channels.
The Top 40 YouTube Influencers who have established Personal Empires:
- 1. PewDiePie
- 2. Kids Diana Show
- 3. Like Nastya
- 4. Vlad and Niki
- 5. KondZilla
- 6. MrBeast
- 7. Dude Perfect
- 8. Fernanfloo
- 9. JuegaGerman
- 10. Whinderssonnunes
- 11. elrubiusOMG
- 12. Felipe Neto
- 13. Luccas Neto
- 14. CarryMinati
- 15. VEGETTA777
- 16. Luisito Comunica
- 17. Kimberly Loaiza
- 18. A4
- 19. Markiplier
- 20. Ryan’s World
- 21. Rezendeevil
- 22. SSSniperWolf
- 23. Atta Halilintar
- 24. Jacksepticeye
- 25. Maria Clara & JP
- 26. Ricis Official
- 27. VanossGaming
- 28. DanTDM
- 29. Smosh
- 30. Yuya
- 31. Watchmojo.com
- 32. Nigahiga
- 33. REACT
- 34. Werevertumorro
- 35. BuzzFeedVideo
- 36. Porta dos Fundos
- 37. Roman Atwood Vlogs
- 38. Good Mythical Morning
- 39. ERB
- 40. FailArmy
We have regularly reported on the ups and downs of the number one YouTube influencer, PewDiePie, aka Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg. Despite bad publicity due to the decidedly non-PC content of some of his videos, he is still hugely popular with his loyal followers. The Swedish YouTuber founded his YouTube channel in 2010 and, today, it boasts more than 110 million subscribers.
PewDiePie refers to his fan base as the Bro Army. The bulk of his videos follows a simple, but clearly popular, formula. He plays horror and action games and commentates on them as he plays, making each commentary sound like he is spending time with his Bro Army friends.
Though, if there is one lesson to be learned from PewDiePie’s controversies it is that brands wanting to work with YouTube influencers need to do their homework first. You have to ensure that your brand and any influencers you work with are a perfect fit. PewDiePie is popular with his audience because he gives them exactly what they want - being non-family-friendly and politically incorrect.
2. Kids Diana Show
What started out as a way simply to share videos of their daughter, Diana, and her loved ones soon grew into one of the biggest YouTube channels. In slightly more than a year, the Kids Diana Show, a Ukranian YouTube channel, had a million subscribers. Fast-forward six years later to 2021 and the channel boasts 80 million subscribers.
With the help of her parents, Vlad and Elena, Diana posts children’s songs, unboxing videos and vlogs. The videos have limited dialog and rely primarily on costumes and facial expressions. In fact, her channel has been so successful that both her parents quit their full-time jobs to dedicate their time to helping her grow her channel.
3. Like Nastya
The girl behind the popular Like Nastya YouTube channel is Anastasia Radzinskaya. She is a seven-year-old Russian-America content creator who, with the help of her dad, creates entertaining and educational content in several languages.
What started off as a toy unboxing channel now boasts close to 75 million subscribers. On average, her videos get over 22 million views per video.
4. Vlad and Niki
Vlad and Niki is one of the youngest YouTube channels (just like the kidifluencers behind the videos). The brother duo started their kids channel on YouTube in 2018 and in three years they have managed to get 69 million subscribers. Their videos are a mixture of live action, music, and animation, while their channel is the property of Content Media Group FZC, LLC, which was co-founded by their parents, Victoria and Sergey Vashketov. They even have their own online store where they sell merch such as T-shirts.
KondZilla is one of the biggest YouTube channels in Brazil and has more than 64 million subscribers. The man behind the channel, Konrad Dantas, is a Brazilian director and screenwriter. Some of his most popular videos are official music videos (in fact, KondZilla has produced over 1,000 music videos). On average, he gets about 60,000 views per video.
MrBeast, aka Jimmy Donaldson, has a number of channels on YouTube of which his main channel has more than 60 million subscribers. That’s not the only impressive number. In 2017, he made a video in which he counted to 100,000. It’s this video that has helped him to become one of the biggest YouTube stars.
A lot of what he does is about making things count and so he often shares videos in which he makes donations. From donating over 100 cars to giving away $1 million in a single video, it might come as a surprise but philanthropy is close to MrBeast’s heart.
7. Dude Perfect
Unlike some of the other influencers in this list, Dude Perfect shares entertainment, mostly in the form of trick shots, that young and old can enjoy together. Created by Tyler Toney, Cody Jones, Garrett Hilbert and the twins (Coby and Cory Cotton), their YouTube channel has over 55 million subscribers. For the past 12 years, this team of five best buds (and a panda) has been putting together their noggins to create a globally recognized brand. Thanks to their clever branding, they also have one of the best influencer merch stores that sell a ton of different items.
Luis Fernando Flores Alvarado comes from El Salvador and began his Fernanfloo channel in May 2011. The bulk of his videos are about gaming, vlogs, and occasionally comedy sketches.
His first video was a parody of Star Wars, featuring dogs fighting like Jedi. As time has gone by, though, more of his videos featured gameplays of indie games. It was a series of GTA V gaming videos in 2013 that really kick-started his YouTube success, leading to his subscriber numbers rapidly increasing.
Created in 2013, JuegaGerman is the second YouTube channel of Germán Alejandro Garmendia Aranis. He uses this predominantly as his gaming channel. His first upload was of him playing Slender. Since then, he has uploaded numerous videos of him playing popular games.
This channel has helped him to break many records for somebody who operates two channels. It is gaining both viewers and subscribers rapidly and, at the time of writing this article, has nearly 44 million subscribers. Though, JuegaGerman is in Spanish and so to understand his jokes you need to be able to speak Spanish.
With just over 42 million subscribers, Whindersson Nunes Batista is another Brazilian comedian and YouTube star. On his channel that he started in 2013, he likes to share musical parodies and comedy vlogs. One of his most popular videos, a parody of Adele’s Hello, was watched more than 75 million times. On average, he gets about 2.3 million views per video.
The Spanish-Norwegian YouTuber, elrubiusOMG (aka Rubén Doblas Gundersen), is one of the most popular Spanish YouTubers. The focus of his channel is on gameplay and vlogs.
He began in 2008 by covering Skyrim gameplay, although he ran into copyright issues with this channel. Three years later, he set up the elrubiusOMG channel, again covering Skyrim gameplay.
In 2020, he signed a deal with Twitch to stream exclusively on the platform. While he is now one of the biggest Twitch influencers, much of his personal empire would not have existed today without the help of YouTube.
12. Felipe Neto
Felipe Neto Rodrigues Vieira is an award-winning Brazilian-Portugese vlogger and actor. He is also the founder of Paramaker, a YouTube business network dedicated to Brazil's online video market, which he sold in 2015. On his YouTube channel with more than 42 million subscribers, he shares videos that mainly deal with general entertainment. In 2020, Time magazine included him in their list of the 100 Most Influential People.
13. Luccas Neto
Luccas Neto is the younger brother of Felipe Neto. The Brazilian-Portugese actor and comedian’s YouTube channel, Luccas Neto - Luccas Toon, boasts more than 35 million subscribers. In addition to his YouTube channel, he has also created over 10 Brazilian movies.
Boasting just over 30 million subscribers on YouTube, CarryMinati (aka Ajey Nagar) is an Indian comedian, rapper, and gamer. While he posts fewer than one video per week, his YouTube videos are very engaging among his audience and get a lot of comments.
His YouTube stardom has been recognized by Time magazine and Forbes. In 2019, Time magazine included him in its Next Generation Leaders list, while the following year, he was included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list.
It’s amazing how successful uploading videos of people playing Minecraft has become. There are several YouTube sites devoted solely to this. VEGETTA777 is Samuel de Luque’s Spanish YouTube channel. It focuses on video commentaries of Samuel playing Minecraft, Battlefield, Saint’s Row, Garry’s Mod, and a few other games.
His point of difference (apart from being a Spanish channel, obviously) is that he tries to create histories from his videos and make them like a movie. He has a fan base covering both Spain and across the Latin American region and, in total, has more than 32 million YouTube subscribers.
16. Luisito Comunica
Luis Arturo Villar Sudek is the man behind the YouTube channel, Luisito Comunica. In addition to being a YouTuber, the Mexican is also a businessman and internet personality. Before starting Luisito Comunica, he had two other failed YouTube channels and also joined the YouTube team, NoMeRevientes. He clearly learned from his mistakes as, at the time of writing this article, Luisito
Comunica has close to 36 million subscribers.
17. Kimberly Loaiza
Also from Mexico, Kimberly Loaiza managed to get 100,000 subscribers in her first week after joining YouTube. Though, that is not where she stopped. Five years later, her YouTube channel has nearly 32 million subscribers and her videos get on average 14.5 million views per month. In fact, she is even more successful on TikTok where she has 45.6 million followers, currently making her the #3 TikTok influencer in Mexico, according to HypeAuditor.
A4 (aka Vlad Bumaga) is a YouTube vlogger from Belarus. He is most known for his pranks, skits, and challenges. Though, his success has not come without controversy. At the beginning of 2021, MrBeast and JustDustin accused him of stealing their thumbnails. A4 sort of admitted to the crime, but claimed that it was only one thumbnail.
He first joined YouTube at the end of 2014. While it took him relatively long to get his first 100,000 subscribers (almost two years), after he hit that first milestone, the rate at which his subscriber count grew increased rapidly. At the time of writing this article, his YouTube channel has 32 million subscribers.
Like a surprisingly large percentage of the top YouTubers (particularly those in the gaming genre), Mark Edward Fischbach, aka Markiplier, is currently in his late 20s. He uploads the games he plays, along with in-game commentary. He has a particular love for horror games, and his videos reflect this.
He has currently reached over 29 million subscribers. Every time he passes another million subscribers, he makes a special video thanking his fans and telling them of his plans for future projects.
20. Ryan’s World
In 2018, Forbes estimated that Ryan Kaji (the boy behind Ryan’s World) earned $22 million, making him the top-earning YouTuber according to their estimations for that year. His channel used to be called Ryan ToysReview, which was one of the top unboxing channels on YouTube. In fact, his toy reviews will at times have an impact on toy sales. He also has his own branded line of toys, Ryan’s World Toys, that are available at Walmart.
Pedro Afonso Rezende Posso (aka rezendeevil) is a YouTuber from Brazil. Just like VEGETTA777 and DanTMD, he is also known for videos and vlogs about Minecraft. In fact, his most popular video which has more than 30 million views is about Minecraft versus Pokemon. Though, lately he posts a variety of videos that include a lot of food challenges. His YouTube channel currently has nearly 30 million subscribers
Our list has very few female YouTubers, let alone female gamers. SSSniperWolf (Alia "Lia Valentine" Shelesh) is one of the top YouTube gaming influencers. Though, she also includes a lot of sunny reaction videos on her channel. Her YouTube channel currently has close to 28 million subscribers. On average, her videos get just over 6 million views per month.
23. Atta Halilintar
Atta Halilintar first joined YouTube at the beginning of 2014. In the seven years that he has been active on the channel he has managed to get almost 30 million subscribers. In addition to being a content creator and YouTube star, the Indonesian is also an actor, a singer, and a businessman. In 2018, he starred in the movie, 13: The Haunted, and a year later, in another horror movie, The Return of the Devil Child.
Though, his content has sparked some controversy. In 2019, he was reported to the police for alleged blasphemy as one of his videos was accused of making fun of Islam’s prayer movement.
As his bright green hair symbolizes, Jacksepticeye (aka Seán William McLoughlin) is an Irish YouTuber. He has been uploading videos to his gaming channel since 2012 where he has been making loud commentaries on games as he plays them.
Of course, there is another possible reason for the green-haired image. While Sean may be Irish (and possesses a very distinctive Irish accent), Jack describes himself as being “the last remaining Bossatronio from the planet Bossatron (Spore)”. Both the nicknames, “Jack” and “Septic Eye” date from his childhood.
He puts together a series of videos covering particular games, with a real love for adventure games. His favorite game is apparently Shadow of the Colossus. At the time of writing this article, he has just over 27 million subscribers.
25. Maria Clara & JP
Since 2015, the siblings have been producing content about their daily lives, games, and challenges. At the time of writing this article, the Brazilian YouTubers have just over 27 million YouTube subscribers. While they do not post that frequently (about two videos per week), their videos get about 9 million views per month.
26. Ricis Official
Ria Yunita (aka Ria Ricis) is another rising Indonesian YouTuber. In fact, before her success on YouTube, she already had millions of followers on Instagram who loved the content that she created with squishy toys. On YouTube, she currently has just over 25 million subscribers and her most popular video that features squishy toys has received a whopping 98 million views.
Vanoss is the online alias for Evan Fong. He set up VanossGaming in September 2011. The channel has grown quickly in popularity during that time, and it currently enjoys more than 25 million subscribers.
Most of his videos show him and his friends playing GTA V Online and Gmod. His band of fellow cast members go by the names Moo Snuckel, I AM WILDCAT, Daithi De Nogla, Ohmwrecker, Lui Calibre, BasicallyIDoWrk, Mini Ladd, Terroriser, Mr Sark, fourzer0seven, BigJigglyPanda, and H2O Delirious.
VanossGaming is known for having a more positive fan base than most, meaning that feedback tends to be friendly, and online arguments between his supporters are rare. He also has a wider base of supporters than many other sites, with his subscribers being a mix of children, teenagers, and adults.
DanTDM (formerly TheDiamondMinecart) is another popular gaming channel with more than 25 million subscribers. It is hosted by Daniel Andrew Middleton and is mainly known for its extremely popular Minecraft videos.
He certainly takes his YouTube channel seriously. To date, he has uploaded more than 3,500 videos. He has become enough of a celebrity to be able to make a couple of book tours to the United States.
Daniel uses a wide variety of characters to populate his Minecraft World for his videos. These include Dr. Trayaurus, Grim, Melbot, Craig The Mailman, McDuck, Denton, Terrance, and Iron Man (an Iron Golem).
He makes a point of doing something special whenever he reaches a subscriber milestone. He first showed his face online on reaching 100,000 subscribers.
Smosh is one of the more-established YouTube channels, having been around since 2005. Its focus is on sketch comedy. Anthony Padilla and Ian Andrew Hecox are its founders and they were originally also the main stars of the videos. Since 2015, however, they have been in a position to use actors in their videos.
The name was coined in 2002 by Anthony Padilla based on a friend mispronouncing the phrase “mosh pit”. The first video they uploaded in 2005 was on a Power Rangers theme. The video that made their name was a Pokemon themed one, which set YouTube records before it was taken down by Nintendo’s Pokemon Company for copyright reasons. To date, their channel has just over 25 million subscribers.
Yuya, aka Mariand Castrejon Castañeda, currently has over 24 million subscribers. She is a Mexican YouTuber who mainly makes make-up videos and vlogs documenting things in her life.
Although she registered her channel in 2009, it was not until the next year that she uploaded her first video - "peinados faciles y lindos" (Easy Hairstyles That Are Cute). Since then, her hundreds of videos have received close to 50,000 comments.
Watchmojo.com is the official YouTube channel for the popular Canadian website created by Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, Raphael Daigneault, and Christine Voulieris. Their goal is to entertain their close to 24 million subscribers by looking at the places and people who have helped to shape pop culture. In fact, they share as many as four Top 10s per day and have covered a number of topics since they joined the platform in 2007. From video games to superheroes, there are thousands of videos that you can watch.
Nigahiga had the honor of being YouTube’s most subscribed channel for a couple of periods during 2008-2011. During that time, he was the first to reach 2 million subscribers in 2010, and 3 million in 2011.
The channel was initially set up in 2006 by Ryan Higa and Sean Fujiyoshi, while they were still at school. Their videos initially showed them lip-syncing to songs, although they suffered from some copyright takedowns. Since then, Ryan Higa has composed mostly his own music.
Eventually, Ryan moved to Las Vegas to go to university, and the videos were mainly solo.
In 2012, he put together a production company, Ryan Higa Production Company, to make the videos. Sean Fujiyoshi became part of this team.
Aged in their thirties, the team behind the REACT videos, Benny and Rafi Fine, are quite old for this group. In fact, they have been known as the “uncles” or “grandparents” of online video.
Their REACT series of videos, e.g. Kids React, Teens React, Elders React, YouTubers React, and Adults React, have been very popular since 2010. They also create many other videos, and now have more than 20 million subscribers.
Though, they made something of a misstep in 2016 when they tried to trademark the word “react” in relation to videos. This upset others on YouTube as it meant that nobody else could make reaction videos. They actually lost 500,000 subscribers in a week because of it. The brothers quickly apologized and rescinded their trademark applications.
Outside of YouTube, Werevertumorro is more commonly known as Gabriel Montiel Guiterrez, a Mexican vlogger and gamer. He produces sketches with the w2m Crew, a group of 13 friends who each have their own channels and enjoy making videos together. Despite all 13 crew members making videos together and posting them on their personal channels, Werevertumorro has turned out to be the most popular one with the fans, having now reached 16 million subscribers.
BuzzFeedVideo is the YouTube channel operated by the popular website BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed’s short, sharp articles, aimed at going viral, are an obvious good fit with YouTube’s video style. As with the BuzzFeed website, their YouTube channels include snappy content on a wide range of topics.
There are actually quite a few BuzzFeed channels, however, their main one currently claims just over 20 million subscribers. They see this as their flagship channel, focusing on creating and showcasing original content.
36. Porta dos Fundos
Porta dos Fundos is one of Brazil’s most successful YouTube channels. It was created in August 2012 and has almost 17 million subscribers.
It is a creative collective, founded by Antonio Tabet, Fabio Porchat, Gregorio Duvivier, Ian SBF and John Vincent de Castro, five friends who were dissatisfied with the lack of creative freedom on Brazilian television. They decided to set up a channel of humor skits on YouTube. They have built up a large cast and crew, and are clearly popular with Brazil’s fans of humor.
37. Roman Atwood Vlogs
Roman Atwood operates two YouTube channels - RomanAtwood which focuses on prank videos, and RomanAtwoodVlogs, which, as its name suggests, is his vlogging channel. Both channels perform well, with the prank channel exceeding 10 million subscribers and the vlog channel having more than 15 million subscribers.
He has operated his prank channel since 2009 and his vlog channel since 2013. Three of his best-known pranks are the Pee Prank, the Ferrari Prank, and the Anniversary Prank.
38. Good Mythical Morning
Good Mythical Morning is made to be like a daytime talk show, hosted by Rhett and Link (aka Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln). They refer to themselves as “internetainers”. This is just one of their YouTube channels, although with 17.1 million subscribers, it is their most successful one.
Rhett and Link began Good Mythical Morning in 2008 and have now uploaded more than 2,700 videos over ten series. The focus of Good Mythical Morning is to look at the somewhat unusual lives of Rhett and Link. They also talk about videos that they make for their other channels. Although many of the episodes cover random topics, episodes on Thursdays and Fridays follow a seasonal theme.
Even though they have fewer than 100 videos, ERB (or the Epic Rap Battles of History) has more than 14 million subscribers. It is a comedy series that is created by Nice Peter and epicLLOYD. Their most popular rap battle features Barack Obama versus Mitt Romney and has received over 150 million views. Other popular videos include Steve Jobs versus Bill Gates, Rasputin versus Stalin, and Mozart versus Skrillex.
In some ways, FailArmy has to be YouTube's most depressing channel - it celebrates all of humanity’s failures. In saying that, failure has become a success to FailArmy, as they have gathered over 14 million subscribers, all interested in seeing other people doing things worse than themselves. With more than 440 videos, they certainly have plenty of evidence of mankind’s follies. Each month they also spotlight a Fail of the Month.