What Makes a Video Go Viral

Video content is arguably the best way to reach an audience, with the format reaching to engage and connect with users in ways that written content may struggle to do. When it comes to reaching a large number of people outside of your established market, the shareability of video content is a major pull, with everyone hoping to go viral and gain their brand that all essential and desired visibility. The more views your video gains, the higher google will rank you, leading back to even more exposure.


Understanding how things go viral is not as complicated as it might initially seem, although as with most things in the digital world where possibilities are incalculable, there are a lot of variables. Do you ever come across a viral video, top of a timeline, linked in through a friend or clicked through a suggestion, and just wonder how it is that it’s reached such a large amount of people in a short span of time? There’s a science to it and it’s something that you need to consider when creating content, if you are aiming to reach people outside of your current following. Here’s a breakdown of what it is that makes a video go viral, really the magic behind the madness.


Market your video


Though most people tend to assume that viral videos happen organically, this often is not the case. Putting together a marketing plan is essential, as ensuring that you understand what the people you’re trying to want to watch along with how best to reach them is the simple combination that will boost your chances of going viral. Give yourself a real chance against the 300 hours of video that is uploaded to YouTube every minute. Here’s how.


Outreach the video to bloggers and social media news site on the day of its release. Reddit, Tumblr, and blogs like Mashable and the Huffington Post are huge powerhouses when it comes to viral content. They want the best videos and it’s in their interests to ensure that those videos get seen, as more views from the embedded video on their site, translate directly into more ad revenue. The most popular videos tend to be released at the start of the week, as aside from those hidden gems that pick up traction after going unwatched a while, the window for going viral is a small one. Monday and Tuesday are the best days to release, as people are most likely to be watching your video during the working day, so giving them the full week to find and engage with it will work to your best advantage.


Make videos that have substance


For content to be viral, not only does it need to be presented in the right way, but it needs to be good content. No one wants to stick with a poorly made video when there’s 8 more waiting for them in their suggestion bar. You have a short window to gain and hold your viewer’s attention and quality content has everything to do with that. One way to keep a viewer’s attention is to make your video something that requires being watched up until the end, tell a story with a beginning, middle and end to keep your viewer engaged and with you until you’ve achieved your goal.


Good video marketing will not count for anything in the event that the level of good content just isn’t there. Think of what makes your video sharable. Why would you share it? And why are your viewers going to want to share it? Figure out these points and build around them. Remember to chose a tone that is easily shared, such as the themes that run throughout most viral videos; happiness, cute, anger, excitement. Generally, these feelings will work much better to fuel a viral video than ones that create emotions such as sadness. Think about your everyday conversations and what you link other people through to. We’d all share that awful story of the latest political scandal, as we like to be angry together. However, sad videos don’t encourage shareability in the same way.


Keep it short


More often than not, viral videos are short videos. The first thing we look at when clicking to watch a video is how long it’s going to be. You may have content that interests the viewer, but if the video is too long, that can be a major put-off.


Going viral is every brand’s ambition when it comes to creating video content, but the path to viral success isn’t always a clear one. Follow the steps outlined above and you’ll be in with a fighting chance to start bringing in the views.
If you’ve created video content for your brand that has gone viral, share your experiences with us on Twitter @HyperfineMedia and follow us on LinkedIn to stay update with all the latest tips and advice.