Common Types of Viral Videos

It was recently reported that Psy’s 2012 “Gangnam Style” video reached over 2.1 billion viewers, forcing YouTube to upgrade its viewer counter. The artist claims that the viral nature of his video was a complete accident. So what makes a viral video? What are the most common types of viral videos? And is it even possible to reproduce this degree of popularity?

Maybe not. But even a fraction of that exposure would be a game-changing boost to any business or brand. Let’s have a look at what type of videos go viral.


Types of Viral Videos

The website Dailymotion produced a compilation of the most popular videos of 2014. When you watch the clips, you’ll notice a few reoccurring themes. For one thing, most individual clips are under 90 seconds in length; many are even much shorter than that.

Another feature that many of them have in common is that they were spontaneously captured. Someone was at the right place at the right time—and they “just sshutterstock_219227374o happened” to have a video rolling.

As far as subject matter, it’s also obvious that the antics of puppies and children are wildly popular. They have the potential to make us laugh and cry at the same time, which is video gold! 12 million viewers can’t be wrong!

Pranks are popular, too, such as the 2012 Brazilian video starring the ghost in the elevator. It’s always funny when the joke is on somebody else!

Silly stunts of all types can go viral, like the guy called Furious Pete who has acquired over 1.5 million subscribers for his extreme eating challenges. What’s more odd, a man eating a seven-pound burrito, or 1,720,662 people watching him do it?



There’s no single formula for making a viral video. A few large brands have been successful in getting their videos to go viral because they have a big budget to spend on professional actors, high-quality production, and special effects that shock and awe. More often, millions of dollars are spent on videos that flop, so money alone can’t buy viral. Don’t believe any marketer that tells you otherwise. Pepsi spent big bucks on this slick video and a measly 29 thousand people saw it.

Instead gambling on viral, the smart way to spend your time and money is with a comprehensive promotion strategy.


  • First, get some views and likes for your video so that it has the social proof to be credible.
  • Once that’s established, have some of our influencers mention your video to their hundreds of thousands of fans and followers. This is exactly the way videos go viral: the right person shares it at the right time. All the stars align, and voila! You couldn’t have predicted it, and it isn’t guaranteed, but you put all the pieces in place to give it a chance.
  • Finally, to keep that momentum working for you in the long run, put an SEO strategy in place to make sure that your video continues get views for years to come.


An all-inclusive plan for promoting your video is the certain road to success. Of course, if “viral happens,” then congratulations. It “happened” because you took action rather than just uploading a video and hoping it goes viral.

Still…you should always have your smartphone ready just in case!

About This Author

Ian is freelance writer and blogger covering the topics of social media, blogging, and online marketing. Originally from the Chicago area, he now calls South Florida his home, trying to keep the sand out of his laptop as he creates content for several websites and blogs.

Post A Reply

Pin It on Pinterest