Organic Reach on YouTube: What Makes People Click on Videos from Social Media Influencers?

Document Type

Book Chapter

Source of Publication

Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics

Publication Date



Our research investigates what increases click-through rates on YouTube videos, specifically the role of the thumbnail, the video title, and the verification badge. In the thumbnail, we look at the role of color characteristics and the inclusion of people, drawing on color psychology and the parasocial interaction phenomenon. In the video title, we look at the role of capital letters and emotional words, drawing on the elaboration likelihood model and negativity bias. Finally, we look at the role of the verification badge, drawing on source credibility theory. To test our hypotheses, we gather data from YouTube, by using YouTube’s Application Programming Interface (API) to collect 50,000 thumbnails, video titles and other relevant data from a total of 1000 influencers in 10 different categories. Our findings will have implications across the marketing and information systems domains and, practically, will provide guidance for the many influencers who rely on the optimal reach of their videos as their source of income.


Springer Nature


Computer Sciences

Scopus ID


Indexed in Scopus


Open Access