Building a following of loyal YouTube subscribers is hard work. With more than 31 million YouTube channels spanning practically every conceivable niche and more than 500 hours of video uploaded to the platform every minute worldwide, standing out from the crowd is key for attracting new subscribers. But as video marketing is one of the most effective ways to build brand awareness, the effort it takes to promote your channel and grow your YouTube subscribers can pay off handsomely.
But how exactly do you go about growing your YouTube subscribers on such a crowded and competitive platform? To learn more about how some of the biggest brands on YouTube engage their audiences and grow their subscribers, we reached out to a panel of digital marketers and YouTube marketing experts and asked them to answer this question:
“What’s your favorite example of a smart brand growing YouTube subscribers?”
Meet Our Panel of Digital Marketers & YouTube Marketing Experts:
Read on to discover what our experts had to say about their favorite examples of smart brands growing YouTube subscribers and learn about the most effective YouTube growth strategies you can replicate.
Tal is the Co-founder of Condo Wizard. As a co-founder of the company, it’s his responsibility to get his hands on marketing and branding — especially in the earlier stage.
“My favorite example of a smart brand growing YouTube subscribers is The Futur, which has accumulated 1.18 million subscribers (and growing). They have a solid brand because their viewers know that they put out quality content, which is clear from the comments. So when I think of The Futur, I think of quality information.
This is why I firmly believe that in order to grow a brand, you need to put out good content. It creates trust and (in a way) helps brands bond with their audience. The Futur has done this from the beginning. They were testing out content on Twitter and Instagram and if they saw that it did well, they put it on YouTube.
Lastly, their aesthetics are amazing. When I look at their channel, it feels like everything is smooth, from what I see to Chris’s voice.”
Charles McMillan is a businessman and founder of Stand With Main Street.
“One of the smart brands that’s continuously growing its YouTube subscribers is LEGO. Every day, the company runs programs to inspire users to share their posts. For example, the ‘Build It Together’ campaign encouraged fans to make a Christmas present for others out of LEGOs. Fans upload videos or photographs of their creations for a chance to be featured.
LEGO even invites its fans to start their own channels. By doing so, the company is able to take advantage of the current levels of interest among fans. Lots of people listen to certain fan streams.”
Karthik Subramanian is a Senior content manager at Picmaker. He started his career as an equity research analyst 15 years ago and has moved on to different content marketing roles. He has an undying hunger for understanding the Japanese culture and helping people make career decisions.
“My favorite brand on YouTube is Marvel Entertainment because they are quite smart in how they go about promoting their movies on YouTube. YouTube is an unforgiving place. You can easily get lost in the tons of videos available. But, Marvel Entertainment is in the business of movie-making, and they know what works with their fans. They know exactly what thumbnails to create for their videos, how to create click-worthy titles for their videos, and how to keep their YouTube banner constantly updated.
Otherwise, how could any brand have 17 million views on a 2-minute video? It’s true that they have spent millions of dollars to produce a movie, and they’re using YouTube as an advertisement platform. But, one thing other YouTubers can take away from Marvel Entertainment’s channel is how vivid and clean their thumbnails are. Their imagery is sharp, and they have minimal text on their thumbnails. Marvel Entertainment also creates YouTube videos with mind-boggling consistency. They post a YouTube video almost every day, which goes to show how much they value YouTube to drive revenue for their movies.
To sum up, YouTubers have only three things under their control to be successful on YouTube, and they are:
- An awesome YouTube banner
- YouTube thumbnails that are not click-baity; rather, you get what you see
- The headlines are catchy and relevant, and the text on the thumbnail is a shortened version of their video titles
Marvel Entertainment excels at all three, and that is why they have 15 million subscribers and growing.”
Kate MacDonnell is the CMO of Coffee Affection. They’re a company that revolves around everything coffee — from different kinds of beans to the latest in coffee tech. As a CMO, Kate is constantly looking at other brands for new and exciting ideas for growth.
“One of my favorite brands on YouTube is definitely Dr. Sqautch. They currently have over 57K subscribers and their most-viewed video has over 114 million (yes, million!) views. How is that possible for a men’s soap company?
Well, they incorporate humor and a strong brand voice to drive their message home that really resonates with their audience. Typically, people don’t love to interact with brands on social media. That’s just the sad truth. But Dr. Squatch is a great example of how smart, agile marketing can drive up engagement like nothing else.”
Mike Thompson is the CEO & Direct Lender at Hyperlend.
“One of my favorite examples of a YouTube channel with smart branding growth is Artzie Music. They currently have more than 404k subscribers and have a dedicated following. It is a promotional channel run by music enthusiasts. In 2011, the channel started as a simple showcase of music that they loved and wanted to share. Since then, interest has continued to grow, and they started sharing even more artists with the world. Artzie Music’s best tactic is that they give likes and respond to as many comments as possible. This is called engagement. They aren’t shy about their appreciation for their fans, which is brilliant. Apart from this, they regularly post videos, which is a great way of increase subscribers.”
Vincent D’Eletto is the Founder & CEO of WordAgents, an SEO company that provides revenue-boosting content for companies that range from J.D. Power to Alpha Investors.
“When one third of total time online is spent watching videos, YouTube marketing is one of the best investments a company can make. It’s also the second largest search engine in the world, which is no small matter.
Amazon’s Alexa channel is one of my favorite smart brands with a thriving Youtube subscriber list — 75.3K. Their team consistently puts out short, on-brand informational videos featuring live actors, which are simple, proven strategies in YouTube marketing.”
Bryan is the Head of Marketing for In Motion Marketing.
“One of the best commercial makers on the internet is Flex Seal. They’ve grown their channel just by one-upping their own product demonstrations. People subscribe for the curiosity of what they’ll do next, but they stick around for entertainment. This combination of curiosity and entertainment has served Flex Seal well, netting them over 550K subs over a period of nine years.”
Khunshan S Ahmad
Khunshan S Ahmad is a Marketing Executive at The Stock Dork. The Stock Dork teaches investors and online businesses about the ins and outs of making real money, including from social media.
“Being one of the most popular gaming consoles since its inception back in 1985, it should come as no surprise that Nintendo is the second most viewed brand channel on YouTube right now. Though relatively new to the YouTube landscape, it is quickly establishing itself as one of the most interactive and growing channels on the platform. With 7.81 million subscribers, its average video views range from 500,000-600,000 per video. The channel regularly uploads trailers and live gameplays, and they also host web series, which can be found in the playlist section. The most popular series on the channel is Nintendo Minute, which showcases unboxing and gameplays of new products.
Italian Football TV is a channel run by Italian Americans who aim to bring everyday Americans closer to Italian football (soccer). It’s a group of four people that you frequently see on every week’s podcasts, but usually, it’s Mike Kantaris and Marco Messina running the channel. The YouTube channel was started in 2015 and already has close to 50K subscribers. Apart from podcasts, they bring up English interviews with players, agents, and journalists to keep fans updated with the latest news. Because of the language differences, the growth of Italian football is limited, and IFTV is trying to break that by bringing first-hand updates to their YouTube and social media channels, all translated into English.”
Thomas Sorheim is the Founder of LeisureHiking.com. He is a Norwegian serial entrepreneur with a diverse background in IT, marketing, and tourism. His current aim is to build LeisureHiking.com to become the best hiking resource for beginners.
“I recently came across a company doing — in my opinion — everything correct in terms of YouTube and brand building online: Lush Cosmetics. Lush uses its channel to show how their products are made and how they are used, and they also invite their customers and viewers to build a relationship with their employees and the brand.
Lush Cosmetics succeeds in showcasing its products in a positive light, while at the same time showing us a company that focuses on diversity and sustainability. Their videos are well-edited, short, snappy, and to the point! After watching them, you simply want to buy their product and support such a great company.
Lush Cosmetics is a transparent, sustainable, and diverse company, and their YouTube channel is built around those values. At almost 400K subscribers, I would say Lush is doing very well with their YouTube marketing.”
Roy Morejon is the president and co-founder of Enventys Partners and a serial entrepreneur and thought leader in digital marketing.
“Some of the most consistent brands that maintain audience engagement on YouTube are Disney, Google, and Amazon Prime.
A new contender I see is Kroger. They have an enjoyable theme, quick commercials, offer information to the consumer about the benefits of shopping at Kroger, and have an overall memorable viewing experience.”
Jill is a Founder at Constant Delights, the blog about home and gardening. Gardening helps calm your mind and improves your well-being.
“I have been following Safiya Nygaard, a US-based content creator who left BuzzFeed and started her own YouTube channel some time ago. Her channel has been growing at a tremendous rate because of her unique makeup skills and her life blogs. Her most famous video, featuring the melting lipsticks from Sephora, has amassed 28 million views and counting. She also made a video about why she left BuzzFeed, which helped her channel gain exposure to the masses and the public. She has gained over 9 million followers from when she started and shows no signs of slowing down as her experiments keep getting crazier and more aesthetically pleasing.”
Matt Erickson is the Marketing Director at National Positions.
“My favorite approach to building a true following on YouTube has been that of Gary Vaynerchuck. While many have their gripes with Gary Vee for being too brash, he is the quintessential template of someone who consistently created content, in his own voice, and built a following from the ground up. While he does listen to the public (or the market as he calls it), he remains true to who he is and what his content is dedicated to — as it pertains to his personal and company brand. He is not for everyone, and he knows that and is fine with it. He has no intention of chasing vanity metrics or pleasing everyone.
Gary Vee also constantly tests types of content, from long-form keynote speeches to short inspirational trailers of his thoughts. He (and his team) are always trying out different flavors when it comes to content. Did his following happen overnight? Absolutely not, which is why his approach has been so effective. It is genuine, and so are his subscribers.”
Kevin Miller is the Co-Founder and CEO of GR0. He is a growth marketer with an extensive background in SEO, paid acquisition, and email marketing.
“Kati Morton turned her practice in the mental health field into a sizable platform to amass greater wellness and mental health awareness online. Through varying topics from coping with emotional and mental traumas to finding your stride in remote work, Kati Morton has managed to garner over 800K subscribers and millions of views by turning her expertise into one of the fastest-growing YouTube brands in the market.”
Alex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal Digital Marketing Agency, based in Atlanta, GA. He has been named Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Small Business Person of the Year and Digital Marketer of the Year by Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). Cardinal uses digital marketing including SEO to ignite client growth.
“GoPro is an excellent example of a smart brand that exponentially grown its brand on YouTube. GoPro generates compelling, engaging content that attracts viewers and subscribers. Even better, the content is directly tied to their products, making the strategy a grand slam in terms of capturing market share. Back in 2014, The Touchstorm Video Index ranked GoPro as the fifth biggest brand on YouTube.
What’s impressive is they’ve continued to grow their channel and consistently produce content that generates massive numbers of views. Their “GoPro: Best of 2020 – Year in Review in 4K” video has generated 1.1 million views in just 4 months.
GoPro’s strategy has evolved over the years, including celebrity and influencer partnerships. For example, pro dancer and TV personality Derek Hough has promoted GoPro and their #HyperSmooth 4K video technology to make unique dance videos and other content. Derek Hough’s own YouTube channel has 100K subscribers, making him a great athlete to partner with. He brings an audience that might not otherwise be watching GoPro’s content.”
Chelsea Cohen is the Co-Founder of SoStocked.
“The YouTube channel for HubSpot has changed and begun to grow to include a wider audience. HubSpot used to only cover things that would interest those into inbound marketing, but they’ve changed their approach to include more entrepreneurs and marketing in different fields. Their changed approach showed them great results with a huge increase in subscribers and video views.”
Sam Shepler is the founder and CEO of Testimonial Hero — a 7-figure location-independent services business. He is a career entrepreneur with 1X previous acquisition. 150+ B2B revenue teams at Google, UiPath, Medallia, InsightSquared, and many others use Testimonial Hero to easily create customer videos that engage prospects, reduce friction in the sales cycle, and drive more revenue faster.
“A YouTube channel only needs to put out good and relevant content for it to be successful. Such was the case for the tech reviews channel by Dave Lee, Dave2D. I started following the Canadian YouTuber when he started uploading reviews in 2015. At that time he had a few hundred followers, but I knew his clean, short, and straight-to-the-point content would make him a star. Nearly six years later, he has over 3 million subscribers.
The YouTube tech audience is huge, but he really set himself apart with his white-and-cyan, on-the-go tech enthusiast aesthetic versus the gaming-heavy channels that were all the rage at the time. He managed to build his following by keeping the length of his content short and relatable, and he maintained his integrity when doing reviews of products sent to him by brands. He earned the trust of his audience, and that is why his following is still growing.”
Tyler Forte is the Co-Founder & CEO of Felix Homes, a company striving to create a financially responsible way to buy or sell a home. Prior to starting Felix, he was a venture capital investor in New York where he was tasked with sourcing early-stage technology companies.
“One example of a smart brand growing YouTube subscribers is Neil Patel. He is a digital marketing entrepreneur and founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar, and he has formed and sold several other successful companies. Through his YouTube channel, he educates his audience by sharing in-depth content about digital marketing, SEO, entrepreneurship, and blogging. He has a dedicated audience because his advice is actionable, he posts consistently (two to three times per week), and he always seems to be ahead of the game with industry news. He also uses consistent branding and his image on the cover of every YouTube video to make his content more personable and relatable.”
Max Harland is the CEO of Dentaly and a digital marketing expert. A business leader by day and a family man by night, Max believes in leading a balanced life anchored by health and happiness.
“Bodybuilding.com is highly popular among fitness enthusiasts. Their main USP is informative content that provides real value to viewers. For anyone planning to pack on some muscle or achieve their dream physique, Bodybuilding.com is the go-to YouTube channel. The best thing is that they house a team of highly qualified and certified fitness experts to provide knowledgeable content to viewers. With over 5 million subscribers, Bodybuilding.com is a leader in the fitness space. If I view their YouTube growth, there are two things that I observe from my lens. First, it creates informative and valuable content. Second, it creates high-quality videos that drive instant attention. Both these aspects combine to give wings to its YouTube presence.”
Mary Brown, Marketing Director at MerchantMaverick.com, has been in the digital marketing field for more than 15 years. She pursues a customer-centric focus to help small business owners searching the internet match up with the perfect product, service, and/or solution.
“In terms of content creators, there is arguably an oversaturation of video game streamers. Standing out and building a following on YouTube (not just on Twitch) can prove problematic, especially if you happen to specialize in a niche game. But in this case, a Mario Maker streamer by the name of Ryukahr gained a huge following on YouTube (over 660K subscribers — far outpacing similar content competitors) once he understood who his target demographic ACTUALLY was and catered to it.
His earliest content on YouTube is more adult (i.e., profanity, suggestive remarks). Then, the tone starts to shift as Ryukahr’s content becomes more family-friendly. If you spend any time reading the YouTube comments or fan-based forums, you quickly realize many of his followers remark how much their kids love watching Ryu play. It’s clear he realizes this, pays attention, and tailors his content to it.
He also interacts with the audience in his videos (and YouTube live-streams) with direct appeals for subscribership that are mixed with earnest questions to his audience (i.e., Did you like this? Should I do more? What do you want to see?). Then he follows up on those audience suggestions (this is key — it isn’t just lip service).
All in all, it’s been an interesting example of organic subscriber growth driven by personality, talent (he is a skilled gamer), and genuinely connecting with his audience.”
Stephan Baldwin is the founder of Assisted Living Center, a company providing marketing services to over 19,000 senior communities across the US. He has more than 17 years of experience in digital marketing and lead generation and has used this experience to build a network of online businesses that are at the forefront of their industries.
“The CoComelon YouTube channel provides educational songs and nursery rhymes through beautiful 3D animation of characters who go on adventures that young children can relate to. Their videos are beautiful, clean, and very organized. They even have videos that have been translated to other languages like Portuguese, Spanish, and Arabic.
CoComelon currently has 110 million subscribers and growing. Views of all their videos consistently go into the millions.
CoComelon is a smart brand because it is focused and cohesive, and it sticks to what they are good at, what works, and what its target audience is looking for. Their videos get children truly involved, plus children not only learn songs and rhymes that impart math, reading, and science concepts but also life and social lessons for the whole family. It’s truly a family affair.”
Christopher Moore is the CMO of Quiet Light, an entrepreneur-led and entrepreneur-focused company devoted to helping people buy and sell their internet businesses.
“A great example of a brand growing its subscribers on YouTube is Disney. True, they have the advantage of being one of the biggest corporations in the world, but that doesn’t make their strategy any less smart. Although they don’t put their full movies on their channel, they do a great job of sharing behind the scenes content as well as advertisements for their upcoming projects. They strike an excellent balance of regularly uploading content without overdoing it, making their viewers excited about the brand and its future plans.”
Chris Riley is the Co-Founder and CEO of USA Rx.
“My favorite brand on YouTube that is doing a great job of growing its subscriber base is BMW. Instead of trying to appeal to the broadest audience possible, they have leaned into the niche of car enthusiasts.
By providing a high-quality channel for this niche, they are able to grow their brand without straying from their specific area of expertise.”
James Idayi is the CEO of Cloudzat.
“Among my favorite YouTube channels, 5-Minute Crafts is the most favorite as it offers something to learn and DIY. Here are a few tips for successfully growing YouTube subscribers followed by 5-Minute Crafts and other successful brands:
- If there’s a place to enter a word(s) try to use Google-friendly keywords.
- Viewers mostly stop scrolling when they see attractive thumbnails, so use eye-capturing custom thumbnails.
- Viewers must have a takeaway after viewing the video; otherwise, they won’t be interested in visiting your channel again. So, it’s a must to provide real value in each and every video.
- Have a playlist by grouping your videos in topic, language, field, etc. to encourage viewers to spend more time on your channel.
- Hosting videos related to holidays and current events can garner more new viewers/ subscribers to your channel than any other video.
I have seen the above techniques followed by almost every video channel that wants an exponent increase in their subscriber counts, and they’re often successful. Furthermore, techniques like social media promotion, meta tags, etc. can help to boost subscriber growth, too.
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