How to Win on Youtube: 7 Lessons Learned from Analyzing 1000+ Top Youtube Channels

How to Win on Youtube: 7 Lessons Learned from Analyzing 1000 Top Youtube Channels


Why do some people get millions of views per day while others get none? It’s actually quite simple.

There’s a thousand free tutorials online about things like how to set up and  create a Youtube channel.

This is not one of them.

This is for intelligent individuals who already know how to create a Youtube account and upload a video. Even if you don’t, you already know that there’s a thousand free tutorials online for basic, beginner stuff like that.

This is on how to Successfully Promote your Business on Youtube.

Although I am writing this guide specifically for a business who wants intermediate to advanced strategies on successfully use Youtube marketing, this guide will also be useful for people who want to start a Youtube channel and grow it to a large audience as a personality or brand.

Why this is different:

Let’s be honest. I am not a marketer or want to be.

I am a millenial, who understands Youtube from the consumer perspective and business perspective as well.

I grew up in the social media space. Over the years, I have become a fanatic about social media platforms. I know more about growing a following and the ins and outs of platforms than some of the most tuned-in teenage girls. I have went through the Top 500 most subscribed Youtube channels, all of which have over 1 million subscribers and hundreds of millions of views, and studied all the small nuances people don’t notice ( titling, metadata, tagging, production, engagement, endcard, etc.). I have consumed hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of content from the top podcasts, articles, and paid courses from the top social media experts. These include people who have grown Youtube channels from scratch and helped others grow it. One of those is Tim Schmoyer, who helped a recent gamer go from 0 subscribers and 0 views to making six figures this year and a projected 7 figures (that is over 1 million dollars) in 2016 on Youtube. I enrolled in his $1000 Youtube Academy.

You can find Tim at I have also worked with Derral Eves, another Youtube expert, who helped a young girl who is still in middle school go from zero subscribers to paying off their parents’ large mortgage with her Youtube channel. I recently attended a VIP summit with him which costs $500, not including room, board, and food. You can find Derral at In addition to this, I have watched thousands of videos from Top Youtubers who have made their own 30 minute courses on how they achieved success. I literally sat down day after day and watched anyone who had a Subscriber count of 50,000 or more teach their strategies. These are free on Youtube but I think I am in the top 1% in terms of the amount of advice content I have consumed. People don’t have the time, interest, or patience to go through the tens of thousands of channels with 100,000 subscribers and watch each of their content. I have. I’ve tested and tweaked numerous things myself. And I still do constantly.

I have got some very valuable advice from some of the top creators on the back-end, from Google Analytics personnel to Google’s very own Creator playbook detailing what the analytics and statistics tell you about engagement, their algorithm, and so forth. I have studied other social media platforms in depth and have gone similarly deep. I have gotten some great advice and strategies from some of the top players in these platforms as well. From there, I have seen incredible results in terms of growth on my Instagram, Vine, and other platforms. However, Youtube is my bread and butter. It is probably one of the platforms I love the most.

Long story short: I have consumed an extensive amount of paid and free Youtube advice from the best in the industry and have learned a lot about the business side. I have also watched over 10,000 Youtube videos in my lifetime, if not more, on almost every topic imaginable under the sun: toy unboxing, beauty, make-up, and so on. Why? To learn more about the platform and culture. And because it is fun.

I have run into countless small business owners who want to expand their reach online. Some of them work as a solo act and are paid per hour or per gig for their services. Others are part of a small business but they are not tech-savvy and do not understand social media, making websites, or the internet.

People have been searching for someone to teach them or manage that for them. They realize that tens of millions of eyeballs are going onto social media platforms like Youtube and Facebook every single day.

In this post, I will do a couple things.

Youtube Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide to your first 1000 Youtube fans

Imagine getting thousands of more customers discovering you every month and willing to pay. For FREE. You are missing out on enormous potential. This strategy is all about organic growth. That means that everything can be down for free. It’s all Youtube SEO and Youtube channel and video optimization.

First, let me not lie to you.

This is not easy. This will not happen overnight.

In fact, tens of thousands of customers means tens of thousands of viewers. That is actually tough to get. It takes years of growing your platform online to get to.

So let’s begin with a more tangible goal: 1,000 subscribers. This will equate to maybe 50 to 100 views per video. And will set you up to keep growing exponentially.

A general rule of thumb is ~1% will purchase.

That is still 1 new customer per week assuming you are posting only one video per week.

Again, I am trying to be really conservative here as you will probably get more but we need non-overwhelming goals to get started.

So let’s begin.

Here is a FREE 20 minute video showing you how to optimize your Youtube channel and what potential that holds. This video was made for a comedian who is doing fairly well offline but doesn’t understand how he could utilize social media. For a business or online service that is scalable, the potential is even greater.


What they don’t tell you

What no one tells you is that what’s really important are views, not subscribers.

Subscribers are not useless. Subscribers help grow the channel because they keep coming back, which hopefully leads to more views.

However, for some people, it is better to just create Youtube videos that get a lot of views and drive it all back to your website or capture emails with it to sell them stuff later.

I’ve seen a lot of strategies on Youtube. There’s two I want to highlight.

1) This is my type of strategy. It works well for a lot of fitness or sports topics like Athleanx and quite frankly, my suggested method for everyone who wants the biggest long term benefit. The downside is it takes time and hard work. You really have to enjoy it.

What you do is you treat your Youtube channel has your home base, almost like a blog. You post a high quality video at least once a week for a few years. You use the high-level strategies I will mention later, and your growth will be exponential: the first year will be quite slow but you will have tons of traffic over time.

2) The second strategy is more of a one-shot type thing. It can technically be used in conjunction with Strategy 1.

Here’s the idea: You don’t care about anything: Youtube banner art, channel trailer, etc.

You’re just going for just views. You don’t care about consistency.

To do this, you utilize the highest source of Youtube traffic: Youtube SEO.

You craft titles, thumbnail art, and descriptions that are really good. And you’re aiming to capture a good chunk of search traffic. You literally post when you want and not post again for many months if you want to.

I don’t prefer this one because it’s missing a few elements that might get you more traffic and brand recognition in the long run (years down the line).

High-level Strategies: Maximize Viewers, Subscribers, and Earnings

Here’s a YouTube video explaining the process if you’d prefer to watch:


For Youtube videos, these are the big hitters that matter:

  • Thumbnails (the pictures that show to preview your video)
  • Titles
  • Video content
  • SEO
  • Consistency

Secrets of Youtube Thumbnails and Graphics

Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world. So treat it like a search engine.

In fact, a lot of big channels on Youtube still get a large majority of their traffic from search. (Not every single one but a decent amount)

Therefore, it is important to utilize this.

Do this:

Spend a good hour studying the thumbnails of the best Youtube videos with a large amount of views.

You will notice that they have spent a ton of time crafting them to be eye-popping and engaging.

Imagine having a giant image be displayed under every listing you have on Google. What would that do to search engine optimization? 

That’s exactly what Youtube is like. You are competing with others with your thumbnail, not just your title. 

As you’ll see, the best on Youtube know its power and so they spend an excruciatingly large amount of time crafting eye-catching thumbnails that make people curious and want to click.

The more I study thumbnails, the more I have an appreciation for it.

It’s easy to understand but hard to execute one. Everyone seems to have a bias that makes them think their thumbnails are better than they actually are.

Here’s a video I did on Youtube thumbnails:

Now, imagine reading an article you found on Google Search and having a large sidebar of related articles you can click on that are from other websites not affiliated with the website you are reading right now.

Youtube is even more awesome because you get a free chance to get people to click on your video through the Related Videos on the right. This is the #2 (and sometimes #1) source of traffic for Youtube channels.

The crazier part is that for Related Videos, all you have to compete on is Youtube Thumbnails and Titles. That’s all that you have to get people to click on your video versus someone else’s. That’s why they are so important.

Almost Everyone Gets this Wrong: Proper Youtube Titling

You know how some top bloggers spend up to 50% of their time writing an article on the title?

Well, the same thing is true for Youtube.

Listen to this:

Titles are one of the most important things to your Youtube video:

  • They are one of the biggest factors for Youtube SEO and what people search for
  • They are one of the first things viewers read
  • It can be the biggest think to drive someone to click (you can use curiosity, mystery, excitement, awe, etc.)
  • They can make or break a video. The same video with different titles can get wildly different number of views. I’ve seen results like this all the time with cat videos.

Long story short, really spend some time on your titles. Study other Youtube videos.

Also, there’s a ton of advice out there on proper headlines for titles for blogs. Some of the same concepts apply.

Video Content

Enough said. If your video doesn’t provide tons of value in the form of entertainment, community, story, information, or something else, it’s a flop.

The best measure of this is Youtube retention time: how long the viewers on average stay on the video. You can look this up for free using Youtube Analytics.

Always strive to get this higher as it is probably the biggest factor in determining if Youtube ranks your video really well or puts it in the trash.


Titles matter a large amount. I try to go for two things in a title: Good keywords and phrases that will be searched and an intriguing title that gets people to click on your video to find out more.

You can do both but if I had to choose, I would go with just the former.

There are vloggers who go for just the second one but I don’t recommend this for 99% of people because these vloggers already have large followings and they are now banking of related videos.

For anyone with few subscribers, you want to go for evergreen, search-engine friendly content.


If you’re going for the long haul, this one is huge.

The same thing applies to any blogger.

For whatever reason, the most successful Youtube channels have posted one video per week and done that consistently for years.

Those who drop the ball end up sliding.

Bloggers have done the numbers and the same thing applies to them. In fact, Neil Patel has had to put in 3 months of extra work for the 1 month he forgot to post on his blog.

There’s many reasons why this is the way it is: your audience subscribes for a reason, possible SEO ranking reasons, etc.

The point is it is important for people who want a long-term brand.

Can you still succeed without doing this? As I’ve mentioned, it is. But you will have to go for extremely interesting viral content or evergreen content that is searched very often that you can rank for.

But what about engagement numbers?

There’s probably a hundred other things you may be worried about: what about number of likes, dislikes, comments, shares, etc. on a Youtube video?

Just do this:

Work on the 5 fundamentals I have mentioned. They make up the bulk.

Most people don’t even have those down or even close to decent quality. If you focus on the big wins, the rest will take care of itself.

The other stuff have a minor impact and aren’t worth the effort compared to what I have mentioned.

Only if you are really doing well and thriving should you even consider worrying about the other stuff.

In fact, engagement in terms of likes and comments are close to negligible in terms of Youtube rankings. source: Tim Schmoyer 

Make sure you subscribe to my email newsletter for more awesome content.

I Spend 20+ Hours A Week Studying Successful People
I share my insights every week in my free newsletter.
I agree to have my personal information transfered to ConvertKit ( more information )
We respect your privacy

By Will Chou

I am the the founder of this site and I am grateful you are here to be part of this awesome community. I help hard-working Asian American Millennials get rich doing work they love.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *