20 most viewed YouTube videos of all time (and how they did it)

, 20 most viewed YouTube videos of all time (and how they did it)

Since YouTube was launched in 2005, it has become the second most used website on the internet – second only to Google, and it’s also the second most popular social media website after Facebook. We can’t imagine too many people who haven’t used YouTube for some reason – either to find out how to do something, to watch new movie trailers or to listen to the newest music videos.

We’ve talked about YouTube pretty frequently on the blog, and for good reason – it’s an incredibly useful platform to engage with customers! You can find posts talking about using thumbnails, how to get more views on YouTube, social media statistics, and of course when we talked about the best video editing software and apps.

But there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the most viewed YouTube videos. So today we’re having a look at some of the most popular YouTube videos, the most popular channels and what we can learn from these videos to apply to your own YouTube videos – especially if you’re using YouTube for marketing your business.

YouTube by numbers

  • Over 500 hours of video are uploaded every minute of every day
  • 1 billion hours of video are watched every day
  • There are over 2 billion active YouTube users
  • Users spend an average of 11m 24s per day on YouTube
  • Only 33% of the most popular YouTube videos are in English
  • 250 million hours of watch time are on TV screens
  • 80% of people use YouTube videos to help decide what to buy
  • 70% of YouTube views are on mobile

The top 20 YouTube videos

, 20 most viewed YouTube videos of all time (and how they did it)

1. Despacito (Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee) – 6.68 billion views


How did a Spanish song, the title of which means ‘slowly’ become the most watched YouTube video ever? Well, no doubt the inclusion of Justin Bieber on the remix helped to draw attention to the track, but it wasn’t the remixed version of the video that currently holds the honour of most viewed video on YouTube ever. Most viewed video isn’t the only accolade the track won either – the video reached one billion views in just 97 days, which made it the second-fastest video to reach that milestone, behind Adele’s video for Hello.

Despacito was incredibly successful in Mexico alone with over 385 million views, but it has been successful worldwide, not just in Spanish-speaking countries. The success of the song continues to grow too, with an average 2.8 million DAILY views throughout 2019! (that’s over one billion, twenty-two million views last year!)

The video for Despacito is quite frankly, nothing out of the ordinary for a music video – there’s sunshine and a pretty girl (amongst a lot of other people!) dancing. But the key to the success of the track and the video, according to New Statesman, is the elements that make up the song itself. It’s a blend of traditional guitar, with Latin, Caribbean and mainstream pop with a bit of rap thrown in, on top of an incredibly catchy melody – which gives the song a really globalised sound. It’s pretty infectious tune, and mix of different genres, combined with a video that gives it a massive vacation vibe. We think this means Despacito is likely to live on as one of the most watched videos on YouTube for a long time to come.

2. Baby Shark Dance (Pinkfong Kids’ Songs & Stories) – 4.87 billion views


When we said the good, the bad and the ugly… well, we all have our own opinion on this video! Although the original song was a campfire song, the Pinkfong version went absolutely viral. The combination of lyrics and dance moves, with a brightly coloured video made it popular with many people, but especially children – thus proving the absolutely devastating effect of pester power! Of course, the YouTube algorithm presents the videos that are most likely to appeal to the viewers – so as the video was watched by more and more children (through the YouTube Kids app), more children started to see the video in their suggested content.

There’s also a theory that because many of the K-pop (Korean bands and musicians) were doing performances of Baby Shark at their concerts, people who enjoy the music of bands such as Red Velvet, Girls’ Generation and Black Pink started watching the YouTube video by Pinkfong. Since K-pop bands are gaining popularity worldwide, when fans watched videos of their concerts and saw them performing Baby Shark, this led to an increase in people searching YouTube for the song – building those views.

In August 2017 the #babysharkchallenge started trending on Twitter. This was where people filmed themselves doing the dance moves to the song, which undoubtedly helped drive more traffic to the YouTube clip – a great example of how businesses can use their social media to get more views of their YouTube content.

3. Shape of You (Ed Sheeran) – 4.68 billion views


Ed Sheeran has been one of the biggest stars of the 2010s, and continues to be as we enter the 2020s. His YouTube channel has almost 44 million subscribers, which means there’s likely to be a pretty decent number of Ed Sheeran fans that are watching and listening to his videos on YouTube.

Shape of You is one of the two lead singles from his album Divide (the title styled as ÷) alongside Castle on the Hill. The video for Shape of You has been infinitely more successful than Castle of the Hill – although we think that’s a great song too. The song has a dancehall, marimba rhythm and a simple looping chord mix, and the lyrics tell the story of a couple who meet in a bar when they’re out doing shots. The song is easy to dance along to (even at your desk – yes, we’re guilty of that!) and the romantic and sexy nature of the words means it got played a lot.

When Shape of You was released in January 2017, it was heard absolutely everywhere – including on an M&S food advert, which probably helped contribute to the number of views it has racked up.

The video features Ed and his love interest both working out in a boxing gym, before meeting and going on a date, then working out together. After he falls for her, the girl then disappears, and we see him looking for her and working out by himself and then taking on a sumo wrestler – whereupon his girl reappears to tackle the wrestler. It’s not quite a happily ever after, but we’re

4. See You Again (Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth) – 4.47 billion views


We’re not surprised to see this song near the top of the list for most watched YouTube videos. The song was written for the soundtrack of Furious 7, as a tribute to the actor Paul Walker, who died in a car accident in 2013. Paul was best known for his part of Brian O’Conner in the Fast and Furious franchise, and there was an international mourning when the news broke that he had died. The Fast and Furious franchise has remained popular since the first movie back in 2001, and so it was unsurprising that there was such as huge outpouring of grief, and that the song that was chosen in tribute has had so many views.

The song itself is a mix of piano chords, and Charlie Puth singing before Wiz Khalifa raps. The video features shots of Paul Walker from the Fast and Furious movies, and there’s a lot of shots of fast cars in the video – as you’d expect from a song for a movie franchise based on fast cars! The video ends with the car Paul is in driving off into the sunset – a fitting way to represent the idea that Paul has driven off to heaven.

The lyrics of the song are suitably evocative, talking about the light guiding the way and seeing you again. We’re sure this song will mean a lot to mourners at funerals for years to come – for all the right reasons. The emotion attached to the song means the video is almost certain to remain on the most viewed video list for a long time to come.

5. Masha and the Bear – “Recipe for Disaster” (Get Movies) – 4.24 billion views


Recipe for Disaster is an episode of the cartoon Masha and the Bear. Masha is a little Russian girl who lives in the forest alongside woodland animals, and in the video, the Bear is learning to play checkers (although his book is about learning chess, the eagle-eyed amongst us noted!). Along comes Masha, who steals one of the pieces from his board – and the bear continues to fend Masha off. While the bear is busy learning checkers, Masha decides to make porridge – thick, pink porridge which ends up expanding in size dramatically.

The series itself is said to be popular in conservative countries worldwide due to Masha’s traditional dress – she wears a headscarf and her legs are covered by her long dress. We’re not sure why this particular episode, rather than others is the most popular of all 81 episodes (and over 50 episodes from spin-off seasons). Is it due to the Goldilocks and the Three Bears nature of the episode? Or perhaps it’s just the YouTube algorithm? What about YouTube becoming a successful platform for parents to entertain their children while they’re busy? Whatever the reason, this video looks set to be one of the most popular cartoons of all time on YouTube.

6. Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars) – 3.80 billion views


As the lead single from Mark Ronson’s fourth studio album, Uptown Funk absolutely stormed the charts worldwide in 2014. The song itself has a blend of funk-pop, soul, boogie, disco-pop and Minneapolis sound, with lyrics that touch on fashion, self-love and “traditional masculine bravado” – all of which add up to a track that has fast become a classic at clubs, discos and weddings, and we predict, is likely to remain popular.

The video for Uptown Funk is utterly contagious – there’s no way we don’t want to dance along, channelling Bruno Mars’s innate coolness. Seriously, how many people do you know who could pull off a pink blazer with a singlet and shiny shoes, topped off with a bandana AND a trilby? Not many, we think, and the choreography is simple enough to follow, which lead to thousands – if not millions – of dancefloor copycats and videos being made to be posted on Stories and TikTok.

7. Gangnam Style (Psy) – 3.55 billion views


The first YouTube video ever to reach one billion views, K-pop song Gangnam Style exploded in popularity and went viral in 2012. Funnily enough though, the song has a real love-it-or-hate-it appeal to it – the video is currently 19th on the list of most disliked YouTube videos! However you feel about Gangnam Style, the song has an incredibly catchy beat – even if most people in the western world don’t have a clue what the lyrics mean! (apart from “hey… sexy ladies” of course!)

Gangnam Style, for those of us who remain blissfully unaware, refers to a lifestyle associated with the Gangnam District in Seoul, and the video for the track is filmed in the area. The video itself is ridiculously entertaining, if also pretty absurd – it might not make a lot of sense to some, but the dance moves Psy and his little sidekick bust out have been copied by children and adults alike for quite some time!

What can we learn from the Gangnam Style video? Well, certainly there is a massive demand for the absurd when it comes to music videos – especially when it is paired with a track that everybody wants to hear.

8. Sorry (Justin Bieber) – 3.26 billion views


Love him or loathe him, Justin Bieber has been a smash success since he was discovered by Scooter Braun aged 13, and we’re quite frankly amazed not to see more music videos from him on this list. Justin himself doesn’t even feature in the video for Sorry – instead, there’s a troupe of female dancers in neon sportswear dancing and singing along with the track.

The dance moves are pretty simple to dance along with, and the expressive faces of the dancers make us think that there’s probably more than a few candid copycat videos that have been recorded to pay homage! So why did Sorry make it into the top 10 most viewed videos on YouTube? It’s probably got more than a little bit to do with Justin’s 44.45 subscribers to his YouTube channel – four of his videos already have over a billion YouTube views.

9. Sugar (Maroon 5) – 3.15 billion views


How do you make a video go viral? Crash a load of weddings and play your new single for the happy couple and their guests! We’re not sure that we would be impressed if a band came along and crashed our wedding, but Maroon 5 did exactly that for their video for their single Sugar back in 2015.

Whether the weddings are staged or not remains open to debate. At the time the video was released, the internet lit up with trying to decide whether they were or not, which probably helped to contribute to the number of views that the video got. The song itself is an upbeat pop song that’s easy to sing along to, and is pretty romantic – which has probably also added to the success of the video, we think!

10. Roar (Katy Perry) – 3.04 billion views


The first female act on this list, Katy Perry has been making waves in pop music worldwide since she shot to fame in 2008 with her hit ‘I Kissed a Girl’. Her fashion choices and image often incorporates humour and brightly coloured clothes – to the point of being cartoonish, some of the time. In the video for Roar, Katy survives a plane crash and ends up fighting to thrive by herself after her (pretty narcissistic) fellow survivor comes to an untimely end when he is eaten by a tiger.

The video and the lyrics to the song undoubtedly channels themes of female empowerment, with Perry facing plenty of scary situations but winning though, like taming and making pets out of wild animals – all the while wearing smaller and smaller clothing as the video progresses.

We’ve no doubt that there’s been plenty of people worldwide who will have used the song as inspiration to get them through the challenges that they either have faced, or continue to face – which makes for a great YouTube video that people will keep coming back to.

11. Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran) – 2.94 billion views


The second of Ed Sheeran’s tracks on this list, the video for Thinking Out Loud features some incredibly romantic lyrics with undeniably beautiful choreography that won’t have failed to inspire many first dances at weddings – or at least, many dreams of potential future wedding first dances. Since it’s release in 2014, it has racked up almost three billion views – that’s a lot of daydreaming going on!

The fact that Ed learnt to dance for the video almost certainly goes a long way to impressing fans (although his partner in the video clearly has a lot more dance experience under her belt!) and there’s a behind the scenes video that’s well worth a watch.

Also worth a mention is the fact that in 2016 there were allegations made of plagiarism – that the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic compositions of the song were too similar to the Marvin Gaye song ‘Let’s Get It On’. We’re not music experts, so we’re not sure – but we have no doubt that some of those YouTube views were in part due to people trying to establish whether there was a similarity or not.

12. Counting Stars (OneRepublic) – 2.94 billion views


This is a curious addition to the list – it’s a great pop song, catchy with lyrics that aren’t difficult to hear or work out. Like we said, we’re not musicians by any means, but as we were researching for this post we discovered this song is perfect to become an ‘earworm’ – where a song gets stuck playing over and over in your head.

The video is a mix of the band playing in a derelict basement interspersed with shots of a group of people having a somewhat religious-looking experience where their pastor inspires them to dance. At the end of the video, one of the dancers falls through the floor, to land in front of the band. It’s an interesting idea and makes for a music video that is well worth the watch, but we think that the fact that the song is likely to have got stuck on many people’s internal jukebox is what has led to the success of this video.

13. Johny Johny Yes Papa (LooLoo Kids) – 2.94 billion views


Sung along to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, Johny Johny Yes Papa is a nursery rhyme song with a cartoon video. The focus of the cartoon is Johny Johny – a strangely big-headed ‘Boss Baby’ type character being questioned by his ‘Papa’ about eating sugar, and whether he is telling lies about it.

We’re absolutely certain that the success of this video is down to pester power, but there’s a theory that the Elsagate phenomenon has a lot to do with it – where videos are marked as ‘child-friendly’ and so the video gets shown to children on the YouTube website and the YouTube Kids app.

14. Shake It Off (Taylor Swift) – 2.89 billion views


Joining her past nemesis Katy Perry in the top twenty most viewed YouTube videos is Taylor Swift. The song itself is another one that definitely counts as an earworm, and so it sticks in people’s heads accordingly. The beat, the riffs, the tempo and the easy to remember lyrics make for a singalong classic that’s great to dance along to as well.

Although this video was no doubt watched thousands of times by the ‘Swifties’, it also caused all kinds of controversy – there was a huge debate about whether the video was racist, and there was also a lawsuit filed over infringed copyright from a previously released song. But, as they say, all publicity is good publicity, and so all these controversies are likely to have added up to more views of the video, and more subscribers to Taylor’s channel.

15. Learning Colors – Colorful Eggs on a Farm (Miroshka TV) – 2.86 billion views


Set to the tune of children’s classic Old MacDonald Had a Farm, this video is actually in Russian, and is designed to help children learn names of colours. It’s a little bit surreal, (we’re not sure why the broken eggs form into a bigger egg) but the bright colours and educational nature of this video are likely to keep people coming back for more. And of course, as we mentioned before, the YouTube algorithm queues suitable videos for us depending on what we’ve already watched and our demographic information – which means there’s plenty of children seeing it on YouTube Kids.

16. Bailando (Enrique Iglesias featuring Descemer Bueno and Gente De Zona) – 2.83 billion views


The second Spanish track on the most viewed list, the video for Bailando (which translates as ‘dancing’) sees plenty of dancers dancing in the streets of the Dominican Republic – both traditional in style and more modern, street dance styles. Billboard magazine described the video as “a young Cuban flamenco troupe swirling in red dresses meet up with street dancers with some mad soccer skills in one of the best choreographed encounters since the Sharks met the Jets.” Quite frankly, we can’t think of a way to put it any better – the choreography is pretty mesmerising.

Enrique has over 18.9 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, and his fans are known to be fiercely loyal – so, like almost all the other artists on this list, they will almost certainly have made up a vast majority of the listens. And although there is a version of the song that features Sean Paul that is mostly translated to English, the Spanish version far outperforms the English version.

17. Lean On (Major Lazer and DJ Snake featuring MØ) – 2.77 billion views


Major Lazer is made up of three major DJs – Diplo, Walshy Fire and Ape Drums. They’ve got a huge following and Lean on is the lead single from their third studio album, released in 2015. Lean On is an EDM, electronic and moombahton (a house music and reggaeton fusion) track that reached the top 10 in charts worldwide, and for a while, was even the most streamed song of all time on Spotify.

Given the popularity of the song, and the catchiness of the track – which is particularly worthy of bobbing your head along with, we think the majority of YouTube views for this video are people using the video to listen to the track.

The group stated that the video is a tribute to fans of the group in India – the premise is the group dancing along to modern Bollywood sequences. Unsurprisingly, considering the controversy surrounding other videos on this list, there was plenty of criticism of the videos using cultural appropriation. We’re not going to get into that – you decide for yourself – but the video is definitely a riot of colour, and there’s plenty of dancers that are scantily clad, which could have contributed to the number of views too.

18. Dark Horse (Katy Perry featuring Juicy J) – 2.75 billion views


Superstar Katy Perry makes her second appearance in the top twenty most viewed YouTube videos in the music video for her song Dark Horse. This video features Katy in an ancient Egyptian setting where she’s channelling “Katy Pätra” – a parody of the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. Katy Perry’s caricature-like image works well in the role of temptress, and the theatrical feel of the video adds up to a winning combination.

The song itself was written from the perspective of a witch who is warning a man not to fall in love with her because if he does, she will be his last. Dark Horse has trap, hip hop and EDM influences, and although many critics were not particularly impressed by the lyrics, it’s a great pop song.

19. Faded (Alan Walker) – 2.70 billion views


Norwegian-British DJ and music producer Alan Walker is a notoriously private person and tends to wear a mask or bandana on stage – which is why you won’t see his face in the music video for Faded either. Alan Walker might be relatively unknown to those who don’t enjoy dance music, but he’s got over 33.2 million subscribers to his channel, so we know worldwide there’s a lot of Walker fans – especially with this many views of just one of his videos. This video is also the fourth most liked YouTube video, above Gangnam Style and Uptown Funk – showing just how serious the ‘Walkers’ are about their fandom.

The song itself has dreamy lyrics that are about searching for someone or something that they have loved and lost, and letting the feelings slip away. In the video, Walker explores a desolate town, (filmed on location in various places in Estonia) at the end of the video, we’re shown him holding a photograph of what we assume is his home – which is now in ruins too. He begins to remove his mask as the video ends and the screen fades to black.

20. Let Her Go (Passenger) – 2.65 billion views


Passenger is English singer-songwriter (whose real name is Michael David Rosenberg) and Let Her Go is his most successful single to date. The video shows a concert being set up, and the subsequent performance of the song with his backing band, with the audience reacting to his performance.

Let Her Go is a song about realising you love someone when you’ve let them go. It’s a pretty sad love song, and we think the emotive lyrics are probably the biggest reason for the video being on the list of most played YouTube videos. We can picture lots of people from teen upwards consoling themselves after a breakup to this track!

Top 10 most subscribed YouTube channels

, 20 most viewed YouTube videos of all time (and how they did it)

Although the most viewed videos are useful to look at when you’re thinking about your own YouTube content, it’s worth looking at the most subscribed channels too. Only one video in the top 20 most viewed videos is from a most subscribed channel – the video for Sorry by Justin Bieber. If you’re looking to cultivate a successful channel, rather than just a one-off video, check out these channels to see if you can spot what they’re doing right – and see if you can replicate their success!

  • T-Series – 123 million (Indian music network)
  • PewDiePie – 102 million (gaming)
  • Cocomelon – 69.3 million (nursery rhymes)
  • 5-Minute Crafts – 63.3 million (hobbies)
  • SET India – 62.4 million (Indian TV network)
  • Canal KondZilla – 54.5 million (music video producer)
  • WWE – 52.9 million (Sports related entertainment)
  • Zee Music Company – 48.5 million (Indian entertainment company)
  • DudePerfect – 48.2 million (general entertainment)
  • JustinBieber – 48.1 million (music)

Top 10 highest paid YouTube channel creators

, 20 most viewed YouTube videos of all time (and how they did it)

If you’re out to make money from your YouTube channel, you’ll need to know what the high earners are doing to increase their takings! The highest paid YouTube channel creators looks like this:

  • Ryan Kaji – $26 million (toy reviews and kids science)
  • Dude Perfect (Coby Cotton, Cory Cotton, Garret Hilbert, Cody Jones and Tyler Toney) – $20 million (general entertainment)
  • Anastasia Radzinskaya – $18 million (children’s entertainment)
  • Rhett and Link – $17.5 million (entertainment)
  • Jeffree Star – $17 million (beauty products/entertainment)
  • Preston – $14 million (gaming/vlogger)
  • PewDiePie – $13 million (gaming/vlogger)
  • Markiplier – $13 million (gaming/comedy vlogger)
  • DanTDM – $12 million (gaming)
  • VanossGaming – $11.5 million (gaming)

What does this all mean?

, 20 most viewed YouTube videos of all time (and how they did it)

What we can take from looking at this list is that most of these videos are music videos – sixteen out of twenty, in fact! Which means, if you want to create a video that gets watched over and over and become one of the most watched videos ever, it’s likely that you’re going to need a fantastic song that people want to watch over and over again.

Of course, that’s not the only way you can create YouTube videos that get millions of watches. It’s clear to see that music videos are the most popular videos on YouTube, closely followed by videos for children. The complete ordered list of YouTube’s most viewed non-music videos and non-Vevo videos shows a huge percentage are cartoons and videos designed for entertaining children.

Research by Statista shows that although music gets the majority of the top 20 most viewed videos of all time, it’s by far not the most popular category – not by a long way. People and blogs, and gaming videos are way out in front of the most popular video categories, which explains the most subscribed channels and highest paid YouTube stars. Their videos might not be watched over and over, but they’re being watched by a much bigger audience worldwide.

The YouTube algorithm

, 20 most viewed YouTube videos of all time (and how they did it)

Like all social media, understanding and being able to work with the YouTube algorithm means that you can get the best results. There’s an incredibly detailed paper about the deep neural networks that YouTube uses here, but if you don’t fancy reading the technical details, don’t worry – we’ve summed them all up below. The top three points are only things that you can influence directly to help your videos be seen by more people – the rest is out of your control.

  • Click-through rate (the likelihood of someone clicking on your video after seeing it)
  • Watch time (the combined amount of time that viewers spend watching your videos)
  • How many videos the user has watched from your channel
  • How recently the user watched a video about this topic
  • What the user has searched for in the past
  • The user’s previously watched videos
  • The user’s demographic information and location

Don’t be tempted to over-optimise your video titles to try and get users to click through – by which we mean, don’t use clickbaity titles that over-promise on the content. The watch-time of the video is just as important, so it’s better to use a title that accurately represents the video. By being accurate, you’ll have managed the expectation of the viewer and they will have decided that your video is the one they want to watch, which means they’re more likely to watch for longer. If they like your content, and watch the whole video, they’re more likely to watch more of your videos, and eventually subscribe to your channel – which of course, is what you want.

After that, the algorithm presents videos to the user depending on what they’re interested in, and what they’re predicted to be interested in according to their demographic details.

You can help the algorithm choose your content more consistently in a few ways though.

  • Create a consistent format and idea for your channel – which will help your subscriber numbers increase. Even if you’re creating and uploading promotional content for products that you’re selling, if you keep your format relatively similar each time, the algorithm is more likely to choose your videos when it is appropriate.
  • Help the algorithm make personalised recommendations. You can do this by promoting your videos on your other social media channels, sending videos to your email subscribers and so on. You’ll also need to work on growing your subscribers, and YouTube SEO.
  • Optimise your channel for search. When we say optimise your channel, there’s a few things you can do, such as using a target keyword on the original video file, write smart descriptions and use categories correctly – they’re all essential to get your video seen by more people.
  • Create great thumbnails. We talked about this pretty extensively here, so we’re not going to go into this too much on this post – but make sure you’ve reviewed our previous post and make the most of your YouTube thumbnails to increase your click-through rate.
  • Encourage viewers to watch to the end of the video. Ensuring your videos are all transcribed so people can watch them on mute, adjusting your videos to the length when people typically stop watching, and using moments to interrupt that can help viewers engaged are all great ways to help increase your video completion rate.
  • Encourage people to watch your other videos. The more of your videos people watch, the more relevant YouTube thinks they are – so be sure to add cards, create playlists, and add calls to action to watch your other videos.

Types of videos on YouTube

, 20 most viewed YouTube videos of all time (and how they did it)

There are so many different types of videos on YouTube that we wouldn’t like to try and document them – there’s all kinds of videos on YouTube, from the good, to the bad, to the downright ugly! We won’t try to tell you which videos are good or bad – we’ve all got different opinions on that, after all, and different types of videos are suitable for different businesses. Just be sure to do your research before you start creating – you need to know what you others are doing in your field, so you know what your work will be competing with.

Product reviews

Most of us look at reviews when we’re deciding on a purchase – even if it is just a quick scan of the Amazon reviews. But for bigger, more expensive purchases, we tend to do a bit more digging to find out if it is going to be worth splashing our hard-earnt cash. Product review videos give us more information, especially where the video’s creator shows us how the product works and what it does well or otherwise. Opinions matter when we’re spending money, so it shouldn’t come as a shock that this is one of the most popular types of video on YouTube.

How to videos

Any time we’re not sure how to do something – from building a new piece of flatpack furniture, to cooking a certain dish through to applying a new makeup product or technique – we turn to YouTube. That’s because we can learn a lot more from video than we can following text or even image based guides. Instructional videos are so popular that people are making whole careers out of making them, or at the very least they’re using them as a huge part of their business. Given just how useful this type of video is, we don’t see the category going away – possibly ever.


Vlogs are just like a blog, except that they’re in video format. Many influencers are using vlogging as a way to share their opinions, but it’s not just influencers that are using vlogging to increase their reach. Vlogs are a great way to show customers about your business – it’s easy to stitch together short clips over the course of a week to give your followers a behind the scenes look at what goes on.

Gaming videos

Clearly, gaming videos won’t apply to many businesses – but there are plenty of gaming videos online, and if you can come up with a unique way to incorporate gaming videos into your YouTube strategy, you might be onto a winner.

Comedy and prank videos

Funny videos are the ones that get the most shares and have the most chance of going viral. After all, there aren’t many of us that don’t enjoy a good belly laugh! So if you manage to catch some funny goings-on in your business, post them! Videos of people tripping over, dropping things and generally making fools of themselves and laughing at themselves are all winners – just be sure to get the consent of the person in the video before you post.

Haul videos

This type of video is really popular with influencers, and it pretty much grew for YouTube! Haul videos are where influencers receive a delivery (their ‘haul’) and they show viewers what they received in their haul. If you’re working with an influencer as part of your marketing strategy, this is definitely a type of video you’re going to want to get them to create.

Challenge, or tag videos

Challenges and tag videos allow creators to make more organic and unique content with the same type of format. An example is where a beauty influencer might set a challenge to use a product in a different way to how it is designed to be used. They then create a video showing how they created the look, and then they tag other influencers to make the same type of video but using the product in a different way. If you collaborate with other businesses, or you have a strong business community locally, it’s a great way to show the YouTube algorithm what other content is relevant for your viewers.

Favourites and best of collection videos

There’s loads of different ways that favourite videos work. Fashion influencers might share a roundup of their favourite accessories of the season, gamers might share their favourite kills in a game. Businesses can take advantage of this type of video to expose their customers to more of their products. Don’t forget to make the most of the video by adding cards to your upload, so customers can simply click through to your listing page.

Educational videos

Just like the how to videos, educational videos are incredibly popular on YouTube too. Whether we’re looking to refresh our understanding of something on the school curriculum before we try and explain it to a child in our lives (yep, we’ve done that!) or we’re looking to understand something about a product or business, we turn to YouTube. If you’re selling products that are in a particular niche, or that you want your potential customers to understand so they’re more likely to buy your product, creating an educational video can increase your sales and help build trust.

Unboxing videos

Unboxing videos aren’t quite the same as haul videos. Generally unboxing videos are made for higher priced, more sought-after items, and there are millions of videos featuring designer accessories, premium tech – and of course, toys! This type of video can work well for businesses that are working with an influencer, or that have just started working with a new supplier, or have a new employee who is just discovering your products, the category holds potential for you.

The Takeaway

Whether any of the most viewed YouTube videos of all time make it onto your list of most watched videos or not doesn’t matter. If you’re using YouTube as a marketing tool and to help grow your business – whether you’re DropShipping or you’re doing something completely different – then you need to understand why these videos are so popular to help you create a winning strategy.

  • Apply aspects of what makes the most watched videos successful to your own videos.
  • Understand the algorithm.
  • Optimising for SEO is absolutely essential.
  • Use options such as cards to keep viewers watching and increase watchtime.
  • Use a range of video types, using similar formats.

You can also increase the success of your business by adding DropShipping as an element. If you’re a seller, you can get started immediately – it’s free to sign up and there’s absolutely no upfront fees. If you’re a supplier, get in touch to arrange a discussion about how we can boost your sales and your profits.

DropShip products from verified suppliers to diversify your inventory and scale your eCommerce business


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