The Year in Video Eating Itself

Search trends find YouTubers using YouTube to make more YouTube

Published December 30, 2023

With over 200 million creators, in a market with a value of $21.1 billion, the content-industrial complex has defied the naysayers and arrived as a mature industry. But in an economy where most people are focused on securing the bag at all costs, the average creator takes at least six months to earn their very first dollar. 

Put those factors together and a question emerges: Is it more lucrative to create content, or to make content about making content? A look at the latest YouTube trends suggests that we’re not the first to wonder.

What’s on the list?

According to Exploding Topics, these are some of the most notable YouTube video trends, based on five-year search growth (don’t worry about the math; we can’t make sense of it either).

  1. YouTube Shorts (7,500%)
  2. Try On Haul (280%)
  3. Lofi Music (427%)
  4. TikTok Compilation (1,633%)
  5. Blox Fruits (99x+) 
  6. VTubers (1,867%)
  7. Faceless YouTube Channels (4,400%)
  8. Coco Melon (500%)
  9. Lanky Box (6,100%)
  10. GameToons (7,500%)

Now, of course, half of this list is topics that interest the youths – no one can watch the same mind-numbing videos on repeat better than they can. But let’s pay closer attention to the other entries. 

YouTube Shorts. We know this is an example of content being consumed by content creators. After all, a video consumer would search for the topic they’re interested in, not search for “YouTube Shorts” itself. Not surprisingly, the search turns up lots of content on how to monetize this type of video. 

Either way, it’s no coincidence that YouTube shorts are a viral topic. Not only are they short, palatable videos that suit any attention span, but they can also be profound marketing tools for businesses and individuals. In fact, experts assert that “73% of consumers prefer to watch a short video to learn about a new product or service.” This gives existing or hopeful content creators plenty of reasons to search for and consumer such content. 

Faceless YouTube Channels. Again, there are presently dozens or even hundreds of articles and videos detailing how to make money from such videos (would it surprise you to learn they dovetail nicely with generative AI?). The appeal is clear: In the present age of anxiety and social awkwardness, who wouldn’t gravitate toward faceless videos? Posting content without worrying about my mannerisms, idiosyncrasies, and physical appearance? No danger of being bullied or harassed? Yes please.

Vtubers. This new genre involves content creators who use virtual reality avatars to create content – Faceless YouTube with a twist. The segment is potentially lucrative, which is why so many are searching for the term in general; as with the previous searches, the top trending “Vtuber” videos are mostly videos about Vtubing.

Lofi music. This one’s a little less direct, but still deserves an honorable mention. Since the 2010s, tons of people pile up on live streams daily to catch a relaxing vibe, resulting in an explosion of lofi music channels. But lofi is by no means the only type of relaxing music; the fact that it’s still such a trending topic seems once again to point to the notion that people are watching for ideas on how to create and develop their own channels. Of course, there are plenty of videos to teach you to start your own lofi channel, but literally any creator might be looking for royalty-free music to set the mood on their own videos.

What’s next for 2024? Will it be the year when society finally succumbs to nostalgia for the days when there were only three TV channels? Probably not, but we’ll keep an eye out anyway.