And We’re Rolling…

Imagine you’re a creator about to record a new vlog for your YouTube channel.

How do you welcome your fans to the show?

    You’ve chosen the #1 vlog greeting in 2020, which accounted for of the top five greetings. Of the top five greetings in 2020,  was the most popular, accounting for of usage.

    You might not think about it much, but the first words a creator uses to greet their audience are pretty important. And the more popular the creator, the more likely that opening will become a signature sign-on.

    But of late, we (and a lot of other people) have noticed that one greeting in particular seems to have become fairly ubiquitous: “Hey guys.” Which got us wondering about where it might rank among all the other ways creators start their shows. And because we can’t help ourselves, we set out to get the answer.

    First we identified all the videos we could classify as vlogs, all time, using minimum thresholds of at least 20,000 views for the videos and at least 20,000 subscribers for the channels that produced them. That gave us a data set of over  1 million videos. Then, to isolate their openers, we parsed all available captions -- both auto captions and those uploaded by creators. Finally, we categorized them based on a channel-level taxonomy.

    The results confirmed the supremacy of “Hey guys,” but revealed more than a few other interesting facts about the vagaries of video salutations from across the globe.


    “Hey Guys”

    While “Hey guys” has been the preferred greeting for the last decade (raising gender inclusivity questions we won’t get into here), the rest of the top ten has seen a fair amount of movement in our sample set. For example, “Good morning” has progressively become more en vogue (possibly reflecting the rise of “get ready with me” videos) while “Hi everyone” seems well on its way to oblivion.

    Community Differences

    The dominance of “Hey guys” isn’t absolute. When you break things down and look at distinct categories, other greetings assert themselves. Fitness channels, for example, favor “What’s up” (your heart rate, maybe?), while travel channels opt for “Good morning” (signaling the sunrise-like possibilities that lie waiting beyond the horizon. Or something.).

    Greetings Worldwide

    English isn’t the only language of YouTube, of course, but there’s a familiar flavor to greetings across the world. In Brazil, the top greeting on YouTube is “Oi gente,” which translates to, you guessed it, “Hey guys” in Portuguese. Likewise, Mexican creators use “Hola amigos,” while, in France, they prefer a cheerful “Bonjour à tous,” or “Hello to all.”

    TapHover to see English-language translations of the most frequently occurring openers in Brazil, France, Germany, and Mexico.

    YouTube’s Superstar Creators

    Many popular creators, like Miranda Sings and Liza Koshy, start their videos with “Hey guys.” But others have created signature openings that have become iconic as their popularity has grown, suggesting that there’s value in establishing your unique personality in your first impression. Take Philip DeFranco’s “‘Sup you beautiful bastards” and Marques Brownlee’s “Yo, what's up guys, MKBHD here.” In South Korea, popular creator Risabae offers a playful “Hello my little ladies and gentlemen,” and, in Morocco, Soukaina says “Hello queens!”

    Explore how a selection of popular YouTube creators open their videos.

    The End

    For every hello, there is usually a goodbye (but that’s a whole other study). Rather than belabor our farewell, we’ll steal from a pro, namely Emma Chamberlain, and give you a heartfelt *forehead kiss* goodbye (until our next journey into the world of YouTube data, of course).

    Created by YouTube Culture and Trends

    In partnership with Polygraph

    Methodology: Creators who uploaded videos from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom or United States with at least 20,000 subscribers. Non-vlog videos and videos with fewer than 20,000 views were removed. Analyzed video captions of over 1 million videos in the resulting corpus.

    "Greetings Worldwide" section: Extracted a representative sample of videos from creators that frequently uploaded from US, Brazil, France, Germany and Mexico.