YouTube Statistics Via SocialBlade

ReelSEO’s Tim Schmoyer interviewed Jason Urgo about his Social Blade, which helps YouTube creators track fellow YouTubers. The website captures public information from YouTube’s API and databases them — to help creators “stalk” top YouTubers, but also see what “competitors” are doing.

Here's a SocialBlade report on my recent history. I have access to this data as a channel owner. But SocialBlade makes it easy for people to look at a YouTuber's "health"

People are obviously interested in how much income YouTubers earn, and Social Blade provides a broad earning range based on total monthly views x estimated income per view (maybe 50 cents to $5 bucks per 1,000 views). There’s also an “SB score” that tracks YouTube influence (ala Klout). The site also makes projections around YouTubers hitting certain subscriber milestones, and provides simple graphs on any YouTube channels; these display data otherwise difficult or impossible to access (see chart).

Vidstatsx has a similar offering, but SocialBlade goes deeper by tracker YouTubers that are getting smaller viewers. Urgo also is helping smaller YouTubers become YouTube Partners, which gives them advanced functionality on their channel page. Here’s where you can become a Partner via Urgo and “RPM Networks,” which is a division of web studio Maker. Not everyone is approved, but it helps to have at least 1,000 daily views, clean content, and no copyright infringements.

See the video below for more info, and check out my Nalts page. You’ll see my ever-shrinking subscriber list (from 244K to 225K subscribers). I’m losing about 600 per day since YouTube is scrubbing out old, inactive accounts that subscribe. Obviously this won’t effect me since dead accounts don’t watch a lot of videos. By comparison, here’s the VidStatsx page on my Nalts account. It focuses more on top YouTubers and hour-by-hour changes.

The data sites continue to emphasize subscriber data, which to me is not as important as a) a channel’s total views to date, and b) the average number of views on a creator’s recent videos. The former drives a creator’s income, but the latter is important for brands looking to sponsor YouTubers. How many views can they expect on a sponsored video? To get an answer, look at the past 10-20 videos and average their views.

Online-Video is Looking More Like Television

 

Online-video is looking more and more like TV with ads, networks/studios, and a virtual monopoly.

comScore’s September data sheds some light on the non Google video-sharing sites, the top ad networks, and the top-1o channels on YouTube, all of which are professional. The biggest takeaway? The Santa María, La Niña, and La Pinta have long since landed and the corn-sharing Indians are being run off the east coast.

  • Professional content (or web studios representing amateurs) are leading the charts
  • The market remains highly centralized among one or two key players
  • Ads are now pervasive
  • YouTube is increasing its personal white-glove service among the top 100 YouTube partners (including lavish events), and moving many subordinate Partners to e-mail only deidentified support (this isn’t reflected in comScore).

Now let’s look at comScore highlights…

  1. Google/YouTube retains its leadership with 161 million unique viewers (followed by Vevo with about 57K). More importantly, it clocked in a 378 minutes per viewer, which beats Hulu’s 180 minutes. Hulu’s 27K unique viewers watched 642,000 minutes of video (YouTube’s got 18 million). Also worth noting is Microsoft and Viacom’s overtaking of Facebook and Yahoo (two sites that could have been online-video leaders)
  2. Ad networks run those prerolls and keep the online-video body flowing with life saving blood. Here are the leaders: Hulu is #1, Tremor Video ranked second overall with 811 million ad views, followed by Adap.tv (803 million) and BrightRoll Video Network (665 million).
  3. Professional studios rule the most-viewed channels, but note that some amateurs are represented by these players. Gaming channel Machinima ranked third with 17 million viewers, followed by Maker Studios (which has signed a number of YouTube weblebrities) with 9 million, Demand Media with 6.8 million and Revision3 with 5.4 million.

Are Video Preroll Ads on Rise or Decline?

Yes. Video prerolls are both growing and declining. The good news for viewers is that we saw fewer prerolls. But we saw more “polite prerolls” (option to escape) in Q1 2011 as reported by AdoTube/eMarketer. Since this doesn’t include YouTube data and presumably a small sample of total online-video ad streams it does need to be taken with a grain of (Morton’s: when it rains it pours!) salt.

Viewers will appreciate fewer prerolls (as reported by AdoTube), and advertisers will enjoy more "engagement" models
This "Right Guard" ad begs for engagement. Did you notice the "close" button?

Forget prerolls, friends. The increasingly competitive ad networks have a whole sleuth of weapons in their online-video ad formats that range from the innocuous “polite pre-roll,” to a bit more ominous names like in-stream takeover, ad selector, in-stream skin, inside-out roll, interactive overlay, video-in-video, interactive gaming overlay, data entry and capture, branded player, over the top, and beyond stream. I believe that Seroquel example, placing a “reminder” ad without “fair balance” adjacent to depression content is (shhh) a violation of FDA guidelines, but I digress. ANY of these ad-format names beats the “fat boy” branded by Point Roll.

Take a look at some of the bold “engagement” formats presented in AdoTube’s ad-format gallery and you’ll see why viewers are, according to eMarketer, about 30% likely to engage in an ad… even when not forced (hence the term “polite”). You’ll also see that it’s often not clear there’s an opt-out available.

The eMarketer report, titled “Options for Online Video Ad Viewers Leads to Higher Engagement” is encouraging. With online video being one of the leading (if not #1) fastest-growing portion of a marketer’s “media mix,” advertisers will want and expect formats that achieve their goals: from branding to engagement. This chart is important to viewers because it shows that “cost per impression” remains the dominant percent of spending. In “cost per impression” (often called CPM, or cost-per-thousand), the advertiser simply pays a few bucks to reach 1,000 eyeballs without much accountability.

"Cost per impression" still leads, but more interactive "engagement" ad formats are increasing (Brightroll Data)

While few of us welcome more aggressive online-ads, this also substantiates a business model to fuel the medium’s growth. While it’s easy to complain about intrusive ads (especially as the pendulum seemed to swing dangerously to the advertiser’s benefit in the past year), it’s a vital element to online-video’s maturity. If the advertisers don’t get what they need, friends, we won’t be seeing our content for free.

There are three ways to increase “engagements” in this online-video advertising medium, and I’ll list them from best to worst in order of sustainability: novelty, creative and targeting:

  1. Novelty: A new ad format generally enjoys a period of high engagement that’s deceptively high. We’re curious about what the ad does, and may not realize we’re engaging, so it’s not necessarily suggestive of purchase intent. In early February, a debut YouTube customer of YouTube’s “skip this ad in x second” preroll told ClickZ he was seeing a 30% engagement rate. That’s far higher than we’ll see as a norm, and a tribute to the novelty effect.
  2. Creative: Great creative always wins, and this is a fairly enduring trait. While overall engagement might slip when we’re “numb” to an ad format (like monkey-shooting banner ads, or even the “InVid” format that creeps up on YouTube… the best creative wins the best attention, engagement and results.
  3. Targeting: Ultimately the most sustainable and important characteristic of a high-engagement online-video ad is its ability to reach the right target. I can engage in a tampon ad, but it’s not going to sell more maxi’s. But if I get a rich-media ad over (or adjacent) to my valued content, then we’ve got a win-win-win (advertiser, publisher, viewer). That’s where we can expect Google/YouTube to be better in the long haul, but it appears the sophisticated advertiser networks are ahead. These ad networks marry data from a variety of sources to serve ads invisibly on the videos across a variety of websites.

So what are the takeaways to advertisers, video sites and us viewers?

  • First, the options available to advertisers means that online-video ads will begin to get as aggressive as other forms of interactive ads. This has positive and negative effects, but as long as it’s targeted it’s sustainable.
  • YouTube, which reports very little about its ad performance, has not radically departed from its debut formats, with the exception of breaking its early commitment to make pre-rolls optional. Now most pre-rolls are mandatory, but we can opt-out of some after a few seconds (at which point the “opt-out” means the advertiser pays YouTube and the creator less).
  • Ads are a vital cost-offset for those of us that have been enjoying free video content for 5 years and would like that to continue without avoid pesky Hulu-like subscription models (unless a “value ad” bonus to the cable contract, assuming we haven’t “cut chord.”).
  • And finally, Morton’s salt can be trusted. Trusted I say.

 

“Online Influencers” Definition: TechCrunch vs. Fast Company; 4Chan’s Moot Photo Faked.

Fast Company’s November issue takes on the subject of online influencers, with prominent features of YouTubers, iJustine and MysteryGuitarMan. The piece provided some nice insights into the “going rate” of a weblebrity/webstar… mid-high six figure incomes with $20-$50K per sponsored videos. Sustainable?

Techcrunch took objection to the piece and brought it out back for a good-times ass whooping. And to that I shout, “fight, fight, fight” (and hope nobody kicks my ass while I get some good footage). Here’s a picture of Justine Ezarik. I’m not swiping the one of Joe Penna (MGM) because I’m too lazy.

Most online publications took on the debate of "online influencers" as an excuse to use photos of iJustine to boost page views.

The real surprise of the article, beyond such trivial disputes as to “what defines online influence,” is this… who would have thought that 4Chan’s “Moot” would be fairly zit free, thin, and (dare I concede without sounding perverted) handsome? Is this an elaborate plot by “Anonymous” to give Moot a fake image, torn from some J. Crew catalog or an Asian teen porn magazine?

4Chan's "Moot" isn't as ugly as we might have expected

Yeah I’d say we’ve been punked. That aint Moot. Here’s the real Moot. But you gotta love 4Chan. I’ll bet they cleverly manipulated all of the influence data, showing that Fast Company and TechCrunch are both wrong. Fight, fight, fight!

The real Moot (4chan)

Just remember kids… I may not be in the cool crowd, but I knew them when.

How to Measure Online-Video Advertising: Shaping the Fog of “Engagement”

“Video advertising is still ‘in its diapers’… you gotta remember that most people don’t want to see ads” said eMarketer’s David Hallerman in a webcast last Thursday (October 21, 2010). eMarketer provided highlights from a report (“Video Advertisement Engagement: What Marketers Need to Know”) in the one-hour webinar, and slides are excerpted from that.

Engagement is worth defining considering it's what advertisers want most (after awareness)

Hallerman says online-video is the most expensive form of digital advertising, and skews toward professional content not user-generated. He explores both the definitions and forms of engagement. Per the chart on the right, awareness is still the #1 goal of marketers followed closely by engagement (according to an April 2010 study by Tremor Media of 98 advertisers/agencies).

So what is engagement? Some say it’s paying attention, others refer to interactivity, and still others refer to what happens afterwards.

I’d prefer to focus on what Hallerman calls server based data (a view, start-rate, completion time, mouse-over, sharing) and not survey data (like “brand health” metrics like awareness or intent, reported by Insight Express or Dynamic Logic). However those “brand health” metrics can be vital to determining “intent to buy,” which is often not captured by server metrics (although some cookies provide advertisers data about purchases that occur long after a video view).

Engagement metrics include:

  • Interactivity (clicking ad or mousing over): Scanscout’s cost-per-engagement. Hallermans says there’s an increasing desire among marketers for interactive pre-rolls.
  • Sharing or commenting
  • Interactions, experience (Forbes)
  • Two-way

Context is also important… an auto-roll on gaming or entertainment site is not going to be as powerful as a self-directed and completed video on a shopping site. Hallerman reminds us that consumers value HD (above many other factors) and that quality (original versus repurposed) is vital, and that’s an important insight. During the Q&A Hallerman later acknowledged that some studies are showing that repurposed television commercials are faring better than once expected.

Online-video advertising spend is growing in strong double digits through 2014 according to eMarketer

eMarketer projects continued growth of the medium as depicted above — reaching at least $5.5 billion by 2014. But when it comes to online-video ad views, all video sites aren’t created equally (comScore, Sept. 30, 2010). The report shows that “ads per viewer” on Hulu is more than seven times higher than Google/YouTube sites. See the rank of video-advertising properties, and Hulu tops followed by Brightcove and Tremor Media (both which serve ads on websites not exclusively devoted to video content). At 30 ads per viewer per month, it’s no wonder Hulu is considering cutting its monthly subscription in half.

Far more online-video ads are consumed on Hulu and networks (Brightcove and Tremor) than on Google/YouTube

Time per month per viewer on YouTube is nearly twice that of Hulu, despite Hulu’s content being generally longer (22 minute shows versus 2-3 minute videos). Hallerman refers to Hulu’s experience as “lean back” because we allow the show “to wash over” us, whereas other sites (YouTube) require a more “lean forward” experience. Marketers, says Hallerman, are looking for what they know from broadcast advertising — pre or mid-rolls played “in stream” during a video’s view.

An August 2010 study by comScore shows time per viewer leading by YouTube then Hulu

Marketers choose ad-networks to target online-video ads based on two factors: demographic or content. A beauty ad on Break.com, Hallerman explains, won’t likely get high engagement. As for viral?

“…You don’t just make something go viral,” Hallermans says. “It’s really a whole process that needs a blend of paid, owned and earned.” He provides the recent Old Spice example, which involved paid ads on television and the web, a microsite showing more content, and “earned” media where video answers responded to specific bloggers. He credits the paid ads were the “spark.”

Aside from viral or its own reason, here are what some marketers claim to have accomplished on YouTube. So one in five (20%) say their YouTube videos have driven sales via links. But recognize that the data are not saying that happens twenty percent of the time- it’s usually in the low single digits in my experience.

YouTube marketing tactics reported by marketers (MarketingProfs 2009).

Branded content (where the marketing is not “heavy handed” and is “almost a bi-product”) is the most effective forms of marketing according to an October 2010 report by the CMO Council. Branded content tops more traditional online advertising models or even database-driven behavioral marketing. Video content, for instance, about dogs with dog-food product placement… may have a greater impact than dog-food ads alone. “Creating an experience,” Hallerman says, “is hard but important.” These can be tracked by brand-equity scores. He provides another example of a hair-care product that might show entertaining or educational fashion tips (focusing on benefits) rather than advertising about the product (features).

During the eMarketer webcast, EyeWonder shared “server side” data that show higher engagement rates for ads in the financial sector, with travel or electronics on the low side of engagements. EyeWonder showed a case study involving Gatorade’s G Series, which featured a 15-second ad that allows customers to see how the beverage helps before, during and after an athletic event. The click-thru rate was a tame .13%, but the a video completion rate was an impressive 62% across all of the impressions.

Hallerman was asked to comment on how to make a video more likely to be viral, but said if he had the answer he’d be working at an agency. Perhaps he just needs a copy of “Beyond Viral.” 🙂

Research Suggests Web Video is As Good as Television, and Viewers Are Ages 18-34.

Fresh new data about online-video views, sharing and viewers! The source is YouTube, Next New Networks and Frank N. Magid & Associates (see press release and blog), and the data was collected between May 18 and June 4, 2010. While it’s not super fresh, it’s filling a void in the past year.

Two important take-aways: First, the audience is digging its online video. More than half of those surveyed (people who have watched Web original videos) deem them to be just as, if not more, entertaining than what they view on traditional television. Did you hear that? As good as TV. And 25% find it more entertaining than traditional television. That explains why these folks are 2.5 times more likely to be “engaged.” They’re clearly watching more sophisticated content than mine.

Now before we get too excited, clearly YouTube and Next New Networks aren’t exactly objective here. Both have something to gain from convincing advertisers that this web-video fad, like the Fushigi and pet rock, is here to stay. However there are two things that make me inclined to trust the data: First, hopefully someone with a website as boring as Frank Magid’s is keeping an eye on the methodology and sample. Secondly, YouTube/Google almost NEVER shares data. So that’s a big deal.

I’m never sure what to do with excerpts like “four out of ten share videos,” because I’m more interested in how often they share. For instance, I’d be among the percentage of people who has seen my dentist in the past year (hey look I made him a website: drjeffreymercando.com). But that overlooks the reality that I’d not seen him for several years prior to my visit last month. If you surveyed me if I floss, I’d say yes. But how often?

The second interesting fact about this collective study is that online-video viewers are indeed young: mostly 18-34. There was no shame in the way YouTube/NNN and Magid depicted the demographic of online-video viewers. Rather than trying to dance around one of the leading concerns advertisers have about any new medium (that their target isn’t there)… YouTube & Next New Networks tell it like it is:

“According to recent Nielsen reports, the average age of television viewers is over the age of 50. However, this research revealed that 18-34 year old Web original viewers constituted 65% of the National sample, 73% of the YouTube sample, and 90% of Next New Networks’ sample. Not only does the coveted 18-34 demographic spend many hours viewing video online on a regular basis, but the research shows that this time spent with online video and Web original content leads to less time with TV. Web original video viewers spend 13% less time with TV than non-viewers.”

No they're actually 18-35. It's not just that they think they are.

So these fellas are kinda saying, “yeah we’re not television… but our audience is more engaged, and it’s that coveted 18-34 year olds who spend a lot of money.” And then it tosses in the fact that for these peeps, television isn’t growing. This demo, according to the research, is 13% less likely to watch the boob tube.

I present this cautiously. I recall the advertiser trepidation with the Internet itself, based on the assumption that online surfers were all college kids, and we (almost overnight) saw that change. Now, of course, online-use kinda mirrors the general population (at least in the U.S.)… that’s where this is heading. Eventually, like it’s true for the web, any target can be found via online video, with varying degrees of precision and scale. So I don’t want to let brands targeting different audiences, “off the hook.” Media buyers hold demographic data like Irish people hold grudges, and we don’t want to see advertisers write online-video off as the medium for just for Vodka, Kaplan, and Sandals Resorts. I think we need to keep a close eye on how online-video viewership of moms and boomers grow in the next months and years.

That being said, it skews young right now. Let’s face it and embrace it. Anyone up for cramming for the GMATS over a martini in Jamaica?

“The findings are an incredible point of validation for Web original programming as a key source of entertainment and viewers find it to be on par with television programming,” said Rick Silvestrini, Product Marketing Manager at YouTube, while holding in a 27-year-old fart.

Speaking of Silvestrini, below is my video remix of him, inspired by a comment I noticed about his original video where someone swears they heard a fart. Is this tasteless? Yes. Biting the hand that feeds you? Perhpaps. But could you expect me to restrain myself? No way.

No offense Rick. I’m the same guy that stuck Jordan Hoffner’s sound bite about advertisers fearing cats on skateboards into a “best of cats on skateboards” remix. And Chad Hurley still thinks of the anchovy pizza video when he sees me. It’s love… it’s just tough love.

TubeMogul and DynamicLogic to Prove Video Sells

In this NewTeeVee piece by Liz Shannon Miller, Tubemogul CEO Brett Wilson announces research with DynamicLogic that will finally show the ever debated link between online video and sales.

He also proclaims his disdain for the words “viral video” and “view.”

TubeMogul's Brett Wilson Hints at DynamicLogic Study to Show Sales and Video Relationship. DynamicLogic is One of the Leading Web Research Firms.

With my luck this study will be released the day after my final manuscript is due for Beyond Viral. Don’t ask me when this book is published because I can’t remember. I see manuscript in a few weeks.

Beyond Viral by Kevin Nalty. You Can't Judge a Book By Looking at Its Cover

Why YouTube Beats Twitter and Facebook for Marketing

I’m so tired of the hype around Twitter and Facebook for marketing, and I recently wrote a satire of the whole social-media racket. Here’s why I like YouTube better for marketers and advertisers, and I’ll end with an example.

  • It’s the second largest search engine
  • You get an assload of data on the video’s performance (see “more” below).
  • People notice ads because they’re in a passive viewing state, rather than a dialogue with friends
  • The messages are more visceral in video (versus text)
  • You’ve got a chance at being seen- organically and via paid media
  • You can control your message

Meanwhile, Facebook and Twitter are quite popular, but where does a brand play? Do people really want to “friend” a brand? Maybe if it’s one they already love, but that’s not a good customer acquisition play… just a retention complement.

Twitter is good for content providers, stars, and bloggers… but there’s not a good advertising play. The spam I get saying “earn 87.00 per tweet” is nonsense. I’d unfollow someone that was whoring regularly,  and 140 characters is too limited for most brand messaging. More importantly, your “tweet” has a shelf life of about 10 minutes, and there’s nobody that can tell you how many people even SAW your tweet. Then it’s virtually gone. YouTube videos have a residual value because people can continue to find them, and the view counter speaks for itself.

Should you advertise on Facebook? I guess, but I don’t know of many brands getting a great engagement rate on Facebook ads… maybe a bit more targeted, but ads are as ignored as most banners on websites. And what brand or company has valuable information it can dole out via Facebook messages intravenously?

The bottom line is that Facebook and Twitter are conversations between people, and advertising is an interruption. YouTube is somewhere you go regularly to graze, and a visceral ad will catch your attention if the video is boring. Promotion within a video (sponsorship) are much better because they’re contextually relevant, entertaining and there’s an implied endorsement. And, as you’ll see if you hit “more” below, there’s a wealth of data on its performance.

Let’s “bring this home” with an example. On a per-impression basis, these two promotions probably cost the advertiser about the same…

  1. First we have a random ad I discovered on one of my infrequent visits to Facebook.
  2. Next we have my most-recent sponsored video on YouTube (it’s at about 50,000 views and is one of the most popular videos of the day). It’s a sponsored promotion for Fox Broadcasting’s “Glee,” that I did via Hitviews. Click “more” below to see the data associated with it.

Which one would compel you?

Boring Facebook Ad
Boring Facebook Ad

Continue reading “Why YouTube Beats Twitter and Facebook for Marketing”

Hey, Idiot. Missing “View Through” Data on Your Online PR? Don’t Even Read This.

  • 5 extra points to Tealium for remembering I downloaded a white paper, and shooting me a follow-up video (using campaign management tool). Just checked the “earls” and it’s Concentric). Hidden codes in URLs can be so informative.
  • Negative 7 points for making the videos so damned boring… like a a cross between a dull conference presentation and a phone call using Powerpoint.
  • Plus 3 points for actually using video to sell its product. I would never have looked at this closely without this video demo.
  • Plus 8 points for teaching me that there’s a way to capture “view through” data.
  • You’re not keeping track of the score, are you? This is like “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” Points mean nothing.

Oh sorry. You didn’t know the phrase “view though” data? That’s because I’m exactly one hour ahead of you on learning about social media, and I’ll be two hours ahead if I wake up at 5 again tomorrow.

Until now, I was under the naive belief (much like your stupid self) that Webtrends or Google Analytics (or whatever tool your tools use) could not see “upstream” past the referring site. But this horribly boring video claims Tealium (which integrates with the web hosting software) can help a brand track “conversions” or web visits based not just on a direct URL… but based on whether a visitor had been to one or more other sites or unique URL (like a video) that you track.

Wait- you fell asleep on me, didn’t you. Let me put it another way… Nike.com might know you saw that YouTube viral video promoting Nike 2 days before you visited its website… even if the video HAD no URL to click, or if you went clubbing in the interim, or whether you tried to cover your tracks by visiting Nike via a search engine. Now the video gets credit for behavior that isn’t immediate or direct (which is typically 2 percent or less). In the example, 70% of the people who saw the “viral video” were not captured by direct URL visits… but if we know the video to correlate against, we can track percentage of viewers that saw that video… according to the browser’s history that we presumably peeked at, like a young boy sneaking a peek under a skirt. Not that I ever did that.

Tealium boasts that it can provide insights based on “historical browsing behavior,” so that empty-headed dope in PR can actually prove to the brand team that the stupid social-media and video-marketing campaign drove measurable action… even if it’s not immediate and direct.

Okay- are you awake now? That’s some serious shit.  I don’t know about this company, whether Webtrends and Google Anaytics are cooking up their own version of this, or whether they’ll snatch these guys up. And I don’t know how I feel about my website knowing my browser history… it’s creepier than cookies and “recontact” banners that follow you around like that awkward guy at work. You know? The guy you try to shake by going to the bathroom whenever he descends upon your desk with his bad breath.

I lost you again? Okay- you’re searching itchy nuts on WebMD and Yahoo start pimping “yeast infection” banner ads? Oh you thought that was coincidence? You MUST work in public relations. If I blow in your ear, I’ll bet this is the sound I hear. I used to make that sound with my boss whenever PR people were done talking. You had to be there.

This model — Tealium aside — is really good for the accountability of online-video and social media. We know that to judge a viral campaign on the immediate impact on web visits is like expecting the phone to ring off the hook because you placed one ad in the newspaper… there’s this thing called frequency that kinda works, dumb ass.

With someone’s “historical browsing behavior” we can presumably look at our leads by source, and see what correlated with longer time on site, and actual purchase.

You’re not excited by any of this are you? Damnit. What was I writing again? I’m so tired. Did I tell you I got up at 5?

Most Popular YouTube Stars: Rankings, Stats and Trends

My last post about TheStation made me revisit the most-subscribed YouTube “stars” and channels to see what’s changed.

Who are the most-viewed, most-subscribed and most popular people on YouTube? Here are some trends, stats and sources for additional information.

First some trends:

  • We’re still seeing YouTube’s “most subscribed” list (more important than “most viewed” because it eliminates one-hit wonders) largely dominated not by professionals but individuals. In the top ten list are only 3 “professional” channels (machinima, Jonas Brothers and Universal). The rest are people like Fred, Nigahiga, ShaneDawsonTV, KevJumba, WhatTheBuckShow and VenetianPrincess. These are amateurs with recurring audiences, but only some have agents.
  • The packaged content (CollegeHumor) is not as popular as individual creators because people continue to become active on YouTube from a social context… picking their favorites as “virtual friends” as opposed to gravitating to the best content (TheOnion). I did not think this would continue to be the case in 2009, as online-video viewing moves mainstream.
  • The channels that move rapidly up this “most subscribed” list are typically spawned from already-popular channels. TheStation almost immediately reached the top 20 because the collective “web stars” promoted it. Likewise, when a popular YouTuber like ShaneDawson creates a second account (ShaneDawsonTV2) it rises quickly up the ranks. The easiest way to get noticed on YouTube quickly is by appearing in a popular creator’s video, as the top creators rarely voluntarily “shout out” (advertise) someone else’s channel.
  • As a result of the above trend, some widely known creators like Chocolate Rain singer TayZonday are falling off the top 100 list even as his views and subscribers continues to grow. Others slip because they lose touch with their fan base, or create videos less frequently. As an example, I’m happy to get about 250,000 views per day (as Nalts)… but not happy I’m always teetering at the bottom of the top 100 list.
  • The mix of most-popular is primarily “vloggers” (individuals talking to the camera), followed by musicians and comedians. Broadly speaking, your chances are higher of being a most-subscribed YouTuber if you’re Asian, sexy, funny, or gay. Toss in a few curse words and some raucous content and you’re golden.

Some resources for tracking trends and stats:

Anyone have any other sites I should add? Frankly I’m surprised there aren’t easier-to-find websites that collect and share data (WillofDC uses a website to report winners and losers, but I don’t know what it is.