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Creator and Artist Stories

Road to 1 million subscribers with Drew Durnil

  • By The YouTube Team
  • Dec.27.2022
Drew Durnil has been on YouTube for a decade. So what are his tips for staying successful throughout all these years?
Road to 1 million subscribers with Drew Durnil
Drew Durnil has been on YouTube for a decade. So what are his tips for staying successful throughout all these years?

Ten years ago, Drew Durnil started his first YouTube channel, where he posted unedited footage of him playing video games. A lot has changed since then. He’s now known for making fun, interesting, and meme-filled videos about geography and international events – content which has earned him 1.25 million subscribers and counting. And that’s just on his main channel.

Drew also has three other channels: one for his gaming videos, another that’s all Shorts, and a recently launched channel that will eventually host more vlog-style content.

We had the chance to talk with Drew about his decade-long journey on Youtube and hear his advice for cultivating a long-lasting creator career, amplifying content, and attracting one million subscribers. Here are the top four tips he shared with us.


To stay in the game, pivot

It’s natural for creators to fall into a certain niche or content type. But trends come and go, and Drew says, “YouTube is a marathon, not a sprint. In order to be a successful creator over a long period of time, you have to know when to pivot.”

But this doesn’t necessarily mean making a drastic shift. “Some people can radically change their content and be successful, but I’ve noticed that most of the time your new content needs to be somewhat similar to your older content.”

To pivot successfully, Drew advises creators to try new things and know that “nine out of 10 content experiments are probably going to fail. That’s okay.” However, he cautions against giving up too early. “If your new type of video is doing slightly better than some of your other experiments, then keep at it. There might be something there.”

To offset failed experiments, Drew says, “Make sure you’re still doing whatever content you’re known for, and post both old and new videos at the same time.”

Stay focused with multiple channels

When asked about his strategy behind using multiple channels, Drew explains, “I’m not one of those creators who can be successful with one channel that has a ton of different content. I used to have way too much variety on my main channel and it was impacting my average views.”

He thinks all the different videos in one place confused his audience, and they never knew what to expect. “I have to be very specific with what people are going to watch. They have to know what type of video they’re going to see before they click on it.”

By moving his gaming content and Shorts to separate channels, Drew not only helped set viewer expectations, but he tapped into new audiences that fueled his main channel. He says, “There’s definitely been a noticeable amount of increased traffic to my main channel since I rolled out my Shorts channel.”


Brighten up your thumbnails

One of the first things you’ll notice on Drew’s main channel is the striking bright colors in all his thumbnails. As he says, “I’m hyper focused on clickthrough rate, and I’ve noticed that I can pull in new viewers to my content when I brighten things up a bit. So my thumbnails are super oversaturated so they pop, and the colors are always changing.”

If people visited my channel back in 2018 and they come back today and everything looks exactly the same, they’ll think, ‘There’s nothing new here. I’ve already seen this content.’”

Drew Durnil

While he knows some people can make plain thumbnails work, he suggests creators experiment by comparing how a neutral thumbnail performs against a bright, colorful one. He also believes eye-catching thumbnails help keep long-term followers engaged. “If people visited my channel back in 2018 and they come back today and everything looks exactly the same, they’ll think, ‘There’s nothing new here. I’ve already seen this content.’”


Keep calm and carry on with analytics

Drew has noticed that “people will put their heart and soul into some content and then look at their analytics right away, and the video seems dead. Then they’re demotivated. But if they wait they’ll see that some types of content need time to grow.”

Drew uses the example of how his educational videos get less traffic when school is out for summer. Eventually, his average view per video ends up being the same, but it just takes longer for the summertime videos to get there.

Because of this, he’s learned to not put a lot of emphasis on the first 24 hours of analytics and to be pretty calm in general about it. “I tell people, wait a week. Don’t freak out if within the first 24 hours things aren’t exploding for you.”