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Anyone with an account can share their videos on YouTube. But some ambitious figures have used the site to build their fortunes. Who are they and how did they find online fame? Here are a few of the top YouTubers based in the U.S. in 2020.


Top U.S. YouTubers of 2020

  1. Ninja
  2. Markiplier
  3. Liza Koshy
  4. Ryan Kaji
  5. MrBeast

Tyler Blevins’ fans know him as Ninja. He’s a professional gamer who built his fame by competitively playing games such as Halo 3 and Fortnite. He used to stream his content on Twitch, before moving over to Microsoft’s Mixer service in 2019. Most of his channel’s most popular videos involve Fortnite, and Ninja even had a limited edition character skin in the actual game.

Markiplier, or Mark Fischbach, built his YouTube following by producing gaming content and comedic animated shorts. After his early videos started gaining some traction, he put his academic goals on hold so he could move to Los Angeles and focus more on content creation. The move paid off, as Markiplier became one of the highest-paid YouTubers and even launched a clothing line called Cloak with fellow gaming star Jacksepticeye.

Markiplier is also well known for his charity efforts. His YouTube profile says he’s raised more than $3,000,000 in charitable donations.

Like Paul, Liza Koshy developed an audience on Vine before moving over to YouTube. She uses her humor and upbeat personality to keep her subscribers entertained. Some of her most popular videos include quirky content such as “My Boyfriend Does My Voiceover” and “My Addiction. Thoughts While Eating.” Koshy is also quite popular on television as well, having appeared on MTV’s “TRL” and Nickelodeon’s “Double Dare.”

You don’t have to be a certain age to hit YouTube stardom. Kid influencer Ryan Kaji has amassed a large social media following by offering toy reviews and educational content. Videos like “Ryan Opens Giant Superman Surprise Egg” and “School Morning Routine Expectation vs Reality” offer entertainment for young viewers and their parents. Although Kaji is the star of the show, his family members, including his parents and sisters, appear in his videos too.

North Carolina native Jimmy Donaldson started creating YouTube content when he was 13 years old. After several years of trying to attract an audience, Donaldson finally hit his stride. His first viral hit? A video of him counting to 100,000. His later content involved bigger stunts, including opening a car dealership that gave away free vehicles. And some of his videos, such as “I Donated $50,000 to Ninja” and “Saying Logan Paul 100,000 Times” even incorporate other top YouTubers on this list. 

Don’t mistake this for an exhaustive list of YouTube talent. These are just a few of the top content creators you’ll find on the platform.

Working With Top YouTubers

YouTubers can help boost your marketing campaign in a variety of ways. Whether it takes the form of an unboxing video or a 30-second shout-out, influencer-generated content can elevate awareness of your brand and drive product sales. 

With that in mind, you might be tempted to try to collaborate with the most popular YouTubers you can find. However, that approach comes with its share of downsides, and it’s not always the best path for every brand. Here’s what you should consider before partnering with a YouTube superstar.

They have expansive reach, but often low engagement. 

Perhaps the most obvious advantage to partnering with a top YouTuber is that your brand will benefit from the vlogger’s reach. A video endorsement from an influencer who has millions of subscribers will get plenty of views. And a particularly well-done video might even go viral, circulating on multiple social media platforms.

But there’s a tradeoff. The more popular the YouTuber, the less audience engagement they generate (meaning fewer interactions in the form of comments, likes and shares). So if high engagement is a goal of your campaign, a lesser known YouTuber might be a more useful partner for your brand.

They can be expensive. 

How much does it cost for a single endorsement from a vlogger? The average cost of a sponsored Youtube video is around $6,700. That price is much higher than the average cost of a sponsored Instagram photo, blog post, Facebook status or Twitter status. And when you’re working with a top YouTuber who has over a million subscribers, you’re likely to pay far more than that average figure.  

On the other hand, you can expect high quality work from experienced content creators. And they may not need as much direction as YouTubers who are just starting out. Their success is a sign that they know exactly what kind of content their target audience wants to see. 

If the price of video content seems too high for your marketing budget, consider partnering with an influencer on Instagram or Twitter instead. Both platforms have fewer active users, and content creators on those platforms won’t necessarily need to invest in expensive video editing equipment. This results in lower costs for marketers. 

They can attract negative attention. 

From offensive jokes to dramatic feuds, celebrity YouTubers sometimes generate negative media coverage. In 2017, YouTuber PewDiePie lost a deal with Disney after making anti-Semitic jokes in his videos. A year later, Logan Paul was heavily criticized for posting a vlog that depicted the body of a suicide victim in Japan’s Aokigahara Forest. YouTube responded by stripping the influencer from the platform’s top-tier monetization system. 

Both YouTubers went on to find some degree of continued success. However, these examples highlight the risks a brand takes when it ties its reputation to famous faces. Lesser known YouTubers stir up scandals too, but their actions are less likely to make headline news. Play it safe, and only collaborate with YouTubers after vetting their past work and ensuring their values align with your own. 

With so many YouTubers offering creative content, marketers need the tools to narrow down their search for a partner. IZEAx Discovery can help you find the ideal influencers for your brand.