MrBeast is the online pseudonym for YouTuber and philanthropist Jimmy Donaldson. MrBeast started to gain traction in 2015 after producing a series of videos mocking his colleagues for their video introductions. MrBeast makes money via brand sponsorships, advertising, and merchandise.
MrBeast is the online pseudonym for YouTuber and philanthropist Jimmy Donaldson. Born in 1998 in the state of Kansas, Donaldson uploaded his first YouTube video in February 2012 under the username “MrBeast6000”.
Donaldson is most known for his exploits as MrBeast, but fewer people know about the man behind the persona or the events that precipitated his YouTube debut.
In an interview with Shopify, he recounted purchasing Counter-Strike knives for $10 and then reselling them for $20.
This income stream was later shut down after Donaldson’s mother discovered the operation.
But the lessons Donaldson learned about business would prove valuable later in life.
A passionate gamer, Donaldson once found a hack for the war game Battle Pirates and decided to upload a YouTube video explaining it to others.
With only a handful of subscribers to his channel, Donaldson nevertheless amassed around 20,000 views.
This piqued his interest and over time, he started to understand how to hook viewers, maintain their interest, and build a loyal community of followers.
Fellow YouTuber and creator economy commentator Samir Chaudry described Donaldson’s approach:
“I don’t think we’ve seen anyone study a platform or a distribution mechanism the way that Jimmy did. What he actually studied beyond how YouTube works was viewer and audience satisfaction. He put an emphasis on that.“
The early days of MrBeast
Donaldson filmed the first MrBeast videos on his smartphone with almost no extra equipment.
Over this time he became laser-focused on working the YouTube algorithm to his advantage.
One minute his channel would feature Minecraft highlights, while the next would provide commentary on the wealth of his fellow video creators.
Several videos tanked, but a few were successful enough that he was able to monetize his channel at some point.
Donaldson later showed his entrepreneurial aptitude once more by investing each dollar he made back into his business with the purchase of new equipment.
This, as we will discover later, is a practice to which he still adheres today.
MrBeast gains momentum
MrBeast started to gain traction in 2015 after producing a series mocking other creators for their video introductions.
In 2016, he hit 30,000 followers a few months before filming himself counting to 100,000.
Although the video took 44 hours to create, it went viral and has over 27 million views at the last count.
He followed up with similarly viral videos of spinning a fidget spinner for 24 hours and watching the same music video for 10 hours straight.
By November 2017, MrBeast passed 1 million subscribers. His video content diversified to include challenge and donation videos, giving away cars for free and donating thousands to smaller content creators, waitresses, and Uber drivers.
He also ran a successful fundraising campaign to plant 20 million trees by the end of 2019, earning donations from Elon Musk and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to name a couple.
Today, MrBeast produces content for over 130 million subscribers.
Donaldson studies his videos with a level of detail few would be willing to match. He looks at when people drop off, what part of the video was the most replayed, and even which type of thumbnails earn the highest CTR.
Donaldson was also a member of Daily Masterminds, a group comprised of YouTube creators who would discuss each other’s videos, deconstruct the videos of successful creators, and brainstorm ideas.
These sessions could be exhaustive and run from 7 am to 10 pm, but Donaldson credits them with allowing him to hone his craft and understand his audience in greater detail.
Once MrBeast identifies an idea in which his own interests and those of the audience intersect, he relies on a team of over 100 employees to make it a reality.
While Donaldson has an obvious passion for creating videos, it is the combination of this passion with his analytical skills and devotion to his followers that has seen him become the success he is today.
MrBeast revenue generation
To fund his philanthropic efforts, Donaldson makes money in a few different ways.
Each method is more or less dependent on his videos becoming viral.
According to Social Blade, Donaldson makes between $126,000 to $2 million per month in YouTube ad revenue from his primary channel. One particularly popular video that recreated the TV series Squid Game amassed more than 4.5 million views in the first two hours and now sits at around 340 million views.
Donaldson has six additional YouTube channels, with the majority having subscriber counts in the millions.
These include MrBeast Gaming, Beast Reacts, MrBeast Shorts, MrBro, MrBeast 2, and Beast Philanthropy.
Forbes reported that Donaldson made $54 million on YouTube in 2021 with over 10 billion views across all his videos.
In 2022, analytics provider SocialBlade estimated that Donaldson’s YouTube revenue had increased to between 3 and 5 million dollars per month.
But it should be noted that MrBeast invests an average of $300,000 to create each video and the production costs for the Squid Game remake were as much as $3.5 million.
As the MrBeast channel gained traction, it started working with progressively larger brands including Quidd, CSGO Lotto, Honey, and TikTok.
Having sponsored his channel more than 20 times, the coupon-finding browser extension Honey is a particular fan of MrBeast’s and has seen more than a billion views.
In short, brands are falling over themselves to work with Donaldson because he is making such a positive difference in the world.
Philanthropy and giving back to society are values with which brands want to be associated, and Donaldson demonstrated such values when he gave away his first $10,000 in sponsorship earnings to others.
Brands also realize that MrBeast produces a style of content designed to go viral – a highly valued skill in a world with short consumer attention spans.
Brawl Stars sponsorship
Returning to the Squid Game video, Donaldson was sponsored by the gaming company Brawl Stars which was relatively unknown at the time. Five days after the video went live, however, the game experienced a 41% increase in downloads.
While he has not revealed how much he received in the deal, Donaldson did note that the brand contributed to the production costs which included $2 million to build and produce plus a further $1.5 million in prizes.
How much does MrBeast earn from sponsorship deals?
To arrive at a ballpark figure, consider that YouTube’s sponsorship calculator predicts that an ad placement on MrBeast’s channel is worth 2.1 cents per view.
Since his average video views exceed 14 million, one can assume that most deals earn Donaldson between $308,000 and $431,000.
This is a very approximate number, but in any case, Donaldson’s earnings from YouTube sponsorships alone are north of $2 million per year.
MrBeast also sells branded merchandise at shopmrbeast.com, with 100% of the profits going toward a food pantry for the disadvantaged. Products for sale include apparel, backpacks, caps, drink bottles, hats, phone cases, and socks.
According to VloggerGear, hundreds of thousands of people visit the merchandise store every month and earn Donaldson a further $1-2 million in revenue each year.
Using funds from his YouTube exploits, Donaldson opened his first MrBeast Burger fast-food restaurant in Wilson, North Carolina, in 2020. Initially, the YouTuber paid people to eat there and gave way prizes to diners.
MrBeast Burger predominantly operates as a ghost kitchen chain, where delivery-only orders are prepared by third-party restaurants. There are now over 1000 locations across the United States, Canada, and Europe.
In September 2022, the first permanent brick-and-mortar store was on the third floor of a mall in the state of New Jersey.
The fast-food restaurant serves traditional American fare in a similar style to competitors such as McDonald’s, but MrBeast’s celebrity and brand appeal in the United States saw its restaurants there pass $100 million in revenue in July of the same year.
While this article details how Donaldson makes money, we feel it is important to mention that since January 2022, 100% of the creator’s profits are donated to charity.
The charity, known as Beast Philanthropy, has a mission to construct and operate food pantries in underserved areas of the United States.
- MrBeast – otherwise known as Jimmy Donaldson – is an American YouTube star known for his comedic stunts and philanthropy.
- MrBeast earns a significant amount of revenue from YouTube ad revenue. His ability to produce viral content also means brands are willing to pay a premium to be featured on his channel.
- MrBeast also sells assorted merchandise and operates a fast-food restaurant chain called MrBeast Burger. The delivery-only chain now operates in more than 600 locations.
- Origin and Early Career: MrBeast, also known as Jimmy Donaldson, gained prominence on YouTube starting in 2015. He initially uploaded videos mocking other creators’ video introductions. He demonstrated early entrepreneurial skills by selling digital items from the game CSGO as a teenager.
- YouTube Growth Strategy: MrBeast’s YouTube journey started with smartphone-recorded videos and a keen focus on understanding the YouTube algorithm. He experimented with various video topics, from Minecraft highlights to commentary on fellow creators’ wealth.
- Early Viral Videos: MrBeast gained momentum with viral videos like counting to 100,000, spinning a fidget spinner for 24 hours, and watching the same music video for 10 hours. He diversified his content with challenge and donation videos, including giving away cars and donating to various individuals.
- Philanthropic Endeavors: MrBeast initiated successful fundraising campaigns, such as planting 20 million trees, with donations from notable figures like Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey. He also created a charitable organization called Beast Philanthropy.
- Audience-Centric Approach: MrBeast deeply analyzes his videos, studying viewer engagement, drop-off points, and thumbnail effectiveness. He participates in YouTube creator groups to share insights and brainstorm ideas.
- Multiple Revenue Streams:
- Advertising: MrBeast generates significant YouTube ad revenue, with his primary channel estimated to earn between $126,000 to $2 million per month. He also has several other YouTube channels.
- Brand Sponsorships: Brands are eager to work with MrBeast due to his positive impact and viral content. His collaborations with brands like Honey and Brawl Stars have led to increased downloads and visibility for those brands.
- Merchandise: MrBeast sells branded merchandise, with profits going toward a food pantry for the disadvantaged. The merchandise store generates additional revenue.
- MrBeast Burger: MrBeast established a fast-food restaurant chain, MrBeast Burger, using his YouTube earnings. It operates as a ghost kitchen chain, with over 1000 locations across multiple countries.
- Beast Philanthropy: Since 2022, all of MrBeast’s profits are donated to charity through Beast Philanthropy. This initiative operates food pantries in underserved areas of the United States.
- Key Achievements: MrBeast has over 130 million subscribers across his YouTube channels. He has earned significant recognition for his philanthropic efforts, creative content, and impact on the online community.
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