The Most Viewed YouTube Videos of All Time and What We Can Learn From Them

Quick, before you go to Google to look it up and before you scroll down, can you name the top five most viewed YouTube videos of all time? I thought I knew at least a few of them before I looked it up, but I was actually way off! After you take a minute to think about it scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave us a comment with what your guesses are.

Now that you have made your guesses, here are the top 5 most viewed YouTube videos of all time:

1. As the only YouTube video to ever reach 1 billion views, “Gangnam Style” by PSY is the clear leader with 1,786,334,569 total views!

2. “Baby” by Justin Beiber and Ludacris with 908,438,231 views.

3. “On the Floor” by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull with 695,802,056 views.

4. “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem and Rihanna with 603,555,222 views.

5. Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO with 577,069,542 views.

As you have probably noticed, all five of these are music videos created and produced by professional artists. In fact, 29 out of the 30 most popular YouTube videos of all time are music videos (the one video that is not a music video is discussed in the section “You Can’t Plan to go Viral”).  Unfortunately, even though some of us dream of it, not all of us can be famous singers who’s videos go viral the moment they are uploaded to the internet. However, there are a few key things we can learn from the success these type of YouTube videos have had. The following sections outline what some of these key ideas are!

Responses and Parody’s

A great way to capitalize on the success of others is to create a video response or parody based off of a wildly successful video. Doing this will allow your video to pop up when people are searching or viewing the original popular video. You may think that the creator of the original video might not like parodies being made about their video, but in reality most love parodies and responses. The more videos are made in response to their video means more people are talking about their video and likely watching their video, so making parodies is great for you and it’s great for them!

You Can’t Plan to go Viral

Unless you are a professional musician who is getting ready to release a highly anticipated music video, never plan to go viral-it just doesn’t work. There is no formula for virality and most videos that end up going viral were never intended to. Take the video Charlie bit my finger as a perfect example. Charlie’s parents simply uploaded the video because they thought it was funny, they had no idea that 6 years later it would be the sixth most viewed video of all time with 571,619,377 views!

You can’t target your videos to everyone so determine who exactly it is you are trying to target and be realistic when setting a viewing goal.

Properly Optimized Videos

In order for you to maximize your reach on YouTube you need to learn how to properly optimize each video that you upload. 

  • Develop a title that is creative, simple, and likely to be searched
  • Select tags or keywords that accurately describe your video and that are likely to be searched
  • Write a simple description that includes several of your keywords and a specific call to action
  • Choose a thumbnail image that will capture potential viewers attention

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