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Lights, Camera, Arc-tion

How Arc Browser creates loyal followers through YouTube videos.

Hey — It’s Nico.

This is another edition of Failory’s Behind Tactics 🧠, the newsletter in which I analyze the different strategies startups use to get ahead in their markets.

Today I’m diving into Arc Browser.

There is much to say about this reinvention of the browser, from its ability to customize the look of every site to the way it uses AI to search the web.

However, I will not be talking about the product itself but rather about how The Browser Company (the company behind Arc) uses videos to acquire new users and gain a large number of cult-like followers

Let’s dive in.

The Strategy

Arc’s Videos

It's strange that I only started using the Arc Browser a few weeks ago. And I don't mean "strange" in the sense that I had been missing out on something amazing (although I think I was).

No, it's strange because I've never followed the development of a product I wasn't using so closely before. I know Arc’s vision, roadmap, main obstacles, and even the names of the engineers working on each feature. This level of personal connection and detailed awareness is something I've never experienced with any other product.

And this is mainly due to their YouTube channel and the clever way they use their videos to form closer connections with potential users.

If you haven't seen any of their videos yet, you might think there's nothing innovative here. After all, they aren't the first company to make promotional videos. 

But there's something different about the way Arc creates its videos. Something that makes them hit differently and feel a lot more personal and honest than most other promotional content. 

So, let's explore the videos and try to decipher what makes them so effective at captivating viewers and converting them into loyal customers.

Corporate Vlogs

Just by glancing over Arc’s YouTube page, you can notice that they are putting out a lot of content. Over the last months, they have been making 3-4 videos each month. They are not just using YouTube to advertise new products but rather as a way of doing weekly updates and keeping their users informed.

Most of these videos have a somewhat amateurish vibe, and that's intentional. Their goal is to make the videos resemble vlogs from your average YouTuber rather than polished advertisements from a company.

Take, for example, this video:

It starts with Josh Miller, the founder of The Browser Company, talking directly to his webcam in what looks like his own bedroom. The lighting is a bit off, and the camera resolution and shot composition aren't the best, but the overall effect works.

It invites the viewer into Josh’s personal space, creating a connection that's common with YouTubers and influencers but rare for companies.

Watching these videos feels less like a company trying to sell you their latest feature and more like a nerdy guy excited to share his latest tech creation.

In addition, the video’s pacing and editing are fast. In just five minutes, Josh quickly explains five new features, detailing why they matter and how to use them.

Arc’s videos usually incorporate two clever strategies when showcasing new features:

  • They remind the community that their feedback is being heard. Many videos show how the community requested a specific feature, which prompted the team to prioritize and build it. This encourages users to provide feedback and reassures them that, even if there are bugs or missing features, Arc will address them next.

  • They show the actual engineers behind each feature, allowing users to connect not just with the CEO but with the entire team. Viewers get to know the people responsible for each new feature and hear them discuss the development process and their challenges.

We Might Fail

Another aspect I appreciate about Arc’s videos is that Miller isn’t afraid to show doubt or hesitation about new features or even about their entire business. It's clear that The Browser Company’s journey has a high risk of failure. Competing with giants like Google and Apple is no easy task, and Miller is fully aware of this.

In all their videos, he and the rest of the team candidly express their skepticism about Arc’s chances of success, which adds to the videos’ authenticity. Miller often reminds viewers of the great complexity of their task and the significant likelihood of failure. This honest and direct approach helps address concerns transparently.

This strategy also serves as a compelling storytelling technique. Everyone loves a good underdog story, and by acknowledging that they are like David facing Goliath, Arc’s team makes their content much more engaging. It’s far more entertaining than pretending to be a flawless team with guaranteed success.

A prime example is a two-part video series Arc released last month titled “We Might Not Make It.” These episodes address various reasons why the Arc Browser could fail, such as losing to competitors and struggling to develop reliable AI. They are surprisingly honest and straightforward in discussing Arc’s obstacles, even including phrases like “we might be the wrong investment.”


The Browser Company has a dedicated Storytelling team responsible for spreading the word about Arc to potential customers and investors. These are the people responsible for making the videos.

Each of Arc’s videos tells a story and creates a narrative about their journey and mission. One prominent narrative is the aforementioned underdog story, which essentially says, "The odds are against us, but we might make it."

Another frequently used narrative is the "We build it together" idea. This approach tells viewers that it's not just the Arc developers tackling this daunting task—it's also the viewers. By constantly encouraging the community to propose ideas and then actually implementing them, Arc positions the viewer as a protagonist in their story.

We can see how Arc uses storytelling in one of their best videos:

This video quickly outlines the history of the internet, detailing how browsers and search engines rapidly advanced in the 90s but how innovation has stagnated over the past decades. It effectively highlights the problem for the user.

For Arc, explaining the problem they aim to solve is crucial. Most people don't really think about their browser or have any complaints about it. Users often don't recognize the issues with their current browsers or imagine that they could be improved.

Therefore, Arc needs to first explain these issues and then demonstrate its solution. This video conveys the narrative, "Web browsers are actually broken, but we are here to fix them."

Should I?

Why This Works

  • It creates loyal users: It involves the community in the development, giving them constant updates and including them in the decision-making process. It also generates personal and human connections between the users and The Browser Company, transforming them into loyal followers who might spread the word about Arc.

  • It helps in user acquisition: The videos get tons of watches and are usually shared and talked about on social media, which helps more people get to know the Arc Browser.

  • It helps in recruiting the best: Videos are a great way of showing potential employees your mission and work environment. Their last video even has a quick call to action that prompts Android developers to apply for a position in Arc.

How to Apply It

  • Go for a YouTube vlog style: Replicate what YouTubers and influencers do when talking to their followers. Try to keep a simple visual style. There is no need for expensive cameras or perfect shots; just make sure that it feels personal. The viewer has to forget they are watching content made by a company. 

  • Make it personal: Do not just list a number of new features. Talk about yourself and the team. How did you decide to develop this feature? What were the obstacles? If you are the one talking to the camera, then you are the main character of the movie. Main characters can not be 2-dimensional; they need depth. Share your feelings and opinions about what you are building to be a more interesting character.

  • Be honest: You can tell the viewers if there are things about the product you are unsure about. This helps the video feel authentic and addresses concerns the users might be having.

  • Tell a story: Try to generate a narrative that makes the content more entertaining. Even the most boring features or updates can be made interesting if they are part of a story. Maybe you were on a time limit for some reason, or perhaps you had unexpected problems that had to be solved. These types of things create conflict and add stakes to the story, making it much more enjoyable.

Yes, But

  • It is time-consuming: Making good videos takes time and effort. You must plan each video, write a script, film, and edit it.

  • It can be expensive: If you do not want to make the videos yourself, you can hire a specialist, but these can get expensive. The Browser Company probably spends a lot of money on their Storytelling team.

  • You need constant updates: These types of videos require constantly adding new features or updates. This is good for a product like Arc that is still in early development, but not so much if your product is already fully developed.

Keep Learning

Others Playing It

While no other startups are quite like Arc, some share a similar approach:

  • OpenAI also uses videos to announce new features, but their style is more corporate. With Sam Altman being such a notable figure, they’re missing an opportunity by not having him present these videos in a more casual manner.

  • Jack Conte, CEO of Patreon, occasionally uses his YouTube channel to introduce new features, announce fundraising rounds, or recruit. However, his posting lacks consistency.

  • Ahrefs excels in video content. Although they don’t use YouTube for regular product updates like Arc, their video strategy resembles that of a YouTuber rather than a company, with engaging titles such as “Can We Beat the Stock Market Using Google This Way?”

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