Do you have what it takes to become a top YouTuber?

We analysed the channels of the top 50 vloggers to reveal the winning formula to becoming a YouTube sensation.

19 Jun 2020

In the digital world, YouTubers have the potential to become modern day celebrities and earn millions from their vlogging channels. But, with 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute[1], what does it take to become a top YouTuber?  Is it as simple as having a quality Canon vlog camera and some good content ideas up your sleeve, or is there more to it?

We took to YouTube to investigate what exactly the most popular vloggers are doing to garner such a response from the general public. Looking at the top 50 most-subscribed-to vlogger channels, we analysed the “who?”, “when?” and “what?” behind the most successful YouTube content. Here’s what we found.


Over two fifths of the top 50 YouTubers joined between 2011 and 2013

Have aspiring YouTubers missed the boat? With two fifths of the top 50 vloggers joining the platform in the early 2010s, it suggests that the lucky window of opportunity may have passed. And success doesn’t simply come to you overnight. On average, it took them 4 years and 8 months from launching their channel to achieve their most successful video. 

This said, popular ‘kids’ vloggers, Vlad and Nikita joined YouTube in just 2018 and have risen the ranks to become the 6th most-subscribed-to channel on our list – and they’re just four and six years-old. But, while the child stars are big hits, the average age of a top 50 YouTuber is 24, demonstrating the platform is still dominated by young adults. So, perhaps there is still hope for newcomers. All you need is a vlogging camera with a flip screen to get started.

Gaming builds loyal fan bases, while kids’ entertainment is the real money maker

So, which genre is the best to tap into if you want to succeed on YouTube? When it comes to subscriber figures, 45% of the top 10 fall under the gaming genre. But, while gaming will gain you a loyal fan base of subscribers, viewing figures and potential earnings tell another story. The kids’ vloggers in our top 50 list get eight times more views on the average video than gamers and what’s more, they earn 15 times more than the gamers. To put this in numbers, the gamers receive an average of 3.6 million views per video and earn $28.5k, while the kids in the top 50 amass an average of 19.1 million views on a video and earn $423k.

Looking at other genres, those in entertainment clock up 7.2 million views and earn $112.7k on average per video, and the style & beauty vloggers receive 4.8 million views and earn $106.5k.

The optimal length of a YouTube hit video is 12 minutes and 4 seconds

So, you’ve decided on your genre, but what about the videos themselves? Analysing the most successful video from each of the top 50 vloggers, the average length is 12 minutes and 4 seconds long. And when it comes to the topic? The most popular video of all time is  'HUGE EGGS Surprise Toys Challenge with Inflatable water slide' by Ryan's World, which, as it says on the tin, features Ryan opening eggs with hidden toys inside and playing on a water slide. Many of the top kids’ entertainment videos are of a similar nature, with toys playing a significant role in the narrative.

Beyond the kids’ genre, however, parody music videos or “diss tracks” are a huge hit, often arising off the back of YouTuber rivalry. PewDiePie’s “B**** Lasagna”, Jake Paul’s “It’s Everyday Bro” and Logan Paul’s “The Fall of Jake Paul” are the vloggers’ most successful videos to date.

So, do you think you have what it takes? To get started, it’s worth getting yourself a good vlogging camera, to ensure your video quality is the best it can be. Canon’s PowerShot G7 X Mark II and Mark III cameras are ideal for vlogging, as they come with built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so you can share your content with ease. You may also want to get a tripod, so you can film your content by yourself. Once you’ve got the kit, all you need is a bank of content ideas and a YouTube account and you’re good to go.



Our research is based on a list of the top 50 most-subscribed-to independent YouTubers (excluding any created by already established celebrities, companies and brands). The list was curated using data from Nox Influencer and Cash Lady. We analysed various different factors that can contribute to the overall success of YouTube’s top vloggers, drawing conclusions and making calculations based on averages and comparisons.

Data on genre, primary language, date of account creation, number and frequency of videos, subscriber numbers and view numbers, were sourced from the YouTube channels of the top 50 vloggers. Data on nationality, age and income was sourced from Nox Influencer, with annual calculations made based on average earnings per video and the number of videos the individual posts on average a year. All data was collected in April 2020, which you can view here.



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