The Best (and Worst) of the Top 10 YouTube Channels of 2012

The Best (and Worst) of the Top 10 YouTube Channels of 2012

We’ve all read about the “channel-ization” of YouTube. If you’re a YouTube Partner who is interested in building a successful channel, you’ve got to think beyond just getting one big hit. You need to think about how you can build a cohesive channel experience for your audience. Your channel strategy – and your ability to drive subscriptions – will be critical to your success on YouTube.

Well, that’s just great. So, how do you do that?

It would be helpful to have some examples of the best YouTube channels, so you could learn from their successes. It would even be helpful to have some examples of the worst YouTube channels, so you could learn from their failures.

But who wants to read the subjective opinion of some guy who has written a book on YouTube and video marketing? What you really need is an objective analysis of the quantitative data from other YouTube channels in your category.

So, what makes a good YouTube channel good? And what makes a lousy one lousy?

Developing the YouTube Good/Lousy Channels Scale

Back on July 24, 2012, the editors at iMediaConnection.com asked me to write an article entitled, “3 lousy branded YouTube channels.” But, before I could do that, I had to create an objective measure of lousy, since there wasn’t one.

The Best (and Worst) of the Top 10 YouTube Channels of 2012Now, there were three data points that were publicly available for developing a lousy scale for YouTube channels: video views, subscribers, and videos.

I quickly decided against using “video views.” This seemed like a more appropriate metric for comparing individual YouTube videos.

“Subscribers” was a more appropriate metric for comparing YouTube channels. Users subscribe to channels to receive updates and stay informed when something new occurs. Subscribers are consistently more engaged with a brand’s content and watch a brand’s videos on a regular basis.

VidStatsX provides a list of the top 2,000 most-subscribed YouTube channels. It also provides lists of the top 100 most-subscribed YouTube channels in 16 categories and 38 countries. But, YouTube now has more than a million partners from 27 countries around the world. So, are 99.8 percent of their channels lousy simply because they haven’t made it onto one of these charts?

The Best (and Worst) of the Top 10 YouTube Channels of 2012And even if Ray William Johnson has more subscribers than any other host and creator of a popular YouTube series, wouldn’t it be “lousy” if he ends up needing personal/emotional support from Dr. Phil because he’s had to upload 2.5 times more videos to his channel than Ryan Higa has had to upload to Nigihiga to get almost as many subscribers?

This is where the number of “videos” factors into the lousy scale. It provides you with a denominator to go along with the number of subscribers in your numerator so you can do an objective cost-benefit analysis of the other YouTube channels in your category.

A very good YouTube brand channel should be able to generate more subscribers per video than other channels in its category. This means that a really bad -- or lousy -- channel would be one that has generated fewer subscribers per video than its competitors.

This methodology lets you calculate the equivalent of the “batting average” for your YouTube channel. And it’s worth noting that “batting average” is a statistic that’s used in cricket as well as baseball and softball. So, you can use this term in many parts of the world.

The Best (and worst) of the Best YouTube channels of 2012

To test the usefulness of this good/lousy scale, let’s start by looking at the YouTube Top 10 Most Subscribed Channels List. I don’t know about you, but the chart below surprised me.

Video ProducerSubscribersVideosSubscribers/Video
RayWilliamJohnson6,398,44634518,546.2
nigahiga6,291,23213546,601.7
smosh6,248,23126823,314.3
machinima5,344,66122,327239.4
JennaMarbles5,128,36812142,383.2
freddiew3,909,82415924,590.1
RihannaVEVO3,812,9437848,883.9
collegehumor3,305,1851,8141,822.0
FPSRussia3,238,50210431,139.4
PewDiePie3,185,7211,0613,002.6

Who would have guessed that Robyn Rihanna Fenty, known mononymously as Rihanna, would have such an incredible batting average? For each video uploaded her VEVO channel, the Barbadian recording artist and actress gets 48,883.9 subscriptions.

And who would have guessed that Ryan Higa, a Japanese American YouTube celebrity, actor, comedian, and producer, would be right behind with 46,601.7 subscriptions per video? In third place is Jenna Mourey, more commonly known by her pseudonym Jenna Marbles. The American entertainer and YouTube personality gets 42,383.2 subscriptions per video.

The Best?

Based on an objective analysis of the quantitative data, RihannaVEVO, nigahiga, and JennaMarbles are the best YouTube channels of 2012.

The Worst?

Who’s the worst? Based on its relatively low batting average, it was machinima. For each video uploaded to its hub channel on YouTube, the number one video entertainment network for gamers around the world, featuring gameplay videos, trailers, original series, livestreams, and the most up-to-date news for the gamer generation, gets 239.4 subscribers.

So, why does machinima’s channel underperform the others in the YouTube Top 10 Most Subscribed Channels List?

According to the latest version of the YouTube Creator Playbook,

“Your channel’s activity is summed up by your channel feed, your main line of communication with your subscribers. A powerful communication tool, your feed should promote the content important to you, stay updated, and never overwhelm your subscribers with too much content.”

But, if you look at machinima’s channel feed, you’ll see that it uploaded 8 videos in the past 24 hours. And it uploaded 11 videos 1 day ago. And it uploaded 14 videos 2 days ago.

Now, imagine that you’re one of machinima’s subscribers. Would you be overwhelmed to see that much activity from one channel in your Homepage Activity Feed?

I suspect that machinima’s batting average is relatively low because the activity in its channel feed is relatively high. Too much of a good thing can make you sick.

Let me know what you think? Just leave a message in the comments area below.

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About the Author -
Greg Jarboe is president and co-founder of SEO-PR, a content marketing agency which provides search engine optimization, online public relations, social media marketing, and video marketing services.  Jarboe is author of "YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day". He is also a contributor to "Strategic Digital Marketing: Top Digital Experts Share the Formula for Tangible Returns on Your Marketing Investment" by Eric Greenberg and Alexander Kates; "Complete B2B Online Marketing" by William Leake, Lauren Vaccarello, and Maura Ginty; as well as "Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions" by Guy Kawasaki. Jarboe is profiled in "Online Marketing Heroes: Interviews with 25 Successful Online Marketing Gurus" by Michael Miller. Jarboe is on the faculty of the Rutgers Center of Management Development as well as Market Motive.  He is also a correspondent for Search Engine Watch as well as the Knowledge Transfer blog. He is also a frequent speaker at industry conferences. View All Posts By -

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