I’ve been telling creators and businesses to build an exit plan before it’s too late. The way social media algorithms are evolving. There will be only a content engine.
No Influencer, No Creator, No Social Media business. What we would have left is an AI-controlled content engine.
That engine never gives a creator or business enough time to build that connection. Or brand messaging. We all are going to be affected by this. Me too.
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June 16, 2023 - 16 min read
Airrack, I can talk about him for hours. About how he grew to become one of the best Youtube creators in the world.
Why? Because the Youtube algorithm did what it does best. Track my other internet activities on Google.
When I first discovered Airrack aka Eric Decker. I finished watching Stranger Things for the first time. A few days later Youtube recommended a guy visiting Hawkins Lab & the town in stranger things.
Guess Who was that guy? (Cringe) Airrack and I've subscribed since that day to his Youtube channel.
From the start of his journey to this day, I have monitored his growth as an Influencer strategist and Fan. Making me eligible for breaking down what worked for him and what didn’t.
And what you can take away from his journey to build your audience on Youtube. And also his friend Mack, the videography brain behind Airrack.
Often forgotten to credit videographers help creators a lot to create better content.
Airrack’s real name is Eric David Decker and from the start known for his Youtube entertainment channel.
Now, his goal & business is bigger than being a Youtuber. Eric Decker, Airrack is now running Creator now, a membership business for creators.
Eric Decker teaches upcoming and new creators everything about running a content creation business in Creator now. And he also invites major creator leaders to teach alongside him. Creators like Colin and Samir, Ryan Trahan + Editors behind Logan Paul & Sidemen Videos share their knowledge within the creator's community.
Airrack is currently paving the way for upcoming creators while building his audience while living in North Carolina.
Eric Decker’s Youtube channel Airrack currently has 13.5 million subscribers & he posts occasionally these days.
But we’re here to break down how he grew to this huge number of subscribers and why it wasn’t easy. But his creator & video strategies will live forever:
I have talked about things like originality doesn’t exist or it is very hard to discover. Many times the original content you love is just creative.
Creators don’t need to be original. They need to be creative like Eric Decker (Airrack).
Because it took MrBeast years to build his niche, a similar situation with Markilpier, Pewdiepie.
The challenge of being original comes up with a price, you have to embrace changes & be consistent to build your authority.
To grow faster like Airrack, what creators need is creativity to get inspired and create better content than original creators.
First Discovery: Airrack creatively stole attention from the viral show “Stranger Things” to steal the audience of that show. The commonality here was a review of that show, creativity was to showcase more of what the audience already liked.
Well-working Strategy to steal attention from entertainment-loving audiences.
Second Discovery: Logan Paul was a daily vlogger in the past. But when Airrack was coming up into Youtube, he was less active and his audience wasn’t seeing more of him. But Logan was still in creator news and doing numbers.
At that time, Airrack’s audience stealing strategy again worked well. Stealing the attention of Logan's audience.
Airrack showed more of Logan Paul on his channel for some time compared to Logan’s youtube channel. By creating a series around buying Logan's couch and showing what he did with his couch over a series of videos.
Making Logan Paul fans visit the Airrack channel to watch the content. And knowing Airrack’s content quality I can confirm that the stolen audience converted into Airrack fans after watching a few videos.
Third Discovery: David Dobrik was one of the biggest artists when Airrack was trying to break into the Youtube space. After I saw a clear relationship with Logan Paul from Airrack, I saw him sneaking into the network of David Dobrik.
The first video from Airrack with David Dobrik took off fast and he gained a set of new subscribers from that video. Was that a genius idea?
It was not something that creators should take away from Airrack’s start. Why? Because it was Airrack hustling to build his own identity off existing Youtube figures.
What you should take away from Airrack’s start is finding a gap in the market. All of these creators were not doing storytelling content, Logan wasn’t actively vlogging. He found a great market loop to build stories around loving figures on Youtube.
Airrack knew he was working to put a story together and how he did do that? Through Content Series.
90% of the Youtube content is engaging yet, Audience doesn’t have a reason to revisit the youtube channel. PewdiePie, One of the biggest YouTubers in the world gets a lower number of views than Airrack. Pewdiepie is only one example, it is very hard to break the Youtube algorithm and reach your existing audience consistently.
The algorithm tries its best, and you reach your subscribers but the ratio is always too little. What Airrack did was simple, remind his audience & algorithm about the next piece of content.
Going back to Logan, Airrack did a content series around his couch and he reminded the audience & me in that piece of content that he doesn’t know what will happen next with the couch.
The couch series had more than 6 videos built around Logan Paul and his couch. Airrack was giving Logan’s audience more coverage like Logan was doing a TV show on HBO.
Airrack built a story around him. Making his audience stay tuned and gaining new audiences.
First, A content series launched on a specific day like an Apple TV show release. Gives the audience time to talk about it and builds the anticipation to watch the video on the day of launch.
Second, An established Youtube creator is a new niche on Youtube. Ongoing conversations are going around the creator. What Airrack did was target the logan Paul niche and attract those audiences.
Logan Paul on the other hand is targeting another niche of lifestyle & entertainment. His content other than him is pushed to audiences interested in those niches.
By targeting logan paul, Airrack built his audience & niche at the same time through logan paul & David Dobrik's content series. If you ask Airrack, he wouldn’t describe this way as his first instincts were seeing his future audience hidden in Logan Paul’s existing audience.
But what I am describing is that Algorithm works like this when you implement this strategy vs regular strategy:
Your content without a Viral factor -> Posting a lot of times to build your niche authority -> With time Youtube rewards you to grow your audience.
Your content with a viral factor like Logan or a Youtube established figure -> Reaches that niched creator audience -> Creator Audience matches interests of your overall niche -> You build a faster audience with niche validation & creator exposure at the same time.
A little complex I agree, and, you can view the content strategy flow broken down visually below:
I opened my psychology books and realized how Airrack used one of my favorite psychology hacks to make me share his Youtube channel in 2020 with all of my friends. Yes, marketers have friends too!
What is the Goal Gradient Effect?
Goal Gradient Effect proves that the closer we are to our goals the more motivated we’re to move faster. To achieve them!
That is the reason why a lot of businesses and restaurants have stamp cards making you come more often. And get that Free meal, coffee, or Chicken bucket!
How Airrack used Goal Gradient Effect?
When Airrack started posting in 2020, he set a goal of gaining 1 million subscribers by the end of the year. And he shared his goal at the end of every video or in between the video. He was indirectly practicing this psychology hack, by reminding the audience of how he is slowly moving towards his goal of 1 million subscribers.
This act of reminding his audience about his goals made them hooked on his journey. And Airrack also got more and more referral traffic coming to his Youtube channel through people sharing his channel with family and friends.
And by the end of the year, this goal gradient effect had a mindblowing effect on Airrack’s channel growth. I remember when he was near his goal, one of his fans from Bulgaria drove 30,000 new subscribers to his channel. To me and anyone amazing.
But I got to experience this effect in real-time happening when Airrack was Live streaming on an Island until he reached 1 million Youtube subscribers.
It could have taken another 24 or 48 hours to achieve that goal of Airrack, but live streaming the goal and showing his live presence to the audience. Helped him achieve that goal faster than predicted.
It takes a very long time for creators to learn what their personal brand stands for and what they need to do to achieve that 1M mark.
You can’t achieve 1 million youtube subscribers by telling them you want to achieve that goal. First.m, you have to share what you want to achieve that goal for and what it means to you.
During the Livestream, everyone saw Eric Decker & Mack’s Youtube journey. How many efforts were made to reach this goal of 1M followers?
Today, many Youtubers have achieved 1M subscribers quickly and easily through virality & Youtube Shorts. They don’t have the influence & love of an audience like Airrack.
Use this goal gradient effect to make your audience come along your journey but make that journey meaningful. Not about achieving the numbers.
Another Youtuber that very practically and meaningfully used this Effect was Ryan Trahan, his “penny challenge” helped him build a quick and meaningful audience like Eric Decker by sharing his goal.
In a Youtube Interview with Jon Youshaei, Airrack revealed a very unknown secret and a strategy used by Humans for years. But often forgotten or not loved.
Watching Airrack, I was very familiar with the power of collaborations on Youtube. And in this interview, Airrack confirmed that collaboration is the key!
He shared that he has a group called “The Creative Allegiance”, basically a group of creative people pitching him content ideas. And they get paid a share of the revenue from Youtube Adsense revenue through a tool called Stir.
I loved this, because as someone who also gets paid for his Influencer campaign ideas. I was very happy to see that this style of creative team exists on the creator side too. On the business & Agency side, this is very common.
It is no secret that big creators like MrBeast are either paying for the ideas or relatively spending time searching for those ideas on Reddit or Twitter.
Either way, you have to spend a considerable amount of value on ideas to get the value back. And when you’re ready to pay for creative Ideas, I’m also available as a creative strategist!
While Creators like Airrack & MrBeast are paying for ideas, many are stealing their approach. And it is common, your ideas will be stolen. Because you stole it from someone else.
Every single piece of media is a creative remix of ideas from the past. It is all based on whether can you see the roots of an idea.
If you can, Is the creator crediting their idea to the existing video idea? Now, the intent is becoming important.
Everyone steals, It is all about intent. You should always be open to crediting someone for their ideas. They can credit their inspiration to the previous creator.
Crediting each other’s work is healthy as nothing original exists. Either your one idea is too mixed up with your other ideas, or you don’t know the source of your Youtube video idea. Or you know the source of an Idea.
In the first situation, whether you credit or not it is ok. Because your intent is neutral or positive. In the
Second, it is important to credit the source.
Everything is a remix, don’t be afraid to steal. Be responsible to pay it back or forward.
Yes, I got disconnected from the Airrack world. After he achieved that goal, I was occasionally watching his content, but not regularly.
But I remember his struggle, In his early videos you can watch him & Mack waking up early. Doing editing and dropping new content, by the time one video was up, they were already hustling toward making the next best video.
He worked with Logan Paul, David Dobrik, and later MrBeast. And two of those names are not well-respected by the creator economy for various reasons. But Airrack always maintained his brand image and distanced himself from these creators on a personal level.
Showing who Airrack is! He looks at Youtube both as a passion & business. Reading this breakdown, you can take away that you need to fully hustle your way into Youtube & show your story.
It doesn’t have to be that way, start with what resources you have as Airrack did, and show what matters to people. Your average youtube viewer doesn’t need to see the whole story. The best movies you watch aren’t the longest ones.
You can share what you have in a short audience message & begin your journey. And I know you have already started, I would say it is never too late. I’m a marketer & creator, working on both sides of the business. You will thank yourself for allowing your mind to pivot & share your new message with the audience.
Your message & Actions represent your hustle. Not 1000 videos on your Youtube channel.
This Youtube Video of Airrack cycling on Ice appeals to me and story lovers the most. Why? Because the idea is very well executed and Airrack bringing the new character Fidias to a one-time adventure is the breaking moment for a new viewer of the channel.
The Timely Content: This Stealing David Dobrik’s Girlfriend video & Stranger Things Video were uploaded with a time sensitivity as both were the hype at that specific period. And had searches going on the Internet about both of these topics. These will get a view drop if dropped today & Airrack had less than 1M followers.
The Curiosity Content: Breaking 100 Laws in 24 Hours is one of the best videos from Airrack. Because there is a curiosity gap between Viewer and the video. They have no clue about the next law airrack will break in the video. That gap keeps them hooked. Not a story content to build the trust of your audience, but attention content helps to gain more new audiences.
I’m on a personal goal of educating creators about building an audience and monetizing their audience. I also educate the brand about working with creators and paying them what they deserve.
In case, anything changes with Airrack, MrBeast, your favorite creator, and Youtube. You can count on me, I run a weekly newsletter about social media & marketing. You can subscribe to it, I’m close to 19 subscribers away from reaching 10k newsletter readers.
Haha! Trying to Use the goal gradient effect on you.
Thanks for the reader, You can read my previous breakdown on MrBeast. The next one is on a creator with starting letter E.