By now everyone has heard of a video going viral, though many people still don’t understand exactly what that means. And for those of us who might get the idea, there’s still the question of what it is that makes a video go viral, and how do we create one that will?
The easy answer is that it’s almost impossible to predict what video will end up playing repeatedly on computers, smart phones, tablets, and sometimes television sets, across the world. It’s easy to look at some of the most popular viral videos and see a strong element of surprise or shock, heroic behavior, or a charming and unexpected situation with an animal or baby. Sometimes a strong element of controversy, either political or personal, can be a key factor in propelling a video to become viral, and this is especially true when the controversial subject or behavior is exposed for the first time during it. The highly popular celebrity viral video is another perfect example.
Sometimes it’s simply a matter of catching a hilarious moment on video that appeals to a wide audience — that speaks to some universal human condition. Once shared with a few friends, these videos sometimes go viral — being passed on to other using likes, shares, tweets, and other social media tools. This is a bit more rare, as there are countless programs, videos and television shows that are focused on capturing these types of moments. For a short clip to achieve viral status, it might be funny, but it will usually need to contain one of the above mentioned features to propel it to the next level of viewership and sharing. And while almost all, if not every viral video, will have at least one of these features or themes, it can still be difficult to predict in advance if a particular clip will make waves. That makes it nearly impossible to intentionally craft a viral video.
Freshness or newness is an important factor in most viral videos. This means that once an event, person or circumstance has been through the viral loop, its particular novelty will be ineffective for copy cat or similar digital video . It is extremely rare for similar videos to reach the same level of viral status as the original flavor video.
It’s easy to look back and review and understand how that uber popular video made the list, but it’s an entirely different project in creating one that will do so. These central ingredients do form a solid basis for structure and content though, if you are attempting to create that next viral video.