Trend Alert introduces you to the latest trends that are impacting the daily lives of 16-24s.
What does it take to become a viral sensation in an era where the online content game is more competitive than ever? In 2016, 18-year-old college dropout Jacob Donaldson (aka MrBeast) decided to find out. Within the following year he generated 122 million views on his channel, and within four years, he had successfully become one of the biggest names on YouTube. Last month, he was named Creator of the Year at the Streamy Awards. So, how did he do it?
Donaldson studied the YouTube algorithm closely and took inspiration from his heroes, including PewDiePie and Mark Rober. He realised that the videos that gained huge viewcounts fast were the ones where the creator had invested the most time, effort and money. To compete on YouTube 15 years after the service was launched, you need to not only be creative, talented and charismatic, but more dedicated and determined to reach the top than anyone else. MrBeast spent every waking hour focused on YouTube until he made it.
His first viral success was a simple idea that cost nothing, but took massive commitment from Donaldson himself. He filmed himself counting to 100,000, a challenge which took 40 hours to complete. Luckily it was worth the effort, as it now has almost 22 million views, and won him enough subscribers to give his future uploads a head start. As of 2021, he has 58 videos that each have over 50 million views. Some of his most popular stunts include going through the same drive-thru 1,000 times, buying the entire contents of a store, and eating a golden pizza which cost him $70,000. He invests all his earnings from streams and sponsorship back into his content.
Now that MrBeast is established as a viral video superstar, he’s finding new ways to monetise his popularity. He recently launched Beast Burger, a new app through which fans can order burgers created to MrBeast’s specifications, provided by a network of over 300 restaurants across the US. If he continues to use his out-of-the-box thinking to develop business opportunities, some have predicted he will be the first YouTube billionaire.
MrBeast’s success should not only provide inspiration for aspiring influencers, but for marketers trying to create a content strategy to engage Gen Z. Rather than trying to get the most views for the least effort, MrBeast has proven that putting in more effort will earn the attention and respect of young audiences. This could mean focusing on key pieces of content rather than a daily churn, signing off larger budgets for content creation (not just content promotion), or growing the content team to allow more high quality, time-intensive projects to be delivered.
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