This video got 641K+ views in 9 days by changing two words in the title.

Since I’m constantly tinkering with social media to make it perform better, on a lark I decided to change the title by adding two words on June 5, 2021. As I write this post, the video below has 195, 473 views – 181K of those views in seven days. It is averaging about 27K views a day. 

I’ve had this oh-so-cute video of my dog when he was a puppy on YouTube since 2014. It got an illustrious 2,900 views over the last seven years. 

Since I’m constantly tinkering with social media to make it perform better, on a lark I decided to change the title by adding two words on June 5, 2021. As I write this post, the video below has 195, 473 views – 181K of those views in seven days. It is averaging about 27K views a day. 

Edit: as of June 22, the video has reached 715K views.

I know scientifically what caused this phenomenon because I changed just ONE THING. We fancy pants marketing folk call this A/B testing – the important part is only changing one variable at a time. Those two words added to the title are the sole change made on June 5th. The chart shows what happened (I’ll do my best to keep this chart updated as the video goes through it’s cycle.) 

“Sure, but my business doesn’t sell ridiculously cute and fuzzy puppies.” – While that may be true, the lessons here are still valuable and interesting because the things that drive human behavior apply to all businesses. 

The change in title injected emotional words which, in turn, registered cognitively with more people as they saw it come up in their feeds. Where they ignored it among the plethora of cute German Shepherd puppy videos, now they became engaged enough to watch. They converted. 

So what changed? 

The video title read “Puppy learning not to bite” originally. This was just a fun video I put on my channel for my mom to enjoy. I was pleased a couple thousand people also enjoyed it. I found it going through my content, saw the headline and, drawing on my experience, immediately realized the video was YouTube perfection but could use a better headline. 

I wrote “Puppy bites himself learning not to bite”  – That’s it. I injected an irony that makes the video more compelling. Apparently A LOT more compelling. 

I did not expect it to go viral – that is actually an exceedingly rare phenomenon. See my article on that issue here. However, it illustrates the importance of the right headline, subject line, title when it comes to generating enough interest for the audience to move from passive (seeing the video in the feed) to active (watching the video). 

Are your posts getting engagement? Maybe it’s the headline. 


Ask Pete a Question or Make a Comment