Cross the Follower Chasm: How Wise Investments Can Boost Your YouTube Channel

Navigate the competitive YouTube landscape with strategic investments, using MrBeast's success story as a blueprint. How wise spending can optimize your channel growth, even with a tight budget.

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Cross the Follower Chasm: How Wise Investments Can Boost Your YouTube Channel

Navigate the competitive YouTube landscape with strategic investments, using MrBeast's success story as a blueprint. How wise spending can optimize your channel growth, even with a tight budget.

Discover how strategic investments can propel your YouTube channel across the follower chasm


  • The reinvestment strategy that skyrocketed MrBeast’s channel's growth.
  • Tips for part-time creators on prioritizing investments to optimize long term viewership growth.

Every YouTube creator begins with support from a small circle of friends and family and often expands to around 1,000 followers by finely tuning their unique niche and channel appeal. However, after reaching this milestone, many creators find it challenging to broaden their viewership, or cross the follower chasm. It can feel like a daunting task to cross this follower chasm. In this discussion, we will explore some investments creators can make to overcome this hurdle by taking a look at MrBeast's evolution from a lesser-known YouTuber struggling with monetization, to one of the largest creators on the platform.

MrBeast, an incredible example of strategic spending, wasn’t always famous. In fact, during the first three years of owning his channel, he only gained 2,000 subscribers in total. His journey shows us that investing wisely in your YouTube channel is crucial for growth, particularly for part-time creators. 

But, you need to spend money where it will make the most impact based on your niche and content style. For instance, if the majority of your content is filmed outdoors, an expensive home studio may not be the right choice. On the flip side, cosplayers on TikTok invest heavily in costumes and sets to enhance their videos and attract more viewers.

Due to a series of calculated reinvestments into his video quality, equipment, thumbnails, giveaways and more, MrBeast now enjoys a subscriber base in the hundreds of millions. Check out how much his channel has evolved in quality and viewership since it began in 2013. 

Screenshot of MrBeast's earlier content. The view count of the videos is boosted by later followers

MrBeast’s channel in 2013. 

MrBeast’s channel in 2016.

MrBeast’s channel in 2023MrBeast's content has undergone a transformation. Improved locations, sets, topics, and video quality have all contributed to this growth. For those of you who are part-time creators without the luxury to reinvest large sums, the aim here is to invest minimally while maximizing the result. As a smaller YouTuber, there are key, affordable investments available that contribute to viewership growth. These won't empty your wallet but will offer significant returns by elevating your content to attract a wider audience.

Thumbnails & Photo Editing Software - Pave way for the first 1,000 followers

The thumbnails are arguably the most noticeable change from MrBeast’s early content. His thumbnails have evolved over time to be more eye-catching, cohesive, and reflective of his videos. Thumbnails are pivotal; they’re your first shot at capturing viewer attention. A study analyzing 3,745 marketing videos from top brands across various industries on YouTube found that thumbnails' visual attributes significantly impact video view-through rates, as well as likes, comments, and engagement. The presence of varied design elements in a thumbnail, like product images, models, or text, can effectively convey information, enticing viewers to click and watch. Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, or even Canva are great options for part-time creators on a budget. These tools help craft thumbnails that are not just eye-catching but effectively convey your video’s story.

Thumbnails are crucial to getting your great story checked out and discovered. Don't let your video get lost in the YouTube ocean.

Music - Cross the follower chasm

Music adds a layer of engagement to your videos. It helps set the mood and keeps your audience entertained. However, licensing popular tracks will eat into your budget. For creators, exploring royalty-free music platforms can provide the music you need to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more. Read more here: License music to use on YouTube 2023 guide.a

Whether you’re producing your own, licensing pop tracks, or sticking to affordable royalty-free programs to enhance your content, music is an essential time and money investment all creators must make to stay competitive. MrBeast's most popular videos contain music and sound effects from start to finish, either subtly in the background or prominently in the foreground. Check out his most popular videos to hear it for yourself. As a result, Jimmy’s videos feel alive, engaging, and exciting without a moment of dead air.

Adding music to a video is relatively easy to accomplish and you don’t need advanced editing skills to add simple background music. So start doing it today!

Editing Software - Gain traction with early major viewers

As you keep developing the storytelling in your niche, the next in line is video editing. Good editing software is a game changer to lock in your early major viewers. Early major viewers are critical for later success: a lot of YouTube channels are stagnant after they hit 1k followers because they can't broaden the viewership into early major viewers.

For emerging creators, this basic investment lays the groundwork for sustained channel growth and success, enabling you to produce content at a necessary pace, and elevating your quality to a professional level. In the competitive realm of YouTube, it’s all about delivering quality consistently. Some of the most popular options include Adobe’s Premier Pro and Apple’s Final Cut Pro

Camera and Audio Equipment - Lock in late major viewers

MrBeast's early videos were simple and filmed with basic equipment in his home. It was only after gaining major popularity that he began investing in expensive equipment. That said, if you are still working on your first 1k followers, consider spending more time in refining your story, investing in editing or royalty-free music. Jimmy’s first viral video, “I Counted To 100,000!”, which has nearly 30 million views, was filmed on his computer. That said, camera and audio equipment are not a major limitation in growing a viewership base, but they can definitely help you reach a wider audience once you have gained popularity and traction.

Screenshot from MrBeasts first viral video “ “I Counted To 100,000!”

As Jimmy’s video quality improved, his viewership skyrocketed further. His higher quality videos now attract hundreds of millions of viewers in 2023. He uses a variety of commercial cameras, drones, and audio equipment to elevate his quality and appeal to a much wider market.

Screenshot from a MrBeast video from 2016

Screenshot from a MrBeast video from 2023

Although MrBeast's content was entertaining enough that high-resolution video wasn't initially necessary, this isn't the case for everyone.

For instance, viewers expect beauty TikToks to have good lighting and clarity to see the makeup techniques clearly. If you're in a niche where video quality matters, investing in good camera and audio equipment early on is essential for growth.

Setting, Studios, and Costumes - Win over the laggards

A lot of people started to know about MrBeast until he became a colossal YouTube icon. MrBeast began filming in locations like parking lots and living rooms and his own bedroom, but now rents extravagant venues like football stadiums and super yachts for his videos. Unlike early followers attracted by the stories or personalities of the YouTuber, most laggards are fed by the attention-catching content characterized by exaggerated titles or sensational scenes sent to them by the algorithm.

Screenshots from MrBeast's recent video entitled “$1 vs $250,000 Vacation!

These grand settings enhance the visual appeal, making his content more entertaining and engaging, which in turn attracts more viewers. 

Whether it's investing in costumes for a cosplay channel or a professional set for a cooking channel, aligning your investments with your niche is a smart strategy to attract and retain viewers. 

And it doesn’t need to be a $250,000 vacation, it could be as simple as driving to the beach or buying a new dress to enhance your visuals.

Be Smart with Your Spending

MrBeast is known for his generous giveaways and extravagant challenges, a model funded by his strategic reinvestment approach.

He once reinvested earnings from his first sponsorship into a $10,000 giveaway video, creating a buzz that significantly boosted his channel’s visibility and subscriber count. The YouTuber has also claimed on many occasions that at the beginning of his career, he reinvested 100% of his earnings back into the channel.For part-time creators, it’s not about pouring all of your earnings back into the channel, but making smart, budget-friendly decisions. Wise, timely investments in your YouTube channel is the key to growth.