The Art of the Viral Video

There are a lot of mediocre videos out there that have hundreds of thousands of views, and plenty of downright hilarious or awe-inspiring clips that have millions of hits.  But, on the other end of the spectrum, there are a lot of quality videos that never seem to take off.

What causes some to take off while others never seem to get any traction?

Let’s take a look at a few of the components that make up nearly every viral video.

1.  Gets to the point quickly

Nothing is worse than waiting what seems like an eternity to see the punchline of a video that someone has shared with you.  Even if it eventually makes you laugh out loud, it has very little chance of going viral.  While you may have waited around for the best part, a lot of people won’t take the time.  If people don’t see the punchline, they aren’t going to share your video.  The cutoff you should shoot for is about 1 minute.

2.  They are genuine

If your video is supposed to be funny, it needs to seem realistic.  The more that it seems like you just happened to catch a brilliant moment on video by accident, the better.

3.  They appeal to a wide range of people

Videos that people can relate to are more likely to be shared.  Videos that joke about something only a certain type of person would understand aren’t likely to take off.

4.  They are seen and shared by the right people

The difference between your video having a thousand views and a million views can simply depend on who happens to view and share it.  Those who share it with their smaller social networks aren’t going to help your cause much, but a Twitter power user that tweets it to their 100,000 followers can send your video over the viral edge.  You can’t always control this, but it helps to send the video to as many influential people that you think would enjoy it.

Ultimately, the best way to get better at posting videos that are widely shared is to post several videos, and take note of the components that make up your best performers.  For starters, look for the things we’ve listed above.