My Video Went Viral. Here's Why

  • Published on May 19, 2019
  • My hypothesis is that the algorithm, rather than viewer preference, drives views on the site. As the algorithm shifts, various RU-cliprs experience burnout (as what used to work no longer works) and right now click-through rate is the key metric. So clickable titles and thumbnails are the only way to get a lot of impressions and hence views - they are the only way to go viral. This leads me to wonder which audiences will become most prevalent on the site and if there will even be a place for educational content. In the long-term, hopefully RU-clip is able to measure satisfaction through surveys and other metrics to ensure an optimal experience for everyone on the site.
    Flipchart artwork by Maria Raykova
    Filmed by Raquel Nuno
    Thumbnail by Ignat Berbeci

Comments • 25 073

  • Skelloween
    Skelloween 14 minutes ago

    There's no shame in asking people to like, subscribe and click the bell icon. It serves a very mundane but necessary purpose. Your fans need to do this to communicate with the algorithm that they want to see all your vids.
    It's just three clicks for content I want to see more of, why would I not do it? The only reason need asking is they don't realise. People just assume subscribe does that on its own, so asking is informing, which is good.

  • thicc boi
    thicc boi 23 minutes ago

    Damn convinced me

  • Chris B
    Chris B Hour ago

    show the number of people that had the choice to watch it and didn't

  • Daan Sloots
    Daan Sloots 3 hours ago

    The funny thing is I never subscribed to you but yet I have seen al your videos for the last year because it was in my recommended, love your videos man.. Always learning from you👌 bless you💪🏻😇

  • Pablo Román
    Pablo Román 3 hours ago

    The whole proposition of this video doesn't make sense. If you planned on bringing more quality instructional videos we would have a reason to click the bell. But instead you are promising clickbaity topics, titles and thumbnails. That's rather a reason to unsubscribe and to use the new RU-clip feature "Do not recommend more videos from this channel".

  • Nathaniel Babiak
    Nathaniel Babiak 4 hours ago

    This reminds me of every engineer I've ever worked with: "why do I need marketing?"

  • SeñorExplosivo
    SeñorExplosivo 4 hours ago

    Still think the bell is worthless. There is a subscription tab for a reason.

  • Punweaver Ian
    Punweaver Ian 5 hours ago

    19:31 Anyone else see a forever alone connect the dots?

    OMNOMNOM 6 hours ago


  • Legominder
    Legominder 7 hours ago +1

    Infinite growth is way too important to our society.
    I don't like you decide to accept the not good RU-clip algorithm.
    It's just MAXIMUM MONEY optimized. Nothing else. Not quality or anything.

  • Robert Moreno
    Robert Moreno 8 hours ago

    The content is key also... the video appeared visibly interesting by the thumbnail and title but I shared the video with many others because the video conveyed that public drinking water was identified as, unknowingly to the public and facility, had become increasingly more carcinogenic due to the heated bromide and chlorine!!!

  • Erick Jones
    Erick Jones 8 hours ago

    Well I see some pretty BS in YT homepage everyday. Specially in the 'trending' section. I doubt the authenticity of this specific section.

  • Auxority MG
    Auxority MG 9 hours ago

    MrBeast is a RU-clip algorithm expert.

  • OpenSourceLiving
    OpenSourceLiving 9 hours ago

    There is a stat that few think about. Only a fraction of a percentage of EVERYONE attempting to have a viral video are creative, motivated or driven to do so. This is the WINNING factor. Just as it is in business; only 1% are willing to do what it takes to have what they want. Consistent application is the key + thumbnails, titles, CTR and watchtime of course _/\_("/)_/\_ But your chances are pretty high if you are one of that FEW who DO!

  • David Yang
    David Yang 10 hours ago

    lol Mr beast is just the man

  • Brick Broadcasting
    Brick Broadcasting 10 hours ago

    I rang the Bell 😁😉... Great video again! FYI this video was in my recommendations (maybe because I watched you on The Create Unknown.. and I have some interest in the workings of youtube 😁)

  • X Gen
    X Gen 10 hours ago

    What's with all the grey hair? You must be working too hard Dez.

  • ASMR People
    ASMR People 11 hours ago

    The problem with youtube currently is supply & demand. The supply of quality content is too high. Too many people want to be a YT star. Although most will not make quality content so many people are trying that there still is a lot of quality content out there. There is a finate number of people whom can make a living doing this, but I suggest there are ten times more people trying than can be supported.

  • Ruby Rust Records
    Ruby Rust Records 11 hours ago +2

    Gotta go make a video about snails..............

    Check it out!

  • Abot Tame
    Abot Tame 12 hours ago

    This presentation is better than mine the whole semester.

  • ThatCoder
    ThatCoder 12 hours ago

    If you want to help someone out in getting a video to become viral, please give this video of Henk Rijckaert a view and a like.
    He made a one-man-band with DIY instruments made from tennis rackets.

    • ThatCoder
      ThatCoder 12 hours ago

      More importantly: please help the video clip (which'll come out on Thursday) to go viral

  • Anarky
    Anarky 13 hours ago +1

    Yeah I can understand where you're coming from to come to the third point of clickbaity titles and thumbnails, but I think you should still make your title according to your content, not just to what's trending, because 1. Your audience will learn to trust you more and appreciate your content more and 2. If you have a clickbaity title and thumbnail, viewers might be disappointed and soon lose their interest in your video after they've clicked on it. From a RU-clipr's perspective this might mean less watchtime for you.
    This also comes down to this satisfaction aspect you address at the end.
    Hope you read this comment,
    I love your videos,

  • Tyler Moore
    Tyler Moore 17 hours ago

    RU-clip’s CTR on these “surveys” has to be abysmal.. Rebrand that to a “rating” and YelpTube was born?! 👾

  • Attila Gara
    Attila Gara 17 hours ago

    Few years ago I just bookmarked youtube/feed/subscriptions and there I see all the videos from the channels that I am subscribed to.
    What do other people do? Just go to home page and that is that?

  • Patch
    Patch 17 hours ago

    I think everyone's just gotta do what they gotta do.

  • 4jochen
    4jochen 17 hours ago

    Hello Derek,
    there is a YT Channel named "Eric Dubay" that is promoting an YT "Alternative" with blockchain ... in his Video ZQuE0wfjzf0
    and he is using content and cut-outs from this, your, video and other science channels !
    His channel and his rage against YT "blockchain promotion" video looks very suspicious and his video is promoting a Beta-Version of a Video-Scharing-Software ....
    Please comment with a "answer video" to that, IMHO, fraud.
    It looks like Bitconnect and another Ponzi Scheme = "Schnenballsystem".
    Or is there any truth in his rage against YT video ?

  • Luke Stevenson
    Luke Stevenson 19 hours ago

    please no surveys on youtube

  • Benjamin Brady
    Benjamin Brady 19 hours ago +1

    So basically, the only person who can actually predict the RU-clip algorithm is Mr. Beast

  • Benjamin Brady
    Benjamin Brady 19 hours ago +1

    Well it makes a lot of sense considering that you will see an ad at the beginning of a video nearly all of the time so a click is already money in the bank

  • Loni D.
    Loni D. 22 hours ago

    Thanks for explaining. I actually clicked the bell, I don't normally cause wasn't sure what it was doing. But now it makes sense. Hope you tube gets better at matching viewers with content.

  • R. Schuler
    R. Schuler 22 hours ago

    but it should be forbidden to do thumbnails that are in no way related to the video

  • Biman H. Saikia
    Biman H. Saikia Day ago +1

    You missed pewdiepie...

  • Peter
    Peter Day ago

    This is your livelihood - clickbaity thumbnails and titles WORK, so why would you not take that advantage? I don't understand why clickbaity T&Ts (titles and thumbnails) are looked down upon. The only time they are a negative factor is if you are baiting us into watching 1) a low quality video that 2) doesn't relate to the title/thumbnail (especially if the thumbnail implies sexual content). In both of those cases, the issue is more the VIDEO, and not the T&T, so if your video is high quality and relates to the title and thumbnail, then you are well within the expected social media etiquette.

  • Hunter
    Hunter Day ago

    You can go to your subscription feed and immediately see everything from your subscriptions.

  • Ed Cupp
    Ed Cupp Day ago

    I think maybe we're overthinking it a little bit, what icing is the algorithm mimics the law of attraction, whatever someone watches the algorithm will bring more of the same that's all I see

  • Phantom Driver
    Phantom Driver Day ago

    RU-clip algorithm;

    2010: car crash videos
    2011:Unboxing stuff
    2012:Gagnam Style
    2013:Unboxing the PS4
    2014: Unboxing the XBOX ONE
    2015: Useless crafting/DIY stuff
    2016: Oddly Satisfying Videos
    2018:More Despacito
    2019: RU-cliprs trying to explain the youtube algorithm

  • Bob Watts
    Bob Watts Day ago

    Excellent video! SPOT ON!!! Need to get this out to as many people as possible!

  • Mighty Coconut
    Mighty Coconut Day ago

    Really helpful! I never even noticed the bell before. I definitely feel like a pigeon in the Skinner box.

  • Aidan Newman
    Aidan Newman Day ago

    I love the pigeon analogy. Really well thought out.

  • DCMutE27
    DCMutE27 Day ago

    Bell rung

  • Flacke
    Flacke Day ago

    I can't believe more people don't use the bell. What's the point of subscribing if you don't?

  • Tim Haigh
    Tim Haigh Day ago

    This was incredible rich content. Thank you for the in-depth look at this topic. Please stay informative. Some of us still want long-form nuanced content.

  • DrTurtleBee
    DrTurtleBee Day ago

    Often I will specifically search for things, such as "how to make a mini fridge?" or "how does sandblasting work?"
    I'll then watch 5-6 videos on that topic many of which are very dry and non clickbaity and then find myself drifting towards other videos in the same genre. (Which is how I found your videos. searched for "how to heat your pool with solar" which eventually led to the balls video)
    So I think non clickbaity content makers still have a place on youtube. I'll be very sad if all I'll be able to see in the future is the click baity stuff and not more serious content.

  • Pankaj Solanki
    Pankaj Solanki Day ago

    Your Presentation style was awesome.

  • Tomos Watkins
    Tomos Watkins Day ago

    Literally the most accurate representation of youtube I've seen

  • Momma Knows Bestest

    How much are you making from these viral videos?

  • Percunas
    Percunas Day ago

    great points.
    not only will the algorithm change but also what "clickable" means. For example, when i do look for new stuff to watch now, i find myself activity avoiding overly clickbaity titles/thumbnails.
    btw, if YT broke your Sub-Box, you might want to try a RSS Reader, works for me so far.

  • kukukachu
    kukukachu Day ago

    Dude, you don't need to use any gimmicks. The things you talk about and the things you do are all the reason that you have all the subscribers you do. Just be yourself my dude.

  • kukukachu
    kukukachu Day ago

    Thank you very much for this video. Also, thank you very much for not monetizing it

  • vshk
    vshk Day ago

    It's not "why it went viral" but more like "how I made it so". More clickable topics and clickbait titles? See ya....

  • Angela Reuss
    Angela Reuss Day ago

    It's not good for any platform to only show people only what they want... because: 1. Sometimes people don't know what they want until they see it 2. People will be closed into their own little naive and delusional world, and never learning the truth- or learning anything new.

  • Angela Reuss
    Angela Reuss Day ago

    Do what you have to do to keep your channel going. Make your title click baity... just don't lie and people will continue watching you. :)

  • megadeathx
    megadeathx Day ago

    I'm 14:10 into this video and this guy says I'm only expected to stay for 7-9 minutes. Like... whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!?

  • SironNFuries
    SironNFuries Day ago

    I subscribe to channels that I want to track track of. Some months I'm in a mood for educational videos, some months I just want to see funny cat videos, so the RU-clip algorithm is always completely off for me. I scroll through my suggested videos and normally nothing appeals to me. So I tend to use my list of subscriptions, which is just channel names. I know these names and I'll click over to their page if I want to see what they've recently posted. And then I tend to binge watch their content. I do have somewhere around 80 subscriptions and I forget some of them, so when I see a name I don't remember I also click over to see what content they have and if I am no longer interested - and end up reminding myself why I subscribed in the first place. In this way, I still keep tabs on dormant or infrequent creators. All this to say that the bell does not work for all viewers. I will never always be in the mood to watch every video from a creator. I do wish there was a better way to find new content than searching random phrases.

  • MrTokitoriki
    MrTokitoriki Day ago +1

    I rang the bell... no one answered... :D

  • Dead Ringer -Cult of Deathrattles

    *_Anybody else notice that Veritasium's Element is "Ve42?" Like particularly "42" part. It sounds a lot like "Thoughty2" another educational channel, but that's two people with this suspicious "42" number in thier name_*
    Am I late?? Do I get whooshed for this? Because I'm jsut bos noticing.
    ---i know they are quite obviously two different people, I'm jsut commenting on the 42

  • Reeve Miller
    Reeve Miller Day ago

    _ _

  • W. T. O.
    W. T. O. Day ago

    I am so sick of RU-clip/Google/Alphabet. They are money grubbing whores destroying quality channels by putting pressure on you to prostitute yourselves to remain relevant, EVEN THOUGH... you already are based on the content you're providing.
    I am so sorry mate that you have to stoop to RU-clip's pathetic standard in order to keep your channel going or "Relevant".
    However, don't cheapen yourself chasing clicks with misleading titles. Tie in this channel with your website, offer subscriptions via email, and engage your viewers via this comment section and vlog.
    You have a story in a different state, go visit that state and pick one of your subscribers to join you. Just rethink your gameplan and leave the cheap crap for the losers.

  • David
    David Day ago

    This just in.
    The bell doesn't work anymore.
    RU-clip is dying.

  • RaineXHero
    RaineXHero Day ago

    I feel like I must be the only person who uses the Subscriptions tab.

  • 10-AHOLIC
    10-AHOLIC Day ago

    Can you ring my bell?

    APTECHTV Day ago +1

    another video that I will recommend:

      APTECHTV Day ago

      and if U R just going to type a REPLY of how smart of We R@APTECH on-TV then don't forget to chick on the notification bell AFTER U Subscribe( Just do it GodDamit )

  • florex
    florex Day ago

    I've watched some of your videos way back and I have to admit that for a time I even forgot about your channel ;(. I think that's part of your described problem: with so much content to choose from, as soon as you start not watching something regularly anymore, you start to forget about it until the RU-clip Algorithm serves you one of those videos again... Now I'm watching all of the missed videos hahaha. You're now my only channel, I hit the bell because your videos are damn good! Please keep making them!

  • Dead Ringer -Cult of Deathrattles

    So much honesty.
    (Cries a single PERFECTLY SHAPED tear)

  • Dennis Ulijn
    Dennis Ulijn Day ago

    Would be nice if RU-clip gave creators the option to have different titles for different people, like a non-clickbait title for notification squad, interesting titles for subscribers and clickbait titles for non subscribers

  • Ramix09
    Ramix09 2 days ago

    I always saw the youtube algorithm as the neural net, but it's actually a program tweaking the parameters on another neural net that is the content creators. Great video

  • Firasat Hussain Chishti

    Nice video

  • 1000 subscribers with no videos challenge

    I rung the bell.

  • CrazyDualWielder
    CrazyDualWielder 2 days ago

    Any one notice the beep at 1:52

  • Karen Reddy
    Karen Reddy 2 days ago

    I'm so thankful for your content!

  • thePlanetraveler. com

    I laughed when you said, "The point of this video is to ring the bell." Because that's exactly what I was thinking. Honestly, I don't care if you have click bait thumbnails as long as the videos are good.

  • grégoire Denécheau

    I was honestly impressed by the quality of the video. I enjoyed it. It was realy clearly explained and interesting ! I had seen youtube content before complaining about the new algorithm without really explaining what was wrong, and thanks to you, I finally understood.
    I won't click the bell because I'm some sort of casual youtube user and don't want to be spammed with notifications, but I'll regularly check your videos, because I am sure some of them will interest me.

  • As 123
    As 123 2 days ago

    Nice to sweet plese one click icon

  • Frizzable
    Frizzable 2 days ago +1

    holy crap this video is so accurate. well done.

  • Creating Julie Silversmyth

    Yeah... and the bell doesn’t even work anymore.

  • Man Spider
    Man Spider 2 days ago

    Why does your channel not have a bell?

  • Volbla
    Volbla 2 days ago

    There is another way to always get notified of of your subscriptions' uploads, and that is to always go to the subscription tab and never use the youtube main page. Protip free of charge.

  • Volbla
    Volbla 2 days ago

    If you give it more than a moment's thought, isn't it kind of obvious that click through rate only gauges how catchy the title and thumbnail is? And though i guess that is important if your goal is to get people to click on something that they have never seen or heard of before, should that be your biggest goal? I was going to suggest viewer satisfaction as a possible metric, perhaps measured by whether a viewer like, favourite, subscribe or watch more of the uploader's videos, but maybe that is more useful for individual viewer preference rather than what videos get widely promoted.

  • MathPencil - Mathematical sense


  • Roxanne Morgan
    Roxanne Morgan 2 days ago

    Very informative,really appreciate all the creativity you put into the presentation.
    Thank you!

  • Mattia Spinelli
    Mattia Spinelli 2 days ago

    I also thought you stopped making videos and was even sad about it.
    I even check regularly your page, but somehow the new stuff is not put to the front.
    I have to really look for it.
    I miss the time when after subscribing I would get notifications.

  • Tyler Durden
    Tyler Durden 2 days ago

    I am not gonna lie, I will be stealing that paper board idea some time in future.

  • nawack1
    nawack1 2 days ago

    We as an audiance have to think more but not let this Algo do it for us...

  • Hukas01
    Hukas01 2 days ago

    Why hasn't rating been a thing? there's more much to know from a thumbs up and thumbs down. Also, the RU-clip home screen should be more topic driven, I like music, Art and physics/bio stuff, so I never look at the home screen. When I go to say Khan's Academy, it doesn't just give the most popular video's, I choose a topic and it gives me choices in those topics.

    tl:dr - give users categories.

  • Christopher Field
    Christopher Field 2 days ago

    Give us a tracker/vote/request stand alone app.

  • Virtuoso
    Virtuoso 2 days ago

    This will go viral for doubt about it:

  • Francisco Arenas
    Francisco Arenas 2 days ago

    your videos are great!. i think i've never took the time to really thank you for all your work. clicked the bell instantly! never noticed i haven't ha!

  • Priya Yasmin x
    Priya Yasmin x 2 days ago

    Loving this 😍🔥
    Any small youtubers want to help each other out by subscribing 🙌🏾💖!!!

  • Ariel Lorusso
    Ariel Lorusso 2 days ago

    3:34 I almost died LoL

  • Daniel A. Friedrich
    Daniel A. Friedrich 2 days ago

    I unsubscribed some 3 years ago because your videos started feeling too mainstream to me but thanks to your viral video, I noticed your new amazingly original content. IMHO, originality is a big part of the clickbait factor, so I think it's great YT encourages creators to stay creative, reach new audiences and find new potentials.

  • mickoz84
    mickoz84 3 days ago

    For me, this is the first video about the topic which was really objective and not just blaming RU-clip for making everything worse. Sure, the develop the ranking and recommendation algorithms, but they are interested in making the platform stronger. They don't have any interest in losing all the users to other platforms. And if they grow this is also better for the creators.
    One interesting point you brought in is that the youtubers got used to these high view counts and every change which reduces these counts is seen as a loss. But consider that there are more youtubers on the planet who maybe just in a prior phase of their potential success. They all fight for the same market and It would be bad if they got no chance because all the big youtubers (and there are a lot of them) taking already the lion-share.
    Maybe the subscriptions should have a different name. It should be called "liked channels", channels I'm interested in seeing more but not necessarily need to be informed of each new video. If I would get informed about each of the channels I have subscribed, I never would see a video from anybody else (and I have only a few subscriptions).

  • Zombie Legend146
    Zombie Legend146 3 days ago +33

    RU-clip: "Oh No, he's figured us out"
    "Quick, change the algorithm again."

  • Saurabh Anand
    Saurabh Anand 3 days ago

    You are the best!

  • L C
    L C 3 days ago

    Is this how our current president got elected?

  • Bluestone Randomness

    0:54 DJ Nate fans?

  • Dominik Černý
    Dominik Černý 3 days ago

    So basically make interesting, fun and catchy videos

  • Dominik Černý
    Dominik Černý 3 days ago

    Damn, well done

  • nady jose villar tavarez

    I hope this does not make RU-cliprs all that subscribers hunters.

  • nady jose villar tavarez

    Why are there 3K thumbs down, makes no sense, you watch this guy cause you like this guy, why go negative on a dude just making his case? Just stop watching.

  • Martin Allan
    Martin Allan 3 days ago

    Clickbait titles can be very risky. If the title is technically true but barely related to the video you're fan base will get sick of clicking on basically fake videos. However if its a creative title that is related then yes very much use those titles