YouTube is the most popular video platform in the world and the second-largest search engine, with over 2 billion monthly users.
With a quarter of the world’s population watching, various creators cover every topic there is. Make-up artists, filmmakers, gamers, entrepreneurs, and large brands all use the platform to connect with their audiences.
The platform is an essential video marketing tool for businesses that lets individual creators turn their passions into a living. But, as a creator or brand, how do you decide which topics to focus on?
Trends are one way for marketers and creators to get attention on YouTube. By knowing what’s trending on YouTube, you have a unique opportunity to reach new audiences and even “go viral.”
This article breaks down the top 11 trends on YouTube for 2022, why they’re essential, and how you can take advantage of them.
Why are trends important for YouTubers?
There are 500+ hours of video content uploaded on YouTube every minute, making it increasingly hard to stand out from the crowd. Marketers, content creators, solo entrepreneurs, and brands must deliver unique value to attract audiences.
With YouTube, a vital aspect of that value is entertainment — and to entertain, you can’t just churn out content that’s like everything else. You need to be on the cutting edge — AKA, you need to know and master trends.
The Explore page has a Trending videos section that hosts videos currently in demand. It can include music videos, popular YouTube channels, viral videos, ASMR videos, and more. Here’s an example of trending videos from smaller creators in the U.S.
This page can help creators build content around relevant topics. Marketers can also use these trends to inform their content marketing strategies.
Trends play an important role in gaining and retaining viewer attention. They can boost your channel by helping with:
- Attracting a new audience
Getting started on YouTube is notoriously difficult. Often, you end up posting videos a few times a week with little to no recognition. But, if you create a video that masterfully captures current trends, you can end up on the Explore page and in everyone’s recommended videos. That’s a great way to expose your video and channel to a large new audience.
Squid Game is a current example of a trending topic helping YouTubers get attention. While YouTube giants like Mr. Beast and Jordan Matter created their own versions of the games in the popular TV show, many smaller YouTubers discussed other aspects of the show.
Review channel Heavy Spoilers analyzed clues within the show and gained 20 million views in 2 months.
- Trends help creators decide on future topics
Trending videos are a general indication of what viewers currently like. Creators can use the Explore page as a base to decide future topics.
You can take part in a current trend by putting out trend-inspired videos with your spin on them or adapting the trend to your niche and starting a new wave.
- Connect with the target audience
Businesses can use current trends to form genuine connections with their target audiences and humanize their brands in the process.
But be careful. When creating a video trying to show that you “get it,” you had better be sure that you do. A bad take can quickly alienate parts of your audience.
What’s Trending on YouTube? The Top 11 YouTube Trends for 2022
Now that we’ve uncovered how trends can help your YouTube career, let’s look at the 11 top trends for 2022, so you’ll know what to expect:
1. Follower-decided content
YouTubers used to be in complete control of what they created and posted. However, shorter attention spans and a steep increase in competition mean creators must be more strategically interactive with audiences to keep them engaged.
Rather than coming up with their own ideas, brands and creators now use polls, live streams, and comments to find out what their viewers want. Once the results are in, they can make videos catering to their viewers’ preferences.
For example, here’s YouTuber LaurDIY using her Instagram Story to let users make decisions for her. She used the results to let her followers control her life for a day.
Other creator-viewer interactions include comments to let the YouTuber know if they liked a specific video type or topic, polls to decide between subjects, and viewer feedback. Two-way communication before content creation helps harness viewers’ insights and keeps them coming back for more.
2. How-to videos
How-to videos help users perform a task, fix something, or figure out how something works. These videos have been popular for a long time and are often a crucial part of a YouTube SEO strategy.
When you ask a question on Google, especially “how to” questions, YouTube videos often rank above articles and blogs, especially for practical household repairs. Just look at the Google results for the search term “how to fix a tap.”
Tutorial videos became even more popular during the pandemic, with people looking to learn more skills during the lockdown. Videos with variations of “beginner” in the title saw a 50% increase in views between March and July 2020.
How-to videos can help users learn make-up skills, cook recipes, troubleshoot software, and perform many other tasks. Because they show you how to do something, they’re often easier to follow than an article.
Teaching someone how to do something or fix a problem is a great way to build loyalty for both brands and solo YouTubers.
Struggling to create high-quality videos on your own? Our video production services can help you create compelling how-to videos with a professional spokesperson. So don’t be afraid to reach out if you need a hand.
3. Live streaming
YouTube Live is the platform’s live streaming feature that lets creators, entrepreneurs, and brands form a more authentic connection with their audiences. Live streaming is often seen as more authentic than edited videos since the “action,” even for a generic Q&A, is happening in real-time.
That’s a big part of why experts predict the live streaming industry will grow to over $247 billion by 2027. According to Conviva, streaming has been up 266% over the past three years. The company also noted that live video had more minutes per play than on-demand video, averaging 25.4 minutes.
Live reaction or watch-along streams of sporting events have been especially popular in recent years. AFTV is an example of a popular sports watch-along channel, where long-time fans watch the soccer game live and react to it.
Unless something drastic happens, live streams will keep growing in 2022.
Viewers see unfiltered content as a brand’s true image. It opens up live communication via comments and keeps users interested for longer. Unedited conversations and live responses help users build a real connection with your brand.
4. Current events
People relate to what is happening in the world around them. Content that revolves around current topics can boost your videos to the Explore page.
But to capitalize on current trends, brands and marketers need to be agile. The best example of the power of recent events on YouTube was in March 2020, when there was a 260% increase in global views for sourdough videos. With the lockdown baking craze, US stores struggled to supply enough yeast — YouTube came to the rescue.
It’s also an example of how creative you can be when tackling a trend. Most cooking channels jumped on the popularity of sourdough bread on social media and started offering their own recipes.
But some creators dove deeper with topics like “15 Mistakes Most Beginner Sourdough Bakers Make,” “Sourdough Bread For Complete Beginners,” Sandwiches from sourdough bread,” and so on.
Whatever happens in 2022, there will be plenty of opportunities for solopreneurs and brands to capitalize on changes in their niche or local area.
5. Gamers continue to rise
Over the past decade, gaming videos have become some of the most-watched videos on YouTube. In 2020, people watched 100 billion hours of gaming on YouTube.
With gaming’s entry into the mainstream, gaming content like gameplay videos, how-to tips, and montages are expected to grow in popularity.
Many gaming channels use YouTube Gaming to stream their live gameplay and then upload those clips for repeat viewing. Sidemen member, VikkStar123, employs this strategy to connect with his fans and increase his viewership.
Gaming live streams last for hours and give the creators plenty of time to showcase their skills and build a rapport with fans by responding to live comments. Streaming video games is also an excellent way to attract brand deals and sponsorships.
While many gamers prefer to stream on Twitch, YouTube is gaining steam, with 6.19 billion total hours watched in 2020.
6. Shorter mobile videos
Although late to the party, TikTok has changed the video streaming industry in just a few years. Arriving in 2016, it quickly became one of the most popular social media platforms with over 1 billion active users.
To compete with TikTok and help users create more short-form, mobile videos, YouTube launched YouTube Shorts globally in July 2021 and crossed the 15 billion daily average views benchmark in the same month.
Shorts caters primarily to mobile users, who were responsible for 40.9% of YouTube watch time in 2020.
So if you want to reach a young, primarily mobile audience, start using YouTube Shorts in 2022.
7. Video chapters lead to more structured long-format videos
YouTube recently introduced chapters as a new feature for more efficient viewing. Chapters are timestamps on a video that let you skip a particular section.
So if you’re listening to a long podcast or watching a review of a TV show, for example, you can skip to the section you’re more interested in. This has led to more structured long-form videos, often with defined sections.
The YouTube algorithm optimizes for maximum watch time. As a creator, you should take advantage — use clear chapters to keep viewers watching your videos longer.
8. Routine videos
Routine videos show a YouTuber’s night or morning routine, including applying make-up, getting ready for bed, unwinding after a long day, etc. They’re a continuation of the “get ready with me” trend from earlier years.
Creators show themselves following their routine, inspiring users to create their own routines or simply watching them to relax.
Beauty tutorials got nearly 50% more views in 2020 — so it’s a nice trend to take advantage of. Moreover, they’re a great opportunity for creators to attract sponsorship deals, getting paid to recommend products from specific brands.
And brands are willing to pay up since 63% of viewers said they bought from a brand after seeing it on YouTube.
9. YouTube Challenges
YouTube challenges have been around for ages. From the old-school Cinnamon Challenge or Chubby Bunny Challenge to the more recent “One Color food for 24 hours,” challenges are an excellent way for creators of all sizes to attract some attention.
Some challenges like “Try Not to Laugh” are universal and evergreen, but different niches also have their own challenges. Food channels, for example, often have calorie challenges or food color challenges.
Docuseries is a limited video series made in a documentary style. When we say YouTube docuseries, you probably think of Shane Dawson’s series on Jake Paul or Demi Lovato’s docuseries. But there’s a lot more to watch out there.
From history to true crime to sports, these series explore exciting topics, going more in-depth than quick videos.
Docuseries are particularly appealing to those watching YouTube on TV screens. As of March 2020, the watch time of YouTube content on TV screens and CTV in the U.S. rose 80% and 16.5% compared to 2019, respectively.
So don’t be afraid to explore more long-form, serious YouTube video ideas.
11. Immersive Shopping Videos
YouTube has changed the way that people shop. 90% of people say they discover new brands or products on YouTube.
Shopping videos have always been popular on YouTube. From hauls and “shop with me” to gift guides and product reviews, YouTube creators provide viewers an immersive experience into how to pick and buy clothes.
A haul video revolving around a Christmas sale can help viewers understand what a specific brand has to offer and whether they should buy something or not.
The more influence a shopper has, the more potential there is for brand deals and paid promotions.
How does the Trending page on YouTube work?
YouTube shows a unique list of trending videos for each country. It uses the following factors to decide trending videos:
- View count
- Where the views are coming from
- How quickly the video is generating views (i.e., “temperature”)
- The age of the video
- Video performance compared to recent uploads from the same channel
These metrics aim to help the platform find videos that appeal to a wide audience, capture what’s happening in the world, and showcase diversity. It also ensures that the trending page is not determined solely by view count.
You can’t pay to get on the Tending page, and generally, videos with mature content, profanity, and violence are not chosen.
Does trending on YouTube matter?
Yes. To a certain extent. Getting on the Explore page helps you gain exposure to a larger audience and boost views/subscriptions. However, when measuring your YouTube success, your key metrics should be:
- View velocity: This metric shows how fast your video gains views after it goes public. Getting a view count is heavily reliant on the first three hours. You need to publish at the right time and share the link to generate good velocity. View velocity determines how YouTube distributes your content.
- Average view duration: The amount of time people watch your videos, on average. Ideally, this is as long as possible. You want this to be over 50%. So if you post a 10-minute video, the view duration should be at least five minutes.
- Watch time: This shows how much time users spend watching your videos overall. Lengthy live streams help with this. Even if only a few people watch your live stream, your watch time increases significantly.
- Session duration: This metric shows how long users stay on YouTube every session. A video series can boost this metric as a short-form content series can keep users hooked.
- Click-through rate (CTR): The number of people who click through to your video. Your title, thumbnail, and topic all influence your CTR. Trending topics are more likely to have better CTRs, which increases your chance of getting recommended.
YouTube trends are constantly evolving. The key to making the most of them is to act quickly while still being creative and strategic.
Small and medium-sized business owners can use trends to get their products or services noticed by the masses. You can create an effective content strategy for YouTube by scheduling a call with The HOTH today.