Krzysztof is a 10+ year YouTube researcher who spends hours researching, analyzing, and uncovering YouTube trends, challenges, and media.
1. "How to" Videos
If you're interested in finding out how to make something, how to cook something, how to put something together, and how to apply something then this is your category.
- It's a popular category on YouTube because people commonly go on the internet in order to get information on how to make things.
Currently the most common way to find out how to do something is going on search engines like Google or Yahoo. However, YouTube is quickly becoming the go to site for people who want video evidence on how to complete a task or recipe.
An almost hands on experience is one where people greatly benefit especially if constructed via a step by step basis.
Do beware YouTube seekers because there are false channels that may try to trick you into believing they have the answer.
For example the popular channel HowtoBasic looks like a simple cooking guide for prospective chefs and amateur cooks alike, but is in fact a decoy that takes on a completely different form topped off by the suggestive thumbnails for their videos.
For youtubers if your goal is to make videos to inform others on how to do something then this is the category you'll want to look into.
This may include the popular beauty, makeup, and fashion tutorials that have helped female youtubers achieve internet celebrity status such as:
- Michelle Phan and Ingrid Nilsen
This genre can vary greatly but it's easy to understand and will continue to grow as more and more people look into short video sites like YouTube to learn how to do something.
2. Music & Parody
The music genre includes music videos, instrumental, acoustic, lyric videos, song covers, and musical parodies.
When it comes to learning how to play an instrument like the piano or read song notes then that may belong to the "How to" genre, but several topics overlap on YouTube.
- Music is the most popular genre on YouTube with many artists having successful channels due to their status and the songs/music video's popularity.
Many of those artists are part of Vevo, another video hosting service, but typically viewers access them through YouTube.
This genre is excellent for those trying to pursue a career in music as several original youtubers have found success through music covers, instrumental play, and music parodies including channels like:
- PTXofficial (Pentatonix), Lindsey Stirling, and boyceavenue
One thing to keep in mind for amateur youtubers who want to pursue this genre is that it's highly saturated and competitive.
You have to bring something completely new to the table to truly standout otherwise you'll be left behind. Also being an amazing singer or instrumentalist will not guarantee you YouTube success.
Perhaps even more saturated and YouTube's cash cow is musical parodies. Anytime a song becomes popular expect hundreds if not thousands of parodies about them.
Some of the most popular channels in the music parody sub-genre include:
- Bart Baker and Barely Political.
The most successful parodies receive millions of views, but most are overlooked by the average viewer.
Again it's going to be a struggle to develop your own niche within this sub-genre, but musical talent is never going to get shunned entirely on YouTube.
3. Let's Play
Otherwise known as the game genre, it has quickly emerged as one of the top competitors on YouTube heralded by Swedish YouTuber Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg known as Pewdiepie.
- It is the largest rising market on YouTube and has expanded beyond the channel into other popular gaming communities like Twitch.
Considering the YouTube market is catered towards a growing young audience and the fascination of game play commentary, then it's no wonder this genre is quickly emerging as a top contender among youtubers and viewers.
People often ask why someone would rather watch others play popular video games instead of playing it themselves, but that can apply to anything particularly sporting events.
It may be difficult to understand why people enjoy this genre at first but when you realize that buying expensive games and consoles isn't a reality, then you'll see why people prefer to watch others play.
To top it off, the top tier Let's Play youtubers have some outrageous commentary and comedic elements from channels such as:
- PewDiePie, jacksepticeye, and Markiplier
A few gaming creators have expanded beyond the typical Let's Play such as CaptainSparklez and his Minecraft style music parodies.
For new youtubers that wish to dabble in this genre, you'll have to understand the repetitive nature of Let's Plays, the tedious editing sessions, and an endless amount of commentary required to make your content interesting to viewers.
It's not as easy as you think because you always have to change things up and figure out a way to stand out from the 100,000+ gamers on YouTube.
4. Comedy & Prank Channels
This genre includes any parody outside of music as well as comedic skits. Original skits that include music meant to humor the viewer would also place them in this genre.
For example the YouTube channel ERB (Epic Rap Battles of History) uses the musical format of rap, but its content and originality is intended to make us laugh thus placing it in this group instead of music.
Anything that is prank related or meant to fool the audience whether intentionally or unintentionally also belongs here, and this includes YouTube channels like:
- PrankvsPrank and VitalyzdTV
The comedy genre extends beyond real world logic and into animation. Any animated shorts including animation parodies intended strictly for comedic purposes are considered to be comedy.
Comedy is a very popular YouTube genre, and it has worked particularly well in making youtubers famous. This is likely due to the creative potential that exists within this style.
Unlike the other genres mentioned, this one combines entertainment, personal flair, personality, and original productions.
Comedic skits propelled youtubers such as:
- Shane Dawson, Smosh (Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox), Ryan Higa, and Jenna Marbles
Many videos of this genre went viral, so if you're a youtuber who hopes to go viral then this might be the subject to temper with. Of course there's no formula for which video goes viral and which doesn't, so don't expect instant fame.
However if you have a comedic mindset and are extremely creative, then consider digging into this genre.
5. Information & Vlogging
This genre includes any news story or newsworthy event whether local, regional, national, or international as well weekly/daily vloggers.
It also includes channels meant to inform you whether it be on subjects like television, celebrities, movies, or others. Whether you're interested in politics, top tens, or even funny, weird news stories then this is your genre.
Some YouTube channels in this genre include:
- WatchMojo, Vsauce, and Philip DeFranco
Included as a sub-genre is vlogging. If you're unfamiliar with vlogging, then think of blogging on video. Vlogging is as personal as it gets on YouTube because it 's a direct expression of your thoughts, feelings, and opinions to your audience.
It's the most popular sub-genre on YouTube and is often a secondary channel for famous youtubers. However a few have made it their primary source of content such as:
- Tyler Oakley, danisnotonfire, and Joey Graceffa
If you're looking to share your thoughts but rather talk than write, then consider becoming a YouTube vlogger. This will not be an easy task because everyone has an opinion, so think outside the box a little and don't talk about topics already brought up religiously.
Include your own personal touch to anything you say as it makes a world of difference.
A lot of informative youtubers and vloggers use humor to get their point across because it makes them easy to relate to, approachable, and interesting.
Not every video fits a certain mold, but that doesn't mean it's not part of YouTube. The three most common areas of this are reaction, drama, and YouTube challenges.
Popular channels in this mixed bag include:
- TheFineBros, DramaAlert, EvanTubeHD
Many channels in these categories are looked down upon by the YouTube community because they purposely create drama, steal others' content, or cause unnecessary harm due to dangerous challenges.
However that doesn't mean they don't deserve their own space on YouTube just as long as they don't cross the line.
And nobody said drama or reaction channels don't get views/subscribers.
- Drama channels were prolific in 2015/16 but have died down since.
What's always been amazing about YouTube is the evolution of the platform and the emergence of new genres and content that we've never seen before including animated shorts, documentaries, and other cool, innovative projects.
YouTube has revolutionized the online video market, and the only question left is what will come next?
Best of YouTube
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on June 04, 2015:
Thank you, I enjoy watching a few documentaries as well because there's always a couple that are really good. I used to only use it for music but there's so much more to it nowadays.
CJ Kelly from the PNW on June 03, 2015:
First and foremost, I use it for music. Then I watch a lot of old documentaries (history-related). I also have friends who do "then and now" stuff and post on YT as well (WWII-era). Fun article. Voted up.