Welcome to ‘Through the Wringer’, a regular look behind the curtain of a well-known brand or superstar YouTube creator to see what kind of content, optimization, promotion, and community engagement is working for them. This week it’s the turn of PewDiePie, the most subscribed to individual on the platform, who has broken through the YouTube barrier to become as well off the site as he is on.
It’s been a busy few weeks for PewDiePie AKA Felix Kjellberg. Not only did he make an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he is also at the forefront of the new YouTube Red initiative, making original content for subscribers willing to pay the new $9.99 a month fee. He also just released his first book, and hit the headlines across thousands of sites recently when it was revealed he earned an estimated $12 million in 2014. He’s not only YouTube royalty, he’s also fast becoming part of the mainstream, and is as well-known to Millennials as many pop or movie stars are.
With nearly 40 million YouTube subscribers, and over 10 billion YouTube views, PewDiePie is obviously doing a lot of stuff very right when it comes to making video content. But just how does he engage with his community, and what kind of content is working the best for him? Take a look at your video for all the answers.
Next week we’ll be taking a look at publishing giant BuzzFeed and the phenomenal success it has found on YouTube with its viral video content! Is there a brand or creator you’d like to see us cover? Just let us know in the comments below!
This week we’ll be looking at PewDiePie’s YouTube channel as suggested by these VIDISE-BROS So let’s load up PewDiePie’s channel and see what insights we can squeeze out starting with Content.
Content: PewDiePie AKA “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTpjKeN2Yxw” is the YouTube channel of Sweedish 20-something Felix YouPronounceIt Kjellberg whose gaming channel has more views than Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and Katy Perry.
He’s uploaded almost 2.5 thousand videos amassing a bro army of 40MM subscribers and putting his view count in the 10 Billion range. PewDiePie creates gaming videos of the let’s play variety. Let’s play videos aren’t detailed walkthroughs or reviews of new games, they’re simply a person playing and commenting on a game. PewDiePie wasn’t the first to do this, nor is he the last, but it’s his personality that makes him stand out. As you’ll see by his top content, PewDiePie’s videos tend to be comedic in nature which is a lame way of saying they’re funny. He’s played through a number of popular mainstream and indie games broken up into sequential chunks. (which would be a great name for a cereal)
Each video begins with the same greeting and ends with a brofist to the camera. He also remixes some of the best moments from his playthroughs into montage videos which happen to be the most viewed videos on his channel. Here’s a little taste.
Video games are huge on YouTube, so a little optimization can go a long way. PewDiePie uses the name of each game he’s playing in his video’s titles, descriptions, and tags. Basic boring stuff, but in checking out PewDiePie’s ranking for various game titles I stumbled across something interesting (hopefully).
Because of his massive audience and loyal fanbase PewDiePie is not just a popular channel, it’s become a popular search modifier. Search for just about any game he’s played and you’ll see “PewDiePie” as a suggested search term. So, even though he doesn’t rank on the first page of results for the competitive term “Happy Wheels”, you’ll see that enough people add pewdiepie to the search for it to be a suggested term. If you search for that you’ll get 78 PewDiePie videos in the first 5 results. Just goes to show that a strong personality can be a keyword strategy.
Like most pro YouTubers PewDiePie knows how to keep people watching. He ends most of his videos with an end card that promotes other videos in the series while encouraging you to subscribe or become a bro. He also does a great job of adding plenty of video and playlist links in his descriptions.
Speaking of playlists, PewDiePie has them organized both by video style and by game which is a great way to keep people watching. All this stuff is great but let’s cut the crud, his biggest promotion source is clearly his…
PewDiePie has a gigantic, loyal community he calls bros or the bro army according to the PewDiePie wiki. THe fact that there is a PewDiePie wiki only confirms the fact that he has super loyal fans. His average engagement rate on his entire channel is 5.1%, but he also creates content specifically to engage with his community and answer their questions from his mail bag every friday.
His video “Things you didn’t know about me” has over 329k comments. I hope he turned off his notifications.
The Verdict: PewDiePie has turned YouTube into his own massive multiplayer online game, and he has the high score. There’s so much more to talk about when it comes to PewDiePie’s success that I couldn’t fit into this video, but I’ll move the conversation into the comments section below.
If you enjoyed this review, please like it, share it, or watch another one and be sure to subscribe because next week I’ll be reviewing BuzzFeed. I can’t wait to find out which Disney princess I am!