What Makes YouTube Videos Go Viral: Expert Insight 


Making a viral YouTube video may seem impossible but it isn’t. Going viral is just like a skill. As a creator, put in enough effort and believe that your viral moment is almost here.

What makes YouTube videos go viral? A lot of people ask this question. Going viral on YouTube is not only based on luck, it requires learning as a skill. Unlike the common belief, going viral actually requires learning and this is confirmed by top YouTube creators. You might be thinking that it does not apply to small channels, like the ones that don’t have lots of subscribers.  

However, that isn’t true because going viral can happen to even smaller channels. You should know that viral videos are not as mysterious as you think. They are normal like other videos, but some things made them stand out. How does a YouTube video go viral? Keep reading to find out and maximize your chances of going viral. 

What is a YouTube Viral Video? 

A YouTube viral video is a video that garnered lots and lots of views and engagement within a short period of posting. A video is seen as viral when it reaches 2 million views or above within a few days. They mostly gain popularity via online sharing like on other social media platforms. Videos were confirmed to become viral faster if shared in their first 48 hours.  

What Makes YouTube Videos Go Viral? 

Based on research, it was discovered that sharers, people who share videos in their first 48 hours usually begin the viral process. Now, you might be wondering why they share videos online.  

It is due to some reasons according to Harvard Business Review, like if they want to see colleagues’ thoughts on it, pass across shared interests, kickstart conversations online and offline, share important info with friends, be the first to share a nice thing, demonstrate knowledge in a topic, do social good, and join trends. 

How a Viral Video Looks Like 

A viral video evokes powerful emotion which drives people to share it with others in their network. This type of video has the potential to get to an enormous audience within a few hours of being uploaded.  

It mustn’t have a particular ‘look’ to accumulate views. Your number of subscribers doesn’t affect the ability of your video to go viral. Viewers choose to watch a video because of its content and not only the creator. 

How to Make Viral YouTube Videos? 

Having a viral video isn’t just about luck, it goes beyond that. In order to make your videos become viral, you should have; 

  • A Powerful Topic: Pick a topic that’s resonating with your targeted audience. 
  • Good Title and ThumbnailMake your titles and thumbnails very captivating so they can make people click. 
  • Perfect Hook: Your first 8-10 seconds should capture the attention of viewers. 
  • Very Good Storyline: Let viewers stay engaged all through your video. 
  • Ignite Emotions: Let people finish your video with a feeling of transformation. 

Best Tips on How to Make a Viral YouTube Video 

Wondering what makes YouTube videos go viral? We have listed the best tips for you to utilize in making your video content go viral. They are; 

1. Create a Captivating and Shareable Video 

This is the first thing to do to make your video go viral. You have to make sure that your videos are shareable and captivating. At most times, viewers will share a video that brings out powerful emotions like laughter or shock. Therefore, try to entertain, inform, and provoke thoughts.  

Also, make sure that you keep your video short and precise to keep the attention of people. This demonstrates why you should tell a good story. Let people feel something while watching your content. You’re even free to utilize plot twists to shock them. 

2. Utilize Social Media 

Social media plays a key role in making a video go viral. With lots and lots of users all over the world, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter provide an enormous audience that will see and share a video. In order to start leveraging social media platforms efficiently, try out these strategies; 

Pick an Appropriate Platform: Different platforms are designed for different content forms. Start researching your targeted audience and choose the platforms that conform to their interests. 

Utilize Hashtags: Hashtags aid in increasing a video’s discoverability online. Search for popular hashtags that relate to your niche, then add them while uploading your videos. 

Interact with People: When one responds to comments, mentions, etc. on social media, it will show that he values the feedback of his audience and their engagement on his posts. 

3. Start Analyzing Performance 

This is an effective strategy to make a YouTube video go viral. Analyze the performance of your videos and iterate on future videos. When you analyze data like views, engagements, and shares, you’ll know what works and what does not. In order to start analyzing and iterating efficiently, try out these tips; 

Utilize YouTube Analytics: YouTube analytics will help you track your views, watch time, engagements, and audience. 

Spot Trends: One should search for trends in successful videos by meticulously examining performance data. 

Start Experimenting and Adapting: Start adapting your content according to what’s performing well, then forget about strategies that do not generate results. 

4. Start Optimizing Your Video with SEO 

SEO is an important part of virality. When you optimize your video for search results, it will enhance its visibility and foster its chances of going viral. In case you have put so much effort into your video content, but they are not getting many views, it may be because you lack SEO. In order to start optimizing your videos for SEO, try out these tips: 

Utilize Useful Keywords: Start researching keywords that relate to your niche, then add them to your video’s title, description, and tags. 

Start Writing Detailed Descriptions: Write an understandable video description that contains useful keywords for search engines to comprehend your content. 

Include Captions and Subtitles: All these let a broader audience access a video, even people with hearing impairment and those who prefer watching a soundless video. 

Make Engaging Thumbnails: Make an attractive thumbnail that’ll perfectly represent your video content because your thumbnail is what will show on search pages. 

Additional Strategies on How to Make YouTube Videos Viral 

Try out these additional strategies to make your YouTube video go viral; 

Check Potentials 

Try to look for potential stories of popular and upcoming creators and celebrities. When you combine a trending topic with the desire of your audience, it will aid you in producing a compelling video that can go viral. 

Utilize Packaging 

The success of videos at most times links to their titles and thumbnails. A title and thumbnail are just like a book cover, luring people to dive in. Combine good images, curiosity, and expectations to write yours. Don’t forget that your titles and thumbnails shouldn’t just capture attention but also set an appropriate expectation. 

Meet Viewers’ Expectations 

There must be times when you select a video and discover that it isn’t what its title and thumbnail portray. This annoys people a lot. Therefore, ensure that your content aligns with what your thumbnails and titles suggest. You should respect your viewers and deliver exactly what you promised. 

Be Authentic 

It is crucial to comprehend that knowing one’s unique voice can lead to virality. Being authentic is also one of the key elements to make your video go viral. It is what will make viewers relate to one’s video and share it. Therefore, one should be authentic and allow his unique personality to reflect. 


Your first try at a video might not be perfect. Feel free to re-edit so you can match your title and thumbnail better. Do not be scared of revising. One’s first draft mustn’t be his final. Open yourself up to feedback and willingness to carry out changes. 

Never Quit 

At first, your video mightn’t perform well. But with time, you will be favored by YouTube’s algorithm and get lots of views. Therefore, concentrate on making content that’s engaging. Do not lose hope when your content does not skyrocket immediately. 


How Many Views Make a Video Viral on YouTube?  

On YouTube, a video going viral signifies that it reached about 5 million views within a week. 

How Long Does It Take for a YouTube Video to Go Viral? 

This varies for different videos. Some videos were able to go viral on the day they were uploaded while some went viral much later after they were uploaded. Therefore, there isn’t any common thread for this. 

Can I Make My First YouTube Video Go Viral? 

Going viral on YouTube may be hard but is possible, even when one has just one video on his channel. In order to make your first YouTube video go viral, make quality content that is visually appealing with great visuals, sound, and editing. 

Why Do My Videos Never Go Viral on YouTube? 

Your videos don’t go viral because they aren’t visually appealing and comprehensive. Just publishing videos will not assure virality. Efficient marketing and promotions are important. You must share your videos on different platforms and tell people to do the same. 

Can a Video Go Viral Without Subscribers? 

Yes, a video can go viral even with no subscribers. In order to achieve this, make captivating and useful content, participate in popular trends, utilize catchy songs, leverage the right posting times, liaise with other creators, utilize hashtags, and interact with your audience. 

What Type of Videos Go Viral on YouTube?  

According to research, funny videos have better chances of going viral. Then, after that are challenge videos/ prank videos. This information comes from creators whose videos have gone viral. 

Written by
Beatriz Sirena

Beatriz Sirena, a true trailblazer in the world of social media and digital storytelling, seamlessly integrates her academic background with a wealth of creative expertise on Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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