Here Are the Most-Watched Influencer Campaigns of 2018

By Carla Marshall · January 16, 2019

Here Are the Most-Watched Influencer Campaigns of 2018

2018 was a phenomenal year for influencers on social video. On YouTube alone, 18.8 trillion total views were generated on influencer campaigns last year, while views on Facebook attracted a staggering 7.5 trillion views. Using Tubular data, we take a look at some of the biggest influencers across a number of genres, and the brands they worked with in 2018.

Influencer Campaigns: Online Video in 2018

Before we take a deeper dive into the stats, here are the high-level numbers for influencer campaigns last year:

  • 5.1M influencer accounts uploaded 902M videos to YouTube.
  • YouTube influencer channels saw a 3.9% growth in followers and subscribers in 2018.
  • There are 137B followers of influencer Pages on Facebook.

To be as transparent as possible, we broke down some select influencer genres — sports, gaming, and beauty — by influencers that had officially partnered with brands via a sponsored video campaign. As the industry leader, Tubular publishes a weekly leaderboard on who’s winning in the world of sponsored video, and our DealMaker product tracks thousands of sponsored video campaigns from global brands and media companies.

Top Influencers on Social Video: Sports

For sponsored video collaborations in sports, a staggering 3.6B Facebook video views were created by 3,362 media and entertainment publishers and influencers in 2018. The most-viewed publisher, Bleacher Report, generated 176M views on behalf of brand sponsors, followed by The Players Tribune (144M views), The UEFA Champions League (97.3M views), and The FIFA World Cup (84.6M views).

EA Sports FIFA was the brand that benefited from the most sponsored Facebook views generated with 70.3M, followed by Hyundai Worldwide (47.8M), and Gatorade (39.1M). We can confirm the most-viewed sponsored sports videos on YouTube in 2018, ranked by views, generated in the first 3 days (V3) were:

  1. Lanson & Wimbledon – the perfect partnership! V3 9.7M
  2. Deadpool 2: United takeover V3 8.2M
  3. Rolex and Angelique Kerber V3 2.8M

Rolex made an appearance in the top sponsored video charts a few times thanks to multiple campaigns related to popular sporting events like Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. The Swiss watch brand teamed with both Wimbledon and Champagne producer Lanson on content around the world-famous tennis event.

Theatrical marketing juggernaut Deadpool 2 was all over the internet in spring 2018, capturing the public’s attention with a range of innovative promotional stunts. The Deadpool 2 marketing team partnered with the legendary Manchester United in a “takeover” over of the UK soccer team. At #2 in the list of most-viewed sports sponsored videos, the footballers are pretty unimpressed as Deadpool (played by Ryan Reynolds) forces every player to wear a shirt with “Deadpool 2” on the back. The upload generated 8.2M sponsored video views.

Top Influencers on Social Video: Gaming

Sponsored content created around gaming on YouTube attracted 2.5B views from 1,807 influencers and publishers and 1,486 different brands of all persuasions last year. Vikkstar123 generated 148M views on behalf of brand sponsors, followed by Nick Eh 30 (86.2M views), and VY Gaming (78.3M views). When it comes to brands, Epic Games drove the most sponsored YouTube views (409M views), followed by Ubisoft (117M) and Elgato Gaming (110M). These were last year’s top three most-watched videos from gaming influencer campaigns:

  1. KSI vs Joe Weller Press Conference/Face Off/Weigh In V3 4.8M
  2. My Final Boxing Session – V3 4.5M
  3. Soulja Boy Makes A Video Game Console – V3 4.5M

The most viewed sponsored gaming video on YouTube of 2018 actually had 2 sponsors, and legendary gamer and amateur boxer KSI took the number 1 and 2 positions, with brands taking the opportunity to cash in on the hype around him last year.

Top Influencers on Social Video: Beauty on YouTube

Although 112M sponsored video views were generated on Facebook in 2018, YouTube is the place to attract viewers. 973M views were generated last year from 3,747 brands working with 2,507 different publishers and beauty influencers. The top three influencers creating sponsored content for brands were TeachingMensFashion (83.5M views), Alpha M (47.2M) and James Charles (34M).

You may be surprised to learn about the three top brands that sponsored beauty content on YouTube in 2018, as only one is directly related to the beauty industry. They were Audible (35.2M views), Clinique (22.5M), and gaming app Best Fiends (19.7M). And of course, let’s not forget the top three most-watched sponsored beauty videos on YouTube from 2018:

  1. Making My Own Makeup V3 5.1M
  2. Drawing Myself with Makeup V3 3.3M
  3. How I’m treated with different hair colors V3 3.2M

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