YouTube launched in 2005, and since then it's become a factory for creating internet stars and millionaires – many of whom are not legally old enough to buy or consume an alcoholic beverage. The biggest YouTube celebrities have become masters at attracting an audience to monetize their sponsored videos and advertising. One newcomer to this year's list of the highest-paid YouTube stars made it onto the list by changing his strategy, which resulted in gaining millions of new followers pretty quickly. Preston Arsement made $14 million with his Call of Duty, Minecraft, and friendly pranks content. That's good enough for the sixth spot on the list of the highest YouTube stars. He's been creating content for YouTube for 10 years. He finally broke through.
Preston joined YouTube in 2010 with the channel TBNRfrags. In 2012, he changed his channel name to PrestonPlayz and it was basically him filming videos of himself playing Call of Duty and Minecraft. He did fine with that, but never really broke through to be one of YouTube's top earners, until, at least, he switched up the type of content from just gaming videos to kid-focused vlog-style content. He changed the name of his channel to Preston. In the year following those changes, he added more than 3.5 million new subscribers.
Preston's ascension to the list of the highest-paid YouTube stars is due to his ability to read trends in the industry. His most popular video, "5 Ways To Prank Your Little Brother's Minecraft House" has more than 34 million views. It was uploaded in January 2019. Sure, Preston is playing Minecraft in the video, but the overall style is less "look at me playing this game" and more conversational and engaging. Preston holds the camera up to his face at the beginning and end of each video, addressing his fans directly, and letting them in on the joke.
Preston realized that his gaming style content had gotten stale. There were a lot of other YouTube channels devoted to Minecraft. He realized that people were interested in real-life content. It helped that he was really interested in vlog-style content. But there was still a learning curve that came with changing the focus of his channel. He started examining the metrics of his channel. That helped him figure out what videos were working and what wasn't.
Keywords are important in a YouTube video's content. Phrases like "slime," "challenge," and 24-hours" in a title is a very popular way of driving views. In a 2019 report from the Pew Research Center, it was found that videos with the keywords "prank" or "Fortnite" got five times more views than videos without those words in the title. Preston noted this and integrated a keyword strategy into his content. It worked. His video "I Said Yes to My Little Brother for 24 Hours" has 22.3 million views.
The new strategy and keyword use have helped Preston's channel grow quickly. In July 2018, he had 6.5 million YouTube subscribers. By August 2019, he had 10 million. As of this writing, he has 11.3 million. His channel has 3.6 billion views overall. The 26-year-old Texan has a net worth of $20 million.