What
makes
a trend

Human truths behind the
Top 5 YouTube trends

And what is
it that makes
these videos
so popular?

Here, we look at the top 5 YouTube trends from the last year and the human truths that are driving them.

What are millions of people choosing to watch on the world’s largest video platform?

The success
of sequels

Some of 2021’s most successful videos were follow-ups to top-viewed videos.

For example, Sidemen’s third iteration of their “Tinder in Real Life” series was a smash hit, topping the original’s view count by almost 1.5x.

If it ain’t broke,
don’t fix it

WHAT WE LEARNED:

The success of sequels reveals how
viewers are taking comfort in familiarity, particularly amid times of uncertainty.

Once viewers are invested in content they love, they begin to actively seek out more of the same.

Live streams are mainstream

Creators are using live streams to connect with their audiences in real time, making cultural moments a communal affair.

When HikakinTV live streamed his road to 10M subscribers, fans flocked to be part of this emotional milestone. Simple yet heartwarming, this was Japan’s No. 1 trending video in 2021.

Connection tops
credentials

You don’t need big budgets or intricate scripts to captivate audiences.

The popularity of live streams shows that viewers are placing value on authentic and immediate content that reflects real life.

WHAT WE LEARNED:

You play,
I watch

Once a subculture, gaming is now
undeniably pop culture. The first half of 2021 saw over 800B gaming-related views on YouTube.1

Top creators like India’s Payal Gaming inject their personalities into gaming content, from gameplay videos to comedic
highlights.

Create shared experiences to bring people closer

Gaming is more than holding a controller — it’s joining a community.

Digital audiences seek content they can relate to and tribes they can align with, and gaming pop culture provides a colorful backdrop for diverse storytelling and engaging experiences.

WHAT WE LEARNED:

Podcast
enthusiasts

YouTube is now an established podcast destination, buoyed by greater demand for audio content and multisensory experiences.

For example, Singapore’s breakout
creator
, The Daily Ketchup Podcast, has
attracted 28K subscribers and over 2.8M views just six months after its launch.

Show how the sausage is made

The rise of video podcasts shows how viewers are seeking to build deeper connections with the content and creators they care about.

Providing behind-the-scenes access can help to establish virtual proximity for viewers, while offering creators and brands an opportunity to show a different or more intimate side of themselves.

WHAT WE LEARNED:

Short and sweet

Is reality more captivating than fiction?
Millions of people seem to think so.

Jeenie.Weenie’s snappy Shorts about being a flight attendant rake in up to 40M views.

Top creators are tapping into the quick,
informal
aspect of Shorts to spotlight the humor and relatability of daily life.

It’s not what you say,
it’s how you say it

Regardless of themes or topics, this year’s most popular Shorts had one thing in common: they were relatable.

Today’s viewers are looking for content that is unfiltered and unpretentious.

WHAT WE LEARNED:

Go local with country-specific
examples
of these trends.

Discover more here

BY ASHLEY CHANG
YouTube Culture & Trends Manager, APAC

CREDITS
Story: Jess Duarte, Yiğit Yücel,
Shuang Ang & Joshua Chan
Design & Animation: PHQ (Agency)

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Sources