What can we learn from the most-viewed “viral” videos of 2010? How are they similar and different from years past?
So what are the common themes?
- Nothing sells like a song (most of the top-10 all-time most viewed YouTube videos are songs).
- Quirky is still nice — whether it’s manufactured (Annoying Orange) or authentic (Double Rainbow)
- Viral is increasingly a symptom of offline popularity (Kimmel/Bieber/Lady Gaga/Twighlight)
- The biggest difference between 2009 and 2010 is that professional & commercial content trumped user-generated videos, with only one true exception (the Double Rainbow).
- With the exception of Daneboe (Annoying Orange) and Schmoyo (AutoTune the News), none of these really spawned a new person or channel.
- Production quality mattered more this year than years past. Which is why we amateurs need to up our game (see my new ShootLikePro blog).
- Note that the top-ten list excludes major record labels, or they would dominate list. YouTube has increasingly become a free visual jute box.
How is this list similar or different from 2007, 2008 and 2009?
- Commercials are still the exception not rule. This year’s popular advertising campaign/commercial was Old Spice, and last year it was Evian’s roller skating babies. I referred to the latter in my book as the “exception to the rule” that promotional videos don’t often go viral. Even though this is increasingly true, 2011 to spawn some Old Spice knockoffs nonetheless. Hopefully a few brands and agencies will try a “road less travelled” with better odds.
- Both 2009 and 2009 lists had a Twilight trailer. Again- this says less about online video as the fact that the films are extremely popular.
- Last year’s “double rainbow” was the quirky “David After the Dentist,” now at 75 million views (that’s almost half of the views I’ve garnered on my entire collection). Hopefully we’ll continue to rally around odd moment like these.
- As the medium matures, we’ve seen fewer “quirky” amateur clips than, say, 2008 when we had viralizations like Fred, “Christian the Lion” and ImprovEverywhere’s “Frozen Grand Central.” The memes of 2007 were even more interesting to me — from The Landlord and “Leave Britney Alone” to Obama Girl (Next New Networks) and the South Carolina Miss Teen USA clip
- Last year’s kid singing Paparazzi was a more choreographed wedding video (Forever). People love an amateur singer overnight success story (Susan Boyle).
- Almost all of the top-10 popped on YouTube. The world’s second-largest search engine remains the most vibrant channel.
- The teen factor is still driving views, even if each year offers content for a broader demographic.
Each year the top 10 most-viewed hits are a smaller percent of overall views… it’s the long tail effect. Finally, do you notice anything missing for the first year in a while? No SNL Digital shorts… or sadly, anything from The Onion, College Humor or Funny Or Die.
Okay now go buy my book, or tell a journalist to interview me for a delightful year-end segment on viral videos.