The Year’s Top 10 Most-Watched YouTube Videos & Viral Clips

The Year’s Top 10 Most-Watched YouTube Videos & Viral Clips

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Last week we talked about Google’s Zeitgeist presentation, which details the 2010 year in search behavior around the world, and now little brother is getting in on the year-end action.  YouTube has released a report on the most-watched videos of the year, and it’s quite a nice trip down memory lane.

Remember the Double Rainbow guy?  Yeah, he’s in there.  Greyson Chance?  Yup, him too.  Old Spice Man?  Jimmy Kimmel?  Yes, and yes.  Why don’t we start by just watching their video presentation:

Now, most of you probably know how popular music videos are on YouTube, routinely outperforming even the most hilarious viral clips.  So YouTube’s actually releasing two most-watched lists for 2010, one with music videos removed, and one for only music videos.

2010 Most Watched YouTube Videos

Here’s the list of the non-music-video clips that scored the most views this year:

  1. BED INTRUDER SONG!!! (now on iTunes)
  2. TIK TOK KESHA Parody: Glitter Puke – Key of Awe$ome #13
  3. Greyson Chance Singing Paparazzi
  4. Annoying Orange Wazzup
  5. Old Spice | The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
  6. Yosemitebear Mountain Giant Double Rainbow 1-8-10
  7. OK Go – This Too Shall Pass – Rube Goldberg Machine version
  9. Jimmy Surprises Bieber Fan
  10. Ken Block’s Gymkhana THREE, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l’Autodrome

And now the list of only most watched music videos:

  1. Justin Bieber – Baby ft. Ludacris
  2. Shakira ft. Freshlyground – Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) (The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Song)
  3. Eminem – Love The Way You Lie ft. Rihanna
  4. Eminem – Not Afraid
  5. Rihanna – Rude Boy
  6. Justin Bieber – Never Say Never ft. Jaden Smith
  7. Justin Bieber – Never Let You Go
  8. Lady Gaga – Alejandro
  9. Justin Bieber – Somebody To Love Remix ft. Usher
  10. Lady Gaga – Telephone ft. Beyonce

2010 Most Searched YouTube Keyword Phrases

They’ve even got a nice list of YouTube’s most-searched phrases, broken down by month:

  • January – haiti
  • February – luge
  • March – eclipse trailer
  • April – ipad
  • May – eminem not afraid
  • June – shakira waka waka
  • July – double rainbow
  • August – bed intruder
  • September – halo reach
  • October – whip my hair
  • November – firework

But wait… that’s not all.  Not to be outdone by the fantastic interactive-graphic Google’s Zeitgeist presented us with, YouTube has a cool interactive way to browse the list and watch the videos too.  It starts out looking like this:

You can grab the timeline down where the names of the months appear and slide it forward or backwards in time.  And the year’s most-watched videos appear with thumbnails above their approximate date.  Sweet.

You can also click on any individual thumbnail to learn more about the video or just watch it right within this interactive graphic.  And you can click the arrow once you’ve done that to scroll through all the videos in this manner.  Check it out:

Lists like these are great for entertainment–taking a stroll back through the viral video memory lane and having a good laugh once again.  But they’re also great for education.  How can you hope to succeed with online video in the future if you don’t have a good understanding of what’s worked in the past?  There will always be trends that come and go in online video, but the people watching them and the triggers that motivate them to share will remain constant.  Give your audience an emotional reaction to what you’re showing them, and the chances of viral spread increase dramatically.

Try and focus on the big-picture lessons contained in this data, not the specifics.  For instance, any new comedy troop that shows up on the scene with videos taking real-life news footage and auto-tuning it is bound to face an uphill climb–The Gregory Brothers’ “Auto Tune The New” series has pretty much already cornered that market.  However, the concept of “taking a news item and then adding to it or re-editing it” will remain a viable strategy for some time.  Look for the building blocks and concepts that made these videos successful, and then see how you can apply that to what you’re doing and talking about.


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