MrBeast’s giveaway is impressive, but doesn’t equal growth hacking

This week, MrBeast grew his Instagram audience by 13M+ followers. This feat started a discussion among marketers. Is it a genius marketing tactic? Is it growth hacking? How can we define this campaign?

What did MrBeast do?

MrBeast is one of world’s most popular content creators (152M+ YT subscribers and 39M Instagram followers). To celebrate his Birthday, he announced a lucrative giveaway on Instagram.

The YouTuber would give away $10K to 5 followers. The rules: follow Mr. Beast, share the post, and tag someone in the comments.

It resulted in a rapid follower growth, maybe even one of world’s fastest we’ve ever seen.

How can we define this campaign?

So it’s an event worth talking about, and marketers did. They tried to analyze and categorize MrBeast’s stunt. What was it: a genius growth hacking strategy?

My thoughts:

  1. Genius: Yes.
  2. Growth Hacking: no.
  3. Strategy: rather a tactic.

Let’s not downplay MrBeast’s well-thought-out giveaway. It’s a classic social media tactic (giveaways work well if you want to grow fast). Obviously he knew he’d get a lot of new followers. Who wouldn’t want $50K?

But is it a great growth hacking strategy? Not really. And here’s why.

What MrBeast has and growth hackers don’t

MrBeast has 1) a strong brand and 2) a lot of money. Two things you would love to have as a marketer or growth hacker.

Because when you’re a growth hacker, you’re generally dealing with a small brand and a limited budget. It takes a lot of time, effort and creativity to grow with limited resources.

It’s difficult to grow a small brand from scratch

MrBeast knows this too. He started in 2012 with 0 YouTube subscribers, in 2017, he had 1 million subscribers and it took him another 6 years to get to 152M+ subscribers.

So building a brand takes time.

But the more popular your brand is, the faster it will grow and the quicker you know if a campaign takes off or not.


People already know you, and they’re more likely to share your messages with friends and family.

But if you run the marketing for a small business, you need to be inventive. You need to experiment, reiterate and analyze in a fast-paced environment with many competitors. Just like MrBeast did during his beginning years: he tested out different video formats and he’s still reinventing himself.

Most brands can’t spend $50K in one day

A large brand equals a high revenue equals a larger marketing budget. MrBeast can spend $50K on one single campaign; some marketers are ‘happy’ with an annual budget of $50K.

The more resources you have, the easier it is to grow. You can invest your money in ads or giveaways to show your brand to many people at the same time.

But if you’re a smaller brand, doing a giveaway is a riskier move, as you need to be more careful of your budget.

My final thoughts

What MrBeast is doing is impressive and it works for his audience.

But this campaign was effective because Mr. Beast already has a strong and popular brand and because he is able to make these large investments.

Large brands are able to think and act big. Smaller brands can think big, but not always act big, and thus they need to act creatively.

And unfortunately, the most creative growth marketing campaigns are overlooked because smaller brands don’t get the same attention.

A message to marketers

Don’t forget the following: Your worth isn’t defined by follower growth. Your true power lies in your ability to use the right tools to help your target audience and spread brand awareness.

Especially social media managers of smaller, less sexy social media brands see less shiny statistics. But quite often, they are the ones working on something more complex yet rewarding (or at least: they’re not giving away $50K dollars to sales prospects).

So keep celebrating all the steps you’ve taken. Even if they’re small!