Boost Your YouTube Views: The Psychology behind Social Validation and Habitual Behavior

Boost Your YouTube Views: The Psychology behind Social Validation and Habitual Behavior

July 3, 2024
You’re browsing through YouTube, and a thumbnail with an intriguing title catches your eye. Just as you’re about to click, you notice the video has only 98 views. Despite the captivating title and thumbnail, you decide to skip it and continue browsing. This scenario highlights a common behavior driven by psychological factors.

The Psychology behind High View Counts on YouTube and How to Leverage Psychological Traits to Boost YouTube Views

Social Proof

Social Proof is a psychological phenomenon where people are influenced by the action of others, making them think that if others are doing it, it must be right. This phenomenon can turn a simple decision into a full-blown bandwagon moment.

Key Aspects of Social Proof:

Herd Mentality
Herd mentality is often described as a type of behavior where people follow the crowd, as their opinion has been deeply influence by what other thinks of it. There are several examples of herd mentality from influencing to watch a movie due to its box office success, or even clicking a youtube videos by seeing its view count.
Influence of Popularity:
So you are chilling with your friends, and few of them starts to sing praise of a movie that you haven’t heard or seen before. You Google about it, and all you see it positive reviews in the social media as well. Now, even if the movie is not of your genre, it can spark an interest in your brain. If the persuasion hits the right spot, you may even buy a ticket and watch it.

Types of Social Proof:
  • Expert Social Proof: Endorsements from experts in a field.
  • Celebrity Social Proof: Endorsements from celebrities or influencers.
  • User Social Proof: Reviews and testimonials from existing users.
  • Crowd Social Proof: Large numbers of users or participants.
  • Friend Social Proof: Recommendations from friends or acquaintances.
One of the biggest example is social media influencers. When people see high number of likes, shares, comments, and followers of an influencers, they are more easily influenced. A video with high views can serve as a magnet to users. Similarly, users are likely to buy a product or follow a trend if they see others are doing it as well.
Examples of Social Proof in Action:
  • E-commerce: Product pages that show user reviews and ratings encourage potential buyers to make a purchase, as they trust the collective opinion of previous customers.
  • Social Media: Posts with high engagement (likes, shares, comments) attract more attention and further engagement, creating a cycle of increasing visibility and popularity.
  • Entertainment: Movies and TV shows with high viewership or ratings attract more viewers, as people assume these are indicative of quality content.

How Social Proof Can Be Leveraged in Marketing:

Showcase Testimonials and Reviews: Highlight positive feedback from customers to build trust and credibility.
Display Metrics: Share impressive statistics such as the number of users, downloads, or social media followers to signal popularity.
Influencer Partnerships: Collaborate with influencers who can endorse your product or service, leveraging their established trust and following.
Encourage User-Generated Content: Promote content created by your users, such as reviews, unboxing videos, or testimonials, to showcase real experiences and opinions.
Create a Sense of Urgency: Use phrases like “Join thousands of satisfied customers” or “Limited spots available” to leverage crowd behavior and prompt action.

Perceived Value

Perceived value is the worth or importance a consumer assigns to a product or services based on what they perceived of it, rather that it’s actual cost. This is a most widespread concept in marketing as it can highly influence consumers’ behavior, which helps businesses with their pricing strategies and brand positioning.

When it comes to YouTube, perceived value has a great importance for youtubers as perceived value can influence a viewer. It can heavily influence the likelihood to watch, comments, and even share with the videos.

Elements of Perceived Value:

Perceived value on YouTube is influenced by several key elements that determine how viewers assess and engage with content.
These elements include:
  • Content Quality: High production value, clear and coherent presentation.
  • Relevance and Usefulness: Alignment with audience interests, practical educational content.
  • Entertainment Value: Engaging, captivating, creative, and original content.
  • Credibility and Trustworthiness: Reputable sources, authenticity, and transparency.
  • Emotional Connection: Compelling storytelling, relatable content.
  • Social Proof and Engagement: High engagement metrics, active community involvement.
  • Consistency and Frequency: Regular uploads, consistent quality standards.
  • Expertise and Authority: Knowledgeable creators, in-depth analysis.
  • Accessibility and Convenience: User-friendly formats, subtitles, and translations.
  • Community and Interaction: Viewer engagement, interactive features.
  • Personal Interest and Preference: Niche content, personalized to audience preferences.

How to Improve Perceived Value in YouTube for More Clicks, and Engagement?

While there are number of ways to do that, we have listed the best ones that actually works:

Enhance Content Quality
If you are thinking of starting your YouTube channel, the first thing you need to do is invest in high-quality professional equipment. This makes the content more enjoyable and easier to watch, increasing viewer retention and engagement.

Let’s say you offer youtube reviews on electronics such as smartphone. Now you need to understand the intent of the user coming to watch a youtube review. They may come to look how the end product looks like when its out of the box, how does it feel on the hand, what are the futures, does it gives what it says, and more.

The best way to offer all of the above to your users can be achieved through upgrading your lighting, video camera, microphone, editing and so on. A close up view of the product from a high-quality DSLR camera, paired with editing with smooth transition, clear text overlays and engaging graphics can do the trick.

Focus on Relevance and Usefulness
While as an influencer or content creator, you have full autonomy on the contents you want to create, but you shouldn’t forget about your viewer as well. You need to understand what your audience want and give them just that. The end goal is to ensure your viewers find your content relevant, and valuable.

For example, Channel A posts random recipe videos without understand its target audience, and where they come from and what they want. Meanwhile Channel A often conduct surveys asking subscribers their favorite cuisines, and dietary preferences. B also check stats such as from which countries most of their viewers, gender ratio. As per these data and users’ feedbacks, B tailor their contents with exciting titles like “Best Indian Dish for Breakfast”, “5 Easy Vegan Dinner Recipes, and “Top 5 Low-Fat Sugar-Free Desserts”.

Boost Entertainment Value
Making videos engaging and entertaining helps to capture and retain the viewer’s attention. This can be done by incorporating storytelling, humor, creative elements, and dynamic presentation styles.

For Example, Channel A used to post straightforward workout videos with plain instructions, leading to viewer drop-off.

The views soared after the creator adds fun elements like upbeat music, a countdown timer, and creative challenges. For instance, a video titled “30-Day Fitness Challenge: Transform Your Body!” includes motivating stories of personal transformation, interactive elements like daily challenges, and fun music to keep viewers energized.
Take Advantage of Social Proof and Engagement
Encouraging viewers to interact with your content and fostering a sense of community increases engagement. Responding to comments and involving your audience in your content creates a loyal and engaged fan base.

Example: A beauty channel called “GlamGuru”. The channel posts beauty tutorials without encouraging viewer interaction, resulting in minimal comments and likes.

After: The creator ends each video with a call-to-action, such as “Comment below with your favorite beauty tip!” They respond to comments and regularly feature viewer suggestions in videos. For example, a video titled “Top 10 Makeup Hacks from Our Subscribers” showcases tips submitted by viewers, fostering a sense of community and involvement.

Optimize Thumbnails and Titles
Designing eye-catching thumbnails and crafting descriptive, attention-grabbing titles can significantly increase click-through rates. Thumbnails and titles should accurately represent the content and entice viewers to click.

Example: An educational channel called “LearnWithUs”

Before: The channel titles a video “Math Lesson 1” with a plain thumbnail, resulting in low click-through rates. After: The creator redesigns the thumbnail to include a vibrant image of a person solving a math problem on a whiteboard, with bold text saying “Master Algebra in 10 Minutes!” The title is also updated to “Master Algebra in 10 Minutes: Key Concepts Simplified.” This combination of an intriguing, descriptive title and an eye-catching thumbnail significantly boosts clicks.

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

The FOMO factor is real, and it’s hard to escape from it. FOMO is that anxiety or unease that you may feel when you believe others are experiencing something enjoyable, interesting, or important without them. This fear is often triggered by seeing posts or videos with high views, likes, and comments.

Psychological Trigger: High view counts can trigger FOMO, making users feel like they might miss out on something significant or popular.

Engagement Drive: This fear drives engagement, as users want to be part of the larger conversation and see what everyone else is talking about.
Limited-Time Content: Create exclusive content or limited-time offers. For example, “Watch this video before it’s taken down!”

Tease Future Content: Mention upcoming videos or series to create anticipation and encourage viewers to subscribe and stay tuned.

Social Validation

Social validation is a psychological phenomenon where people looks for other beliefs, actions or feelings to validate their own. Since others also thinks the same, it reinforces you belief and gives you a sense of belonging to a wider section.

Social validation holds particular importance on YouTube due to its role in influencing viewer engagement, content visibility, and channel growth. Here are several reasons why social validation is crucial on YouTube:

Viewer Engagement: Likes, comments, and shares serve as immediate indicators of viewer engagement and interest in content. High engagement rates signal to YouTube’s algorithm that the video is popular and worthy of promotion, potentially increasing its visibility to a broader audience.
Credibility and Trust: Positive engagement metrics (likes, comments) enhance the perceived credibility and trustworthiness of a video and its creator. Viewers are more likely to watch and trust content that others have engaged with positively.

Community Building: Encouraging interaction through comments and responding to viewer feedback fosters a sense of community around a channel. This engagement not only strengthens viewer loyalty but also encourages repeat visits and subscriptions.

Algorithmic Influence: YouTube’s algorithm considers engagement metrics as key factors in determining video and channel rankings in search results and recommendations. Higher engagement can lead to increased visibility on users’ homepages and in suggested videos.

Feedback and Improvement: Comments and feedback provide valuable insights into viewer preferences, allowing creators to tailor content to better meet audience expectations. This feedback loop helps improve content quality and relevance over time.

Social Proof: High engagement serves as social proof of a video’s value and appeal. Potential viewers are more likely to click on and watch videos that have a significant number of likes, positive comments, and shares, assuming they reflect popular or worthwhile content.

Monetization and Sponsorship: For creators aiming to monetize their channels or attract sponsorships, high engagement rates demonstrate an engaged and active audience, making the channel more attractive to advertisers and sponsors.

Psychological Impact: Like other social media platforms, positive engagement on YouTube triggers psychological rewards such as dopamine release, reinforcing viewer behavior and increasing the likelihood of returning to the channel for more content.

Habitual Behavior

Habitual behavior refers to actions or routines that individuals perform regularly and automatically, often without conscious thought or deliberate decision-making. These behaviors are ingrained over time through repetition and reinforcement, becoming a natural part of daily life.

User Patterns: Over time, users develop a habit of clicking on videos with higher views, as these are more likely to meet their expectations based on past experiences.

Algorithm Influence: YouTube’s algorithm also promotes videos with higher engagement, further reinforcing this behavior by making these videos more visible.
Consistent Upload Schedule: Upload videos on a consistent schedule to build a habit among your viewers. For example, “New videos every Tuesday and Thursday!”

Series and Playlists: Create video series or playlists that encourage binge-watching. Viewers are more likely to continue watching related content.


By integrating these strategies into your YouTube marketing efforts, you can effectively grow your audience, increase your views, and ultimately enhance the success of your channel. Remember, the key to long-term success on YouTube is not just about getting views, but about building a loyal and engaged community around your content. Keep your audience’s needs and preferences at the forefront, and continue to adapt and improve based on their feedback and engagement patterns.