Being that it is the first week of the new year, I thought it would be worthwhile for us to take a moment and reflect upon some of the lessons learned in 2012. So, for today's Creator's tip episode, I spent some time reviewing the top 10 most-watched videos of last year to highlight certain video marketing lessons that can be learned from each.

Lessons Learned in Video from 2012's Top-10 Viral Videos

1) Psy - Gangnam Style
Seed your videos.  Creating great content and putting it up regularly is only the first part of having a successful channel.  After that you need to be sure to engage with your audience.

2) Somebody That I Used to Know - Walk Off the Earth
While original content is important, sometimes utilizing something else that is out there and adapting it to make it your own can be just as effective as was done with this music cover.

3) KONY 2012
Your video does not need to be short to have a successful video on YouTube.  In fact, many of the new statistics point to videos that are longer than 2-3 minutes are shared more often, possibly because there is more time for your audience to have a more emotional connection resulting in them forwarding the link to other people.

4) Call Me Maybe: Carly Rae Jepsen
Don't worry about creating videos that have all the bells and whistles.  Viewers will more likely respond to a real connection than to fancy effects.

5) Barrack Obama vs Mitt Romney
Be sure to create some videos that leverage events and trends that are hot topics and relevant now - also known as tent-pole programming.

6) A Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Street
Marketing videos do not need to be typical or boring.  If you are using video to marketing your brand, provide compelling content first and then attach your brand to it.  This will give you a higher likelihood of reaching viewers than sticking with the standard marketing gimmicks.

7) Why You Asking All Them Questions
Be consistent with your videos.  Regularly provide your viewers with content that speaks to your channel, brand and messaging.

8) Dubstep Violin Original - Lindsey Sterling
Collaborate more.  Contact other YouTube creators who have skills and talents you do not and combine both your audiences and your abilities to create something original you couldn't create on your own.

9) Facebook Parenting: For the Troubled Teen
Create content that reaches your audience on a personal level and creates an emotional connection.

10) Felix Baumgartner's Supersonic Freefall from 128K
Look at utilizing Google+ Hangouts for more videos.  Create good pre-event buzz and allow your audience to engage with you live.

QUESTION:  What lessons did you learn from the top viral videos of 2012?

  • GiGi Eats Celebrities

    I will definitely keep these tips in mind! I wish YouTube mastery was easier... Its just so hard now that there are 24739874983248936478 YouTube channels out there crowding out the actually GOOD stuff!

  • AC

    "Collaborate more. Contact other YouTube creators who have skills and talents you do not and combine both your audiences and your abilities to create something original you couldn't create on your own."

    This is always the part that seems impossible to me until I'm as big as one of these partners. Everyone I contact doesn't reply. Want someone to compose music and voice act for my cartoons. :-(

    • Tim Schmoyer

      How about you just pick someone you can make a cartoon out of, contact them with a sample video of it, and let them know you'd love to make something bigger for them as a collaboration.

      • AC

        Sounds like a good idea, thanks. :-)

  • Norvegi

    Thank you for great info as usual:)

  • Amit Dwivedi


  • Victoria

    I love this video you did. I often wonder how the top videos perform in the beginning. It is reassuring to see that the Gangnam Style started out slow. The only sad thing is, I don't think it should take a celebrity to talk about your video in order for others to recognize it. There are a lot of hidden gems out there waiting to be discovered. We are missing out on some amazing content I have a feeling.

  • Mark Shea

    how many of these videos, like kony, paid for views to get a viral start?

    • Mark R. Robertson

      I'm just guessing, but I would bet that at least 60% had paid views of some sort. What do you think.