My Video Went Viral. Here's Why

Views 2 518 161
98% 190 394 3 560

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




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Comments 26 203
Devin Thomas
Devin Thomas 8 hours ago
Proves that Mr. Beast is the king of clickbait.
dqj999 19 hours ago
Very informative. Interestingly the Ad that was presented before this video was for a Thumbnail creator! As a Physics gradate I like the science based videos by Veritasium. Just wished that my Physics lecturers were a tenth as interesting!
beaksofeagles 21 hour ago
20:00 What does that world look like? It looks like Trump becoming President of USA.
Alex Timmins
Alex Timmins 22 hours ago
I actually prefer to watch your videos in groups once a month.
xReaperx5 22 hours ago
Clickbaity titles and thumbnails... I think you’re right sir. Make sure to put out an update video
남복숭TV귀여운 시츄
You know what? This is the best video tutoring i’ve ever seen.
Dee10 Day ago
WELL SAID!!! and its not wrong per se. you are just being dynamic as a business. The market just needs to come to a constant.. .which as we know ... never occurs
Pranjal Parashar
some harry potter fans who are bad at spelling!!!
Nasdaq trader
Views are allocated to the absolutely longest absolutely highest watch time absolutely highest CTR videos at an EXPONENTIAL RATE. Now think about that! The USvid algorithm is COMPLETELY driving and allocating views and not the other way around. ALLOCATING views - that's the keyword! And you should use the example of Pavlov's dogs...I just want to list the video lengths of the videos that re recommended to me next to THIS video: 14, 14, 1h12, 16, 12, 21, 12, 28, 13, 11, 26, 9, 11, 9, 21, 40, 10, 13, 12, 8, 6, 35 Here's the dates these videos were created: 2019, 2019, 2019, 2019, 2019, 2019, 2019, 2019, 2017, 2017, 2015, 2017, 2014, 2019, 2016, 2018 etc. You get the IDEA!
Tool Jockey
Tool Jockey Day ago
It has gotten to the point where I won't click videos with click baitey titles because I relate them with bad quality, I always have to tell myself to make an exception for Derek because his videos actually pull through!
Hope This Helps
I love the way you presented this. Felt like I was in college again. Great video.
Ceasar Dr
Ceasar Dr Day ago
audience looking for educational videos usually subscribe and go to the specific channel and check earlier content if they are satisfied, then ring the bell after reaching to a level of confidence about the expected quality of that channel, at least I do it that way. anyhow nice video and keep up the good work.
Mark Bisson
Mark Bisson Day ago
I don't ring the bell because I don't want all that email, "So and So just uploaded another video". But I don't want to miss your videos because I learn so much from them. I'll go ring Destin Sandlin's, Mark Rober's and Scott Manley's channels too, for the same reason. You are forgiven for using "clickbaity" titles because I find your videos often live up to the expectation that it's good. 🔔🔔🔔🔔
Pretty cool that the commercial before this video is for a service improving your thumbnails 😂
Joey Carousel
You need to keep going because we love your content very much!
Chris Hammock
The algorithm sucks. I get the same uninteresting drivel that is totally boring to me as a specific person. I want to be told when new Veritasium and other quality content comes online. I want to be told when MY KIND OF VIDEO drops. I would be willing to move to a different video provider if they were more "quality of experience" driven instead of "let me grub as much cash, as quickly as I possibly can"... Understand this.... that you have GOT to keep working toward your passion and not toward shoveling content out the door to click-bait your audience. I"m a teacher and I have lessons wrapped around your videos and if you produce drivel, I will have to go to your peers for content. Stay true to your roots. I know you do not want to have to stop being a youtuber, but you must play the long game and if that means numbers (and income) go up and down, then so be it. Examples from my lessons created: most radioactive places on earth- BEU is a beautiful concept in a world of confusion. do cell phones cause cancer- scientifically sloppy thinking is very very bad. Again, thanks so much for the quality of your content. I saw your vitamins video is on Amazon? If I can watch it from Amazon, I am so totally there. Hope that gives you a slice. Looks very good. fish created the vikings! what madness! who knew!
mhhndeable Day ago
I hate USvid algorithm, watched some videos from certain channel, my recommended videos will be flooded by videos from that channel. Same as topics too.. Definitely comparable to netflix.. Boo
Thanks for the insight into the back end of the industry. I respect your dedication, Pretty Derek! Got here from the Hello Internet podcast, I love your channel!
Chuck Raymond
Chuck Raymond 2 days ago
Consider leaving USvid, put your content on your own website. Google is an advertising company, they are motivated to maximize the total number of eyeballs, even if it is not for the greater social good.
Rykahnz 2 days ago
What you missed here in this video is that the algorithm does vary from person to person and substantially so. I hate the typical clickbaity tubers like Mr. beast for example. These guys are huge but YT literally never serves me up their stuff I only know about them because I found them through word of mouth or comment and I look it up. What I wish for though is that just like evolution there would be randomization thrown in I'm surprised that they still don't seem to do this at all. How can I find something that I will be strongly drawn to that I don't know yet about and will have a lot of watch time in if the algorithm doesn't throw me random videos here and there and instead keeps me in my sphere of interests only.
Phap Bui
Phap Bui 2 days ago
this sucks, the youtube system works on click bait stuff
Nil Wang
Nil Wang 2 days ago
This presenting way is so amazing! You are wonderful. I am willing to watch all of your previous videoes, but I have no time doing this. However, I hope I could sticking on watching your videoes to learn English and other interesting things. Bonding your major and interests is so marvelous. Congrats! Wish you get better as you like.
Jim Gutenkauf
Jim Gutenkauf 2 days ago
I learned about the bell and why it ought to be rung. Rung +1.
Ryan Carter
Ryan Carter 2 days ago
So many bikini pic thumbnails, even in subjects you would not expect. Talk about going after people's baser instincts. Wish it were not true, but so it is.
sarahieda 2 days ago
11:49 but why? How did they came with that conclusion?
Sharal 3D
Sharal 3D 2 days ago
This was like different but one hell of a video
Michael Beee
Michael Beee 3 days ago
What really sux is that a simple search with 4 words - author and title, doesn't actually show that video, but completely unrelated @#$@@@@!!!!! As well, I forget what I want to watch, so I subscribed and then they disappear, unless I remind myself, ahhhh long time I have checked on that. The bell sux as well, because then I get that flood of notifications and emails. #bellsuxs, #sad #algorithmsuxs. It comes to: Don't entertain me, I choose what entertains me! That's the competitive advantage of youtube. Otherwise, I just watch TV. And before somebody says Netflix, it has the same problem!
Pedrum Sd
Pedrum Sd 3 days ago
Year 0 - 2019: Kids do not judge a book by its cover Year 2019 - Singularity: Kids do not judge a post by its thumbnail Year Singularity - Universe Extinction: 01100110 01110101 01100011 01101011
Adriyel de los Reyes
Very informative as a new youtuber. Thank u for sharing.
Nivlek 3 days ago
I think this was brilliant! Thanks.
Akash Priya
Akash Priya 3 days ago
Don’t hate me please but He made a viral video and made another video to brag about it. Edit: good video though
kayGW Beats
kayGW Beats 4 days ago
I needed this thank you 💯
NOMAD 4 days ago
At 17:54 it's interesting you mention this because i used to watch you alot more. Guess that algorithm toys with me too. indeed i watched the black ball video and yea, that's about the time it began to recomend you to me again. So i was just watching the tennis racket video and thought, "this is a really good video with so much info, research, editing he must be only putting out a video a month or so at best. So i came to your home page and was surprised by how frequently you upload such meaty content. That's a lot of work but we can tell you love it so win win. So can you make a video that has a super clickey thumbnail and title about density? the densities of objects like neutron stars. Is a black hole the most dense thing? And why do we call them holes? 🤣 is there a maximum density and can only gravity pull particles tight enough to form a singularity, or are they always formed from the energy of a supernova, does it shred all the atoms for a moment allowing it's collapse to form a newer and tighter, more dense object out of the particles flailing about to regain some form? Right after a supernova would the fabric of spacetime maintain that spherical shape of a star which is actually what smashes those particles back down? Seems they should shoot out for ever but there must be some ultradense mass remaining to suck it all back in again and at least prop up the fabric of spacetime long enough to suck it all back in. I have an idea for the title, "Then Density did THIS!" And just make the thumbnail a girl applying makeup or something.
First name Last name
damn now I know he really ballin. he can get COLORED PRINTOUTS
Art Photo
Art Photo 4 days ago
Who wouldn't love videos about snails... I know I would... Thanks for this, got a new subscriber.
Dr. Pizza
Dr. Pizza 4 days ago
screw it i rang the bell, least i could do
Kenny Kerman
Kenny Kerman 4 days ago
It's ironic I didn't view the viral one (I knew the answer), but I love this one. Superstition in pedagogy is extremely important. Also: you forgot the audience following the producers :) Chaotic cycle through a random landscape... Your best clickbait is a good question. So quality becomes also a "marketing" criteria.
troubl3gum 5 days ago
that's why I only use the "subscriptions" although I've heard about YT wanting to filter this section too.
Jim#jazz Moto
Jim#jazz Moto 6 days ago
This is great video tutorial amazing you inspire me to keep going and make it possible
MerryMustu 6 days ago
"The algorithm becomes the content" is a great example of Goodhart's Law.
Maya Lee
Maya Lee 7 days ago
This was SO incredibly helpful, informative, and I loved the visual aid. Thank you :)
Dreamer Ballena
Dreamer Ballena 7 days ago
1 Like = 10 New Hugs
Patrick Brett
Patrick Brett 7 days ago
I detest Click-bait, it's the main reason why I've been only watching video's from my subscriptions while looking for an alternative platform. The moment USvid added that damnable bell it broke the way we used to see videos, now people who want to see everything their subscriptions make they should click the bell or just go through their subscription channels and see what they have made through all time. I've found some great content on channels I have been subscribed to by trawling the channels, video's that the algorithm never told me about so I don't rely on the algorithm to tell me what to watch!
AtomAyPlay 7 days ago
Are my videos not clickable?
VirtuallyFonz 7 days ago
I LOVE all the time toy took to make this presentation. There's something aesthetic about having you show us on paper than creating graphics. Amazing.
Drill SEO
Drill SEO 7 days ago
Very good Video
Ramata 8 days ago
Hmmm. Interesting rant. Well done. I don't click any bells for anyone. I just look up the channel that I want because I don't want bells going off all day on my phone. Plus my tastes change, with time. I watch you because you're referred to in many of the science channels I watch. I find your high quality videos wonderful. But I am not going ring a bell for anyone. Bad metric. I watch your videos all the way through, so I hope that helps you out. Being a subscriber is just not good enough for Google? That's a form of dedication and should be enough. I will try to walk away to let the sponsor run through to end. That's the best I can do. I am not Pavlov's dog.
Ten Second BuickGN
I have a video that went viral and it was totally by luck. I recorded it on a cell phone with literally ZERO preparation!
Ace Of Spades
Ace Of Spades 9 days ago
I know what will be next based on what i am doing to make condensed information on topics i am interested in. 1) I creating different channels (entities) for different purposes. This channel is for USvid education 2) I do follow recomendations of advanced experts on topics and doing PRE research to follow. I had the same thoughts as you and i have digged deeper and if you want i can have a chat with you to show 3) USvid CAN solve my problems by giving me a chance to sort out my playlists in order to RUBRICATIONS so i can assign my own and assign channel to those rubrics so i can observe a rubric on whats new fast 4) I do listen for educated experts and this is not what majority of crowd are doing. THis brings us to a question. Do we pursue quality of audience as a CORE of channel or we pursue the quantity. THe majority unstable and they do not know what they want and there they will be so their preferences are shifting. This tells us that USvid algos chaces the majority most of the time. 5) Algo will be forced to move from quality to quantity back and forth as with growing of numbers of clickbates, watching time will start to fail. So you need to rebuild fast too from quality to clickbates with the algorythm. 6) In order to do this you need INDEXES of youtubers who doing content of high quality and youtubers with clickbate. Once numbers of clickbate will rise high from low quality youtubers to the point than watching time start to fall - it is time to shift to quality. Once the opposite - you shift to clickbate 7) USvid will notice these and will create index or currency so we will be able to trade it and pay for content 8) For now you need to promote videos in 2 styles depend on situation with clickbate and quality / watching time index 9) Also you need to build your channel around CORE audience which is reach and stable and i twill be SPINE or PIVOT of your channel. Also you need meat. So you can provide a LOWER quality content to a majority with clickbate. Also you need to establish payments for core audience in order to support channel while meat is in charge. 10) If you want to know which types of content you can create - lower quality and higher quality and reduce the producing time and be in touch with your brand contact me )))))
mhe. Productions /not producing/
* cringe * :/
Frederik Miller
Frederik Miller 9 days ago
doesn't this reflect the outside world and advertising. the worst junk has the best looking packaging.
Paper Origami
Paper Origami 9 days ago
Gardentastic 10 days ago
Thanks for the visuals! Your rant seems to be hitting the iceberg on the head! 👍🏼 good job!
Jeb Fahlgren
Jeb Fahlgren 10 days ago
Let the users tweak thier own algo in settings.
Catulum 10 days ago
*U N P O C O D E T O D O*
Very nice!!! Thanks a lot!!! ✨🙏🏻😇🌠
Paulo Sebresos
Paulo Sebresos 10 days ago
Just to clickbait us too bad
CaptainKyler 10 days ago
I've watched you since you started your channel. Good presentation. I can see the frustration in your eyes. The hardest part about USvid is that overnight, they can just decide to delist you...because it's their platform and you agree to their terms. I look forward to the day where content isn't subject to just one platform: where your content is truly yours and you decide where to syndicate it. Hopefully PBS calls you and just takes your content to put into seasons next to Bill Nye.
Nani S
Nani S 10 days ago
Nice presentation! Just make videos with great contents, be consistant and get people to view them like and subscribe. The End.
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