How to Make a Viral Video: Complete 2020 Guide
Too many people think viral videos can only be made by famous musicians, movie stars, or social media influencers. But in reality, anyone can achieve this feat if they know how to do it.
Viral videos can even be made by companies as they create engaging content for their marketing campaigns.
Everyone from small business owners to major corporations like Nike, GoPro, and Google have taken advantage of opportunities to reach larger audiences with these dynamic types of video content.
Learning how to make a viral video can do more than build a music career. You can create them to advertise a product, build a brand image, and freely spread a message. With the right tactics and integrating powerful ideas, you can learn how to make a viral video that could be seen by millions of people.
What Is a Viral Video?
The basic viral video definition is a piece of content that receives a large number of views through word of mouth, social media shares, email forwards, and other forms of online sharing. This practice allows companies to gain traction quickly since people share their message for free.
Instead of paying someone to advertise your product, your video spreads like wildfire as people show it to their friends and online networks.
Along with wanting to know the answer behind what a viral video is, you also need to know why these kinds of videos are relevant for businesses. By learning how to make a viral video, you can save your company money, reach more customers, and develop new sources of revenue.
Your videos also help you brand your business and showcase everything from your company vision to what you have to offer customers.
At most businesses, marketing campaigns offer some of the best returns on investment of any tactics out there. The only way your customers can buy your product or take part in a promotion is if they know about it. Because of this, you always have to find new, innovative ways to market your company to current and prospective clients.
Viral videos reduce the amount of money you have to spend on marketing. Instead of paying Google or Facebook extra funds to advertise your company, your video content gets shared thousands or millions of times for free. Whether you are a startup on a shoestring budget or a multinational firm, learning how to make a video go viral can help you reach more people for the same cost or less.
When you make a viral video, you are also able to build a strong relationship with your customer. You can entertain and engage them using a personal touch. From spreading the word about your product to reducing your marketing budget, viral content can help your business in a variety of ways.
Past Viral Video Examples You May Recognize
What is a viral video? More importantly, how can you learn from past viral videos to make your own?
The following viral video examples can help you learn the best techniques for making your own content reach a larger audience. While there is no single formula you can use to go viral, there are several commonalities you will notice between the following videos. The more you’re able to capture these concepts, the more likely your content is to expand its reach.
On YouTube, this viral video has more than 6.8 billion views. In addition to being popular in the Spanish-speaking world as well as in the United States, “Despacito” became a massive hit in places like Israel (18 million views), Italy (146 million), and Indonesia (41 million). Thanks to its sensual lyrics, captivating dance moves, and catchy tune, this video has become a global sensation.
Ed Sheeran’s hit song “Shape of You” is easily his most popular to date. The song sings about his love of a woman he boxes with as shown in his viral music video. With more than 4.9 billion views on YouTube, this is definitely a song you could get stuck in your head.
Boasting a staggering 6.1 billion views on YouTube, the Baby Shark Dance is known and recognized by children all over the world. It pairs a simple, catchy tune with bright cartoon images and easy-to-remember dance moves. It has been a huge success with little kids, so you’ve probably listened to this song on repeat many times if you’re a parent.
With more than 2 billion views, the Gummy Bear Song is one of the best viral video examples. Hitting YouTube back in 2007, the song has an electronic feel to it, and it is another tune that can easily get stuck in your head. Like the Baby Shark Dance, this video’s popularity was likely aided by the fact it appeals to a younger audience who love to hear it over and over again.
It’s hard to believe the clip known as “Charlie Bit My Finger” is over 13 years old and has more than 875 million views. The entire clip revolves around two brothers sitting in a recliner as the younger of the two keeps biting the older brother’s finger. Between the adorable accent and the fact the older brother keeps letting Charlie bite his finger, this video is too funny not to share.
Unlike a business video, a short clip like this one goes viral simply because it’s cute, clever, and shareable. On the other hand, companies who want to create a viral video don’t typically reach that level organically. Their videos will need to be marketed with paid ads by making a great video then putting in extra money and effort to promote it across social media sites.
With a title like this, it’s unsurprising the Girls Don’t Poop viral video has over 43.3 million views on YouTube. Created by PooPourri.com, this marketing video pairs a prim British spokeswoman with the concept of using a product that hides the scent of poop. The funny pairing and clickbait concept have helped PooPourri go from an unknown company to a commonly recognized brand.
Most mattress advertisements don’t get 187 million views, which is one of the top reasons why you should check out this video if you want to learn how to make a viral video. With a woman playing Goldilocks as the spokeswoman, this viral video shows how raw eggs shouldn’t crack under pressure when they are dropped on a good mattress. The unusual approach and hilarious host helped this video go viral.
If you want to learn how to make a viral video on Facebook or Instagram, Dollar Shave Club’s popular clip is a great place to start. The video is so ridiculous and catchy you can’t help but watch it. It satirizes the basic elements of normal promotional videos and adds in ridiculous elements like bears, swords, and money guns for an unforgettable video ad.
Dollar Shave Club also worked with Top Notch Cinema to create an engaging promo video, which played a significant role in their $1 billion dollar acquisition.
How to Make a Video Go Viral
What makes a video go viral? What time-tested elements make up the best viral video ideas and content?
Well, if there was a single recipe for success, every other marketer in the world would have already copied it. You can’t simply record a grumpy cat to make a viral video because that’s how someone else found success.
Instead, you need to mix the following elements together in your own engaging, unexpected way. These techniques will give you a much better chance of grabbing the attention of viewers and making your video go viral.
If you want to learn how to make a viral video, you need to start by focusing on the emotions of your target audience. When people have an emotional response to something, they are more likely to remember it, take action, and convert into a paying customer. More importantly, the product is likely to elicit the same emotional response in the future.
Think about the Geico Gecko. No one honestly cares about car insurance beyond getting the coverage they need. But most people enjoy seeing the gecko with his trademark accent in their commercials.
He elicits an emotional response, and this response is connected to Geico because of those TV commercials.
While an emotional response is often a good thing, there is such a thing as negative content. It’s important to be considerate of strong emotions to avoid backlash. As you learn how to make a viral video on Instagram or Facebook, you have to focus on creating positive emotions like humor or happiness as well as care and a good cause.
When you create positive emotions, your content will get traction in the right way. You want videos like the Geico Gecko.
The next step in learning how to make a video go viral is being strategic. Many people have a misconception about what makes a video go viral. They think a good video will go viral organically, and they don’t have to do anything to help their video along the way.
In reality, you have to be strategic about how you boost, promote, and share your video. You may need to conduct outreach to media outlets or even ask a famous figure to share the video on their social media page. In some cases, traditional advertising will still help you get your video out there.
But you can’t merely post a video on YouTube or add it to your company’s profile and expect it to be an instant hit. For your video to gain traction, it needs exposure so you have to help it along the way. If you want to determine how to make a viral video, you need to start by marketing your content like you would any other advertisement.
Focus on the Message
There are millions of great videos out there, but having a viral video won’t mean your advertising campaign is always a business success. If your video doesn’t share your company’s message or promote your brand in some way, you have wasted your time.
Before you create and release your video, think about your goals. Are you trying to create brand awareness or spread the word about a new product? Do you simply want to increase website traffic or drive sales?
A video can be hilarious to watch and still fail to achieve its goal because the content doesn’t impact your business in any way other than views. If customers don’t come away with a clear, succinct message, your brand will struggle to transform viral content into added revenue.
The Dollar Shave Club ad is one of the top viral video examples that you can use to understand this concept. The company famously spent only about $4,500 filming and producing this video. In only 48 hours after it was released, they brought in 12,000 new orders thanks to their clear message and humorous content.
You need to take into account the latest trends for a few simple reasons. Knowing what is popular allows you to make viral video ideas that can be adapted to trending topics. Additionally, staying on top of the latest trends helps you prevent major missteps.
For example, the hygiene brand Always ran their #LikeAGirl campaign which has done well at connecting with women on an emotional level and staying on-trend. In the past, doing something “like a girl” used to have a negative connotation, so Always turned the phrase on its head by rewriting the connotation and making it a positive. Thanks to the campaign, Always has managed to use a social issue to draw attention to its brand and build its following.
A great trending topic that has been growing recently is the concept of working remotely. When you consider the impact this will have on the future of business, you could easily make content that talks about how you are adapting your company to the changing times.
Along with capitalizing on trends, you also want to avoid stirring the pot in a negative way. For example, releasing a video about your brand’s mascot saving someone in a hurricane could hit too close to home if an area recently had a hurricane.
Short & Simple
Between smartphones, Netflix, and social media, there are a lot of distractions in the typical home. As you learn how to make a viral video, you’ll need to focus on keeping your video short and to the point. Videos get the most engagement from viewers when they are two to three minutes long or less.
As people, our attention spans are short and our desire to watch advertisements is even shorter. If you want to get viewers to absorb your message, you need to relay it in a brief period of time.
One example is discussing new concepts like Virtual Production and how it is impacting the film industry. A short clip can be shared to discuss the benefits of this new technology, which may lead the viewer to seek out more information on how they can use it themselves.
When you create your video, you should also consider incorporating your brand or product into the start and middle of the video as well as the end. Since some of your viewers will disappear before the end of the video, you have to include details about your brand before the end if you want everyone to see it.
The best viral video examples entertain and engage the viewer but even more important is to give them value. Psy’s Gangnam Style, the Baby Shark Dance, and the Gummy Bear song are catchy tunes you want to listen to and provide the entertainment factor. On the other hand, examples like the ones used by PooPourri, Purple Mattress, and Dollar Shave Club offer value through their efficient products.
If someone enjoys watching your content and you have something worth saying, your video is more likely to go viral.
While humor is a great way to entertain and attract viewers, you don’t have to be funny. Budweiser’s Someone Waits for You at Home video entices viewers with a different kind of emotional tug.
Providing value for the viewer doesn’t have to directly relate to your product or service. Like the Budweiser ad shows, you can add value by reinforcing a positive message or telling an emotionally evocative story. Many of the best viral video ideas add value by entertaining the viewer through humor.
Your Headline Matters
Back in the day, the quality of a newspaper headline would determine whether that day’s issue would sell or be used to wrap fish for the next week. If you are trying to learn how to make a viral video, you can start by thinking about your title. The headline must do two things: it needs to be click-worthy and unique.
While you don’t have to create clickbait unless it is a part of your brand, your video’s title has to be worthy of someone taking their precious time to watch it. If you describe the video blandly with only a few basic words, it’s hard to get a viewer excited about clicking on your thumbnail. Surprising, unexpected titles like Girls Don’t Poop and GoPro’s Fireman Saves a Kitten tell you what the video is about and make you want to watch it.
You also should think of a unique title, so people can find it in search. Like written content on your site, the headline helps people find your video in the search engines like Google and YouTube. For your video to go viral, new and old viewers must be able to find it without sifting through millions of similar videos.
Use a Creative Thumbnail
You need to go beyond simply learning how to make a viral video on Instagram or Facebook. Once your video is made, you must do everything possible to catch the viewer’s attention and interest. When someone shares the video on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram, one of the first things their followers see is the thumbnail image.
This is especially true if the video is getting shared on websites where the video doesn’t autoplay. You need to make a thumbnail to show the main idea behind the video. More importantly, the video needs to have a captivating image that viewers want to click on.
Interact with Your Audience
You can engage and interact with your target audience in many ways. If your content is interesting, it will naturally engage their attention. You can also interact with your audience through social media posts, comments, and customer service.
How you interact with your audience is up to you. While many YouTubers ask their viewers to subscribe, you can also ask them to like or share your clip. If you can get your viewers interested in your content, you can get them to share it with their friends and become loyal customers to your brand.
Going Viral Can Boost Your Business Like Never Before
Learning how to make a viral video can help your brand reach more people with the same marketing budget. And when you create videos with the intent to go viral, you’re more likely to see higher levels of engagement and interaction.