How This Channel Got Over 2 Million Subscribers

Numberphile is a channel devoted entirely to mathematics. In its five-year run, it has garnered the attention of just over two million fans, and its weekly uploads get an average of 300,000 views.

How does a channel about math get so popular?

1. The creator relies on the knowledge of his guests.

Brady Haran interviews mathematicians from around the world about their research or concepts that are of particular interest to them. These guests are given the opportunity to do what they love, which is to teach math.

There’s nothing quite so entertaining as watching people explain their passions.

2. The subject matter dives deeper than grade school mathematics.

From videos on how to cut a cake mathematically to how to create the perfect game of Secret Santa, Numberphile offers a wide variety of interesting math phenomena. Rather than explain concepts the way a teacher or tutor might, they simply give an overview of interesting problems and let the viewer’s imagination and logic do the heavy lifting. This leads to thought-provoking and engaging content.

3. The channel adapted to attract a wider audience.

Numberphile started with videos just about numbers. While following this rule or tradition would have been interesting, it seemed to (ironically) have a limit. Haran allowed guests to discuss other concepts in math and eventually made other channels devoted to other disciplines.

By diversifying, he attracted a larger audience and ultimately allowed for more interesting content.

Brady Haran created a safe space for mathematicians to share their passions. By adapting to his audience and expanding on his original plan, he was able to break two million subscribers.

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Gabriel Dufurrena is a mathematician, writer, and educator living in Oakland, CA. When he’s not watching YouTube videos or teaching math, he’s writing a paper on the mathematics behind the game dominos.

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