With 1.9 billion viewers and 5 billion video views per day, YouTube is a gold mine of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs trying to make a name for their businesses.
As a free social marketing channel with such a wide reach, it’s certainly one that’s worth investing in.
But with 300 hours of videos being uploaded to YouTube per minute, there is a lot to compete with. So, what does it take to even come close to becoming the most liked video on YouTube?
In this article, we’ll talk about how to get likes for YouTube videos, what happens when a video is liked, and present to you a list of the top 20 most liked videos on YouTube.
- What Is the Most Liked Video on YouTube?
- Top 20 Most Liked YouTube Videos
- #20 God’s Plan by Drake
- #19 Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
- #18 Sugar by Maroon 5
- #17 Stressed Out by Twenty-One Pilots
- #16 Perfect by Ed Sheeran
- #15 Lean On by Major Lazer and DJ Snake
- #14 Boy With Luv by BTS Feat Halsey
- #13 Taki Taki by DJ Snake Feat Selena Gomez, Ozuna, and Cardi B
- #12 Baby by Justin Bieber
- #11 Sorry by Justin Bieber
- Top 10 Most-Liked Videos on YouTube
- #10 Mi Gente by J Balvin Feat Willy William
- #9 Alone by Marshmallo
- #8 Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson Feat Bruno Mars
- #7 Girls Like You by Maroon 5 Feat Cardi B
- #6 Hello by Adele
- #5 Gangnam Style by Psy
- #4 Faded by Alan Walker
- #3 Shape Of You by Ed Sheeran
- #2 See You Again by Wiz Khalifa Feat Charlie Puth
- #1 Despacito by Luis Fonsi
- YouTube’s Algorithm of Likes
- How to Get Likes for a YouTube Video
- Most Liked Non-Music Video on YouTube
- Want to Learn More?
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What Is the Most Liked Video on YouTube?
If someone were to ask you to name the most liked video on YouTube, you may be tempted to name a music video from Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, or Justin Bieber. And you’re not too far from the truth.
These are some of the most well-known and popular artists in the world. Their popularity (or notoriety) and fame play a big role in driving up views and likes. In fact, their celebrity status means that, not only do they not have to work as hard to promote their videos, but there’s actually anticipation for their video launches.
They are, of course, the minority. As an entrepreneur starting from scratch, you will require an entirely different approach if you want your video to become the most liked video on YouTube.
Most Viewed vs. Most Liked Video on YouTube
Before we begin, note that a video’s popularity can be measured by the number of views or number of likes. But more video views don’t always mean more likes.
As an example, here’s a video you may recall but not like – Rebecca Black’s Friday.
This video went viral in 2011 for all the wrong reasons. From horrible lyrics to subpar video production, it was dubbed “the world’s worst song” by critics. If becoming the most liked video on YouTube was Black’s plan, she couldn’t have done any worse.
Since then, the video has garnered nearly 133 million views and 958k likes. But what’s more striking here isn’t the number of views or likes but the number of thumbs down: 3.5 million thumbs down – more than triple the number of likes!
Despite its high viewership, there’s obviously more people disliking the song than liking it.
So, what is the most liked video on YouTube, and how did it get there?
As you shall see, the top 20 most liked YouTube videos are music videos, most of which are also on the list of most viewed YouTube videos. So, whatever it was that Rebecca Black did wrong, these guys are doing right and, in doing so, vying to become the most liked video on YouTube.
Here’s the complete list of the top 20 most liked YouTube videos.
Top 20 Most Liked YouTube Videos
#20 God’s Plan by Drake
Uploaded: February 16, 2018
Likes: 10.1 million
We begin our countdown to the most liked video on YouTube with Drake’s music video for his single, “God’s Plan,” which has just over 10 million likes. Even though most critics call it a “typical Drake song,” what’s unique about this video is probably the fact that it has Drake himself offering money and gifts to random people.
Call it a PR stunt or an act of kindness, it was able to get Drake the publicity he needed to propel it into the list of top 20 most-liked YouTube videos.
#19 Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
Uploaded: October 7, 2014
Likes: 10.2 million
This is the first video in which Ed Sheeran takes on a principal role, pulling out some flawless ballroom moves with the help of “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Brittany Cherry.
The singer had to put in over 40 hours of dance training for the video. With more than 10 million likes, it looks like his hard work has paid off. Perhaps some tap dancing would get it to become the most liked YouTube video.
#18 Sugar by Maroon 5
Uploaded: January 14, 2015
Likes: 10.3 million
Maroon 5 singing at your wedding? That’s nearly impossible to get, so a girl can only dream by watching this video.
There’s a lot of debate surrounding this video as to whether the band actually crashed weddings or if it was staged. Real or not, the tears of joy, excitement, and screams in the video make it a real joy to watch.
#17 Stressed Out by Twenty-One Pilots
Uploaded: April 27, 2015
Likes: 10.6 million
At almost 10.6 million likes, the video takes us through the story of the musical duo cycling to each other’s houses and hoping to record a song, but not having the money to purchase the equipment required.
It supposedly symbolizes the stress the group faces as adults and their want of being young and worry-free again – perhaps an emotion viewers can relate to.
#16 Perfect by Ed Sheeran
Uploaded: November 19, 2017
Likes: 10.7 million
The second Ed Sheeran video on this list is a love story. Cheesy to some but heartwarming to others, it tells the story of a boy and a girl who go on a ski trip with a bunch of friends. The two eventually end up together after boy serenades girl. Cue the “awws.”
It’s a simple storyline but one that has the ability to tug at the heartstrings and cause a tear or two.
#15 Lean On by Major Lazer and DJ Snake
Uploaded: March 22, 2015
Likes: 10.8 million
This Bollywood-themed video was largely filmed in India’s northern Maharashtra’s state with Danish singer MØ as the main dancer.
According to Major Lazer’s Diplo, an elephant was meant to be used in the video, but it fell asleep when it was time for him to be filmed. With or without the elephant, the modernized Bollywood choreography is enough to get the video the likes it needs to challenge the position of most-liked video on YouTube.
#14 Boy With Luv by BTS Feat Halsey
Uploaded: April 22, 2019
Likes: 11 million
This new video on the block by Korean boy band BTS is the freshest entrant on the list. Uploaded barely three months ago, the video reached 100 million views in under two days and became the most-viewed online video in 24 hours.
With such a momentum, it is one to watch to see how far up the list it will go and if it will become the most liked video on YouTube.
#13 Taki Taki by DJ Snake Feat Selena Gomez, Ozuna, and Cardi B
Uploaded: October 9, 2018
Likes: 11.3 million
With Selena, Cardi B, Ozuna, a women-filled pit, and DJ Snake himself set in a post-apocalyptic and volcanic landscape, one can see how this steamy video racked up more than 11 million likes.
DJ Snake’s second video on this top 20 list oozes passion and is mostly set in dark colors, until Selena’s jungle scene at the end. The video attracts not one, two, three, but four fan bases to spur likes.
#12 Baby by Justin Bieber
Uploaded: February 19, 2010
Likes: 11.6 million
Nine years since the release of this video, Bieber survived puberty and even gotten married. Yet this song remains a hit. As the oldest song on the list, “Baby” is probably the song that launched Bieber onto the music scene and established him as a heartthrob for teenage girls.
But the Bieber name is one that’s polemic, as seen from the video having nearly as many thumbs down as it has thumbs up!
#11 Sorry by Justin Bieber
Uploaded: October 22, 2015
Likes: 11.7 million
With the number of Bieber lovers and haters out there, it’s hard to tell whether this video was able to get over 11 million likes because it was a Bieber video or because it was one in which he didn’t appear.
Regardless of his no-show, the colorful and upbeat video features a New Zealand dance crew with enthusiastic dance moves that makes it a pleasure to watch for both Beliebers and non-Beliebers.
And marching into the top 10 most liked videos on YouTube…
Top 10 Most-Liked Videos on YouTube
#10 Mi Gente by J Balvin Feat Willy William
Uploaded: June 29, 2017
Likes: 12.3 million
At more than 12 million likes, this is one of three songs on the list with Spanish lyrics. It is actually a remix, which has more than outperformed its original – Willy William’s “Voodoo Song.”
It was such a hit that Beyoncé did a remix version in her performance at Coachella 2018.
#9 Alone by Marshmallo
Uploaded: July 2, 2016
Likes: 12.4 million
The video of Marshmallo’s “Alone” is one that many high school survivors can relate to. It tells the story of a high school outcast who’s bullied in school.
Little does everyone else know, he’s actually a talented electronic DJ, a gift he chooses as an outlet when he’s alone at home. After a classmate discovers his talent, he becomes accepted by his peers and even takes out his DJ equipment in class and starts a dance party during school hours.
#8 Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson Feat Bruno Mars
Uploaded: November 19, 2014
Likes: 12.9 million
There’s nothing like Bruno’s suave and smooth moves to charm the socks off viewers. This upbeat collaboration between Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars captivates right from the start.
Watching Bruno and gang’s slick dance moves while listening to energetic tunes makes this like-worthy and surely a contender for most liked video on YouTube.
#7 Girls Like You by Maroon 5 Feat Cardi B
Uploaded: March 30, 2018
Likes: 14.1 million
Kudos to Adam Levine for highlighting girl power in this tribute to women, featuring cameos by Jennifer Lopez, Ellen DeGeneres, and Gal Gadot, to name a few. It seems, though, that the appearances weren’t enough to get it to be the most liked video on YouTube.
And for those wondering, yes, the last two girls to appear are indeed Levine’s girls: wife Behati Prinsloo and daughter Dusty Rose.
#6 Hello by Adele
Uploaded: October 22, 2015
Likes: 14.5 million
Adele’s “Hello” is possibly one of the darker songs on this list. Written by the British singer herself, the lyrics revolve around remorse and regret.
The video is all shot in a sepia tone to accompany the mood.
#5 Gangnam Style by Psy
Uploaded: July 15, 2012
Likes: 16 million
Who can forget the catchy Gangnam Style, which burst onto the music scene in 2012 for its addictive beat and comical horse trot dance moves. It had, at the time, gone on to become the most liked video on YouTube.
Despite some negative criticism, its influence on popular culture is clear, with “Oppa Gangnam Style” being named as one of the most notable quotes of 2012.
#4 Faded by Alan Walker
Uploaded: December 3, 2015
Likes: 16.4 million
Following its release, “Faded” became one of the top-performing singles across the world, doing particularly well in Scandinavian countries.
Filmed across several landmarks in Estonia in mostly dilapidated settings, the video has quite an edge that’s maybe too much to get it to No. 1 on this list.
#3 Shape Of You by Ed Sheeran
Uploaded: January 30, 2017
Likes: 20.1 million
According to Ed Sheeran, the song was originally written for Rihanna. But he kept it for himself after deciding that some of the lyrics may not be a good fit.
The video revolves around Sheeran and American model Jennie Pegouskie, who plays his boxing partner and love interest. There’s just something about boxing that makes this video so exhilarating to watch – or maybe it’s the sumo match.
#2 See You Again by Wiz Khalifa Feat Charlie Puth
Uploaded: April 6, 2015
Likes: 24.3 million
This song is a dedication to the late Paul Walker, who died in 2013, and was for a short while the most liked video on YouTube.
The video starts off beautifully with a sunset shot accompanied by Puth’s sweet vocals and gentle piano accompaniment. As a tribute to Walker, it has “The Fast and the Furious” scenes interspersed throughout the video. Just like “Taki Taki,” it appeals to four different fan bases – those of the two artists, Paul Walker, and “The Fast and the Furious” franchise.
And now to the question: What is the most liked video on YouTube?
#1 Despacito by Luis Fonsi
Uploaded: January 12, 2017
Likes: 33.7 million
Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” claims more than just the most liked video on YouTube. It is also the most viewed video and most liked song on the video-sharing platform.
It is, however, not a video that sits well with everyone. The Malaysian government has banned its broadcast on state television and radio due to its offensive and obscene lyrics.
But one cannot deny that it’s a hit, and even the Guinness World Records recognized its achievements with seven different record titles:
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Ayer @guinnessworldrecords me sorprendió con estos 7 reconocimientos. Me siento muy honrado de ser parte de la familia de GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS. Despacito, rompió 7 títulos de GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS en un año y esto es gracias a ustedes. ¡Gracias a todos los que trabajaron para lograr este éxito! Gracias @daddyyankee, los comparto contigo brother 🙌🏽 Gracias @justinbieber, @erikaender @andrestorrest, #mauriciorengifo @elasticpeople #OficialmenteAsombroso #guinnessworldrecords
YouTube’s Algorithm of Likes
So how did these artists manage to get all these likes?
To understand how “Despacito” became the most liked video on YouTube, we have to go behind the scenes and understand YouTube’s “likes” algorithm.
Giving a thumbs up on a YouTube video doesn’t simply express your appreciation of the video. There’s actually a lot more than goes on behind a like.
As a viewer, the video gets added to your “Liked videos” playlist on YouTube. But what does liking a video do for others?
Getting on YouTube’s Recommended Videos Section
When you launch YouTube’s homepage, the first thing you see is an entire list of recommended videos for you. Ever wonder how they are selected?
Your browsing and search activity on YouTube matter, but that’s not the only contributing factor. The number of likes a video receives actually drives it up the search rankings, which increases the chances of the video appearing in a viewer’s recommended videos section.
With the recommended section responsible for over two-thirds of viewers’ time on YouTube, you definitely shouldn’t undermine its power to helping a video become the most liked video on YouTube.
Simply put: more likes -> higher up search results -> more visibility -> more views -> more likes. Once past a certain threshold, it actually goes into a vicious cycle.
This then begs the million-dollar question: How do you get likes for a YouTube video?
How to Get Likes for a YouTube Video
While there’s always a lesson to be learned from the elite, unless you have a voice like Ed Sheeran’s, a face like Adam Levine’s or can bust some moves like Bruno, you will need much more marketing to get your video to become the most liked video on YouTube. Here are some strategies to start you off.
Asking for likes: If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Work a couple of prompts into your video without being too aggressive. Otherwise, you may appear to be hard selling, which may not play well with viewers. Also, explain how them liking your video helps.
Annotate prompts: If you don’t want to come off as being too aggressive when asking for likes or if your video simply doesn’t allow for it (like a non-verbal video), you can prompt likes by adding annotations into your videos.
Gain subscribers: Having a larger subscriber base means having viewers who enjoy the kind of videos you upload. This, by logic, translates to having more views and of course more likes.
Get exposure: Work your videos into your website, blog, and cross-promote on your social media platforms. That increases visibility and views.
Invest in advertising: Budget-permitting, consider advertising on YouTube. With over a billion viewers, its reach is massive and provides great opportunities for you to scale your video content.
Most Liked Non-Music Video on YouTube
Despite the dominance of music videos, there is actually one video that’s – surprisingly – not a music video that’s slowly scrambling its way up the list and may soon crack into the top 20.
Remember the Instagram egg?
Back in January, this picture of an egg dethroned Kylie Jenner’s birth announcement post to become the most liked Instagram post. Since then, efforts have been made to try and duplicate the same result on other social media channels, including Twitter and YouTube.
The YouTube effort is spearheaded by American YouTuber, MrBeast. Unlike his Instagram and Twitter counterparts, he needed to get much more creative than posting an image of an egg and asking for likes. And that’s exactly what he does – with a 13-minute long video of what he terms the “Egg Olympics.”
Though it’s all fun and games, MrBeast’s intention for the video was clear right from the start: for it to become the second-most-liked, non-music video on YouTube.
As of June 2019, this video has amassed more than 9.3 million likes, making it the most liked non-music video on YouTube.
How It Was Achieved
What the Egg Olympics video had going for it, to begin with, was two clear advantages: the momentum from the Instagram egg and MrBeast’s huge 20 million strong subscriber base.
He also makes two vocal calls for likes in the video, one in the middle by two topless guys (if that’s relevant and fits in with your business, by all means, go for it) and one at the end.
The video is now just over a million likes shy of entering the list of the top 20 most liked videos on YouTube. At this rate, it certainly doesn’t seem too far from even becoming the most liked video on YouTube.
Given YouTube’s immense reach and influence, not having a video marketing strategy for your business would be an opportunity lost. Although the top 20 most liked videos on YouTube are dominated by music videos, there’s a lot to be learned from these artists that you can apply to building and branding your ecommerce business. Then, hopefully one day you can be the proud owner of the most liked video on YouTube.