How Do the Most-Subscribed YouTube Channels Achieve Success? [Study]

How Do the Most Subscribed YouTube Channels Achieve Success? [Study]

What do the most subscribed 240 YouTube channels do that makes them successful? Create great content!  But also, they…

- Edit their videos down to 4 minutes 19 seconds.
Upload 1.25 videos per week.
- Speak at a rate of 150 words / minute.
- Edit at a rate of 9 cuts / minute.
- Type  56.6 words in the video description.
- Post on their Facebook pages at the rate of 0.7 posts/day and tweet at the rate of 2.93 tweets/day.

85% of them operate on a shoestring budget.  58% of their videos didn't have intros (bumpers) and 86% didn't have credits. 68% of their videos end with interactive buttons which direct their audience to their other videos.

These are just some of the highlights from a new, 175 page, in-depth "2013 YouTube Study". A group of undergraduate students in the Internet and Mobile Media Concentration at Columbia College in Chicago explored best practices in using the YouTube platform by studying the approaches taken by its most successful users.  The study focused on analyzing YouTube channels that succeeded in growing largest recurring audiences (240 most subscribed).  If you aspire to build a popular YouTube channel for your internet show or build a brand presence on this platform, you might find this document to be a useful guide.

The numbers above are just a tip of the iceberg.

Let's take video length for example.  The median length of videos of the top YouTube channels is in fact 4 minutes 19 seconds.

How Do the Most Subscribed YouTube Channels Achieve Success? [Study]

Things become more interesting, however, once you break them down by genre.  The videos from the most successful comedy channels have a median length of 3 minutes 25 seconds while successful gaming channels have a median length of 9 minutes 36 seconds.

How Do the Most Subscribed YouTube Channels Achieve Success? [Study]

How Do the Most Subscribed YouTube Channels Achieve Success? [Study]

You can find all sorts of interesting statistics in this study by clicking here - 2013 YouTube Study FINAL.

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About Our Contributing Author - Wojciech Lorenc
Wojciech Lorenc is a professor in Columbia College Chicago where he focuses on Internet and Mobile Media. He presented on the topic of online video internationally and was one of the organizers and lead instructor of the YouTube Creator Institute.


Please Note: Opinions expressed in this article are those of the contributing author and not necessarily that of

What do you think? ▼
  • Suggested By You

    This was a new study and it will drive more users and will help most youtubers to get some idea to get their channel top of the list.

  • Michael Vera

    I love this website. Thanks for the article Reelseo

  • Michael Vera

    These articles are the reason I love Thanks!

  • SearchEngineProfessor

    Misinformation. This really seems like poor and lazy analysis. "58% of their videos didn't have intros" does that mean that if the 58% that didn't have intros started adding intros into their videos that their views would drop? No.

    Does that mean that if 42% took away intros from their videos that their video views would rise? No.

    Seriously this is a horrible article on "How to achieve success"

    • Mark Robertson

      Just out of curiosity, did you read the 175 page analysis?

    • Wojciech Lorenc

      I think that the article makes it pretty clear that you have to start with great content. As for intros, video length, credits, etc. it is useful to know the approaches that the most successful channels take. They tell us something about what the YouTube algorithm rewards, and what the audiences prefer. It is possible, for example, to create great content but hurt your chances by attaching a 60 second intro at the beginning of each one of your videos. Yes, the study requires careful reading and it is not meant to be a simple guide. The online video world is too complex for that.