By CAPosts 13 January, 2021 - 02:40pm 84 views
In the fall of 2016, Jimmy Donaldson dropped out of college to try to solve one of the biggest mysteries in media: How does a YouTube video go viral? Donaldson, then 18 years old, had been posting to the site since he was 12 years old without amassing much of an audience. But he was convinced that he was about to uncover the secrets of YouTube's algorithm , the black box of rules and processes that determines which videos are recommended to viewers.
In the months that followed, Donaldson and a handful of his friends tried to crack the code. They made daily phone calls to analyze which videos were going viral. They assigned each other tasks related to YouTube and harassed successful channels to obtain data on their most successful posts. “I would wake up, study YouTube, analyze videos, study film, go to bed and that was my life, ” Donaldson recalled in a recent interview.
Then one day, he came up with an idea for a video and he was sure it would work. . It was simply counting. Donaldson sat in a chair and, for the next 40 hours, muttered one number after another, starting at zero and continuing to 100,000. At the end of the grueling stunt, he gazed into the camera deliriously and wondered, “What am I doing with my life?”
It was an oddly hypnotizing test, the kind of experiment every elementary school kid has in mind but never tries. . The resulting video, titled "I COUNTED TO 100000!" (I counted to 100,000!), It was a viral hit. Since its debut on January 8, 2017, it has had more than 21 million views.
The video helped spawn one of the most unlikely success stories on YouTube. In the past four years, Donaldson's channel, MrBeast, has amassed more than 48 million subscribers. In the last 28 days, your audience has spent more than 34 million hours watching your videos. On December 12, MrBeast was named Creator of the Year at the Streamy Awards, YouTube's equivalent of the Oscars.
The consistent success of MrBeast videos has attracted attention. Last year, every video he posted surpassed 20 million views , a consistency unparalleled even among YouTube's most recognizable stars.
Donaldson, now 22, speaks modestly and doesn't do many interviews. But it quickly gets loose when he starts talking about YouTube. “Once you know how to make a video go viral, the focus is how to get as many videos out as possible,” he said. "You can make practically unlimited money."
Unlike many of YouTube's early stars, who were actors, screenwriters, models, and singers hoping to one day break into traditional industries, Donaldson has only aspired to stardom on YouTube. He wakes up every day thinking about the perfect videos, with an accuracy that borders on monomania.
The video that made Mr. Beast jump to stardom already surpassed 27 million views
At age 12, he created his first two YouTube channels. In one, he was filming playing the video game Call of Duty and in the other he was playing Minecraft. But over time, he became increasingly curious about the economics of the site.
The first check Donaldson received from YouTube was when MrBeast surpassed 10,000 subscribers. It was not money from the sky. During the early years, he recorded all the videos with his phone, he had no microphone, and his laptop suffered frequent blows.
After high school, Donaldson briefly attended college at the request of his mother, who raised him and his siblings on her own. But she soon dropped out without saying anything to her and turned to her favorite hobby: making YouTube videos. “I didn't have a lot of money, so I wanted to do something big,” he said.
The success of the 100,000-count video taught him an important lesson. While many of his friends wanted to get the most views with as little effort as possible, he wanted to convey to the audience the scope of his efforts. He began to do more extravagant things. He watched the rap video of a fellow youtuber for 10 hours, spent 24 hours in a prison, then in an asylum and then on a desert island.
Views of his videos, which are YouTube's main currency, started to rise. In his first six years on the site, he had generated only 6 million visits. But at age 18, with all his attention focused on YouTube, he garnered 122 million views annually. At age 19, he attracted more than 460 million. Now it generates 4,000 million visits a year. “The beauty of YouTube is that twice the effort doesn't mean twice the views. It's like 10 times more, ”he said. "Reaching the first million subscribers will take years, but reaching the second million is a matter of months."
Over time, he uncovered more mysteries about YouTube. If a video is made too long, nobody watches it or prefers to see another. If it's too short, people won't stop to see it. If the thumbnail photo or caption is bad, no one will click. Donaldson generally makes videos that are 10-20 minutes long. Pick an easy-to-communicate concept in the title, such as “I adopted ALL the dogs from a dog shelter,” and then define the key points in the first 30 seconds.
His videos usually mix three popular YouTube genres. There's the outrageous challenge , like staying inside a block of ice for a day or being the last one out of a tub of ramen noodles. Then there is the appearance of celebrity guests; Donaldson often works with other YouTubers, including his favorite scientist Mark Rober. And there is also the reaction video ; MrBeast has a bunch of clumsy childhood friends involved in his ruses, PP Donaldson denies having a key formula . Most of your views don't come from new videos, but from people who come across older productions than the site's algorithm has recommended. His real secret, he said, dates back to his video in which he counts to 100,000. Viewers are drawn to displays of willpower.
Donaldson now generates tens of millions of dollars in ad sales from its social networks, which include its main channel, a game channel and pages on other social networks. You invest almost every dollar in your business. In recent years, his average cost of making a single video has risen to $ 300,000, up from $ 10,000. "Money is a vehicle for making videos more robust and creating better content," he said .
To date, its most expensive video cost $ 1.2 million. There he promised to give $ 1 million to the contestant who managed to keep his hand on a pile of money for the longest period of time. In the end, he felt bad for the three people who did not receive the million dollars, so he also gave them some money.
Currently, he has a philanthropic angle. He has gifted money to the homeless, his subscribers, users of the popular video site Twitch, and people he has met on the street.
Donaldson employs about 50 people, most of whom specialize in logistics and production. "Videos take months to prepare," Donaldson said. “Many require four to five days of continuous filming. There's a reason other people don't do what I do. ”
In 2019, he performed a series of tricks to help PewDiePie maintain its crown as the most subscribed YouTube channel. PewDiePie had created an online campaign to compete with T-Series, an Indian media channel that would dethrone him. Donaldson bought commercials and even went to the Super Bowl to support PewDiePie. The slogan “Subscribe 2 PewDiePie” was later used by the originator of a mass shooting in New Zealand, one of several problematic associations in recent PewDiePie history.
But Donaldson remains a loyal follower. "It's really authentic, and it doesn't seem like it went to his head," Donaldson said of the youtuber.
Reed Duchscher, his manager, has also worked with the renowned Dude Perfect , and is pressuring Donaldson to invest his money in areas beyond YouTube, preparing for an alternate life to streaming. On December 19, 2020, Donaldson announced a new company called "Beast Burger." He is partnering with more than 300 restaurants and kitchens across the country that will make hamburgers according to his instructions, a model known as ghost kitchens.
That weekend, the popularity of the MrBeast Burger app skyrocketed, and as of the morning of December 21 it was the second most popular free app in the entire iOS store . Donaldson and Duchscher plan to double their presence by the end of 2021. Customers can request delivery apps like Postmates or Grubhub.
A MrBeast consumer line is in the works, and Donaldson, an avid gamer, has also talked about wanting to have an online sports team. In just seven months, his secondary channel dedicated to games had accumulated more than 11 million subscribers.
However, try as he might, he can't ignore his main obsession. "I can't imagine a world where I'm not making YouTube videos," he said. "In a perfect world, I live and breathe this, working 12-15 hours a day until I die."
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