This YouTube Mystery Brought 100k Subscribers to a New Channel

A mysterious YouTube channel gets 100k subscribers by posting short videos. With zero context. In three months. How on Earth did they do it?


Three months ago, a YouTube channel named Countdown began posting six-second videos for some unknown reason. Each one had the same format: a white number against a black background, the eerie sound of a bell tower, and a YouTube thumbnail identical to the video.

The channel’s purpose was a mystery at first. But as the creator kept posting, everyone knew a countdown was underway – starting from 100.

The first video kicks off the countdown at 100, as shown above. The next day, another video goes live, and we see 100 tick down to the number 99. The day after that, 99 becomes 98 as we watch the next video in the series.

One YouTube Mystery, 100,000 Detectives

By the time you watch Countdown’s third video, you realize that…well, there’s a countdown. But why? These videos foreshadow something, right?

That simple question is what intrigued viewers. People wanted an answer so badly that they watched all of the videos and subscribed to the channel at alarming rates.

Here are the YouTube stats for Countdown, a channel less than three months old:

  • 5.8 million views
  • 116,000 subscribers
  • 1.3 million views for “0,” the final countdown video
  • On average, “0” gets 5,425 views per hour

Read More: 25 Ways to Increase YouTube Views by Yourself – for Free

Here is the increase in views for Countdown's channel in April:

And here are the views per hour on the channel this month:

All of this data comes from vidIQ’s analytics tools. We even discovered that Countdown gained 110,740 subscribers in just three months, and that’s 95% of the channel’s current sub count (116,000).

Also, that’s a lot of “detectives” for one YouTube mystery.

The Best April Fools' Joke on YouTube

Surprise! Countdown just pulled the best April Fools' joke on the internet. All those numbered videos were counting down to April 1, and the last video in the series is…satisfying. Go ahead and watch it. You won’t regret it.

“0” has 1.3 million views – not bad for a freshly-made channel. Let’s analyze Countdown’s content, show you why it’s appealing, and offer tips for captivating your audience.

100k Subs and 5.8 Million Views: How ‘Countdown’ Did It

It’s not easy making a video go viral when you’re new to YouTube. It’s even harder getting tons of views and subscribers with short videos that have zero context. But somehow, Countdown pulled it off.

Here’s why:

  • The channel’s focus is air-tight. Every video is the same, except for the numbers ticking down each day. The creator shows patience and discipline by choosing not to post random videos that don’t foreshadow the “big joke.”
  • There’s suspense and mystery. The first video on Countdown’s channel is titled “Soon” and shows a sped-up countdown. You don’t know why each subsequent video is counting down, but you know you’ll find out if you stick around. The channel builds suspense like any good mystery.
  • The videos have delightful Easter eggs. Now and then, Countdown places a hidden sound in one of their videos. There’s always the bell tower, but sometimes it’s layered with something else (one time, it was sleigh bells to celebrate December 25). Finding hidden sounds is a fun “side quest” within the bigger mystery.
  • The “time” community boosted the video. A channel called Timeworks posted a video about Countdown’s content. That pushed viewers to the channel and sent positive signals to the YouTube algorithm.

What Was 'Countdown's' Motive?

The goal of the Countdown channel is simple.

First, create content so curious that people can’t stop watching, commenting, and guessing at its motive. Surprise and delight viewers with Easter eggs (so they keep coming back). Let the suspense build for months, then release the big joke while collecting thousands of views and subscribers.

And, oh yeah, keep the branding consistent so everything is visually satisfying.

Is this the most engaging April Fools' prank on YouTube? It just might be. It’s also a blueprint for gaining lots of subscribers through the art of suspense.

Are you looking to gain more YouTube subscribers yourself? Perhaps your first 100,000?

Here’s how another creator snagged a massive audience, just like Countdown.