We all know that successful videos on YouTube can be as different as chalk and cheese and it’s hard to highlight similarities that lead to success. What is it like to be popular on YouTube? A video platform that has become the world's second largest search engine in a few years.
From a home of funny videos to one of the favorite places for marketers. You can’t afford to deny the importance of YouTube nowadays.
Let’s find out what are the reasons some videos go viral on YouTube from the mouths of their authors.
“My most successful video on YouTube is a music video for my song ‘Good Morning Sunshine’. I think it was the perfect storm: the song is strong and catchy (the most commercial song I’ve ever made); the video was well-shot by Ciaran O’Brien, YouTube’s resident cameraman, who did an excellent job; the story is a feel-good, relatable one about being surrounded by all the people you’ve met and loved throughout your life; and the cast is filled with a raft of other YouTubers who all gave their time for free to make it a success.”
“It's hard to determine which of my videos is the most popular because they have been reposted by others and have several millions on other platforms as well. But I'll go with The Cartoon Medley, with around 15 million views.
The reason it got popular? I don't think medleys were common back in those days, and youtube was still young. Playing a whole bunch of cartoon theme songs right after each other with nice transitions was fresh and impressive! Also, nostalgia has a big part of it, as people feel happy when they hear something largely forgotten from their childhood.”
Patreon: Kim Justice
“Before this video I'd spent years on YouTube doing mostly video game reviews with a few long-form pieces dotted around here and there, but this video was where I really started to find a knack for creating documentary-style videos - I was able to apply the storytelling that I'd honed when just talking about actual video games to real life stories and events, and it worked as for whatever reason people were actually interested in watching me build up these characters and events, helping me bring them back to life. It's not the best of my documentary-style videos, but it is the one that really set me on the path and gave me a style that allowed me to do this for a living. It also helped somewhat that I was known for covering home computers like the Amiga and ZX Spectrum already, of course!”
Alex French Guy Cooking
“My most successful video on YouTube is the one where I learned how to chop onions like a boss. It was a life-changing experience! I discovered that instead of using a classic French chef technique, I would be 47% faster using an Indian street food technique. That video not only showcased the ending result but also all the creative process and the 'behind the scenes'. It's a story more than just a how-to video.”
“My most successful YouTube channel is "10 Signs He's Falling in Love WIth You". The reason why this video has racked up nearly 3 Million views is because it has a compelling thumbnail, high energy content, and a click-worthy title. These are the most important components of building a successful YouTube channel.
Since this video has gone viral, I've continued to experiment with different types of content. However, I've found that the simple backdrop with easy, step by step tutorials, helps the videos perform quite well on YouTube.”
“My most successful video, as in my most viewed video, is currently my Cinnamon Challenge! I think it garnered views because I posted it right when the cinnamon challenge craze was going on, and I had a scary looking thumbnail paired with a clickable title (BEST CINNAMON CHALLENGE EVER)!
However, that’s not the content that I consider my most “successful”. I consider my sexuality content to be my most successful. Not because it has the most views, but because of the engagement my audience has with these videos. My I Don’t Bi It series is the most requested series on my channel, and I believe that this is because it combines comedy with education on sexuality topics that can sometimes be touchy to address. It also helps that I can use catchy titles for these videos!”
Patreon: Joe Scott
“The most-viewed video on my channel is about graphene supercapacitors and their potential to transform energy storage. And I think it did so well just because it’s a very hot-button topic with a lot of interest out there. I didn’t realize how much until I did it. But it was recommended often by viewers in the comments. Just goes to show how important it is to listen to your viewers and be willing to cover topics they’re interested in. Side note: I also made a grievous error in the first minute that generated a lot of angry comments. It’s possible that extra engagement boosted it in the algorithm, which got it more views and more angry comments. The circle of life.”
Youtube: NOBA TECH
“I think that my most successful video is my video on how to setup the jaybird wireless earbuds video. This isn’t my most viewed video overall but it is still pretty high up there. The big reason I chose this as my most successful video is how much audience engagement I was able to get from this video despite it being one of my oldest videos, filmed with my cheapest camera gear. It doesn’t have crispy footage, it doesn’t have a cinematic composition, but it did find a niche where people needed help and was able to answer the call for help. I really enjoy all different types of youtube videos, but especially the ones that help someone out in some way.”
Professor Dave Explains
Patreon: Professor Dave Explains
“It's on transcription and translation. As to why that one is specifically viewed so much, I have no idea. I know that it breaks down a whole chapter of biology class down into easy to understand fragments, animated well to deliver thorough comprehension, but most of my content does that, so it's always a mystery to me as to which content excels and which remains unwatched. So in short, who knows!”
“Our most successful video is our original 15 Minute Beginner Weight Training workout. There are several contributing factors to its success: this video does extremely well in search for all "beginner weight training" related keyword phrases, it delivers to the audience exactly what they were hoping to find, and it serves as an introduction video that ultimately leads to viewers diving deeper into the HASfit channel.”
“Backtrack is a five-person a cappella group based in New York City that got its start on YouTube in 2012. Our highest viewed video is our Sia Medley, which has over 900,000 views and includes the songs, “Cheap Thrills,” “Elastic Heart,” “Bird Set Free” and “Chandelier.” In my opinion, there are three reasons for the video’s success. First, we capitalized on the popularity of “Cheap Thrills” and released the video soon after the song was popularized. This was helpful because a lot of people were searching for covers of “Cheap Thrills” on YouTube at the time. Second, we’ve found that medleys are popular on our channel. Medleys are entertaining since they are always changing and give you a taste of a few different songs. Third, we’ve also found that square videos do well on our channel. For a square video, we film against a green screen and each member gets his/her face in a different square. We played around with some fun color combinations for the backgrounds in our Sia Medley, which helped give the video some visual appeal. Backtrack is always trying to push the boundaries of a cappella music. We hope you enjoy our videos, and we thank you for watching!”
Patreon: Lessons from the Screenplay
Answer: My most successful video on YouTube is "The Dark Knight — Creating the Ultimate Antagonist.” I think it was so popular because it was a subject that hadn’t been explored in a video before, it was culturally relevant and encapsulated the spirit of my channel: using films we love to learn more about the craft of storytelling.
When I was thinking about doing a video on The Dark Knight, I searched through YouTube and noticed no one had made a video essay about the film, which was surprising because it’s so popular. The timing also seemed optimal, as a few weeks before Suicide Squad had been released, prompting a lot of discussions online about the Joker character. And most importantly, I felt the video would really resonate with people because it is such a good example of the thesis of the video—that a great antagonist is a key to making a story compelling and forcing the protagonist to grow.
Dave & Deb
“Our most successful video on YouTube is How to Speak Like a Canadian - 21 Funny Canada Slang Words and Phrases
I think it has done well because it shows our personalities more than some of our other videos. We usually focus on travel destination videos but decided to make a fun video for Canada Day 2017. It took a while to catch on but it eventually showed up in search and started performing really well nearly 6 months after posting. The thumbnail is catchy and easy to understand. And people know exactly what they are going to watch when they see the thumbnail and title.
I believe the SEO of this video is quite good allowing it to show up in search on both Google and YouTube search. Think the length of the video is a contributing factor being longer than our usual videos. And luckily the audience retention is good so it is rewarded by YouTube. People comment and react to it making it show up on other Canadian content and language videos sending traffic to our page. And it ranks well in the keywords we were going for.”
Evelyn from the Internets
“With 658K views, my most popular video is called For People Who Feel Behind In Life.
I think its success was due to timing, tone, and relatability. I published it in May. Graduation season is such a sensitive time for people of all ages and stages in their education. People can relate to the idea of feeling lost and unsure of what the future holds. I think the surprising combination of picturesque drone shots peppered with mockumentary “behind the scenes” footage also helped tell the story. We don’t always have everything figured out, and that’s okay.”