How YouTube Makes You Enjoy Watching Videos

Last Updated April 21st, 2018 by Nicolai Kamenzky


How did you end up watching unboxing videos of candy shipped from overseas? OMG, the chocolate bar with the liquid filling looks yummy!

You never intended to watch these videos but kind of mysteriously YouTube knows that you’ll enjoy them. How is that possible?

Watching videos and enjoying it

How did you get here? Let’s say you are into baking and get your inspiration on YouTube. By observing which videos you enjoy watching YouTube recommends all kinds of baking videos to you. A few recommendations down the line – birthday cake, DIY donuts, artisan candies, candies from all over the world – and you are nowhere near where you started.

I bet it happens to you quite often that you watch YouTube and start drifting as you play the next and the next and the next video. Still, it’s difficult to stop. These videos are drawing you in because YouTube is pretty confident about which videos are the right ones to recommend to you.

The science behind it is called “collaborative filtering”. And you know what it is from shopping on Amazon: People who bought this product also bought these products. Just for videos: People who enjoyed this video also enjoyed these videos. That’s where YouTube’s confidence in its recommendations is coming from.

The next time you watch YouTube and wonder how the heck you ended up watching these videos then know that countless other people had a similar fate. And they enjoyed it!

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