This was published by a channel that had 700 subscribers.
How? Let’s find out 🔍
Who + What Happened
→ Niche: Travel
→ Pivoting his content
→ 675 subscribers before the pop
→ Gained ~3.2M views initially (now at 7.8M)
→ First attempt with new format
→ Fully organic
→ No ads
This shows that a pivot can* blow up your channel at any time.
*can ≠ will
So, what can we learn? Here are 4 key lessons:
How’d It Happen?
1) Easy Click
This packaging follows my formula for thumbnails to a T.
I see a dude next to a home-like thing with a door and windows. Said thing is on wheels and in the woods. “What exactly am I looking at?”
If I have time to think about that question, then my scroll has been stopped.
There’s not much to look at (in the best way possible). I don’t have to spend extra brain power trying to comprehend all of the pieces.
In answer to my question, I see the title:
“Building My Dream Tiny Home for Under $8000”
Three things happen at once here:
- It answers my question perfectly
- I have a clear understanding of what this video is about
I have several open loops that I must click to close
- How does he build this thing?
- How does he do it for under $8k?
- Does it actually move?
✅ Packaging Synergy
BONUS NOTE: The title does a great job of marrying a budget challenge with the key term “dream home” in a human way. Does home/budget content do well on YouTube? 100%
But this title is a lot more interesting than:
TINY DREAM HOME BUILD CHALLENGE (Under $8,000) *gone wrong?!*
What I’d Improve:
If this makes it back to David, I’d work on making the thumbnail more glanceable. The simplicity helps, but the tiny home should stand out on its own.
I suggest cleaning up the background so the trees and wood of the house don’t blend together. This would also add a bit more brightness to the thumbnail if the background was changed to more of an open field with sky showing, for example.
2) Simple Story
Maybe it’s because I’m in my thirties and currently traveling/camping full time with my wife and kids, but this intro hit hard for me. It does a great job of giving a reason for viewers to care as well as providing an entertaining bit of context on the tiny home movement for viewers who may not be familiar.
The next step is crucial:
The meat of the video starts with building and makes progress quickly. We have the base of the home built 26 seconds after the intro.
Too many creators would move from the intro into a step back to add more context around how they planned on making this thing happen. ie:
→ How can I build this?
→ What supplies do I need?
→ Where do I get the trailer?
These are all great storytelling questions, but you have to remember the expectation set by the packaging. He promised building a tiny home, so the meat of his video starts with, wait for it… building a tiny home.
YouTube ain’t rocket science, y’all 🚀
Is a great way to re-engage viewers during otherwise monotonous moments. Another example of this is Ryan Trahan with his
→ awkward pauses
→ “hehghhe” laughs
→ “howdy” while people walk by
It’s a great way to re-hook viewers and keep your video feeling fresh. If you want to flex your knowledge on your friends, call these “pattern disruptions”.
David also pokes fun at himself. This helps make everything about this video more relatable. Amazing people doing amazing things has a place, but the best connection builders tend to be regular people doing dope stuff.
What would you prefer as a general audience?
Viewer: “I have no clue about woodworking”
Creator: “oh it’s simple. You just need a no-wobble pen mandrel in order to…”
Viewer: “I have no clue about construction”
David: “lol same”
I know my answer.
[and I definitely didn’t have to Google “difficult sounding woodworking terms”]
NOTE: No shade to the expert woodworkers out there. There’s 100% an audience that wants to have that level of detail. But when we’re talking millions of views and an audience at scale, there’s are certain methods to reach (and satisfy) them.
Politics aside, the Trump wall reference at 1:43 to transition into the wall segment is golden. Here’s 3 reasons why:
- It’s entertaining
- It provides context
- It adds anticipation
What I’d Improve:
Intro: I could do without the “that’s not a dream” bit and moved into the next portion with the tiny home info, but it’s not a video-killer by any means.
Body: The transition from intro → body could be smoother. I think it’s as simple as a stronger transitional sentence at the end of the intro + matching the audio levels and intensity of his voice.
Transitions: While the Trump bit is great, there aren’t too many other places where this happens. There are some jokes in between different portions which helps BUT a majority of scene changes start with “Next we have…” 😴
Every single moment in a YouTube video is a place where a viewer can either
- Be satisfied
- Leave the video
Viewers are lost in
translation transitions. Make every second worthwhile.
Outro: This could have ended 15s earlier.
Totally fine to have a closing recap/breakdown for those interested, but this could have been tallied throughout the video so it doesn’t have to be repeated at the end. When closing a video, get out asap after the EOV (End of Value).
If a CTA is needed, keep it brief (< 5-7s) and overlay the endscreen in a non-intrusive way while it’s happening so we don’t have another 5-7s of dead air.
3) Mass Appeal
The packaging and storytelling was fantastic, but the biggest lever is something more intangible.
This is one of his first narrative videos that had a more general appeal.
Anyone off the street could be interested in these topics and understand. No prerequisite required.
His previous travel content?
→ Limited to people who wanted to visit those particular places.
→ Average Views: 14,709
His first broad interest video?
→ Tutorial-esque explainer about cheap travel
→ Slightly off of channel’s core values
→ 752,000 views
Couple videos later, the rest is history.
NOTE: There is some element of timing at play as well with inflation rates exploding in the recent years - leading to an increased interest in alternative housing. But plenty of creators have made content similar to this which has NOT reached the viewership of David’s.
What I’d Improve:
Double down, David! We got the interior video (which is also sitting pretty at 2.9M views). BUT we haven’t seen content centered around the tiny home since then.
Instead of focusing on the topic of “Building” different things or exploring other places, we should be creating a series around this tiny home.
Think Airrack couch series, but for this tiny home:
→ Continued cluster of titles around tiny home
→ Better channel mission (y’all know my thoughts)
→ Take your tiny home to wherever the top comment lands
You built an amazing asset that a massive audience loves - use it!
4) Let Algorithm Cook
This had 326,000 views after the first 28 days. That’s already well above the channel average prior to this, but look at that sweet 7.8M now.
I’ve said this time and time again: the algorithm knows how to surface satisfying videos to the correct audience. Winning on YouTube is simple:
- Make great content
Make It Happen
Here is your challenge for this week:
- Choose an established video on your channel and think of 3 ways to package it in a more broadly appealing way. Then test and iterate.
Be sure to leave a comment with your rating to be featured in the 🏕 Happy Camper 🏕 section!
All the best,