My Video Went Viral. Here's Why

Views 2 311 421
98% 177 560 3 319

My hypothesis is that the algorithm, rather than viewer preference, drives views on the site. As the algorithm shifts, various USvidrs 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 USvid 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

Published on


May 19, 2019

veritasiumyoutubealgorithmviralhow to go viralmr beastmr. beastmark roberblack ballsctrclick-through rateviews




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Comments 24 870
RayRay01 58 minutes ago
Thank you for being so honest and open about your USvid adventure. I hate click bate and really value a good channel that I can ring the bell and subscribe to. I think in the end, USvidrs are helping replace standard cable television. They now have their own production studios, Travel and production budgets, as well as loyal fans just like any other network channel (albeit on a sometimes smaller scale) Keep up the good work and more "quality" viewers will be subscribing and watching faithfully every week. If you have to do the click-baiting in the meantime I understand but what I have seen creators doing is actually slowly migrating their viewer base away from USvid which might be a decent strategy to monetize, keep ultimate creative freedom, and segment your audience for more curated programming. I'm not sure how logistically feasible it would be but creating a "Learning Network/Channel" might give you a competitive advantage and a huge advantage as far as content quality by collaborating on such a channel with Physics Girl, Smarter Every Day, and V-Sauce just to name a few. In a weird scenario that channel could actually be sold as a packaged network channel back to the cable providers which would increase your audience by orders of magnitudes and reciprocate viewers back to your USvid channel or private channel where ever you are hosting online.
Lee'sa Lee
Lee'sa Lee 2 hours ago
Good video
hanse81 3 hours ago
This was all to tell us you're going to make clickbait? ;-)
1313rosey1313 3 hours ago
safak boy
safak boy 3 hours ago
Thank you for this great content!
Ghani Chishty
Ghani Chishty 3 hours ago
Why doesn't USvid have this discussion with its content creators?
Ondřej Palata
Ondřej Palata 4 hours ago
So that is why Veritasium is showing in my thumbnails all the time :-D
Abhik Manna
Abhik Manna 5 hours ago
Getting a mixed up feeling about USvid
David DarkVamprism
David DarkVamprism 5 hours ago
I don't use the youtube homepage because of this, I look at it when I want new videos but Ive set the /feed/subscriptions page as my go-to link so I actually see content from the people I have subscribed to.
Prateek Panwar
Prateek Panwar 6 hours ago
I have to say, You create very beautiful and creative presentation
Prateek Panwar
Prateek Panwar 6 hours ago
Add a dirty thumbnail and use biological reproduction in title, Your view will reach skyrocket for an instance
Goncalo Nobre
Goncalo Nobre 9 hours ago
Also the huge numbers on the title, create more attraction to click and see what is about
Suyash Sharma
Suyash Sharma 9 hours ago
Well...you just explained the lifecycle of QUORA. It is more corporatised now and only has click bait answers. Which is why it has lost quality and interest.
Emmanuel Koech
Emmanuel Koech 11 hours ago
The presentation was good though...love the art
Elliotttheneko UwU
Elliotttheneko UwU 12 hours ago
Arnis K
Arnis K 14 hours ago
Click-bite titles will attract more new viewers faster, but it will also annoy existing subscribers and will reduce trust to your videos. You already have 6M subscribers, how many more do you want to get? :)
Random Guy
Random Guy 14 hours ago
The same reason if I watch some Persona 4 gameplay, I get Nickelodeon ads.
Mr Lazy
Mr Lazy 15 hours ago
tbh im stuck with you forever! :) Dont matter what u do. Love what you do.
George Treichel
George Treichel 16 hours ago
Look I did a long time ago and still the same haven’t seen you
George Treichel
George Treichel 17 hours ago
Wow that’s right for some reason I didn’t see your videos, I’m a subscriber . Hope you keep making videos,
J Quiznos
J Quiznos 17 hours ago
This made me sad. Because youtube is the suck now.
House of Khaine
House of Khaine 19 hours ago
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 Stars. Been a long time since I've done that on USvid.
Mr_tall_guy_ 12345
Mr_tall_guy_ 12345 20 hours ago
.... I had no idea what that bell was for.... thank you sir .
suke 22 hours ago
Stellar presentation. I avoid clickbaity crap ... Its my internal quality control system
clueless 15 hours ago
I avoid it too, but, as he outlined in the video, it’s essential for channel growth at this point and I find that sometimes I’m missing quality content behind clickbait facades. It really does suck
Dravus Royce
Dravus Royce 23 hours ago
youtube is being general centric though, google has enormous server real estate, so why can't they cater to ME for me, if i didnt click a video 20 times, and I am still seeing it, they are doing it wrong, and if my disliking of that kind of video is affecting what someone else sees, that's also wrong. ITS SO DUMB!!!!
Jacob 23 hours ago
3:27 thats because your looking at the wrong data, change the platform to youtube and you see a graph the suggest steady growth with a few spikes and dips
Fuzzman Day ago
what youtube needs is to have subscriptions to playlists, and those subscribed playlists will always appear in your subs page. along side thier algorithm it will help smaller channels gain traction and also help bigger channels stay afloat with fans acctually following the content they want
Enelysion Fields
ill probably get bombarded by youtube algorithm vids after watching this
Emil Rosenberg
I really can't stand how you try and defend clickbaiting and in a sense, misinformative titles and thumbnails instead of standing up for quality - the future everyone should be chasing. And as a content creator with a large audience, if you don't take up that challenge then I don't think you deserve a single subscriber.
Alee Enn
Alee Enn Day ago
I had a thought a few days ago, and it was to stop watching channels with lots of subscribers and only watch channels with a few subscribers. You've just convinced me to do it. I'm going to mark any channel I see with more than 100,000 subscribers as "Not Interested". These channels don't need my views, the small channels do.
Peter Griffith
When will the algorithm finally be able NOT to recommend videos I already watched?
nobbie01 Day ago
To get around that notification issue, I just go through ALL the videos showing in my subscriptions page. It has made me realise I have waaaay too many subs, considering I'm 1 month behind, but at least I get to see all the content they make.
Zhenya Tirshtain
man i thought you stopped, until the balls video. didnt see any of your videos in my feed for an year at least.
Schekoni Day ago
This is such a wonderful presentation. Should be watched by anyone who needs to present anything. A how-to on smart and creative explaining. Thanks!
Владимир Буборнев
Please do not give up! You make a great quality content. Shame on youtube for hiding it even from subscribers :(
Lukas Deis
Lukas Deis Day ago
It's machine-learning so there are several factors at place. There is no reason not to include other factors like personal interest (like the category of topics you are interested in(Google keeps a list of those)). right?
David Vannucci
You took so long to get to the point on how to help you, I almost gave up before you told us what to do. Just put it in the top left from the start? "Support us on Patreon and/or just click the bell"
Ayush Aggarwal
I have a theory.... Many youtubers do what you've said you'll do, and they burnout... Maybe clickbait is the problem, hear me out. CTR depends not just on the number of clicks but the number of recommendations too When people click on your video and don't really care for the rest of your content, they will still be recommended the rest of your videos because they clicked, but they're not interested in the rest so they won't click the videos recommended to them, this will make CTR reduce plummeting the channel and reduce recommendations even to viewers who were actually interested in the channel's content So in summary clicks are good only if they lead to regular viewers, if they lead to one time viewers they decrease the visibility to even new actually interested viewers, so a spike is not good news but only a sign of doom
Sai Jahnavi Yeruva
The thing is, Derek, the reason why people hate clickbait-y titles and thumbnails is because they have no relationship with the actual video. I think most of us will agree when I say that it's ok if titles and thumbnails are clickbait-y, but they have to match with what's ACTUALLY in the video. So far, you have always given exactly what you wrote in the title. So I won't mind if you started doing this and would still click on the video. Anyway, just my thoughts. Keep up the amazing work Derek! 😁👍
Sai Jahnavi Yeruva
Personally, I tend to avoid the video all together when USvid recommends a video with a clickbait title. However, I will ALWAYS click on a video from a few select channels like yours (no matter what the title says) as I know that you always provide quality content. For me, it COMPLETELY depends on the creator. Don't Stress Derek, trust your audience (If it makes you feel better, like many other people, you are one of the very VERY few channels where I clicked the bell. 🙂)
Large Soda
Large Soda Day ago
Mr. Beast: "Today, we fill this ocean with big black balls, creating a shade ball tsunami, last one swimming wins 10,000 dollars. Chandler..."
Jennifer Klouse
Houston, be advised Maria Raykova is a steely eyed missile man. That flip chart. 💗
Every Think
Every Think Day ago
I almost hope it turns out this video was one big experiment to get people to click your bell. I'd be seriously impressed.
Dániel Kovács
The funny thing is that I already rang the bell a few years ago and I still missed like 90 of your videos.
Harold Westrich
Thank you for letting us know what's up ! ! I had no idea this was why "CLICKBAIT" got so bad. It's so depressing to click on a video and then NOT SEE the photo that was on the thumbnail ! ! The rating system would shut those down right now!
McMatthew99 Day ago
Time to switch to DailyMotion?
thefuture4 Day ago
Literally the first video i watched that sent me on a 6 hour tailspin of watching all your content.
The Sypwer
The Sypwer Day ago
I almost never use homepage nor trending, subscriptions and notifications is good enough
Stephen Furr
Stephen Furr Day ago
So is this click-bait war the reason I purposely avoid obvious biased or sensationalized thumbnails and titles, and gravitate towards channels that present a more realistic if less edge of your seat explodey stuff look. Keep up the science educational content. You have a loyal audience that will find your videos.
Nonya Damnbusiness
So, what about cross posting to other platforms? Are you on Daily Motion, or Vimeo, or LBRY?
Well it sounds like survival so you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Not your fault. USvid is failing it’s creators.
Deschutron K
Deschutron K Day ago
"So what I'm actually gonna present is a kind of *theory* *of* *everything"* OK, Einstein..
Ryan Harvey
Ryan Harvey Day ago
I hate the algorithm. Seems like it makes more money for USvid, but at the expense of user experience.
Alekaditez Day ago
how spraypaint works or how dye works
Juan Ayala
Juan Ayala Day ago
Dear Derek: thank you for all your great videos. They've sparked my curiosity many, many times. That being said: you are not a Kardashian, so you do not need your videos to clickbaitly hit 10 million views every time. Your audience will still be there searching for you because of the topics you dive into and the remarkably clear way you explain them. You might go viral from time to time and get tons of new subscribers, but those subscribers will be just as easily lost as they were gained. What easy comes easy goes. You have to ask yourself then: am I doing this to get rich or to make a good leaving working on what I love, shearing with people my abilities? When in doubt, always go back to your basic values and everything will become clear.
Tobias Fünke
Don't use clickbaity titles and thumbnails or I will stop clicking on your content.
Thijs van Gisbergen
You all speak of this algorithm, but in reality it's just pumping and pumping more money into promoting your videos.
basspig 2 days ago
I haven't had burnout.. I've never ignited to begin with!
Caleb Bennett
Caleb Bennett 2 days ago
Well said. Well done.
frank ward
frank ward 2 days ago
Really you have to spend your money still dont forget about buisness that helps too
DasPikachu 2 days ago
*I WANT* to be able to create "subscription-groups" on youtube! What I mean is that you could create a channel folders, for gaming channels, science channels, comedy, arts & crafts, music, whatever you like. And in that corner you would be shown the newest videos of those channels I chose. ALL of them like it used to be!
DasPikachu 2 days ago
The only way I can think of doing this would be to create like 10 channels and subscribe only to one cathegory of channels on each... but honestly that wouldn't b a great solution! If I wanna watch gaming or comedy, I'd like to scroll through videos of according channels I subscribed to.
drmnys 2 days ago
USvid sucks. It needs more competition. Having said that I don't understand why people see USvid recommended videos... Just go to your sub list. All your subbed channels are there.
Nadir Siddiqui
Nadir Siddiqui 2 days ago
Ringing ringing ringing that bell! I think you deserve it, thank you for your awesome videos, you're an inspiration.
Velocityraptor 2 days ago
Educational contends are pretty much the only things I watch on yt.
Nikita Yeryomin
Nikita Yeryomin 2 days ago
My homepage is my 'subscribed' page on USvid. I never look at the suggested section, because all those reasons...
TheOrangeCreeper 2 days ago
There isn't really a reason on how people get viral. It's just completely random.
xJuiCYxxJaYx 2 days ago
Make a '' how to not pollute"and make THAT go viral. 🤔😒😫😫😜🤙🤙🤙🤙
kikalcala 2 days ago
When you showed the post it notes with googly eyes I anticipated my own future subscription to your channel...
Animagus 2 days ago
I wasn't subbed before, but the fact you kept my focus during a lecture makes that an easy click.
Nagendra Kaushik
Nagendra Kaushik 2 days ago
Subscribe me
I wish I saw you science videos first !!
Gunpal Jain
Gunpal Jain 2 days ago
I am very picky about pressing like, subscribe and the bell button on every other video. I just pressed the bell button on this video after thinking about the time and effort it might have taken in creating those slides on white paper. :p I have no words for admiration of research, presentation and hard work done to create such outstanding video.
Nicole Martinez
Nicole Martinez 2 days ago
Very interesting. I specifically look at my subscriptions when I log on. Do others not?
Quincy Dread
Quincy Dread 2 days ago
well this just goes to show we are really heading down a slippery slope when sensationalism and clickbait is acceptable
Salman Umar
Salman Umar 2 days ago
The only time i actually felt the need to press the bell icon. Well done. Well produced and educational video. Im also a small youtuber who started couple moths ago. We try to make moral lessons for children using superheroes. If anyone has time check out joker steals thors hammer on #tfskids.
Whizzhup 2 days ago
Oh i thought that video was Tony Stark. OMG I'M SO DUMB.
CRZIY BOY 2 days ago
Everyone go And comment on mr beast video that he need to make a video how to Get videos viral
Sixor Kaer
Sixor Kaer 2 days ago
watch composition+read title+watch video length >>>1.IS this video important for me 2. DO i expect to have fun or feel anything from it thumbnail:toilet and a girl crying face title:Kid found out and scream there a rat in the toilet length:0:07 me:click
Joel Torrens
Joel Torrens 2 days ago
Looks like your Mr Beast friend may have driven your views up a bit......coincidence?
Owais Ahmed
Owais Ahmed 2 days ago
The presentation on paper board was exceptional. Click bait or not, once you land here, you're sure to watch through. Good job...
陳紅狼 2 days ago
I hate the algorithm, that’s the reason I only got to “subscribe” tag most of the time.
Peter Choi
Peter Choi 2 days ago
"The message is the medium." Marshall McLuhan was so right 40 years ago and still today he is right.
CHEP Day ago
Peter Choi - it’s “The Medium is the Message”
Kate Lim
Kate Lim 2 days ago
I got bored halfway watching the shade balls vid when the vid only had single-digit million views (I did not finish). I made a mental note, avoided clicking your blackhole video suggested by YT as I remember your channel name ( your vid was not as impressive as your thumbnail). I only have this much time, I dont have time for clickbait vids, I actively avoid clickbaity channel such as Pewdiepie (used to be a sub when he was actually playing vid games). I hope you remember the passion you have starting the channel 10 yrs from now. Or maybe it's just a money making machine hence the burnout. :)
Angeal Hayleyy
Angeal Hayleyy 2 days ago
Don't worry, I will always like your videos You are always so educational
As a result of your title.
Mark Dowse
Mark Dowse 2 days ago
So, you have to have a "great hook"? Sounds EXACTLY like the kid selling newspapers on the street corner ........
Shloppie 2 days ago
Bro, the Kardashians are clickbait. There is plenty of people in the world that want more clickbait.
EyeTheSkies 2 days ago
Al NaJin
Al NaJin 2 days ago
Dude, you're a genius. What a way for explaining youtube trends, If I could meet with you I would talk about this for hours. Sadly I live on the end of the world, Chile. Well, it is not but is pretty far anyway.
shovas 2 days ago
Lots of empathy for you guys but do you realize you’re locking yourself in to a system you don’t have any control over? My advice is to disengage from the forces telling you what to do and just organically, holistically build your audience, and on multiple platforms. Right now, you’ve enslaved yourself to a treadmill. Welcome, you’ve built your own rat race on the internet.
shovas 2 days ago
Regarding the bell, unfortunately I think many people don’t use it because A it’s one more extra thing to do but B perhaps more importantly we all get more than enough notifications already. I don’t think that’s a sustainable solution.
shovas 2 days ago
Real solution: Build your brand, not your algorithm hooks. I specifically look for your videos. That’s the kind of viewer you want for long term, sustainable views and growth.
Jacob Burge
Jacob Burge 3 days ago
i didn't even know about the bell
Tryhqrds Jr
Tryhqrds Jr 3 days ago
Can someone just sum this video up for me
Tech Planet
Tech Planet 2 days ago
Thumbnails, titles & quality watch-time are important. YT's alrogithm is always changing and so it's an endless objective to chase for youtubers.
JLT Productions
JLT Productions 3 days ago
Very useful video....well done and keep going💪💪💪
Kenny gordon
Kenny gordon 3 days ago
Sort your homepage by subscription videos. Boom i see em all.
Marko Posavec
Marko Posavec 3 days ago
I don't like all the algorithms because they are slowly removing control from us. If youtube genuinely wants to be useful they should for example: Add the option to disable suggesting videos that were already watched and stop pretending that you didn't watch them. Every video that was watched should be marked as such, it's the main point of computers to augment persons abilities. And not to instead exploit persons inability to remember everything to corporate advantage.
WeBuild4Life 3 days ago
I must be one of the anomalies. I almost only use my subscription feed to find videos to watch. I have a bout 240 subscriptions of all the content I like. That's where I get 99% of my watch time. Occasionally I will click off on to a recommended video, but normally if I didn't have anything else planned to watch,
Tejas Sharma
Tejas Sharma 3 days ago
Good Job. I just finished watching a 23 min video. Through out the video I was curious about what is coming up in next slide.
Ludde Nord
Ludde Nord 3 days ago
See you again in 6 months
Milorad Menjic
Milorad Menjic 3 days ago
Bell on youtube is icon it does not ring for start. Second how many did you clicked till now, we deserve to know that ? It is not ok to ask us to do what you did not or to do it more than you did. And last but not least imagine clicking them all, imagine all people click all bells what then ? Personally I try to turn off all notifications I can, from youtube and others, tell me how many notifications do you have daily and actually open them and look at, and then tell me that you want more, then you can go on youtube and click more, it is easy just ring the bell, that is what you are asking from people and it is not fair, why do you expect that we love notifications if you don't ?
Sean Tan
Sean Tan 3 days ago
21:04 the most subtle pun I have ever seen
Akshay Gadsing
Akshay Gadsing 3 days ago
Your videos are just lovely! Just Keep making videos on Science.❤️ And we too hope USvid will optimise algorithm so that people can get informative and educational videos along with burnouts and entertainment and trendy timepass videos. There's lots of appreciation to channels like Veritasium, Asapscience and many more who work for educating people with Science
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