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MrBeast has grown up. He thinks his YouTube videos should too.

Lindsay Dodgson   

MrBeast has grown up. He thinks his YouTube videos should too.
  • MrBeast is shifting his YouTube style from fast-paced and high-energy to slower storytelling.
  • He credits this new approach for a significant increase in his video views.

MrBeast appears to be ushering in a new, more mature era of YouTube.

In his latest post on X, the YouTube megastar said wants to leave frantic, energetic personas in his videos behind.

"This past year I've slowed down our videos, focused on storytelling, let scenes breathe, yelled less, more personality, longer videos, etc. And our views have skyrocketed!" YouTube's biggest star said in a post on X on March 3.

He urged his fellow YouTubers to "get rid of the ultra fast-paced" and over-stimulating era of content. "It doesn't even work," he said.

It's a wise move, according to experts, and one that could help him rapidly grow his roughly $700 million-a-year empire.

The formula for YouTube success

MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, has 242 million subscribers on YouTube, and his numbers are still growing rapidly.

In 2024 alone, he's earned 17 million subscribers — significantly more than most creators will ever achieve in their careers.

In his videos, Donaldson shreds Lamborghinis, gives away massive amounts of cash, and performs ambitious, over-the-top stunts like recreating the Netflix phenomenon "Squid Game." He's also become famous for his charity work, planting millions of trees, building wells, and paying for people to have cataract surgery.

But while Donaldson built much of his brand riding the wave of colorful videos full of lively, dynamic characters that served YouTubers so well in the early days, he's experimented with being a bit more composed in recent videos.

In September 2023, for example, he tried adjusting his thumbnails where he had an exhilarated, open-mouthed expression to a grin, and he said "the watch time went up on every video."

Whatever Donaldson is doing is clearly working, having amassed 13 billion views on his channel since then. However, some viewers have criticized him for backpedaling on what made him popular.

One critic said Donaldson has realized he's the "Oppenheimer of YouTube and is trying to undo the damage he caused."

Others, however, said they have enjoyed Donaldson's newer content. "I'm all in for this kind of content," one viewer said. "It's quality over quantity era again."

MrBeast has grown up, and so has his content

In his latest stunt, "I Survived 7 Days In An Abandoned City," Donaldson and his crew flew to Kupari in the southeast of Dubrovnik, Croatia. After being heavily shelled during the Balkan War in the 1990s, buildings in the area have been abandoned for decades.

In 17 minutes, the group explored derelict buildings, set up camp, and documented some fun and eerie moments, such as discovering stray cats, building fires, and hearing glass breaking while they tried to sleep at night.

The video is still packed full of multiple angles and jump cuts but, apart from the introduction, it doesn't have any of the over-the-top shouting many associate with early YouTube.

Katya Varbanova, a viral marketing expert, told Business Insider this pivot makes sense because Donaldson is no longer the 13-year-old he was when he started out on YouTube.

"Now he's about to turn 26 and he's a whole grown businessman," she said. "So of course he has evolved as a person, and of course, his content will evolve too."

She said she thinks it is Donaldson that is craving this change toward more storytelling and a slower pace, rather than it necessarily being what the majority of his audience wants.

"I think we have to ask ourselves if younger Jimmy who was blowing up with fast-paced content was reading that tweet, would he agree with it and pivot his strategy at this moment in time? I am not sure," Varbanova said.

"In fact, I am willing to bet he would say 'Who cares about the rules — I am carving my own path.'"

Donaldson's decision to slow down his videos seems to be a choice for him and his viewers rather than trying to game YouTube's indeterminable and unpredictable algorithm.

In October 2020, Donaldson said he doesn't stress about the length of his videos just to try to appease a metric he can't see. He showed thumbnails of videos of differing lengths, demonstrating that they were all doing well, and urged creators to upload the "best video" they possibly could. "Whatever length that is, upload it," he said.

"If a video is a banger, the algorithm will find an audience for it," he said, adding that YouTube wouldn't suddenly push out a video because it was "a minute shorter than what you usually post."

The right content at the right time

Ben Steele, a social media marketer at The Big Phone Store who runs the company's TikTok account, told BI that when Donaldson was first starting out, this "toned-down content would have worked against him."

But now, Donaldson has the benefit of having a strong parasocial relationship with his followers, and a track record of bringing in clicks and engagement. This means whatever he chooses to do, his followers will probably respond positively.

Donaldson's new content makes him appear more authentic, which will help him increase his influence even further, Steele said. He's already dominated the younger demographic, and his more mature content will likely be more interesting to millennials and older generations.

"In order to grow further, he needs to appeal to a broader audience, which includes older viewers who would be put off by the loud, obnoxious kind of video that readily goes viral," Steele said.

Varbanova said the best way to thrive as a creator is to be a good storyteller, educator, or entertainer, and find what works, rather than trying to emulate what made someone else successful. This is a "recipe for failure," she said.

"The easiest way to struggle as a creator is to try what everyone else is doing without questioning whether it's right for you or not," she said. "I would caution any content creator to not blindly listen to advice from someone who's 1,000 steps ahead of them."

The best creators think long-term, Varbanova said, and make content that's "sustainable, not trendy."

"Or be the one that sets the trends," she said. "Then you can do whatever you want."

BI has reached out to Donaldson's representatives for comment.

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