YouTube’s top trending videos in 2016: Adele & James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke wins most popular video of the year

According to YouTube, 2016's most popular videos generated 25-million hours of watch time and a combined 550 million views.

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In a year full of bad news from the music industry with the loss of Prince, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen, among others, YouTube’s list of the top ten trending videos for 2016 is a welcome breath of (musically-inspired) fresh air.

The ever-popular Carpool Karaoke series from talk show host James Corden ranked No. 1 with his video featuring singer Adele.

In addition to Adele, two other music-related videos made the list – an “America’s Got Talent” video featuring 12-year-old ukulele player Grace VanderWaal at No 4, and Channing Tatum’s Lip Sync Battle at No. 6 (a video that also includes Tatum’s wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum, recreating a “Magic Mike” dance scene by Channing).

Other top trending videos on YouTube this year included a spot from the popular creator Dude Perfect with its “Water Bottle Flip” video, and a 21-minute clip from talk show host John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” HBO show. One brand, Nike, made the list with its ad “The Switch,” a spot featuring top soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane and Anthony Martial. Nike is the only advertiser to make YouTube’s top ten trending videos of 2016 and its top ten most popular video ads for the year.

According to YouTube, the top ten most popular videos on the site in 2016 accounted for 25-million hours of watch time and generated a combined 550 million views.

YouTube’s Top 10 ads in 2016

1. James Corden Carpool Karaoke featuring Adele

2. PIKOTARO’s “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen”

3. What’s Inside’s “What’s Inside a Rattlesnake Rattle?”

4. Nike Football’s “The Switch”

5. America’s Got Talent featuring 12-year old ukulele player Grace Vanderwaal

6. Dude Perfect’s “Water Bottle Flip”

7. Lip Sync Battle featuring Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum

8. HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

9. Casey Neistat’s “The $21,000 First Class Airplane Seat”

10. Cabot Phillip’s “Brothers Convince Little Sister of Zombie Apocalypse”

YouTube says the channels behind this year’s top trending videos have collectively more than 40 million subscribers.

To commemorate 2016, YouTube produced the following #YouTubeRewind video featuring some of its most popular creators:

In addition to releasing its most popular videos, YouTube also ranked its top ten most watched video ads for 2016: Top 10 YouTube ads in 2016: Mobile Strike’s Super Bowl 50 ad “Arnold’s Fight” ranks #1.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Amy Gesenhues
Amy Gesenhues was a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

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