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YouTube, the world's largest video-sharing platform, has become a hub for content creators to showcase their talent and creativity.

One of the most coveted achievements for YouTubers is receiving a YouTube Play Button, which is the prize you receive from YouTube itself when you reach a certain amount of subscribers on your channel following the guidelines of YouTube’s Creator Awards.

In this article we'll delve into the history of these prestigious awards, the different types of Play Buttons, and how content creators can earn them.

The history of YouTube play buttons: when did they appear?

YouTube Play Buttons were introduced as a way to recognize and reward content creators for their outstanding contributions to the platform. The program began in 2012, and today the play buttons from YouTube are so important that the launching of this campaign is considered to have marked a significant milestone in YouTube's history.

The Play Buttons campaign aimed to celebrate and motivate creators to reach new heights in terms of subscribers and content quality, and sure it accomplished with the objective it was designed for.

Are you passionate about video content? Check our analysis article about TikTok vs YouTube

The different YouTube play buttons out there

There are different YouTube Play Buttons out there, each one awarding different “levels” in terms of number of subscribers reached on your channel.

Let’s check out the different “levels” of the YouTube Play Buttons and how many subscribers you need to reach each of them.

Silver Play Button: 100,000 subscribers

The first Play Button you will be gifted with is the Silver Play Button, awarded to creators who reach a milestone of 100,000 subscribers.

The Silver Play Button features a sleek silver design and is built mostly with nickel among traces of other metals (carbon, zinc, and others).

Gold Play Button: 1 million subscribers

For those who manage to accumulate the staggering number of 1,000,000 subscribers (1 million), the Gold Play Button awaits.

This button, built in brass and plated in brilliant and real gold, represents a monumental achievement in the world of online content creation. It signifies not only popularity but also consistency and dedication.

Diamond Play Button: 10 million subscribers

The Diamond Play Button is a rare and illustrious award presented to creators who amass an astonishing 10,000,000 (10 million) subscribers.

This button is adorned with a diamond-shaped play button made in transparent glass.

Custom Play Button: 50 million subscribers

Formerly was awarded to channels reaching 50,000,000 (50 million) subscribers, but at the time of writing this article this Play Button does not appear in the YouTube FAQ page of the Creator Awards, so we can consider this button to not be active anymore. The last one was awarded in 2021.

It didn’t have a name or description, but the channel from the gamer and YouTuber PewDiePie named it as Ruby Play Button because the one he received had a Play Button colored in a ruby-like tone.

However, each one of the buttons for the 50 million subscribers achievement can vary in design and color.

Red Diamond Play Button: 100 million subscribers

The most exclusive of them all, the Red Diamond Play Button, is reserved for the crème de la crème of content creators on YouTube who achieve a remarkable 100,000,000 (100 million) subscribers. It is a symbol of unparalleled success, setting the recipient apart as one of the most influential figures on the platform.

This Play Button features a Play Button made in a dark red crystal made of glass.

At the time of writing this article only 8 channels have received this award:

  1. T-Series
  2. PewDiePie
  3. Cocomelon
  4. SET India
  5. MrBeast
  6. Kids Diana Show
  7. Like Nastya
  8. Vlad and Niki

Table: the different YouTube Play Button awards

In this table we have introduced the different YouTube Play Button awards with a quick description of each for easy orientation.

Play Button Description Number of Subscribers Picture
Silver Silver design made on mostly nickel 100,000
Gold Golden design built on brass and plated in real gold 1,000,000
Diamond Diamond shaped crystal made of glass 10,000,000
Custom (aka Ruby) Varies in design and only a few have been awarded. Is not awarded since 2021. 50,000,000
Red Diamond Diamond shaped crystal made of dark red glass. 100,000,000

How does YouTube grant Play Buttons?

First, you should know that getting a YouTube Play button is not an automatic process that happens after achieving the necessary number of subscribers, but YouTube grants them at its absolute discretion.

Related post:how much does YouTube pay?

In other words: once you have achieved the necessary number of subscribers YouTube automatically will review your channel without you having to do anything, to make sure that the growth of your channel has occurred organically and naturally.

According to the words we can read on YouTube's official website regarding Play Buttons, YouTube says:

"Before awarding the prizes, channels must pass a review process. This consists of checking whether creators keep their channels in good standing, have no copyright infringement offenses or Community Guidelines violations, and do not artificially change their number of subscribers, among other criteria."
- Source: YouTube Awards

If they consider that you deserve a Play Button, they will notify you through a message inside YouTube Studio a week after you achieved the needed number of subscribers.

This message will include a single-use code that you will need to introduce in a special page in order to claim your button.

You will need to give YouTube the name of your channel and the shipping data and after a few weeks you will receive the button via post.

Tips to make a YouTube channel grow and get a YouTube Play Button award

How to win your first YouTube Play Button award?

How to win your first YouTube Play Button Award?

So now let’s dive into some tips you can start working on to grow your YouTube channel and hope to earn one (or more) of the famous YouTube Play Buttons.

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Create Engaging Content

The foundation of gaining subscribers is to produce content that resonates with your target audience. YouTube's audience is strict in terms of video quality, both in editing and content, so high-quality videos, originality, and consistency are key factors in attracting and retaining viewers.

Understand your niche

Identify your niche or area of expertise.

Are you passionate about gardening and you think you can offer a ton of knowledge to your audience?
Go for it.

Are you a serious gamer that really knows about videogames?
That’s another option.

Choose niches based on your real expertise rather on the potential audience you want to attract. Focusing on a specific topic or genre that you consider an expert in can help you build a dedicated audience because it will be easier for you to convey useful information without thinking too much or having to do a ton of research on topics you do not feel comfortable in.

Consistent upload schedule

Can you imagine that your favorite series didn’t have a regular schedule for releasing each episode? Same applies for any serious YouTube channel out there. Stick to a regular upload schedule to keep your audience engaged and returning for more content.

Interact with your audience

YouTube allows you to interact with your audience through the comments section. But there’s more to that: engage with your viewers through the chat when you do live streams and also through your other social media accounts. Building a community around your channel and listening to it fosters loyalty and growth.

Collaborate with other YouTubers

Collaborations can introduce your channel to new audiences. Partnering with other creators can be a powerful way to grow your subscriber base and reach new potential users.

Promote your channel efficiently

Utilize social media, SEO optimization, and other marketing strategies to increase your channel's visibility. You have an article on our blog about how to create a influencer marketing strategy, but also there’s a lot of information out there about how to optimize a YouTube channel to the max. You just need to get your hands on the job.


YouTube Play Buttons are more than just awards; they symbolize the dedication, creativity, and hard work of content creators. As you embark on your YouTube journey, remember that these accolades are attainable with persistence and a commitment to delivering exceptional content.

So, start creating, engaging, and building your YouTube community, and who knows, you might be the next proud recipient of a YouTube Play Button.

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