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My Video Went Viral. Here's Why

Veritasium
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Views 2 302 348
98% 177 006 3 311

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

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May 19, 2019

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Comments 24 800
Nadir Siddiqui
Nadir Siddiqui 2 hours ago
Ringing ringing ringing that bell! I think you deserve it, thank you for your awesome videos, you're an inspiration.
Velocityraptor
Velocityraptor 3 hours ago
Educational contends are pretty much the only things I watch on yt.
Nikita Yeryomin
Nikita Yeryomin 3 hours ago
My homepage is my 'subscribed' page on RUvid. I never look at the suggested section, because all those reasons...
TheOrangeCreeper
TheOrangeCreeper 3 hours ago
There isn't really a reason on how people get viral. It's just completely random.
xJuiCYxxJaYx
xJuiCYxxJaYx 3 hours ago
Make a '' how to not pollute"and make THAT go viral. 🤔😒😫😫😜🤙🤙🤙🤙
kikalcala
kikalcala 3 hours ago
When you showed the post it notes with googly eyes I anticipated my own future subscription to your channel...
Animagus
Animagus 5 hours 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 6 hours ago
Subscribe me
MangoIceCreamLover
MangoIceCreamLover 7 hours ago
I wish I saw you science videos first !!
Gunpal Jain
Gunpal Jain 7 hours 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 7 hours ago
Very interesting. I specifically look at my subscriptions when I log on. Do others not?
Quincy Dread
Quincy Dread 7 hours 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 8 hours 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
Whizzhup 11 hours ago
Oh i thought that video was Tony Stark. OMG I'M SO DUMB.
Prabhash Dhama
Prabhash Dhama 12 hours ago
Bruh everything will be fine don’t be sad :)
CRZIY BOY
CRZIY BOY 13 hours 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 13 hours 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 13 hours ago
Looks like your Mr Beast friend may have driven your views up a bit......coincidence?
Owais Ahmed
Owais Ahmed 13 hours 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
陳紅狼 14 hours ago
I hate the algorithm, that’s the reason I only got to “subscribe” tag most of the time.
Peter Choi
Peter Choi 15 hours ago
"The message is the medium." Marshall McLuhan was so right 40 years ago and still today he is right.
Kate Lim
Kate Lim 15 hours 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 17 hours ago
Don't worry, I will always like your videos You are always so educational
rhymeswithpulverine
rhymeswithpulverine 17 hours ago
As a result of your title.
Mark Dowse
Mark Dowse 18 hours ago
So, you have to have a "great hook"? Sounds EXACTLY like the kid selling newspapers on the street corner ........
Shloppie
Shloppie 19 hours ago
Bro, the Kardashians are clickbait. There is plenty of people in the world that want more clickbait.
EyeTheSkies
EyeTheSkies 20 hours ago
🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔
Al NaJin
Al NaJin 22 hours 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
shovas 22 hours 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
shovas 22 hours 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
shovas 22 hours 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 22 hours ago
i didn't even know about the bell
Tryhqrds Jr
Tryhqrds Jr 23 hours ago
Can someone just sum this video up for me
Tech Planet
Tech Planet 17 hours 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
Very useful video....well done and keep going💪💪💪
Kenny gordon
Kenny gordon Day ago
Sort your homepage by subscription videos. Boom i see em all.
Marko Posavec
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
WeBuild4Life Day 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 Day 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 Day ago
See you again in 6 months
Milorad Menjic
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 Day ago
21:04 the most subtle pun I have ever seen
Akshay Gadsing
Your videos are just lovely! Just Keep making videos on Science.❤️ And we too hope RUvid 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
JL Universe
JL Universe Day ago
This video is very helpful and makes 100 percent since
benbmusic88
benbmusic88 Day ago
1000 DEGREE KNIFE!
Xela Crémant
Here's what I think: I think youtubers need to unionize.
Sam Oleynik
Sam Oleynik Day ago
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Thamsanqa Mvayo
I know this is a very late watch and response, I've been enjoying your videos a lot. I think you can do a little click baity type as long as it's not a complete wishy-washy, keep it real. It's a science channel, those of us who seek knowledge will come. Oh and I'm ringing the bell now...
Lara Mae
Lara Mae Day ago
22:51 I was satisfied with that
Henrik Kucsera
You already committed to a clickbaiting -- and not just titles, topics too. why should i ring the bell on topics that will remind me of commercial tv shows???
x FlushestMean93 x
I understand what you’re getting at, you dont want your channel to sink to the bottom of the iceberg and because you don’t want to use click bait titles and thumbnails it’s possible that it might. I’m sure you’re actually fans will click the bell so don’t worry also click bait is basically tradition on RUvid, so don’t worry about using it as-long as your content stays at a good quality people will watch and not care about the click bait. So I’m sure you’ll be fine with click bait and without it as-long as you keep making quality videos like you have always done.
David Furor Curser
Because Science
Alzorath
Alzorath Day ago
*(Long Post from a Creator of 7 years)* Honestly, I am fine with the current system, BUT there needs to be a tweak to the subscriber feed (and they did it a *little bit* by putting stories from subscribers at the top in some apps, and rarely putting that "videos from your subscriptions" bar) - I feel they've gone too far in one direction currently, especially when taking into account the site design (more on that later), and I really think that they need to either: A. Allow customization of your landing page (even if they make the "recommended videos" bar a locked option at top, I'm fine with that), so you can create shelves for 'my subscriptions' or 'community posts' etc. on your custom homepage, so that it reduces "number of clicks to destination" or B. Adapt the main page to include "X from your subscriptions" as a guaranteed spot in the main page. (doesn't matter if it's videos, community posts, stories, whatever, just give us a way to directly reach out to our subscribers without relying on emails or opt-in popups or other intrusive and ignored methods) - to again reduce "number of clicks to destination" ------- I said I would do "more on that later" regarding site design, and you may have noticed a point made twice: "number of clicks to destination" - this is an issue google has been having for a while now, but the shift to Studio Beta really made it hit home for me - Google's design philosophy prior to this used to be similar to "KISS" (Keep it Simple Stupid): Fewest steps possible for the desired result, with a clear path - and clean interfaces. They've kept the "clean interface" point fairly well, but they've been creeping step after step away from click-efficiency. Going from subscriptions on home, to subscriptions "behind a click" is a big change... stepping even further to subscriptions behind a click, channel behind 2 clicks, channel feed behind 3 clicks, non-trend video behind 2/4 clicks (playlist behind 4 clicks) - is a lot more than it used to be. (playlist used to be 3 clicks). The "clicks to goal" for getting informed of the actions of your subscriptions though? That is easily the one that has taken the most hits - it used to be "1 click from video" - now it's "2 clicks from video + obscured setting consideration" (which they acknowledge - is a problem - a person can click the bell, but unless their account is set to opt-in to notifications from youtube - the bell will do nothing) The reason Studio Beta made me start looking at this? The Data they refer to as "analytics deep dive" used to require anywhere from 2 to 5 less clicks - which is significant when you consider that each "click" isn't an inconvenience, but rather an opportunity for a user getting lost on the branching paths. In design you want the shortest path possible to the most desired features (note: "desired" not "used" - as the later is a direct result of design, the former is a direct result of user), and this rounds all the way back to the beginning, and in turn a reference to their intents you made towards the end of the video: "Long-Term Satisfied Watch-time" - design can aid this or blind you from it, as they are looking for what people "desire", while looking at what they "use", without taking into account the impact of their own interface. PS - Yellow Journalism successfully gathers more users for the site, not for creators. The biggest challenge for youtube will be balancing these factors, and the tools are there (they have been since almost the beginning) - a logged out user, or an un-engaged (no/minimal subs) should be engaged with the yellow journalism approach to further engage them - a logged in user should be engaged with a core content approach (focus on their subscriptions, their engagements, their decided loyalties, even without the bell). Google seems to be stuck on a weird "X or Y" approach to this, without realizing, the audience on youtube is so large and diverse, that they need to account for, at the very least, this demographic divide, in their design decisions (invested v uninvested) - a one size fits all approach can't work at a certain scale
Anshul Gupta
Anshul Gupta Day ago
Yes i clicked it .. i support you
Akshaya R
Akshaya R Day ago
Ahh... This makes me cry... We love your contents... N we will always support you... 🤗
Akshaya R
Akshaya R 20 hours ago
@klen sal hehe... I got a alien friend called Omega. 👽
klen sal
klen sal Day ago
Ω
Photo Spectrum
I've been subscribed for a while, but I forgot to click the bell. Thanks for the reminder.
Chuka Nwobodo
"...where millions of black balls on a reservoir is the thing that is going to rise to the surface." Great pun?
mitzy183
mitzy183 Day ago
i love how Mr Beast is so creative, and just gives away so much of his time / money purely for views. its amazing that a 20 year old has cracked the system! i also really enjoy the Ve series. you make some pretty interesting content without sounding like my 8th grade science teacher. its why i enjoy you and physics girl so much. your just purely there to teach us some cool stuff youve learned and hope we get something out of it. keep up the good work !!! (also the flip chart was amazing !)
Grisile HNNW
Grisile HNNW Day ago
I smacked the bell hard.
The mad King
The mad King Day ago
Mr.beast is an expert
issaciams
issaciams Day ago
This is trash.
vanillangela
vanillangela Day ago
I can feel the frustration through your voice. That pains me :( you are one of my favorite youtubers. You are so different from other channels. And now you have to succumb to reality
Adityaa ravi
Adityaa ravi Day ago
90% of this video's viewers - small time youtubers looking to make a buck...
grndragon7777777
Well said. Just use whatever you can
Patrick Allen
I love you videos! It's a great resource for the search of knowledge that often times hits me all the time. Keep up the great work!!
Tech Planet
Tech Planet Day ago
Nice video! Just make videos you enjoy doing. Not every video is going to get a huge amount of views but you could learn more about the material presented and yourself. That in itself, is why I do RUvid.
Souleaterblaze
the problem is alot of people don't subscribe and click the bell too. my inbox has like 300 emails because i havent had the time to weatch all my susbcribed channel uploads this is why people probably dont do that lol
Douglas Santos
you convinced me!!
What Would Happen?
I quite admire your honesty lad, I mean you don't go around hoping that your good thumbnails and titles will catch peoples eye. Honestly it's good to have lads and lass's such as yourself who have hope for the future of youtube. 👌👍
zapfanzapfan
zapfanzapfan Day ago
Or, you know, once in a while go to the channel page to see if there is anything new and good.
Philip Smith
Philip Smith Day ago
There is a name for the problem you're talking about. It's called capitalism. Yes, it can mobilize and coordinate economic activity and maximize certain kinds return on certain kinds investment; but it has a mind of its own. Capitalism knows no virtue other than profit. America is a nation of Willy Loman (or is that Willy Lomen) convinced that if we were just a bit more skillful, clever, or diligent we'd have a set at the big table.
Leonaяdo DiCapяio
I’ve seen the balls thumbnail a couple times. It seemed too unrealistic to me so I decided it’s a deceit and didn’t watch the video.
Dapper Don
Dapper Don Day ago
The most important factor on the web, be it youtube or online selling etc, is recognizing TRENDS early and acting fast! Amozon FBA for example. İf u are an early seller of a product that is trending u will make tons of money, if u jump on the bandwagon when its past the climax u will probably lose money! very similar on that point!
ICameToCommentThemAll
This all goes back to game theory.
Wilson Vrieze
Thank you for doing this. By far the best explanation of the algorithm I've seen. also thank you for explaining some of your struggles with the algorithm without just complaining about it.
Argamis (SilverComet)
RUvid LISTEN: I Recommend THIS video. -> Lets help the A.I. working the algorithm, it may remember us later when it conquers the world.
Destiny Fan
Destiny Fan 2 days ago
8:57 You just need to be a bigot. Though the common niches are already blacklisted so you need to do stuff like talk about mobile gamers being dirty casuals etc. stuff they didn't add yet.
Destiny Fan
Destiny Fan 2 days ago
Same thing as market manipulation.
Destiny Fan
Destiny Fan 2 days ago
They are pulling up the draw bridge.
Destiny Fan
Destiny Fan 2 days ago
1. Find flaw in algorithm (Spiderman & Elsa) 2. Exploit the flaw 3. Once they clamp down on it find another flaw 4. Profit?
Destiny Fan
Destiny Fan 2 days ago
I the past it was all about merit, now it's more like whatever tuber gets white-listed by Suzanne Wojciki
Jo4nP4l4u
Jo4nP4l4u 2 days ago
I think a good possible answer is that if CTR and watchtime are the main metric which leads to clickbait, a good correctional factor may be the like/dislike rate based on your number of viewers ( LDVR ). High CTR videos with low LDVR don't get to trending, high CTR videos with high LDVR get to recommended.
veloc1tyTV
veloc1tyTV 2 days ago
If you start using clickbait titles I'll unsubscribe. I like the idea of high quality content and therefore disabled AdBlock. But if you start low quality videos lile daily vlogs I'll not do that.
OhanaOceana
OhanaOceana 2 days ago
1Sub for 2Subs❤💙 Amazingly Fast🙏💯🔥 I pray for success for EVERYONE
maskof
maskof 2 days ago
Makes a video on why his video went viral; it goes viral too.
Martin
Martin 2 days ago
First, this video is brilliant; it's a terrific reminder why your channel is so fantastic. Second, I want to encourage you not to think that asking your viewers to subscribe or ring the bell is "needy" because it really isn't. I've been watching your videos for years and I didn't subscribe until today. I hadn't subscribed not because I didn't like you or the content, but because a lot of everyday RUvid consumers don't subscribe, and they certainly don't ring bells. My watch history and recommended content is almost exactly what I watch, and I've never felt it was inappropriate for my taste or interest. RUvid knows I'm interested in 3 very simple things: Tech reviews, Vintage Restoration videos, and Science/Math videos, and that's pretty much all I see on my recommended page. Asking people to subscribe is akin to projecting a "hire me now" mentality in an interview; you're selling yourself, and you want the hiring manager to agree that you're worth it. Humility is good, no question; but humility coupled with a reasonable understanding of one's worth is even better. Be humble, but know you're worth it, and don't be shy to ask for your worth, or shoot even higher. That's how you'll grow. One of my all time favorite RUvidrs is Dave2D...That man is humble, kind, thoughtful, funny, and informative; he has a cute catchphrase at the end of every video that goes something like this: *"Thanks for watching this video, thumbs if you liked it, subs if you loved it. See you all next time."* ... Not at all pushy or needy. Every time I hear it, I remember to click like and I move on. It works and it's incredibly professional. I really hope you see this comment, Derek. You're brilliant. You have a new long-time-watcher-turned-subscriber in me, and I also rang the bell :) See you soon!
I am curious
I am curious 2 days ago
Just don't ever lie in your thumnails and titles
Mebibyte
Mebibyte 2 days ago
Replace views with capitalism.
mdr48371
mdr48371 2 days ago
I would like more videos about snails
Natasha
Natasha 2 days ago
exactly!! min 20 very true!! the road of hell was paved with good intentions! what we want is not always the best thing for us! this is the problem with so much freedom it will end up in chaos and anarchy. But still RUvid is the best platform we have today. You can find so many different things here about anything...
Reed Kuzel
Reed Kuzel 2 days ago
I think he thought that this would go viral to......
Vinicius Costa
Vinicius Costa 2 days ago
I guess people should change. I have my subscribed channels and everyday look what was posted and those who I like most put in the watch later list. That way its not easy to be in this rabbit hole of RUvid
potterholic
potterholic 2 days ago
Thanks for saying your channel name in this video because I've been pronouncing it like veritaserum from Harry Potter.
darkaster134
darkaster134 2 days ago
Clickbaits are bad if they are misleading and placed on low-quality content. Do the best to defend your work!
Akașșș
Akașșș 2 days ago
Does no one know that the subscription feed exists still?
M3t41-B4N4N4
M3t41-B4N4N4 2 days ago
i never understood this subscriptions dont show videos from creator thing. Theres a subribribtion tab and i see all my subbed to youtubers on there the home page changed for sure but who the hell browses that
Elliott hutton
Elliott hutton 2 days ago
But i scroll through my sub box every day until I've seen all the videos or decided not watch them. Yeah i'll watch new stuff from the homepage but i don't need RUvid to recommend me anything from people i'm already subscribed too. I click the bell for channels i want to watch straight away ahead of everything else, either as soon as it comes out or the first videos i watch when i turn my computer on.
Matcha
Matcha 2 days ago
Alternate title: man humble brags for 20 mins
Marie Isabel Vermelho
As soon as I started noticing this disconnect effect, I just started bookmarking channels and checking if they have new content manually.
Bloxer Gaming
Bloxer Gaming 2 days ago
the funniest thing is that that video is being recommended to me on this page at this moment
Essah
Essah 2 days ago
regarding suggestions on improvement: I don't know about you guys but I often have the same videos shown in my suggestions for days and days and days. Videos that I am not at all interested in. The Suggested list should be way more dynamic so that any video that was not clicked by the particular user after being displayed twice, is buried, allowing for other videos to get a shot.
finnepower
finnepower 2 days ago
I want to be able to customize the ten recommended slots. I would make 2 slots be an anti-recommendation, would make things more interesting.
Languor
Languor 2 days ago
I can't fully imagine the nightmare it is to not use the Subscriptions tab on RUvid. This video gave me a glimpse and I pity all users who are not used to that. Indeed I use the Recommended section, when I run through all my subscription videos. But to have only the wild jungle that is the Recommended section as platform seems like a nightmare.
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