Media giant BuzzFeed has long been one of the biggest producers of viral content — a pursuit that’s netted its main YouTube channel, BuzzFeedVideo, more than 18 million YouTube subscribers and 14.5 billion views in seven years.
Its YouTube front is going strong, but this year has been a roller coaster for the company. It opened BuzzFeed News as a hub for its more serious journalism (and subsequently published investigative stories like We Saw Nuns Kill Children: The Ghosts of St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage), launched a fundraising program asking readers to pay monthly or yearly fees to become “members” with special access, and lost the four-man Try Guys — one of its most prominent content creation teams.
Now that the year is drawing to a close, BuzzFeed’s video team has released a look back with lists of its top-watched videos on both YouTube and Facebook.
On YouTube, most watched this year was — unsurprisingly — a Fortnite-related video, with 35.5 million views to date. 2018 was gaming’s best year on YouTube so far, and the massively popular battle royale title was a big part of that. Professional Dancers Try The Fortnite Dance Challenge was uploaded to BuzzFeed’s gaming channel, BuzzFeed Multiplayer, which has 8.9 million subscribers and just over 4.3 billion views since its creation in 2014.
Next up was another gaming video — this one with 17.6 million views: Police Try Playing Grand Theft Auto 5 Without Breaking Any Laws. (Spoiler: They’re not very successful.)
The third most popular video of the year was $3 Fries Vs. $100 Fries (16.6 million views), from BuzzFeed’s massive Worth It series. On that show, hosts Steven Lim and Andrew Ilnyckyj (and cameraman Adam Bianchi) try the same food — fries, eggs, Korean barbeque, secret menus — at three different restaurants, (one cheap, one midrange, and one expensive). The series has since seen multiple spin-offs, with other BuzzFeed hosts seeing if lavishly expensive hotel rooms and top-tier, first class plane seats are worth the price of admission. In September, a BuzzFeed spokesperson revealed that viewers had watched more than 1.5 billion minutes of Worth It since January.
In fourth place is a video in which various BuzzFeed staffers worked off some of this year’s clinging cloud of existential dread by doing 100 squats a day every day for 30 days (16.5 million views).
And in fifth place on YouTube, The Try Guys revisited some of the various product launches by Donald Trump. Last year, on Trump’s inauguration day, the Try Guys taste-tested Trump Grill’s food in a video that’s so far garnered 17.5 million views. This year, they tried to eat like Trump for a day, imbibing 12 Diet Cokes, Big Macs, and pizza — but only the toppings.
Over on Facebook, BuzzFeed’s food-focused brand Tasty — which has 98 million followers and 96 million likes — reigned supreme, putting out four of the top five videos: Scalloped Potato Roll at No. 1 with 220 million views, 8 Desserts in 1 Sheet Tray at No. 2 with 118 million views, 5-Layer Brownie Cookie Cheesecake at No. 4 with 100 million views, and Ultimate Cheesesteak Skewers at No. 5 with 95 million views.
Slotted in there at No. 3 was Self-Defense Moves You Need to Know with 96 million views. That clip came out from BuzzFeed FYI, a more serious series that takes an interview-driven look at real issues affecting people around the world. The series has 1.7 million Facebook followers to date.