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 USworkrs 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 USwork 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


  1. Adriyel de los Reyes

    Adriyel de los Reyes12 hours ago

    Very informative as a new youtuber. Thank u for sharing.

  2. Nivlek

    Nivlek20 hours ago

    I think this was brilliant! Thanks.

  3. Akash Priya

    Akash Priya20 hours ago

    Don’t hate me please but He made a viral video and made another video to brag about it. Edit: good video though

  4. kayGW Beats

    kayGW BeatsDay ago

    I needed this thank you 💯

  5. NOMAD

    NOMADDay 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.

  6. First name Last name

    First name Last nameDay ago

    damn now I know he really ballin. he can get COLORED PRINTOUTS

  7. Art Photo

    Art PhotoDay ago

    Who wouldn't love videos about snails... I know I would... Thanks for this, got a new subscriber.

  8. Dr. Pizza

    Dr. PizzaDay ago

    screw it i rang the bell, least i could do

  9. Kenny Kerman

    Kenny KermanDay 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.

  10. troubl3gum

    troubl3gumDay ago

    that's why I only use the "subscriptions" although I've heard about YT wanting to filter this section too.

  11. Jim#jazz Moto

    Jim#jazz Moto3 days ago

    This is great video tutorial amazing you inspire me to keep going and make it possible

  12. MerryMustu

    MerryMustu3 days ago

    "The algorithm becomes the content" is a great example of Goodhart's Law.

  13. Maya Lee

    Maya Lee4 days ago

    This was SO incredibly helpful, informative, and I loved the visual aid. Thank you :)

  14. Dreamer Ballena

    Dreamer Ballena4 days ago

    1 Like = 10 New Hugs

  15. Patrick Brett

    Patrick Brett4 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 USwork 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!

  16. AtomAyPlay

    AtomAyPlay4 days ago

    Are my videos not clickable?

  17. VirtuallyFonz

    VirtuallyFonz4 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.

  18. Drill SEO

    Drill SEO4 days ago

    Very good Video




  20. Ramata

    Ramata5 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.

  21. Ten Second BuickGN

    Ten Second BuickGN5 days ago

    I have a video that went viral and it was totally by luck. I recorded it on a cell phone with literally ZERO preparation!

  22. Ace Of Spades

    Ace Of Spades6 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 USwork 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) USwork 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 USwork 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) USwork 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 )))))

  23. mhe. Productions /not producing/

    mhe. Productions /not producing/6 days ago

    * cringe * :/

  24. mhe. Productions /not producing/

    mhe. Productions /not producing/6 days ago

    * cringe *

  25. Frederik Miller

    Frederik Miller6 days ago

    doesn't this reflect the outside world and advertising. the worst junk has the best looking packaging.

  26. Paper Origami

    Paper Origami6 days ago

  27. Gardentastic

    Gardentastic6 days ago

    Thanks for the visuals! Your rant seems to be hitting the iceberg on the head! 👍🏼 good job!

  28. Jeb Fahlgren

    Jeb Fahlgren7 days ago

    Let the users tweak thier own algo in settings.

  29. Catulum

    Catulum7 days ago

    *U N P O C O D E T O D O*



    Very nice!!! Thanks a lot!!! ✨🙏🏻😇🌠

  31. Paulo Sebresos

    Paulo Sebresos7 days ago

    Just to clickbait us too bad

  32. CaptainKyler

    CaptainKyler7 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 USwork 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.

  33. Nani S

    Nani S7 days ago

    Nice presentation! Just make videos with great contents, be consistant and get people to view them like and subscribe. The End.

  34. SouthsideCIP

    SouthsideCIP7 days ago

    Funny you mentioned the “recommended videos” with CTR because there’s a lot of times none of my recommended videos seem interesting to me at all so I have to leave and scroll through the main page again until I find something interesting. Cool video tho tbh I don’t know why I clicked It and even watched the full thing when I was wanting to watch Car Reviews 🤣



    Like 189K!!

  36. Pedro Marin

    Pedro Marin7 days ago

    I think this is the best analog presentation I have seen in my life, I had to pause the video to add it to the favorite list to use it as guide someday at the university. Also I care not If you use clickbait as long as you really have content, I hate not when I see a clickbait, I hate when I see a clickbait without proper content

  37. David Andersen

    David Andersen7 days ago

    During all of this you didn't talk about YOU. You are the product. People click on your videos for many personal reasons, but they do so out of habit. That seems important to me.

  38. fake hood

    fake hood7 days ago

    Good sir

  39. coming soon

    coming soon7 days ago

    swap subscribe👉. im fast

  40. OSKI That’s Broski

    OSKI That’s Broski7 days ago

  41. The Unboxing Experience

    The Unboxing Experience8 days ago

    I'm amazed by how much effort was put into the preparation for this video

  42. Nicolas Sobczak

    Nicolas Sobczak9 days ago

    Clicked the bell! Thanks for everything you do 👍

  43. Jody The Joe

    Jody The Joe9 days ago

    I’ve been posting videos every day random probably not nothing good enough to go viral but I’m trying... That’s all that matters ... If y’all could check my stuff out like ,dislike Comment Or subscribe I would highly appreciate it ....

  44. Chamila Wijesinghe

    Chamila Wijesinghe9 days ago

    This video was an eye opener and was an amazing presentation. Yes, I clicked the subscribe & bell 🔔 !

  45. The Enthusiasm Project

    The Enthusiasm Project10 days ago

    This is masterful. It does make me wonder though about creators who don’t work for the clicks but still find success. Like Luke Towan, who sporadically uploads 20-45 minute videos about making scale miniatures and every video immediately gets hundreds of thousands of views. It gives me hope.

  46. Taylor Juchau

    Taylor Juchau10 days ago

    Very nice to see a youtuber be this transparent. Totally agreed with your thought process, easy to follow, great explanation. I don't think anyone will be upset by clickbaity titles as long as they accurately foreshadow what the video is about. I wouldn't want to click on a 10min video only to find out that it had nothing to do with what I thought it was about. Stay transparent Ve and we will stay tuned ;)

  47. HeatherJustCreate

    HeatherJustCreate10 days ago

    Just seeing this. I'm new to your channel, never heard of you but I LOVE how you explain things! I didn't even see the viral video but I was doing research on the USwork algorithm, or rather, what the current experts are saying about the algorithm and found this video. I agree that no one can truly be an expert since it's always evolving. As a creator and USwork coach, I try to have the best understanding about the platform. It's definitely frustrating but I'm cool with my smaller audience. It goes back to what you were saying about how the threshold of the numbers just keeps increasing with growth, 100k views isn't special anymore when you can have 200k, 500k, 1 mil.

  48. alghuds wav

    alghuds wav10 days ago

    I make and sell beats check me out!!

  49. Viral Gif By Marius

    Viral Gif By Marius10 days ago

    For me, the YT algorithm does not work. YT doesn't show my videos. Instead I get ads from YT to invest money in campaigns. On Instagram I managed to have followers and likes organic, for free. I think YT has the best money making algorithm, the organic one is almost 0.

  50. Agustin Marquez

    Agustin Marquez11 days ago

    All the videos on my channel has more than a million views At least on my liked section

  51. J Randall Murphy

    J Randall Murphy11 days ago

    This got my like. Another tip is that on my video pages, I encourage other USworkrs to comment and post links back to their own videos so that we network. It's as easy as cut and paste, but it is also important to be discreet and not just spam everyone. Only do it for relevant content and always say something nice or at least constructive. Like I could insert a link back to mine here as an example, but mine are music videos. They aren't really relevant to this particular content. So I felt it better not to post a link here. But even so, if someone likes this comment, maybe they'll click my avatar and visit my channel. So the thing to do is to be positive and make friends, which brings me to the last point for this comment. Derek comes across as a really likeable guy who is easy to relate to. He goes on about algorithms, thumbnails, and click throughs, but the reason I watched it all the way through is that he as a person kept my interest whereas I didn't bother finishing a number of other similar videos. So if you are going to be the star in your own video, make your viewer feel like you are relating to them in a positive way rather than simply delivering information. Derek does this expertly.

  52. Adi chalke

    Adi chalke11 days ago

    i ringed the bell . this is my first . I am on YT from the start

  53. fairz animations

    fairz animations11 days ago

    it went viral because you have big sub count

  54. Bourbon and a Baby

    Bourbon and a Baby11 days ago

    Excellent and informative presentation, thank you!

  55. Tommy Lee

    Tommy Lee11 days ago

    Yes you should ask...tell people that watch your videos to be interested in "Subscribing" and to "Click the bell to get notifications", and to encourage them to share your videos. And to tell others about how great your channel, and your presentation of ALL the topics and subject matter, is. btw great INFORMATIVE..."rant"!

  56. Tommy Lee

    Tommy Lee11 days ago

    I think you are going to have to find a way to map a wave of what is popular enough to initial "Clicks" and those "Clicks" by us diehard subscribers and find where the confluence of what metrics overlap.

  57. Charlie Baby

    Charlie Baby11 days ago

    i did my bell. I've seen only one video of yours suggested to me since.

  58. Unidorsal Icosahedron

    Unidorsal Icosahedron11 days ago

    Anybody else getting HEAPS of meme compilations and reddit crawlers in your recommended? Also, isn't the audience getting pulled by the algorithm? Anyway, my thinking is that engagement is a dubious thing to optimize for. I mean, isn't the point for us viewers to get satisfied? But if we're satisfied, we're not engaged. So we're kept disappointed, like crack addicts looking for the next fix. Why wouldn't the optimal solution be, for Veritasium to have provided all the edutainment he would ever want to provide, and maintain the livelihood he needs, and for viewers to receive the edutainment they want, and for everyone to get on with their lives?


    LAWYER GURU12 days ago

    just clicked the bell

  60. Michael Weaver

    Michael Weaver12 days ago

    Clickbait is great as long as it's ethical clickbait (ie, it has a catchy image/title and actually covers what it suggests). I hate nothing more than thumbnails that depict something that's not even mentioned or portrayed in the actual video. I never return to channels that do that.

  61. Chayne Team

    Chayne Team13 days ago

    The biggest problem is the fact that men want only two things whether they are being honest with themselves or simply lying to themselves: Money & Hot chicks with rocking tits and great pussy. 99.99999999999999% of videos clicked by the average guy on USwork don't show how to get either of these things. Soon, not only will the USworkrs get burned out, but so will the viewers.. at least the male ones.