Day 54: Four foolproof ways to making your video go viral

Imagine being paid to professionally watch YouTube videos all day.   Sounds like fun right?  I’m sure quite a few of us rack up countless hours each week glued to YouTube anyway, so how amazing would it be to actually get paid for it?

Turns out if you are Kevin Allocca  you can. Kevin has the enviable job of being a YouTube trends manager.  I know what might be thinking. The only reason Kevin put his hand up to do a Ted talk was to make us all a little bit jealous about what he does for a living. Possibly. No, the real purpose behind his Ted talk is to share  “Why videos go viral.”


Two days worth of video uploaded every minute

At the time of this Ted talk, 2011, 48 hours of video was being uploaded to YouTube every single minute. That’s almost 70,000 hours of new video uploads a day! Only a few minutes from that 70000 hours will ever go viral.note: As of October 2014 100 hours of video  are uploaded to YouTuber per minute.  You can get the current statistics here.

So how does a video breakthrough all that YouTube noise and go viral and become a “cultural moment” Kevin is in a pretty privileged position that he sees the data behind why some videos’s views just skyrocket.  He narrows this down to four single reasons

1. You need to get a tastemaker on your side

Kevin shares some stats behind some hugely viral videos such as Bear Vasquez’s double rainbow video or “Nyan Cat” In both cases, those videos didn’t become overnight sensations, infact they had pretty poor views up until that point. What happened to cause a sudden traffic pike? Tastemakers intervened.

Tastemasters are people (or a group of people) in a position to influence.  If a taste master shares  a video, that video will usually get a huge surge in hits. In the case of the double rainbow clip, Jimmy Kimmel tweeted out the link to his 90,000 followers and turned a video with little traffic to a video that has been viewed 40 million times.

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2.You need a community around your video

Kevin says that community participation around a video is another way that a video goes viral and  becomes a cultural moment. When tastemakers share videos that they think are entertaining a group of people, a community, form around the video and engage with it. It’s kind of like everyone is sharing this inside joke and unless you have watched the video you don’t belong to that community.

3. People need to engage with the video

People participating with a video is one of real keys for a clip to go viral.  The simplest way to participate is by watching a video and sharing it with your friends.  However parody videos is one way to grow an audience as people who watch parody videos will always go back to the original to compare the two.  “Nyan Cat” has a huge amount of parody videos on YouTube , there are even videos of cats, watching other cats watch the Nyan Cat YouTube video!


4. Your video needs to be unexpected

According to Kevin the final piece of the puzzle to making a video go viral is the unexpected factor. With four days worth of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute only those clips which are truly unique and unexpected will stand out amongst the crowd.

So thats that’s the four key parts of a puzzle to making a video go viral. The next time you see a video having its cultural moment have a look to see if you can identify the following by asking yourself these questions.

1) Who is the tastemaker?

2) Can you spot the community?

3) Is viewer participation taking place?

4) Is the video unexpected and unique?

What’s your favourite viral video? Share the love and link to the clip in the comments below!

Vanessa Rose