My Video Went Viral. Here's Why
My hypothesis is that the algorithm, rather than viewer preference, drives views on the site. As the algorithm shifts, various IT-myrs 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 IT-my 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

  • nawack1

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

  • Hukas01

    Why hasn't rating been a thing? there's more much to know from a thumbs up and thumbs down. Also, the IT-my 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

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

  • Virtuoso

    This will go viral for doubt about it:

  • Francisco Arenas
    Francisco Arenas

    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

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

  • Ariel Lorusso
    Ariel Lorusso

    3:34 I almost died LoL

  • Daniel A. Friedrich
    Daniel A. Friedrich

    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

    For me, this is the first video about the topic which was really objective and not just blaming IT-my 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

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

  • Saurabh Anand
    Saurabh Anand

    You are the best!

  • L C
    L C

    Is this how our current president got elected?

  • Bluestone Randomness
    Bluestone Randomness

    0:54 DJ Nate fans?

  • Dominik Černý
    Dominik Černý

    So basically make interesting, fun and catchy videos

  • Dominik Černý
    Dominik Černý

    Damn, well done

  • nady jose villar tavarez
    nady jose villar tavarez

    I hope this does not make IT-myrs all that subscribers hunters.

  • nady jose villar tavarez
    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

    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

  • TooLit

    KayZeee sent me

  • Floyd Piccinin
    Floyd Piccinin

    CTR is for Crash Team Racing

  • MazAMaTaz

    This is the first time I’ve subscribed to a channel AND clicked the bell... but one thing that interests me is that I got an option for “personalized” notifications and “all.” You would think that a subscriber who’s clicking the bell in the first place would want to get all of the notifications from a IT-my channel, so why is there a personalized option? It just seems like yet another way to make the subscriber numbers on a channel more meaningless. Anyway, looking forward to getting all the news about your videos! Glad that the IT-my algorithm introduced me to your channel because I love your work!

  • supbrotv

    10:25 This is way deeper than just youtube algorithm, this also explains how religions came to be.

  • Jorge Ventura
    Jorge Ventura

    Hi, why you don't duplicate your channel on Vimeo? You can publish the same content there and publish the link here. The only way to compete against monopoly is competition.

  • StarkRG

    I barely check the youtube suggested videos. I always head to the subscriptions page to find videos.

  • Mark S
    Mark S

    Previous video- "Boredom is good for you." This video- "I'm going to be offering more clickbaity titles and thumbnails in order to get your views."

  • djan959

    Who the f*** cares about this you're an a******

  • Wikickid

    To be honest, I stopped watching you because I was in my final year of college. That was a whole other mess plus two. Then I came back to youtube and deleted my search history and cookies (or whatever it was called on this site) because my baby cousins and my father used my account to watch stuff, and my recommendation got messed up. I used to watch a lot of educational channels but now I just click what's on the front page.

  • Antony Sutton
    Antony Sutton

    This is my first video of yours. I came here due to link from a channel i subscribe to and it was really interesting to see how people use IT-my. Personally, I never have looked at the homepage or whatever it is called as i always use Youtibe as a resource for something specific i am interested in. Maybe more people (professional design engineer and geek) using the resource in our way might affect the algorithm in a positive way - stop the click through! PS i subscribed :)

  • Umbraglow

    i have a number of content creators that i will specifically search occasionally to be sure to see their content, Veritasium and SmarterEveryDay are 2 examples but the point is that there is loyalty on the platform however the platform itself does not enable that. As Cody' from Cody'slab mentions tho the bell can be unreliable.

  • BitofBritLife

    Fascinating. Thank you - that will help me a lot for when I launch.

  • Surjan singh
    Surjan singh

    I literally clicked on the bell icon just a minute before you say to do so, as i understood what i wanted.

  • Jorge Stolfi
    Jorge Stolfi

    I give up on channels for various reasons. One of them is when I feel that the channel creator is more concerned with increasing his IT-my points than telling me something interesting or useful. A catchy thumbnail or title may trick me into clicking and watching a mediocre video for a while; but then it will make me less likely to watch the next one from the same channel. That is automatic, unconscious. Another thing that makes me give up on a channel is advertising embedded in the video. Ads are annoying -- especially when the same ad is repeated in every video. Why should I choose to watch such videos? Inserting an ad in a good video is like adding a horse turd top of a fine dish. No matter how good the cooking, that restaurant will quickly lose all its customers.

  • TessellatedGuy

    The algorithm likes black balls

  • Hlafordlaes

    Now I understand _in context_ the parts of this video that were included in a recent alt-right rant about losing viewers that I had the misfortune of watching. Good suggestion about the bell, it's the only way to guarantee seeing the new releases I want to see from my subscribed channels, to which I add turning on browser notifications for YT.

  • uc_human

    IT-my has gone from creative audience to dumb teenagers, Useless and clickbait platform. We meed a 'IT-my BRAIN' a platform to filter the dumb from the smart and real curious ones. Nobody asked for IT-my Go or IT-my Music. Already many services superior to them. We need a IT-my with dumb audience and another IT-my for the smarter ones. ASAP

  • Bhardwaz Chetry
    Bhardwaz Chetry

    no. 1 technique is to make a video on 'How to go viral'.

  • A K
    A K

    While i support you analysis of this method I do not agree with your hypothesis. Subscriptions are everything! If you produce quality content we will watch your videos consistently. Your discussion is about gaining new viewers. I understand your desire to gain more viewers but you must continue to provide what you have provided to your viewers.Clickbait your title and screenshots but keep your good content.

  • Nicholas Littlejohn
    Nicholas Littlejohn

    Google rewards quality content.

  • Theo Rogan
    Theo Rogan

    I feel like the algorithm changes the more people know about it. Since a lot of channels started to make jokes about how they need to get the thumb nail or how there thumb nail isn’t perfect, I notice a big boom in BS thumbnails and titles(before Mr. beast) so I feel like the audience of IT-my will also catch onto the BS thumbnails and click though rates on really flashy thumbnails with a lot of obvious photoshop will decrease.

  • ArchOfWinter

    Tip of the ice burg is a bad analogy. What we see on IT-my is the peak of a mountain sticking out from the top of the clouds. You are on a plane flying above the cloud. You don't see the whole mountain, or the island that it is on, or how deep the ocean the island is on.

  • Stephanie Small
    Stephanie Small

    How do you edit the front picture of video to what people see

  • Marty.R Woodcock
    Marty.R Woodcock

    As someone wanting to get into YouTubing, this video is awesome. Now to find how to make a photography Chanel that people will actually enjoy.

  • ducttapeanddreams

    Placing a greater emphasis on subscribed channels would be helpful for both creators and audiences. Maybe have an auto drop off of subscribers if someone goes too long without watching a subscribed channel. And doing a better job with related content.

  • Ice Gorilla
    Ice Gorilla

    I like the idea on the final slide. I think it would be great.

  • donnie gebert
    donnie gebert

    VERI is a crypto project. That'll ger ya some love too.

  • James S
    James S

    i've watched dozens of these 'my video went viral' retrospectives, but yours was far and away the most detailed and valuable to me! Just wanted to say thanks for such a thoughtful and high-quality breakdown of the topic :)

  • David Bergstrom
    David Bergstrom

    Love your videos, Great video, do what you have to do to play the game to our want to play.

  • Goodluck29o19 NU
    Goodluck29o19 NU

    I guess I would say sub to me loo

  • Tim Collins
    Tim Collins

    Have separate areas on the front page "Subscribers" your subscriptions recently posted - show your customers what they have told you they want "Recommended" - related videos we think you'd like from the same vein as your watching history "Popular/trending" - a lot of people are watching these right now, "Give it a try/you may also like" a section to showcase the IT-my you haven't seen yet - ie someone watching Mr Money Mustache should probably watch Jack Bogle "Smaller/hidden gems" a section to showcase random videos from less popular genres and channels - think of this as a way to boost growth from small cap stocks 😍

  • Tim Collins
    Tim Collins

    Focus on quality content like Ephemeral Rift, Tom Merrick and Captain Shack and over the long term build a business around being the connection between your viewers and what they want - in short, build a business for you and the customer not for IT-my.

  • Mason Hajnal
    Mason Hajnal

    It's crazy how before youtubes new bell notification feature were u either are fully notified, customized, or not, I had been fully notified of your content but with this new feature it switched me to "customized or partially" kinda strange

  • Courtney Bell
    Courtney Bell

    Thank me later

  • Me Elsine
    Me Elsine

    I was happy to see you in the trending page : ) as I was looking for your channel but could no longer find the name. Somehow I hoped IT-my would take me there. Thanks to your viral video it happened. Personally I am more seeking quality which is why I was thinking of your channel. And of course I clicked the bell. I am here to stay.

  • tazy T
    tazy T

    Wel done mate if u use utube for income u gota play their game if u create for joy and to share ,make what u want and enjoy the experience that's what I do ,and I'm free to create what I want .luv ya vids man cheers

  • jabs307

    Such a great, organized, well thought out video!

  • Evan Silversun
    Evan Silversun

    Amazing. One of the best videos I’ve seen on IT-my. Top notch props.

  • Ben Adelie
    Ben Adelie

    I don't think the video title "why are there x balls on this lake?" is sensationalist and clickbaity if the video actually explains that topic. 1. It's only clickbait when the title has little to do with the content. Think of a scenario when a video claims to have all the secrets about the new iPhone, but basically is showing off a mock-up made by a fan. 2. Sensationalism is often taken to mean creating enthusiasm at the expense of accuracy, i.e. to lie, fabricate, or misrepresent for the sake of increasing your CTR. That title above is not doing this either. It's accurate and to the point. I'm sure you can keep clear of both these issues and have a higher CTR with more engaging titles and thumbnails. It's about curiousity and engagement. Maybe a good way of looking at it can be putting yourself in the shoes of a lay person who's come across one of your videos for the first time. Would they understand the title/thumbnail, would it create a question for them, would it be interesting enough for them to follow through? Asking a simple question in the title is often a good way because it appeals to the lowest common denominator. Depending on your audience, this level is of course lower or higher than the average.

  • Neil Terrence
    Neil Terrence

    Simply amazing!!!! This is probably one of the best videos you have made thus far! The explanation was spot on! I hope you get even more successful as this year goes on. Your audience are here to support you :)

  • Getawaymoments

    IT-my is/was great when it's weird. When interesting people make video they want to make. When you start chasing a finicky audience you cannot win. Make great videos!!!! The audulience will come and go. That's life.

  • sanjay rohra
    sanjay rohra

    The viral video paradox

  • Ledcke

    Great video. Thanks for the insight. Did you draw those yourself and did you freehand it or use a projector etc? Keep being awesome.

  • Lourens Joubert
    Lourens Joubert

    So we will be seeing Veritasium videos with hot chicks in the thumbnail Science with boobs!!

  • Lourens Joubert
    Lourens Joubert

    And flipcharts are now trending on youtube!!

  • RedstoneEwok


  • Shivansh Gupta
    Shivansh Gupta

    We're with ya man

  • chandan sinha
    chandan sinha

    Damn those artworks 🥰🥰

  • Karim Hamdy
    Karim Hamdy

    Your content was no longer appearing as a recommended just like what happened with the B&H guy but I manually searched the channel and I was shocked that I missed some videos from your channel and I was thinking you are away for a while or something! 🤷‍♂️ and yeah I've done the bell thing 😁

  • Bohan Xu
    Bohan Xu

    here is one potential solution to, how to ensure the quality of video instead of just clickbating ability. You put like to dislike ratio in the algorithm (youtube might be already doing that though...) the problem is youtube probably don't want to do that since it doesn't optimize views or watch time which almost directly translate to profit. (also youtube is pretty much a monopoly right now, so they are not afraid of viewers dislike the videos that much....also people like to hate, so a lot of dislike might be good for total views) a second problem is controversial video...but this is in principle solvable. A responsible creator can fully acknowledge the controversy, and such acknowledgement of the opposite opinion don't draw as much hate. (also the ratio is part of the doesn't have to dictate it)

  • holnrew

    I bet everybody wanted Derek on their group project in school

  • TheBeardyPenguin

    IT-my front page: Exists Veritasium: It's free real estate

  • Tomi

    IT-myrs are pigeons - I find that offensive ! gruu gruu gruu No ,but jokes aside...I wouldnt have any problems with any of these things if YT protected their creators. The false DMCA claims ignoring fair use is absolutely disgusting and Google simply doesnt give a crap.

  • Shahzad Afzal
    Shahzad Afzal

    Wow such a beautiful way to do a presentation... thousand times better than a PPT :)

  • eznAnze

    You know what? It would be nice if IT-my let us, users, choose what we are interested in, right? Not just with the "bell" (channel by channel), but also in a smarter way: we really need different "algorithm" profiles... for example a clickbaity "standard profiile", or an "educational profile" etc... But why let the user choose his interests, when youtube can actually control what users are looking for, or ever determine what's cool and what's not.. that's a big power youtube is not going to loose right?

  • Zombie

    Yes. Let's go full circle and return to the time of star ratings on videos. xD No, but seriously I have hated this whole model of youtube trying to sabotage subscriptions from the start. And I do everything to get around it. I have bookmarked in my browser and the Sub tab is lways the first thing I click towards in the app. I have deactivated any kind of tracking of my watched videos. I subscribe to every creator I want to see more of (but refuse to ring the bell because that would clog up my notifications) and I make sure to like every video of theirs that I don't completely disagree with. And it looks like it's working? I seem to be able to catch every single video of creators I love and they and videos in their sphere of content keep being recommended to me.

  • StealthHunter

    I wish we could rate videos stars instead of a like to dislike ratio.

  • Lija Laji
    Lija Laji should be funnnnn, not profession... ...peoples greed spoil many good things...

  • Saleh

    "Ring bill" is another model of subscription, once it become popular it will have an adverse impact on the user. For me, I love to watch your channel on my convenient time without push notification.

  • Mert Koç
    Mert Koç

    what i understand that this shitholls push you to be more worse. There is no way to do for you i guess thumbnails, clickbait-ish titles and more populer topics vital for you. Hope will meet you another platform without shitholls' algortihms. cheers

  • Vandit Goel
    Vandit Goel

    Respect man! Amazing video

  • Awais Noor
    Awais Noor

    Its true. Most of the time I have to go to a particular channel to watch the videos i want. If I search the topic on IT-my, most of them are just clickbaits and no information.

  • Piepie Die
    Piepie Die

    Love u the best... Love from India

  • nestaash be
    nestaash be

    The bell doesn't work everytime

  • Cari Ann du Toit
    Cari Ann du Toit

    Clicked the bell =) Thanks for the great explanation!! Your videos are awesome =)

  • YGF TeddyTheYeti
    YGF TeddyTheYeti

    Next video I tried fortnite and won!!

  • mudda bryy
    mudda bryy

    This video is clickable

  • Vyrx

    I don't turn on notifications for IT-myrs because I hate hearing 50 notification sounds on my phone every time I get home from school lol

  • Pemadam Pensel
    Pemadam Pensel

    Now i understand why the title of that video seem weird ,seems not like veritasium style,but i like it

  • J

    Am I the only person who never goes on the IT-my front page and just goes straight to my subscriptions?

  • DH923

    Thank god for the bell

  • Michael McChesney
    Michael McChesney

    I watch every new video that comes out for several IT-my channels. Some of those channels release videos weekly, other daily, some every few weeks. I would find getting a notification each time one of those channels released a new video incredibly annoying. Instead, I bookmark the channel's video page. If IT-my doesn't put a new video in front of me, I will go to the video page. To be fair, I don't check every channel every day. But I know if I haven't seen a new Isaac Arthur video by Thursday afternoon, all I need to do is go to his page. Derek is less regular. But I do periodically check his page to make sure I haven't missed a new video. But it seems for now IT-my is showing me all his new videos. I am commenting a bit late on this one, but only because I just rewatched it. I did watch this video when it was released.

  • Matthew Quinly
    Matthew Quinly

    I really hope you just keep to the videos that you've been doing! I have been following you for quite a few years now... and really like the videos you do. My only concern is that if you start to do more 'clickbaity' type of videos, then we will loose the content that your true subscribers want. Then you will loose some of your base subscribers, and then you will be forced to stay 'clickbaity' and 'trendy' in your topic choices.

  • Aaron Cann
    Aaron Cann

    So many videos I'm seeing right now mention Total Internal Reflection. Including some of Veritasium's own content, and Smarter Every Day's, and Steve Mould's. Anyone else?

  • Felipe Lorenzzon
    Felipe Lorenzzon

    You also need to consider the saturation of the platform. Take me as example, I am subscribed to over 70 channels, It is very hard to watch everything I'd like to (It's the end of a semester, thus I have been particularly busy).

  • George Prince
    George Prince

    As usual you have made really good points!

  • Hanut Singh Gusain
    Hanut Singh Gusain

    Start your own web channel elsewhere as well?

  • Joshua Adams
    Joshua Adams

    I wanna hear a follow-up with some more data to see how well you’ve been doing!

  • Eugene Moore
    Eugene Moore

    And then there is the video defunding practices due to the political policies put in place by Google.

  • Blue Neck Pictures
    Blue Neck Pictures

    I love your integrity and transparency through the years

  • Donald dollar Trump
    Donald dollar Trump

    I'll be here

  • Blackmagemasher

    This video got sad very quickly :-(

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