How many ASMR channels, ASMRtists, and ASMR videos are on YouTube?

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This should be easy to answer, but it isn’t.  At least not for me.  I have figured out one way to get some ballpark numbers, but my methods may not be the easiest or the most accurate.

If you know a better way than what I describe below, then please reach out to me at asmruniversity@gmail.com.

I will begin by telling you the numbers I calculated and then I will explain how I achieved them.

Here is what I calculated:

  • In 2022, there may be about 500,000 ASMR channels, 500,000 ASMRtists, and 25 million ASMR videos on YouTube.
  • Note: For simplicity, I defined an ASMRtist on YouTube as someone who created an ASMR channel on YouTube.  So the number of ASMR channels = the number of ASMRtists.

If you think these numbers seem very high or too high, I agree with you.  It is just where my calculations took me.

The rest of this article explains how I calculated (estimated) these numbers.

I began by searching for “ASMR” on YouTube.com and set the filter to “Channels” only.

This will show a list of ASMR channels, but not a number for the total search results. The search results can be scrolled through and hand-counted…ugh…but I wasn’t going to do that, especially because I think the number is going to be very large.

Instead, I extrapolated the number from this 2016 article written by Google (the owner of YouTube): https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/consumer-trends/asmr-videos-youtube-trend/

Quote from the 2016 article,

In fact, there are currently about 5.2 million ASMR videos on YouTube, and there is interest coming from all corners of the globe (see chart below). YouTube searches for ASMR grew over 200% YoY in 2015 and are consistently growing.”

Where did Google get that number of 5.2 million ASMR videos in 2016?  From their non-public data, just view the list of sources at the bottom of the article to see that Google states it did use its own internal (non-public) data for the article.

How did Google define “ASMR video” when they pulled their private data?  Probably as just a video that was labeled with the words “ASMR” or part of a channel labeled with “ASMR”.  This means that the 5.2 million stat may not be inclusive for all ASMR stimulating videos, such as those created before the term “ASMR” was coined and those that refer to their videos and channels as something else, like “Jill The Whisperer” or “Joe’s gentle slime videos” (ie, not using the label of ASMR).

The point is that the 5.2 million ASMR videos in 2016 are probably lower than the actual number of intentional ASMR videos.  I also assume they totally ignored all unintentional ASMR videos, which I think is good, I would prefer to focus on the number of intentional ASMR videos and channels for this article.

The Google stat of 5.2 million ASMR videos in 2016 still doesn’t tell us the total number of ASMR channels on YouTube in 2016, unless we knew the average number of videos per channel.

The following source shows us that 100 of the top ASMR artists on YT.com have an estimated average (my eyeball) of about 400 videos each: https://www.equipmentnerd.com/top-asmr-artists-list/

The stats on that site were last updated in 2021, so let’s scale them back to reflect 2016 a bit more fairly.

Let’s estimate that the top ASMR channels on YT.com had about 200 videos each in 2016.

If those are the ‘top’ ASMR channels, then the average number of videos for ALL the ASMR channels in 2016 must be much less.

Let’s say the average ASMR channel had 100 videos in 2016.  This is probably higher than reality, but it allows us to under-estimate rather than over-estimate the total number of ASMR channels in 2016.

So now just divide the total number of ASMR videos on YT in 2016 (5.2 million) by the average number of videos per ASMR channel (100, a probable overestimate).

This gives us a very safe and minimum number of 52,000 ASMR channels on YouTube in 2016.

How many ASMR channels are there now in 2022?

I have created a list of the very first ASMR channels/ASMRtists which existed from 2009-2012 here: https://asmruniversity.com/history-early-asmr-artists/

These numbers are also not perfect because it is likely that I haven’t found every ASMR channel that existed in those early years, and also, some of them have been deleted.  Many of these early ASMR channels were called “Whisper channels”, but I will refer to them all as “ASMR channels” for simplicity.

My data below for the early years shows that the rate of ASMR channels was approximately doubling from 2009 – 2012.

  • 2009 (confirmed): 14 total ASMR channels minimum
  • 2010 (confirmed): 51 total ASMR channels minimum (3.6x the prior year)
  • 2011 (confirmed): 111 total ASMR channels minimum (2.2x the prior year)
  • 2012 (confirmed): 183 total ASMR channels minimum (1.6x the prior year)
  • 2013: unknown
  • 2014: unknown
  • 2015: unknown
  • 2016 (estimated): 52,000 total ASMR channels minimum (the value calculated in this article)

To jump from 183 ASMR channels in 2012 to 52,000 ASMR channels in 2016, the ASMR channels must have quadrupled each year (~4x annual growth rate):

  • 2012 (confirmed): 183 total ASMR channels minimum (1.6x the prior year)
  • 2013 (estimated): 750 total ASMR channels (4.1x the prior year)
  • 2014 (estimated): 3076 total ASMR channels (4.1x the prior year)
  • 2015 (estimated): 112612 total ASMR channels (4.1x the prior year)
  • 2016 (estimated): 52,000 total ASMR channels minimum (the value calculated in this article)

The big jump in the growth rate from a 1.6x increase in 2012 to the growth rate of 4.1x in 2013 highlights that I have probably failed to find many ASMR channel/ASMRtists that existed in 2012.

Or, was 2012 the breakout year for interest in ASMR? 

The graph below from Google Trends (2009-2012) strongly supports that 2012 was the breakout year for ASMR.  It shows that the worldwide searches of the term ‘ASMR’ on YouTube took a dramatic upturn in 2012.  This likely resulted in a big jump in the number of people watching AND creating ASMR videos in 2012.

Google Trends can also help to estimate the growth rate of ASMR channels for 2017 and 2018.  The graph below shows that the interest in ASMR continued at a steady rate for 2017 and 2018.

If the interest in ASMR based on searches on YouTube remained steady for 2017 and 2018, then it is also likely that people watching and creating ASMR channels also remained steady.

Yet, I am very hesitant to quadruple the number of ASMR channels we calculated for 2016, that still feels too risky.  So I will be conservative and just double the number (2x) of ASMR channels for 2017 and 2018.

  • 2016 (estimated): 52,000 total ASMR channels minimum (4.1x the prior year)
  • 2017 (estimated): 104,000 total ASMR channels minimum (2x the prior year)
  • 2018 (estimated): 208,000 total ASMR channels minimum (2x the prior year)

Once again, Google Trends can help to estimate the growth rate of ASMR channels for 2019-present (April 2022).  The graph below shows that the search rate for ASMR on YouTube increased from 2019 to April 2022, but at a slower rate compared to the prior years.

A slower rate of searches doesn’t mean a low number of searches.  This analysis reports that the term “ASMR” was the second most searched term on YouTube in 2021.

Searches on YouTube don’t measure popularity or engagement, just the relative number of searches for a term compared to prior years.  So as ASMR becomes more mainstream, people won’t be searching as much for the term ASMR on YouTube bc they will already know what it is and they have bookmarked their favorite ASMR channels/ASMRtists.

For example, put “Kim Kardashian” into Google Trends and you will see her trend line has consistently decreased since 2008.  Not because Kim Kardashian became less popular, but rather, because she became more popular.  Once most people knew who she was, they didn’t need to search as much on Google or YouTube to learn about her.  Same for ASMR.

Still, it would be safest to assume a decreased growth rate in the creation of ASMR channels on YouTube for 2019-2021.  I will apply a slower annual average growth rate of 1.3x for 2019-2021.

  • 2018 (estimated): 208,000 total ASMR channels minimum (2x the prior year)
  • 2019 (estimated): 270,000 total ASMR channels minimum (1.3x the prior year)
  • 2020 (estimated): 351,000 total ASMR channels minimum (1.3x the prior year)
  • 2021 (estimated): 456,000 total ASMR channels minimum (1.3x the prior year)
  • …and for April 2022 (estimate): about 500,000 ASMR channels

If each channel has an average of 50 videos, then there may be about 25 million ASMR videos on YouTube in 2022.  You can adjust the average number of videos per channel up or down to better fit your best guess at the total number of ASMR videos on YouTube.

Google provided us with the initial accurate number of ASMR videos on YouTube in 2016 as 5.2 million.  So the estimate of 25 million ASMR videos on YouTube in 2022 reflects an average annual increase of about 1.3x (30% annual increase), which does seem reasonable.

Summary of this article:

  • In 2022, there may be about 500,000 ASMR channels (=ASMRtists) and 25 million ASMR videos on YouTube.

I hope someone reading this knows a much easier and more accurate way to find these numbers.

If you do, then please reach out to me at asmruniversity@gmail.com.

Thank you, Dr. Richard

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