What makes a YouTube video go Viral?

Youtube Viral Video

We should all be familiar with the concept of Viral Marketing, but what is it that really makes a video go viral?

There is no unique formula for what is needed for your content to go viral online, but there are tons of theories about it. I have chosen to present YouTube Trend Manager Kevin Allocca’s findings on what it takes for a YouTube video to go viral.

Kevin is listing 3 main characteristics that a YouTube video requires to become an online phenomenon.

1.       Tastemakers

For a YouTube video to go viral tastemakers or opinion leaders are a key element. What Kevins research shows is that the boom in traffic to YouTube videos comes just as opinion leaders, usually with a large following base, starts to share the content. This attracts the follower’s attention and the reach of people is suddenly unbelievable.

2.       Community Participation

Kevin highlights another key element: Participation of the community. A successful viral video has a tendency of allowing for interaction and participation. The video might inspire people to replicate it or build on top of it, and again the reach of people is suddenly unbelievable.

3.       Unexpectedness

Last and final element is the absolute uniqueness or unexpectedness of the video. Only videos that present something new, or present something better than previous videos, will experience the audience’s willingness to share and interact. Unexpected presentations of usually uninteresting material is usually the key to a successful viral YouTube video.

Here is an example of a viral video with more than 42 million views on YouTube. The video is of a guy named Matt that is dancing, and he is not in particular good at it. Why should you want to see it? Because it got some unexpected; it involves the community and inspires, and it has probably at some point been shared by tastemakers for it to reach its massive audience.

If you want to see Kevin Allocca’s  full keynote from Ted Talks on the matter of Viral YouTube video. Watch the clip here. In the end it is the audience that defines the popularity!

3 minutes is all it takes

TED Talks Ideas Worth Spreading

I just stumbled upon this video on TED. The truth is that I stumbled upon it a long time ago, but found it again yesterday evening. The video is a 3 minute lecture about how to create a movement, held by Derek Sivers who is most famous for founding the company CD baby in 1998. The video does not need a long introduction as it more or less speaks for itself.

What amazes me with this video is Derek Sivers ability to send such a clear message in just 3 minutes time. The message is so easily acceptable and understandable for the audience, which actually makes the speech persuasive.

I believe that Derek Sivers is making a good observation. “A leader is nothing without his first follower.” This is where the gift of persuasion comes in handy, as a Leader is always in the situation of persuading others. I especially like the final conclusion that Derek Sivers comes to. “Be supportive of the first mover and be the first follower.” According to Derek Sivers the first follower deserves the same credit as the leader, because the first follower is what actually makes the leader. I believe that he is on to something.

We can learn a lot form this little 3 minute lecture and it is inspiring that we only need 3 minutes to understand a deep meaningful message. If you feel inspired there are thousands of other great videos on www.ted.com. If you stumble upon some great inspiring lectures that have a great message, feel welcome to share with me in a comment on the right. As the slogan of ted states: “Ideas Worth Spreading”. Don’t forget to spread great ideas.

TED Talks Ideas Worth Spreading