Prior to that was loads of what would now be considered too "nitch" such as glitch videos, demos for clans/groups for people to join. In which the goal is to form a non-self centered community and meet people who share a common interest and collaberate to reach smaller objectives. But enough about reminising about the past.
You see I didn't start monitization or showing ads prior to 2010 because it didn't align with me, I didn't join youtube to make money like so many other cash cows, I came to provide content to specific people, groups, and just for fun. I felt that google was ripping off content providers which I still do, by displaying ads and paying them only a fraction of a very small percentage of what they make for esitially just doing something they would other wise do for free.
Now if your goal is to get $$$ then the easiest route is the most unethical route.
For instance by providing something like this rainbow like effect lighting effect I could tag this as LGBT effectively misleading a entire audience. Same could be said on youtube with thumbnails. Thumbnails are the first thing seen, having one dealing with what your topic matter is only a good idea if you don't want to be a greedy fool, like 99% of people on the site want to be(Greedy fools). It is why you will see censored porn pics as thumbnails or half naked chicks commonly on them or just pressing issues like donald trumps face for instance.
Your title is also VERY VERY important, if you want that $$$$ you want it to line up with what ever the highest rating adword will be tomarrow which is pointless because unless you can tell the future you can only see today, and by using the one today you are doing the samething as half a dozen other joe smoes. Granted you will get more views than a unquie title by using what ever is highest in searches that day you won't beat the IGN's of the world with click bait they are already thrown to the top as they are kings of it.
Also remember geotagging can be very important for instance tagging a city with low population will get you zero to no views almost outside of no name towns with a decent size population, in which only tourists and self centered locals will look at and see. While popular locations will geotag to these people and possibly show up slightly higher in search results(not by much but if you advertise through campaigning efforts at least once it will skyrocket with fake views that will bring in real views, even googles crap is bots don't be fooled by it).
Once you do all this you need to present a halfbaked content with personality, this fake persona will get you more views so be sure to just clone someone eleses personality that is already popular and you will get plenty of views.
Once you succeed at failing at all of this because you do not have enough money to keep up with the campaign monopoly. Then you will realize that the goals prior to google buying out youtube seem more feasable and more entertaining and enjoyable. I will continue to use googles rip off ads system but I really only do so out of desperation that maybe one day I will meet their rediculusly high threshold, which btw since 2010 I am only about 1/3rd the way there from multiple sites, and 2 youtube channels. So yeah.... Doubtful it will happen in my lifetime.
Making content for nitch audiences can also get you higher viewership simply by being the only one on the block doing something that hasn't been done a billion times before on obscure topic matters, in which requires actual research and maybe development. Keep in mind I am not saying I am unquie in the slightest, just my goals are much smaller with no expectations of success, just failure. Ego is a common enemy of internet fame or just in general. My advice isn't even unquie it is just of a common old shared interest that old youtube was better, and how it was ran was better, and how content was made not for $$$ was better which in some cases is true but in others it isn't. It is my biased, that isn't a excuse in any way for any opposition that is a weapon to use against my point of view. Which isn't going to convince me either way. Not because I think your opinions are shit but because I am biasedily against how youtubes presented now to only promote who is already popular.
Understanding who your target market exactly is plays a critical form in how you want your content to be presented. Just because there is a million others doing the same thing doesn't mean you should do it like the generic idealisms of it. People want soul, they want uniqueness not only from perspectives but from how it is shown. Remember at the end of the day your videos are your product, they resemble parts of a whole and if you don't care, its ok there is probably a audience that doesn't care either.
Such as all this fluff in this article there are people who don't care for all the meaningless run on ideas, they only care for the topic matter and keypoints to gather more information on how to be successful in their own idealism of what it is without understanding that success is self defined, rather than just a shared idea. In which I just mislead those people here and pulled a underhanded unethical practice just to click bait them here. Which keep in mind I understand that will only be 1/10 viewers that ever see this but hey I have 300 other posts or so, so there is that.