25 Most Social YouTube Channels Worldwide Dominated by Gamers, Vloggers & Webisodes

25 Most Social YouTube Channels Worldwide
Dominated by Gamers, Vloggers & Webisodes

Gamers, vloggers and webisode creators are the savviest social content creators among the 200 most subscribed YouTube channels, according to a study commissioned by startup social TV provider SimulTV. The analysis—conducted by Evolve! Inc. in partnership with social listening service MutualMind—reveals that these three categories account for 19 of the 25 channels with the most engaged audiences, and all of the top 10. With only one traditional broadcast television channel and five music channels ranking in the top 25, the findings demonstrate that artists who grew up on digital networks are building more engaged digital audiences on YouTube than big-budget TV networks and record labels.

SimulTV commissioned the study to identify the content creators who have mastered the art and science of building strong and lasting connections with viewers, as well as to pinpoint the techniques used by social TV leaders to successfully build engaged communities. The study results highlight the success of content created by nonprofessionals for people who share their interests and sense of humor, instantly creating a personal connection that encourages social conversation. A prime example is the gaming community, which had the largest representation on the list.

The #1 engaged channel according to the study is venomextreme, the nom de plume of a Brazilian gamer with over 600 videos including raucous takeoffs on games like Minecraft and Tomb Raider. Also in the top 10 are six other gaming channels (pewdiepie, machinimarespawn, whiteboy7thst, roosterteeth, machinima and thesyndicateproject. They are joined by comedian raywilliamjohnson, smosh, and digital entertainment network and style vlogger missglamorazzi.

“Traditional broadcast channels fall into the trap of believing you should simply repurpose content for use in the digital space. This is a short-sighted view of an inherently interactive medium, as this study shows,” said Steven Turner, CEO of SimulTV. “The traditional broadcast industry can learn how to attract, retain and engage viewers by examining what the most successful newcomers are doing.”

Study authors analyzed social actions related to 186,950 videos published by the top 200 subscribed YouTube channels, cumulatively representing over 144 billion views, 520 million comments and one billion likes. Rankings were based on a proprietary algorithm that weighted subscribes, comments, likes and views factoring in variables including lifetime activity as well as recency. The study found that:

  • The number of subscribers does not necessarily increase social engagement activities. Eight of the top 10 most engaged channels have over 2 million subscribers, but so do three of the least engaged channels.
  • The 19 gamers, vloggers and webisode creators in the top 25 have amassed 21.8 billion lifetime views, 315 million likes and 72 million subscribers, demonstrating the power of socially savvy artists to draw millions of highly engaged viewers on a shoestring budget.
  • Games and gaming channels comprise 40% of the top 25 engaged—a surprisingly high number considering they represent only 13% of the top 200 subscribed channels. That includes machinima, whose 4.3 billion lifetime views make it the most highly viewed channel among the 200 with the largest number of subscribers.
  • The only two VEVO channels in the top 25 are justinbiebervevo (#14) and pinkvevo (#19), despite the fact that nearly 12% of the top 200 subscribed channels are VEVO-sponsored.
  • Brands, television and film channels are lagging in the engagement arena with only The XFactor UK channel earning a spot in the top 25. The next highest-ranking traditional broadcast program—The Ellen Show—scored only 64th on the list.
The analysis also found a number of best practices followed by the top 25, creating a digital road map for broadcasters seeking to build strong relationships with their audience. For example:

  • Most post new content at least twice a week, providing fresh material to spark frequent social interaction and keep followers coming back for more.
  • Channel creators themselves are active social participants, asking questions and responding in the comments and elsewhere online—truly reacting to viewers. Some artists give shout-outs to viewers in their videos, and virtually all turn out content with such speed and frequency that they can pivot extremely quickly. The fans help shape future content and reward creators with loyalty.
  • All but two of the 25 most engaged link directly to their Twitter and Facebook accounts, and nearly half (12) of the 25 also link to additional networks such as Google+, Instagram or Tumblr.
  • The majority make extensive use of playlists, both for grouping videos with similar themes and for creating “best of” and other top content lists. This makes it easy for viewers who land on their home page to find content and also aids in search engine discovery.
  • Many design thumbnail images for their videos, focusing on faces, characters and large-font titles, instead of using simple screen grabs.

“What the top 25 have done remarkably well is build an engaged audience using highly resonant content about their personal beliefs or artistic vision and engaging in two-way conversations with viewers as often as possible across social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and YouTube,” Turner added. “This intimate relationship, and the ability of artists to monetize their following, will only improve as broadcast and social media merge as part of social television.”

SimulTV is the first ‘TV Everywhere’ provider that integrates content and social sharing on the same screen, eliminating the need to view cable TV or video on demand on one device while chatting, tweeting, or otherwise socializing and searching on a second. The result is a high-definition social TV and web browsing experience that supports today’s must-stay-socially-connected-while-watching-TV mindset seamlessly and naturally. The service is driven by proprietary technology developed by Interconnect Media Network Systems (IMN). To Beta test SimulTV, visit www.simultv.com.