How to make your online videos go viral?

It is time to go viral!

‘My friend sent me this video, you have to watch this!’ I’m guessing you have heard or said this sentence at least once in your life. The ‘ice bucket challenge, the bottle flip, ‘yanny or laurel’ and famous actresses in the stunt fight challenge: all examples of viral videos. Going viral online is an ideal way to reach bigger audiences and create engagement, but it is also quite a difficult result to accomplish. So what’s the secret of online videos gaining millions of views in a matter of weeks or even in days? 

What is ‘going viral’?

When a video ‘goes viral’ it means that people on the internet are communicating and sharing it with other people at a rapid pace. Frankwatching says “an online video is viral when it has at least 2.5 million views within the first month of being shared”. This being said, your video isn’t necessarily going viral when it is well received and shared by your target audience. 

going viral with SpotOn

Why would you want to go viral?

So what are the benefits of going viral? When going viral, you get more exposure, which creates engagement and awareness and gives extra meaning to your brand. About 78% of internet users watch videos weekly, 55% even dailyThis means there is a big chance that your current and potential audience is watching videos on social media regularly.

There are lots of people creating unique videos to stand out from the crowd, but there is not one specific strategy to go viral. But don’t worry, there are a few tips that can increase your chances and boost your videos.

1# Choose your message

With your content strategy, you should always keep your main message in mind: what do you want to tell people with your video? Make sure you stay true to yourself and your values. When you’ve chosen a message, think about the way you want to share your message. For example, you can share an informative video or you can give it an emotional charge, with humoristic or inspiring aspects. It is also possible to combine humor with a serious message, like Metro Trains Melbourne did with their campaign ‘Dumb ways to die’. It includes a viral video (over 200 million views) with a catchy song, funny animations but a serious underlying message about railway safety. And it clearly worked because there was a reduction of 21% in accidents and deaths. 

#2 Pick the right platform

It is also important to choose a platform that suits your video. YouTube is mostly used for longer videos such as the Dumb Ways to Die video, while Facebook and Instagram are used for shorter, entertaining videos. The social media app TikTok also has lots of opportunities to go viral with short videos. Although TikTok is fairly new, the amount of users sharing video content on TikTok is increasing. Instagram recently introduced Reels, which has similar functions as TikTok. Another benefit of these social media platforms is the opportunity for users to share content, fast and easy. Sometimes, it is not only your video going viral but your main character. Such as the Facebook hit: ‘Grumpy Cat’. People were fascinated by the unique looks of the cat, every single time. Sadly, the cybercelebrity has passed away in 2019. 

#3 Use your creativity

When brainstorming for video ideas, there are a few aspects to viral marketing that can increase your online exposure. There is an overload of content shared every day, so the importance of creativity and standing out is important. For example, to go viral, you need to respond quickly to current developments and trends on social media. Video effects, edit features, or video editing trends such as transitions are developments to look out for in your audience and platform. 

Other social media trends such as specific sounds, tutorials, and challenges are popular used concepts to make videos relevant. But you can of course start your own trend like a soccer team did on TikTok. They shared a video of them dancing to a Bollywood song and even went viral outside of the app. Instagram accounts such as 433 and multiple news channels shared the video and it became a popular challenge. The teenage boys even got approached for sponsor deals. 

Use tiktok to go viral
Respond quickly to go viral Verstappen & Ziggo sport

#4 Respond quickly

Another important aspect is speed. To keep up with current events taking place online, you need to respond quickly. An example of this is sharing unique moments from live streams and live television. A winning goal during a soccer game, a thrilling cliffhanger, or a funny moment on a quiz are examples of memorable fragments you want to share with your audience as fast as possible. This way you create the possibility, for people who watched the moment live and people who didn’t, to share and engage with your content. This is exactly what happened for sports channel Ziggo Sport when they posted a video of Max Verstappen winning the Formula 1 in 2016, just seconds after the live broadcast. In just two days, they reached more than 7 million people and gained 50.0000 new followers. 


So how can you go viral?

First of all, stay true to yourself and your values: you don’t need to change yourself to stand out. That being said, there are lots of possibilities to boost your online content and perhaps even go viral. The main focus points when creating online videos, are your main message and finding a creative way to share it with your audience. Combining your message with popular trends, challenges, humor or emotions might result in a viral online video. Make sure to choose the right platform and keep an eye out for popular online developments. In this process, you might even start a viral trend or challenge yourself. So, what video are you going to create?