For the past several years, YouTube has shared lists of the top videos, top ads, and top video game trailers. It gives the YouTube community a chance to see a couple of their favorite videos once again. But it also gives video marketers a chance to review the winners to see if we can glean any strategic insights or spot any trends in the digital video marketing business. A look back at the top YouTube videos of 2015 gives us a chance to do just that.

Well, YouTube has just published YouTube Rewind, its list of the top 10 videos of 2015, the 2015 YouTube Ads Leaderboard, its list of the top 10 ads that resonate with people on YouTube, and the 2015 YouTube Game Trailers Leaderboard, its list of the top 10 video game trailers. So, let’s dispense with the trip down memory lane and get right to the analysis of the latest batch of annual data.

YouTube Rewind - Top YouTube Videos 2015

The top YouTube videos for 2015 were:

  1. Silento- Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) #WatchMeDanceOn
  2. Clash of Clans: Revenge (Official Super Bowl TV Commercial)
  3. Crazy Plastic Ball PRANK!!
  4. Love Has No Labels | Diversity & Inclusion
  5. Lip Sync Battle with Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart and Jimmy Fallon
  6. Justin Bieber Carpool Karaoke
  7. 6ft Man in 6ft Giant Water Balloon - 4K - The Slow Mo Guys
  8. Golden boy Calum Scott hits the right note | Britain's Got Talent 2015
  9. Dover Police DashCam Confessional (Shake it Off)
  10. Mean Tweets - President Obama Edition

Collectively, these 10 top YouTube videos generated 550 million views, and were watched for over 25 million hour. The YouTube channels behind them have a combined 40M subscribers.

So, what makes this year similar to previous ones? For starters, this is:

  • The fourth year we’ve had a Super Bowl ad on the list.
  • The third time we've seen a lip dub make it.
  • The second year that a social experiment video has been in the list.
  • The second year in a row that a video from Britain’s Got Talent has made it.

2015 has also seen the first dance video make the #1 spot, which reflects how YouTube is the Internet’s go-to place for dance fans and music aficionados alike. These days, is all about social sharing, building a fanbase online, and it’s platforms like YouTube that launch emerging artists into the limelight.

  • YouTube is changing the way artists market their music on the web.
  • More on DanceOn: One of the largest online networks on Dance, they have been a one-stop resource for the music industry in connecting artists with the new music video – influencer and fan driven dance videos, full production, brand connections, and cross-platform marketing and distribution capabilities. Just check out their viral hashtag campaigns #HitTheQuanChallenge and #WatchMeDanceOn which have 500 million views to date on YouTube.

2015 YouTube Video Ads Leaderboard

Here are the top ads that resonate with people on YouTube:

  1. Clash of Clans: Revenge (Official Super Bowl TV Commercial)
  2. Hyundai : A Message to Space
  3. Love Has No Labels | Diversity & Inclusion | Ad Council
  4. Boom Beach: Speech (Official TV Commercial)
  5. adidas: Unfollow feat. Leo Messi
  6. Always #LikeAGirl - Unstoppable
  7. Durex - #Connect - Official
  8. Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge - Official Introduction
  9. "Slap her": children's reactions
  10. Budweiser USA: #BestBuds | 2015 Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial

So, after analyzing the ads on the list, what are the big trends? This year YouTube found that:

  • The best ads resonated on mobile: In 2015, more viewers consumed the top 10 YouTube video ads on mobile devices than on desktop computers for the first time ever. The top 10 ads had 470M views in 2015, an increase on last year, and nearly two-thirds of those views were via a smartphone or tablet.
  • Great ads lead to greater engagement: Brand channel views almost doubled this year. Also, subscriptions to those branded channels grew more than 80% in 2015.
  • Positivity abounded: Social conscience was a big part of this year's ads. For the second year in a row, the #LikeAGirl campaign from Always had one of the top ads. Longer form ads from Durex, the Ad Council, and Fanpage also carried a message past the advertising.
  • Millenial Reach: Millennials formed the majority of the audience for the Ads Leaderboard of 2015.

YouTube conducted research into 3,000 campaigns in the U.S. and how the total reach of millennials would be impacted if those campaigns had replaced a percentage of their TV advertising with YouTube advertising. Without spending any extra budget, 46% of these advertising campaigns would have benefited from a combined TV and YouTube push. These approach would have seen an average increase of 42% in reaching Millennials, compared to TV on its own.

2015 YouTube Game Trailers Leaderboard

The top 10 video game trailers had 165.8 million views in 2015 and 4.2 million hours of watch time on YouTube. They were:

  1. Star Wars Battlefront Reveal Trailer
  2. Five Nights at Freddy's 3 Teaser Trailer
  3. Official Call of Duty®: Black Ops III Reveal Trailer
  4. Discover Pokémon in the Real World with Pokémon GO!
  5. Official Destiny: The Taken King Live Action Trailer – Evil’s Most Wanted
  6. Fallout 4 - Official Trailer
  7. Final Fantasy VII - E3 2015 Trailer | PS4
  8. FIFA 16 Official E3 Gameplay Trailer - PS4, Xbox One, PC
  9. Madden NFL 16 | Madden: The Movie
  10. Halo 5 Guardians Spartan Locke Ad

YouTube has also shared some new facts about the Gaming community on YouTube:

  • 30% of gamers on YouTube are women.
  • YouTube is not just “for the kids” - a third of gamers on YouTube are 35 and up.
  • Many YouTube Gamers are now raising little gamers of our own - 47% of the YouTube Gamers surveyed are now parents.

Okay, feast on that. Or, mull the insights and trends while sipping a scotch and watching Nick Offerman’s new yule log video.