10 Things Creators Should Know About The Latest Study on YouTube’s Top Channels

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Undergraduate students in the Internet and Mobile Media Concentration at Columbia College, Chicago recently compiled the 2013 YouTube Study, which analyzed the practices of the 241 most popular channels on YouTube. The study includes information from both independent YouTube channels and extensions of large brands such as VEVO and major record labels such as Universal.

The 175-page report is packed with useful statistics ranging from the median length of a YouTube video, to which types of YouTube creators regularly use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Here are 10 important things from the study that content creators and YouTube viewers can learn.

1. YouTube Comedians Keep It Short, Gamers Go Longer

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For all content creators, the median video length is edited down to 4 minutes and 19 seconds. Comedy and vlog creators have the shortest median video lengths at 3:25 and 4:59 respectively, while fashion/beauty, news/commentary and gaming videos have the longest median video lengths at 7:44, 8:55 and 9:36 respectively.

2. Average Subscribers for Top YouTubers: 1.6 Million

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The median number of subscribers for the top YouTubers is around 1.23 million, and independent channels like Smosh, Jenna Marbles and Ray William Johnson dominate the top 10 most-subscribed list.

3. Descriptions Are Brief

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The median number of words in each video description from the top 240 channels is at 56.5. Authors of the study point out content creators are using SEO extensively to drive traffic to their videos.

4. Top Independent YouTubers Work With Very Little Money

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About 85 percent of the top 100 independent YouTubers featured in the survey work on a “shoestring budget.” Nearly all of them — or 96 percent — shoot with a “single camera” approach.

5. Most YouTubers Don’t Have Credits, Intros

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Not only do most of the top 241 YouTubers keep their videos short, a majority of them — 58 percent — don’t have intros to their videos and 86 percent don’t roll credits at the end of them.

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