How YouTube star MrBeast, who has 22 million subscribers, uses keywords and the 'shock and awe' effect to maximize views
Amanda Perelli- Business INSIDER
Aug. 1, 2019, 12:49 PM
In just the past year, YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson - more commonly known as MrBeast — has created more than 30 videos for his YouTube channel that have gained over 25 million views each.
Donaldson is the creator behind popular challenge videos like, "Last To Remove Hand, Gets Lamborghini Challenge," with 40 million views, and stunts like "Tipping Waitresses With Real Gold Bars," that gained 17 million views and attracted local media attention. His channel currently has around 22 million subscribers.
Viral videos like these have brought the 21-year-old's YouTube channel to an overall 2.9 billion views, with many of the videos consistently promoted to YouTube's trending page. And Donaldson uses keywords like "24-hours," "prank," and "challenge" in the title's of his videos as a way to drive views and get his videos promoted by YouTube, Donaldson's talent manager, Reed Duchscher, told Business Insider.
Duchscher, the president of the digital talent agency Night Media, spoke to Business Insider about how using specific keywords has helped his clients drive views and overall channel success.
Words like 'Fortnite,' 'prank,' or 'worst' get five times the views
Videos mentioning words like "Fortnite," "prank," or "worst" get more than five times as many views as videos without those words, according to a recent report from the Pew Research Center.
Most of the talent Duchscher manages, like Preston Arsement (who goes by Preston online, and has 10 million subscribers on YouTube), and Nathan of UnspeakableGaming (with 7.5 million subscribers), use this strategy as a way to get their videos promoted to the trending page on YouTube.
"The reason why these popular channels are being promoted comes down to two things: high average view duration and high click-through rate," Duchscher said.
View duration is the amount of time a viewer spent watching the video and click-through rate is how often people click on it. Using these keywords will help lure viewers into clicking on the video. And if a video delivers what it promised in the title, then it will likely have a higher watch time.
Two popular keywords for drawing in younger views right now are "secret" or "surprise" toys, and "slime," Duchscher said.
The popular kids YouTube channel, "Ryan Toys Review," is a perfect example of this. Ryan Toys' most popular video is titled, " HUGE EGGS surprise Toys Challenge with Inflatable water slide," and has 1.8 billion views.
It's not clickbait
The difference between what Duchscher's talent does and "clickbait," or a form of false advertisement with the purpose of attracting a viewer, is that his clients follow through with what they promise in the title, he said.
"If we say we are going to put a million Orbeez in the backyard, we are going to put a million Orbeez in the backyard," Duchscher said, referring to MrBeast's most popular video with 63 million views, where Donaldson films himself and his friends placing a million Orbeez, or small "seeds" that grow 100 times their size when placed in water, in a friend's backyard.
Some creators will use over-dramatized titles and thumbnail images to draw in viewers, but the video itself doesn't represent what's suggested.
Donaldson has voiced his struggle with delivering content that appropriately matches a video's title.
"Last year I scrapped almost one out of every four videos I filmed," he wrote on Twitter. "This year we've been pretty good about making videos I'm happy with but recently I've scrapped 3 massive videos that took dumb amounts of time. They all had insanely good clickbait but the content was average."
—MrBeast (@MrBeastYT) July 26, 2019
Another popular technique creators use to draw in younger viewers is adding bright colors like neon green and yellow to a thumbnail. But although these techniques work well for kids, a creator should think about whether their content could also appeal to a broader audience, Duchscher said.
"I think that's why you see his videos get 25 million views - they appeal to a much bigger subset than just kids," Duchscher said. "That's why his videos are performing a lot better than some of these other guys on the platform."