How YouTuber David Dobrik went from 40,000 followers to 1 Million in one year (and you can too!)

Christopher Ryan
3 min readApr 26, 2017

David Dobrik is one the fastest rising Vloggers on YouTube.

What also makes David Dobrik interesting is that his videos regularly are getting even more views than the number of followers he has which means people are sharing them. His engagement is high with about 8–10% of those watching liking the video and about 4–6% posting comments.

David was already a rising star on the Vine app. As the platform has had it’s difficulties, many of the bigger Vine personalities converted their followers to SnapChat, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. In July 2015, his YouTube channel was stuck at 40,000, even though he had surpassed 1 million followers on Vine.

At Vidcon 2015, he decided to focus on YouTube.

Here is what David has done to grow his followers:

1) Develop your own style

What David figured out was that there was a lack of comedy vlogs on the platform. While there were plenty of vlogs that covered makeup, travel, news and videogames, nobody was really focusing on comedy. Comedy was focused on skits, which weren’t doing too well under YouTube’s algorithm changes.

His format is documentary, but with a sitcom/reality feel. David’s style of comedy is bad puns, obviously set-up situations and a lot of winks to his audience. Also, he doesn’t censor himself, keeping in curse words as his audience is more high school and college age.

If you want to expand your base, you can’t just copy other people, you need to develop your own voice.

2) Collaborate

David developed his own crew of other social media entertainers who had large followings. He became friends with those who matched his sense of humor these channels: The Gabbie Show, Scotty Sire, Zane and Heath, Alex Ernst, Josh Peck as well as Big Nik.

What he didn’t do is try to glom onto social media influencers who didn’t match his personality. You don’t see him collaborating with Nash Grier, Cameron Dallas, The Dolin Twins, Phil DeFranco, Connor Franta, Jacob Sartorius or other social media influencers the really don’t match his style.

Collaborate with those who match your focus, not just those with large followings.

3) Post on a schedule

David posts three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. “On Vine, I wasn’t connecting with people. The 3 day a week schedule helps me connect with people more. Also, a stricter schedules helps me not be lazy,” David said.

Create a schedule for your channel and let everyone know you will be posting on those days.

4) Use your other social media to announce new content and gamify it

David announces on his twitter, snapchat, instagram when new vlogs are up. At the end of each video, he shouts out to a fan (posting their social media for his fans to follow). On his twitter account, sharing and liking the video can earn you that shoutout. Also note, on Facebook he uploads the same video using their native video app as YouTube links won’t show up in his followers newsfeeds.

Don’t forget to use all your social media channels to drive traffic.

5) Break the rules

All David’s videos have a run time of 4:20 (yes, it’s a pot joke). Yet, YouTube best practices says that longer videos get more views and ad revenue. He is also very upfront and honest with his audience about his desire for likes, comments and sharing. “My thumbnails are a parody of clickbait,” he told me. He makes sure his audience is in on the joke.

Go ahead — try something different on your channel.

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Christopher Ryan

Experiential, sponsorship & influencer marketing expert. Featured In Business Week, ABC News & Vanity Fair. Yes, that’s the small coffee.