Who could deny that YouTube is one of the shining stars of the 21st century? All the more when knowing that it’s the second most used platform on the blue planet. For many people, watching a video has become a mundane day-to-day activity, just like toothbrushing. Nearly 5 billion videos are watched around the world every day. How about that? And where does such a tremendous success come from? It’s probably safe to say that the diversity offered by the YouTube categories is one of the key factors. There are video types for literally every single taste.
Before we start, we would like to clear up any possible confusion. Whenever we mention YouTube categories throughout our article, we won’t be referring to the classification made by the platform itself. That feature is indeed a little shaky and currently available to only those who upload videos. So no, we would rather take into account categorization as it is in the eyes of the public. A public whose preferences largely determine what YouTube channels decide to deliver. So first, we should see in what sense it matters to connect with audiences through different types of videos. Then we will have a look at the most popular video categories of 2022. Keep scrolling to join our videosonic journey.
Why Do YouTube Categories Matter?
Since ever, many neuroscientists and psychologists have emphasized the importance of categorization for the human brain. That’s just how our minds work. We feel the need to sort out, differentiate, and group together. This basic fact applies to the context of YouTube categories as well. Needless to say, there are also other parameters at play. No doubt that one of the purposes of YouTube is to provide fun and entertainment. On the other hand, it has also managed to become a business medium for many users around the world. Sure, it may not be the most effective way to start with your professional projects. But if you already have prospects and a certain audience, YouTube is a safe bet for nurturing and expanding these relationships.
So anyone willing to create a channel ought to know the ‘winning’ tendencies on the platform. That’s the only way to create video content that ‘works’. With everything said, do you really need to be pragmatic and orthodox in order to be successful? Not at all. Proof? The most popular video on YouTube in 2021 was ‘I Spent 50 Hours Buried Alive’. It was reporting the unusual adventures of a YouTuber nicknamed MrBeast in a … coffin. Result? Already more than 160 million views.
What about you? Which category do you think you can shake up someday? Let’s discover the Top 13 right below.
Comment-based material is among the top YouTube videos. The advent of the internet has motivated more and more people to express their opinions from the comfort of their behind-the-screens. A primordial need to be seen and heard while also sharing arguments. Commentary videos can be about anything. They may be here to show support to the anti-wax movement. Or maybe to protest against the absence of CD drive on most of the newer laptops. You name it. Reaction videos also fall under this category.
Here’s one of the oldest YouTube categories. Even though many music streaming services and apps have flourished lately, nothing seems to replace YT clips. These are not limited to the creations directly promoted by the artists themselves. There’s also a huge amount of user-generated and amateur content, cover performances, lyrics, karaoke material, etc. Plus, the platform gives the opportunity to organize multiple videos within personalized playlists. A great feature for listening to your favorite music all day long without needing to switch from one environment to another.
Reviews belong to the most beloved YouTube video categories. If you wonder why we are using the plural form, it’s because several kinds of videos can be labeled as reviews. Typically, the creator of the video evaluates a certain product, service, or even a company. Influencers are among the best-known examples (think about all the popular beauty product videos). They share their thoughts, in a way, by turning YouTube into a vlog. Indeed, many channels are exclusively dedicated to reviewing. So they keep posting on a regular basis. Most of the time, they are sponsored by particular brands that carry out their marketing strategy via the platform. Unboxing videos are also considered reviews because they show the subjective approach of the product buyer/user.
Review videos don’t have to be necessarily very professional-looking. In the eyes of economists and marketers, what matters the most is their advertising value. Speaking of it, the number and nature of the reactions given to a video (likes, subscriptions, comments) also act as a market thermometer.
Tutorials and Educational Videos
How to assemble a Valhalla chair from Ikea? How to cook the best rice pudding? You got it. One can find any tutorial on YouTube. Many respondents opt for those informational videos when we ask ‘what type of videos do you prefer?’. Informational in the sense that they teach what to do and how to fix anything. They don’t only replace traditional user manuals or recipe books. They also provide mini-trainings in various fields, from sign language to kung fu.
Considering how most people retain visual and mobile information more easily, tutorial videos seem to be a very sound methodology. So much so that some of them are elaborated enough to be labeled as educational videos. Can one really study through YouTube? The answer is still open to debate. However, online learning keeps growing in importance (especially since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020). That’s why many institutions don’t shy away from delivering full-fledged training programs via YouTube.
Interviewing is a communication technique that never gets old. So quite naturally, the most popular YouTube videos also comprise interviews. Celebrities, politicians, businessmen, scientists, magazine editors… One can hand the microphone to literally anyone, on any theme. Some videos also show random people interviewed in the street, usually about hot topics. This allows them to voice their opinions to the masses without having to face the restrictions imposed by television channels. Furthermore, YouTube interviews sometimes provide data to be used for research purposes.
Questions and Answers (Q & A)
Q & A sessions can be part of interviews or conducted on their own. We may also label them as online FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). The principle is quite simple. Most of the time, there’s an interviewer asking questions and an interviewee responding. These sessions can also be carried out as live events with the contribution of the public. People can ask their questions in real-time through the chat section or by connecting with the interviewer. Here again, the ‘guests’ on these videos can be from various horizons. The topics may include politics, technology, fashion, movies, socioeconomic issues, education, and much more.
Best Ofs from all YouTube Categories
Also known as Top Lists, these are among the most searched on YouTube. By whom? Primarily by those who are always looking for the best options before making any decision. It’s a category thriving on comparisons, pros and cons, and purchase suggestions. Think about videos such as ‘The Best Top-of-the-line Smartphones of 2022’. We also often notice these podium-like videos in the case of series, the movie industry, or music. They go by the names of ‘Top 5 Rom-Coms of the 90s’ or ‘The 10 Funniest Scenes in Dexter’. Remember, one of the main purposes of YouTube is entertainment.
Documentaries and Docuseries
The subtitle is quite self-explanatory. In this category, we have the good old documentaries that many people prefer watching on YouTube rather than television. Some are channel-exclusive, meaning that they can’t be found anywhere else. Some channels also propose docuseries. These are just like documentaries but are filmed in several episodes (hence the suffix series). They typically follow an individual, a group of people, or a certain situation over a certain period of time. YouTube documentaries may have various objectives, from common knowledge to marketing (say, companies that film their day-to-day functioning).
Here’s another of the most coveted YouTube categories, especially by youngsters. The video game industry keeps rolling with inexorable progress, coming in more and more shapes and sizes. What we usually see in those YouTube videos is one or several gamer(s) playing a game and commenting on it. They offer a real-time experience to the spectators, almost like a social event where some friends gather together. Some of the channels are exclusively dedicated to one particular game or brand. Some others act like phenomenon-boosters, turning their owner into celebrities. As of January 2022, Salvadorian gaming YouTuber Fernanfloo was acclaimed with a channel uniting 44.3 million subscribers.
Storytelling and Narratives
Many of the most popular types of YouTube videos are based on ‘stories’. Sure thing, there are very classical forms immediately coming to mind, like stories for children. But not only that. For example, there are video creators who read books and newspapers to audiences diagnosed with visual impairments. More generally speaking, some YouTube channels serve as audiobook libraries for various groups of individuals. Their videos often include infographics and animations. The topics can be extremely varied. Within this same category, we also have success stories. These usually follow the journey of entrepreneurs or any other people who have accomplished certain goals.
The challenge format has become extremely popular on many social media platforms lately. Funny or embarrassing, it doesn’t seem to matter, judging from the number of people who love these videos. Simply put, challenges are sort of games in which the participants are invited to do out-of-the-ordinary activities. One of the big winners of last year was ‘Eat It or Wear It’. The challengers had to either eat some not-always-tasty food or wear it as clothes or accessories. Some skincare brands also seem to be keen on this category. Clients and testers expose themselves wearing messy facemasks and other products, competing for a given prize. The goal may be, for example, to use the same products for 20 consecutive days. In short, this is one of the anti-stress YouTube categories, but it may also become a promotional strategy.
Sports from YouTube Categories
One can find all kinds of videos under this category. Advertising about the latest sports equipment, local/national/international tournaments, expert discussions, live events, workout and lifestyle tips… We have a sector that will probably never say its last word, considering the number of people who care about it. Not only do they like watching it, but they also practice it in the name of adopting healthier daily habits. Not to mention the live streamings and replays of big-time events like the Olympic Games. So if by any chance you happen to be in a sportive ‘business’, you can rejoice. You’ve got a good ally in YouTube.
ASMR and Other Energetically Programmed Videos
New Age is everywhere, including YouTube. For the last decade, the number of modern-day ‘healers’ offering their services through the screen has increased remarkably. See the most recent example of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). This practice is known to cause paresthesia or relaxing tingling sensations on the skin. It’s mainly used to combat stress and anxiety. And this ‘well-being therapy’ is now available on YouTube. There are a plethora of comparable initiatives on the platform, from multipurpose solfeggio frequencies to remote reiki. Some channels adopt a more ‘medical’ stance, like, for example, Sapien Medicine. This 11-year old channel supported by 235.000 subscribers proposes some Enhanced Cholesterol Reduction, Kidney Regeneration, and even Facelift. It says to use morphic fields to achieve the desired results. Will those somewhat eccentric types of YouTube videos become the treatments of the future? Only time can tell.
Final Zoom on YouTube Categories
YouTube categories are getting more and more diversified over time. Thus they are certainly not limited to the ones listed in this article. What’s important here is to note down the kind of content and topics most people want to see on the platform. Additionally, we know that preferences vary from one audience to the other. As a current or future channel owner, these are the elements that you should take into account before setting up your project.