The Ten Most Competitive YouTube Niches and How to Stand Out

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Carla Marshall
January 31, 2024
Top Ten Most Competitive Niches on YouTube

The most competitive niches on YouTube by views over 12 months are:

  1. Pop Culture & Entertainment
  2. Movies & TV
  3. Video Games
  4. Music
  5. Sports
  6. News, Government & Politics
  7. Food & Drink
  8. People & Lifestyles
  9. Science & Technology
  10. Kids Toys & Entertainment

Over the last 12 months, videos published on YouTube have generated a staggering 25.2 Trillion views, according to video intelligence company Tubular Labs. In that time, just under 30M channels uploaded content to the platform to some 50 separate categories.

If we look at the most competitive categories by views generated in the last 12 months, Pop Culture & Entertainment is the clear winner with an incredible 3 trillion views:

Competitive Niches on YouTube

Top 10 most competitive niches on YouTube by views

  1. Pop Culture & Entertainment (3T views)
  2. Movies & TV (900B)
  3. Video Games (721B)
  4. Music (536B)
  5. Sports (448B)
  6. News, Government & Politics (330B)
  7. Food & Drink (131B)
  8. People & Lifestyles (98B)
  9. Science & Technology (59B)
  10. Kids Toys & Entertainment (59B)

If we break down the most competitive categories by videos uploaded to them in the last year, the numbers look like this:

Saturated Niches on YouTube by video upload

Top 10 most saturated niches on YouTube by videos uploaded 

  1. Pop Culture & Entertainment (5.3M published videos)
  2. Movies & TV (3.1M)
  3. Video Games (3M)
  4. Music (2.2M)
  5. News, Government & Politics (1.8M)
  6. Sports (1.8M)
  7. People & Lifestyles (226K)
  8. Science & Technology (223K)
  9. Food & Drink (159K)
  10. Kids Toys & Entertainment (151K)

The categories in both charts mirror each other, which is no real surprise. As we can see, the most competitive categories on YouTube also attract the most views. The more views a topic, genre, or niche attracts, the higher the chance that creators can make money with YouTube content

That sounds like a recipe for success, but as every creator on the platform knows, it’s not that simple.

Speaking of recipes, let’s use the Food & Drink category as an example. We’ve just seen another holiday season come and go. Many YouTube channels published dessert recipes and ideas for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and other celebratory events. 

Let’s say you have a cherished recipe for your Aunt’s chocolate cake that you’d love to rank for on YouTube in time for Easter. It’s a great idea and done well, your content may get some attention, even in the competitive Food & Drink niche.

Take a Closer Look at the Data

You’ll see that just under 19K videos have been uploaded in the last 90 days with the words (and sometimes only the words) “chocolate cake” in the title, tags, or description. 

That’s 19K pieces of generic chocolate cake content that are all fighting for views and engagement. And that’s just videos published in the last 90 days. Your content is also competing with every chocolate cake video ever published on YouTube.

competitive YouTube niches

That sounds like bad news for your potential idea. But it’s actually a fantastic opportunity to create something unique with your channel and stand out from the crowd.

The secret to success as a YouTube creator is to niche down in your chosen category.

In the coming weeks, we’ll show you how to use TubeBuddy and other tools to discover the golden opportunities in your chosen subject category. We’ll look at how to optimize your content, and how to increase your discoverability on the platform. In other words, how to get the YouTube algorithm to see and share your content, even in the most competitive YouTube categories. 

Here’s a taster of the strategic advice any creator hoping to create an impact and increase their channel growth can expect.

How to Find Success in a Saturated YouTube Category

Yes, YouTube is absolutely packed with channels and long and short-form content, and yes, it’s going to take some real effort to break through. Let’s take a look at what that actually means in the following categories:

Pop Culture & Entertainment 

In the last 90 days, 1.3M videos have been published in the Pop Culture & Entertainment category, generating 508B views. If views are divided evenly over those videos (they’re not, of course), that’s 390.8K views per video uploaded in the category. 

It’s the most competitive category on YouTube by far, packed with content from brands, media publishers, influencers, and individual creators. 

Creator Takeaway: Pop Culture & Entertainment is an incredibly broad category that undoubtedly accounts for its popularity among YouTube viewers. Luckily, for creators, there are unlimited topics to create content around. Be inventive and give people a reason to watch your content. Do the research to see what users are searching for and put your own spin on a news story, a new movie, the latest original series from HBO, or a celebrity relationship.

Video Games 

In the last 90 days, 710K videos have been published in the Video Games category, generating an impressive 125B views (176.1K views per video uploaded). Content has been created around games, gameplay, gaming entertainment (e.g. the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie), plus much more.   

Creator Takeaway: If gaming is the only category you have a real passion for, determine what you can bring to the table that no one else can. Get really specific, whether that’s around a genre or a game, and give viewers a reason to watch you and subscribe to your channel. 

Food & Drink 

In the last 90 days, 252K videos have been published in the Food & Drink category, generating 112B views (444K views per video uploaded). 

Demand for content in this category is always in high demand and peaks towards the end of the year as users search for ideas around holidays and other festivities. Creators can take advantage of trending plus evergreen content to attract views.

Creator Takeaway: There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to spin traditional recipes or create brand-new ones. Think of all the approaches you can take as you niche down by food type, location, diet, or cooking method. Post that recipe for your Aunt’s chocolate cake by all means, but make it as special and valuable to the audience as it is to your family. Give viewers a reason to love it. 

YouTube is a busy place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t carve out your own place on it. Just be prepared for a pretty big reality check: viewers aren’t going to tune in to watch your content just because you want to be a big-time creator.

Hitting it big on YouTube isn’t about luck. It’s about work.

If you’re passionate about a topic, love doing it or teaching it, and can find a unique approach, you will attract an audience (and if you use TubeBuddy, you’ll attract an audience faster).

Take your passion to YouTube and make it your niche. Find something you excel at and will become known as a trusted source for. Niche down.
YouTube is a very competitive space, there’s no denying that. Finding your unique thing —  niching down to your zone of genius — is the key to growing your channel, your audience, and your views.

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