What Do People Watch Most on YouTube in 2019?

Remember when you thought video marketing for businesses was all about posting a video on YouTube? Like, a single video… just one… and then hoping that would amass you thousands or even millions of views after it went viral?

While there’s no doubt that still happens for the occasional lucky few, it’s rare to find a company that can post one single video and suddenly have millions of views. That’s because the most consistent and popular content creators on YouTube post videos every day. When it comes to YouTube, consistency is key.

Why is that? Well for starters, people come to YouTube to see more of what they already like. Humans are creatures of habit, and most streaming websites know it. Think about your Grandma who loves her murder mysteries on Netflix. You go to her queue and it’s all Law and Order and Midsomer Murders. That’s because Netflix knows exactly what Grandma wants based on everything she’s watched before, and they’re going to make sure she gets all the murder mystery she wants.

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So what are the cool kids tuning in to watch on YouTube these days? First of all, a lot of stuff. About 2 billion people tune into YouTube every month, watching over 5 billion videos every single day. More people prefer going to YouTube than paid television channels, and people are watching on their phones more than ever before.

So yeah, it can feel pretty overwhelming trying to stand out in an environment with that much content, but that’s why you’re here!

We’ve combed through the data to find out what’s trending in 2019, so we can give your business the inside scoop on how to better infiltrate the YouTube market this year and stand out in a very competitive space.

Let’s dig into the data (courtesy of Statista):

Music takes the lead in overall views.

Looking at the most viewed videos of all time, you’re going to see only music videos. That’s almost undoubtedly because music videos have the highest replay value of any other type of video. If you love a song, of course you’re going to play it again and again – and that’s especially true on YouTube, where you can stream pretty much anything for free.

Viewers don’t even have to be watching a music video to hit play. Thanks to automatic playlists, lyric videos, and standalone audio tracks, viewers will go to YouTube to listen to their favorite songs and leave them playing in the background, like you would do if you were listening on Spotify or Pandora.

If you aren’t factoring YouTube music playlists into your video advertising strategy, you’re missing out. Here are a few tips:

  • Try creating video ads with music as a central element that can integrate seamlessly with playlists to keep listeners vibing.
  • It helps if your video’s background tracks are catchy, but don’t forget to add a little voice-over so they remember who you are.
  • Keep your video ads short – like six seconds short. Think about your in-stream video ad playing during the middle of an hour long chillwave playlist. You want your ad to be short and succinct so would-be groovers aren’t cursing your brand’s name while trying to rock out.
  • If you’re a brand with any type of music or music-related product or service, you should be advertising on YouTube. You can even create your own playlists (with properly licensed music) to attract listeners to your brand!

Gamer channels are still the channels to beat – and demo to reach.

Lifetime view-counts skewing toward music notwithstanding, video game channels are still a massive demographic. Going by subscribers alone, a video game channel still tops the list, with controversial gamer Pewdiepie topping total subscribers at 82 million.

Most popular Youtube channels as of January 2019
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Right behind Pewdiepie is a pretty diverse list of channels, including T-Series, an India-based music and movie studio, a DIY craft channel, more music channels like Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran, and a few sports entertainment channels, like WWE and DudePerfect.

However, looking beyond pure subscribers, in terms of popularity and notoriety, the majority of the highest paid YouTubers are still video-gamer or gamer related channels. That’s because personalities like Markiplier, DanTDM, and up-and-comer Ninja have clout and are valued by their die-hard audiences, inspiring brand loyalty, attracting lucrative sponsorships, and selling tons of merchandise.

If you’re looking to tap into a young audience, or have products that fit the gamer demographics, here’s what we recommend:

  • Get familiar with games that are actually popular, like Fortnite or Red Dead Redemption. This might not ever come up in your own video advertising, but the more you’re in the know, the better you can target this audience and speak their language.
  • Be humorous when possible. If you’re creating videos that target audiences who follow the top gamer YouTubers, a major part of their appeal is their funny antics.
  • If you have a brand that’s relevant, don’t rule out working directly with gamer channels to create content. It can get kind of expensive if you’re going for the top dogs, but there’s plenty of aspiring gamers who would love the opportunity to come test a new game or play one of their favorites with your team for a video.

Don’t forget beauty vloggers.

Beauty tips videos are a massive market on YouTube, as well as other social media channels like Instagram. Influencers are paid a bunch of money and given thousands of free samples to promote select products. Just look at this data on the most popular beauty YouTubers by subscribers:

Most popular Youtube beauty and style channels as of January 2019
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With the exception of Mexican beauty vlogger Yuya, who leads the group by over 10 million subscribers, most of the top beauty channels are neck and neck with each other, with most circling the 10 to 12 million range for a combined total of over 120 million. Even after factoring in all the crossover, it’s a massive market you don’t want to ignore.

Along with the popularity of beauty blogging is a growing trend in popularity of relaxation, yoga, wellness, and meditation videos. Google reported back in September that watch times for videos relating to managing stress were rising by over 60 percent year over year.

Here’s what to do if you’re trying to get in with the beauty and wellness crowd:

  • Partner with influential creators to create branded videos where they try out and speak to their experience of using your product.
  • Create your own company branded relaxation videos using some beautiful stock footage and nature sounds.
  • Work with your team to create your own beauty tips and tricks videos to show off your products alongside some actionable advice.

Global audiences (and kid channels) are not to be overlooked.

Recurring monthly viewership is a fantastic metric to study, because it shows how well channels are doing at retaining users and keeping viewers happy. By looking at the data detailing the highest number of monthly views, we can see that global channels, in particular India-based ones like T-series, are leading the pack.

Most viewed Youtube Channels overall as of January 2019
Click to enlarge.

T-Series took home the top prize with nearly 3 billion monthly video views, followed by another India-based channel SET India for the number three spot, and Zee TV, a third Indian channel, taking the number six spot. This trend makes sense, as YouTube reports India as the second largest global audience segment of YouTube viewers – behind the United States.

Interesting to note, kids’ content creators Cocomelon took the second top spot on the total monthly viewers list, with Russian kids’ content channel Like Nastya taking the number five spot – showing a large percentage of YouTube’s monthly viewers are kids around the globe.

Kids are notorious for watching endless hours of videos on YouTube – and not to mention the highest paid YouTuber as of the end of 2018 is a 7-year-old boy who posts toy review videos. Plus, the top five companies with the highest number of total views for branded content are almost all toy companies. The top is, of course, LEGO – because even adults like a good ol’ fashion LEGO video.

Trying to tap into a global market for an ecommerce operation? Or maybe you’re a creator tapping into children’s media? Here’s what you can do:

  • When advertising to global audiences on YouTube, create videos that feature diverse casts that represent the global world we live in.
  • If you’re a toy company, you need to have a presence on YouTube. Try creating unboxing or toy reveal videos for the kids of the world to enjoy.
  • User-generated content is a big driver for toy companies like LEGO. Try holding creator contests to inspire adult fans of your products to generate their own videos of your toys in action.

The ultimate demographic to target on YouTube in 2019? Baby boomers.

Google handed us metric-lovers one sweet dataset when they put together this piece on why baby boomers are turning to YouTube as part of their Think With Google series. Here’s what you need to know:

An infographic showing Baby Boomers and Youtube: The Latest Trends

  • Make how-to videos – specifically with this generation in mind.
  • Create product videos for the baby boomers that focus on how your product can serve their needs.
  • Develop videos ads to target YouTube videos that the baby boomer crowd might be watching, like reruns or famous scenes from classic television. However…
  • …Don’t use messaging that makes baby boomers feel geriatric, because Grandma’s got an iPhone now, and she knows a thing or two about getting away with murder! (Thanks, Netflix.)

Wrapping Up…

Following the trends in social media can be a daunting pursuit and can definitely lead you astray from time to time. Trying to be too trendy can blow up in your face, or worse – lead to misguided or flat out bad video content. But there are always ways to use this information to make your marketing more successful.

Knowing what the masses are watching can help you make smarter, more informed decisions when planning your own video content. Just don’t get too caught up on trying to be #relevant and you’ll do fine.

At the end of the day, the only predictor for online success, especially on a platform like YouTube, is creating a strong video. Without a video that tells a compelling story or properly communicates your product’s core competency, you won’t get very far, no matter how relevant your video might be to what’s hip and current.

Grant Harvey

Grant Harvey