Anatomy of a Viral YouTube Video: Key Takeaways for Marketers


They say that social media is the greatest equalizer and that can be said when it comes to YouTube videos. Historically, YouTube has catapulted many average individuals to household name popularity.

Music behemoths like Justin Bieber started with homemade YouTube videos of him singing covers and earned more than 10 billion views even with little to no professional advertising. Michelle Phan started as a regular makeup guru posting makeup tutorials on YouTube but now has a cosmetics empire.

The difference is that they started early and the competition back then wasn’t as fierce as it is now. Today, you can buy YT views and level the playing field or take advantage of organic marketing to get the viewership you are looking for.

When is a Video Considered Viral?

One can consider a video viral if it has garnered millions of views in a short period of time, usually in a matter of days or weeks. Back then, a million views was already enough to consider a video viral. But these days, you will need more views than that to enter the viral video range. But unlike then, it is much easier to make a video go viral, thanks to the higher number of YouTube users and its accessibility to users. These days, people spend more time on YouTube as well and YouTube’s very own algorithm enables even the smaller channels to reach out to a larger audience. According to statistics, the average person spends about 45 minutes a day on this platform. And since it is now accessible through our phones and SmartTVs, people prefer being on YouTube rather than other streaming sites.

Basically, for a video to go viral, your video has to be interesting enough that it gets shared by the ones who view it.

What are the Benefits of a Viral Video?

What’s in it for you? Why go the extra time and effort to make a video rake millions and millions of views? You might notice that many YouTubers go the extra mile just for those views.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably already know that the more views you have, the higher your chances of earning revenues. This is why it is a great equalizer. The average person can end up earning enough to retire at an early age when they get viral videos. You can live a comfortable life while doing the things you love to do. In the US, the average YouTuber can earn up to about $1,145 in revenues in a week.

If you are a business owner or you plan on building your own brand, YouTube is also a great place to establish that brand. There is a built-in following just waiting to discover your videos. This platform allows you to showcase your talents, skills, or products to gain more clients. It’s a highly effective marketing tool, especially if you plan on going global.

Since YouTube is accessible in most countries, you can expand your market and clientele by using it as an advertising platform.

YouTube Video Ideas With High Chances of Going Viral

So what are those videos that typically become viral? No matter how many channels come and go on this platform, the recipe for creating viral videos typically remains the same and that is to cater to the interest of the public. What would interest them? From the many viral videos around, here are just some of the niches and ideas you might want to consider:

  1. Funny videos/skits

Funny videos and skits are always a big hit, especially if the humor appeals to a large audience. And with the advent of YouTube shorts, these skits became even more popular. People like funny videos, especially when prepared in shorter and easy-to-digest video formats.

A tip for making funny videos or skits: know your audience. Which age group are you catering to? You should make sure that they can relate to your jokes and the humorous elements of the videos. For instance, a 90s-themed skit will definitely appeal to millennials more than Gen Z people.

  1. Showcase your talent

Make an acoustic cover of a popular song. If you know how to play the guitar, make a guitar version of a trending song. You will immediately get suggested by the algorithm. If you make really cool artwork or craft, make a timelapse video of you doing your art or craft.

Unique talents such as sand art have also made it big in the YouTube world in the past. If you have skills that the world hasn’t seen yet, now is the best time to showcase them.

  1. Video challenges

Hop on the video challenge trends. You have much higher chances of going viral when you try the trending video challenges.

  1. Animal videos

So many people would go “aww” for all those cute cat or puppy videos. And what’s even nicer is that they get repetitive views. People will watch those videos again and again just for the sheer cuteness of the animals.

Do you have pets at home that you dote on? Just put a camera in your home and capture all their shenanigans. Go through those videos and piece them together to create an interesting video of your pets just living their lives without you in the house.

  1. New discoveries or life hacks

Discovered a new place to dine in on a low budget? Go ahead and do a tour and food recommendation. Do you have life hacks such as how to clean your home without putting in so much effort? Show your recommendations. So many people turn to YouTube for cleaning hacks.

Do you have a hack on how to open a can without a can opener? These nifty tricks will definitely get passed around a lot. Mind-blowing videos will surely be a big hit with a larger audience.

Tried and Tested Ways to Make a Viral YouTube Video

Now onto the good stuff. What should you do to make your YouTube video viral? Here are some tips that will help you get the numbers:

  1. Take good quality videos.

There have been a lot of times when poor-quality videos have gone viral. These are just videos taken with a regular phone. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on fancy gadgets. However, good quality videos are more visually dynamic and anything that can make people stop and appreciate the quality of your videos is a win.

So, take the time to take good-quality videos. Consider the lighting. Make sure you are in a place where you can record properly. Don’t worry though because there are now a lot of video editing software and tools that you can use. There are also paid courses that you can take if you want to up the ante. That will level up your editing skills, which can be very useful so you aren’t randomly grappling with the editing software you have.

  1. Make your YouTube video titles catchy.

It’s not just the video as well. Also, make sure you are taking advantage of the algorithm and get it to notice you. You can cleverly insert a keyword. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. What kind of title will make you click? Try checking out how other YouTubers create their video titles.

  1. Do some research about videos that typically get a high viewership.

Don’t just make a video and leave it to chance. Check the statistics and reports as well. Do some research so you know what kinds of videos get the most views. That will help you find a good niche that you might be able to get good revenues from.

  1. Use a good thumbnail.

Caught something funny in your video? Use that as a thumbnail. People might not read the title but they will definitely see the thumbnail and this can pique their attention.

However, make sure you also check the guidelines imposed by YouTube when it comes to picking thumbnails. Pick a thumbnail that still follows these guidelines.

  1. Create useful, educational, or entertaining content.

No matter how well you edit your videos, if the content itself isn’t entertaining or useful to the viewers, it won’t be passed around. If you are creating an educational video, it should contain enough information that will hold the attention of viewers and make them want to share it on their own social media pages. So don’t go stingy with the information. Pack it all in and they will trust your channel more and come back for more.

When you are done creating your content, you can consider buying views. Buying views allows you to gain the traction you need to draw in more viewers. It’s like building a solid foundation so that you can reach your target growth faster.

  1. Be authentic.

Nothing beats authenticity. When people sense authenticity from you, they will naturally want to stay. That’s what you should strive to gain – not just passing viewers but subscribers who will want to view your videos time and time again.

Is YouTube Still Worth It?

With all the social media sites these days that also offer a great way to monetize views, why should you focus your attention on YouTube? Is it still worth it despite millions of people competing for the same audience?

There is still a lot of room for content producers on YouTube. One of the biggest perks of this platform is that it enables channels with smaller following to get their content viewed by more people. That is because their algorithm promotes videos depending on the relevance of the content and not the number of views. As a beginner, you have a higher chance of growing your channel on this platform.

Mistakes People Make When Promoting Their YouTube Videos

To make sure you get higher chances of having viral YouTube videos, here are some of the mistakes you should avoid making:

Mistake #1: Just blindly going with the trend.

We know we said to go with what’s current but if you just do it without proper planning and proper execution, the result will just put off some people. Value proper production and quality videography over just following trends.

Mistake #2: Producing too long content.

It’s important to make your videos jam-packed with interesting things but if it’s getting too long, you could lose your viewer’s attention. What’s important is that you get your message across and you get it in a clear and succinct way. People have short attention span these days and having videos that are too long might make your channel seem boring.

Mistake #3: Focusing on short-term results.

Don’t just make content for the sake of creating content. Be intentional with your channel’s theme. What theme or niche do you want to be in?

To know that, you should know what your strengths are. Are you good at acting and making skits? Make a video about funny skits. Are you good at creative stuff? Make videos of creative stuff. It’s all about planning your content for the long term.

Mistake #4: Not supporting other YouTubers.

Networking is also a good way to market your videos. Reach out to other YouTubers and ask to do a collaboration. Collaborations help YouTubers with smaller following to reach a broader audience. So it’s time to be friendly and try to leave comments on other YouTubers.

Mistake #5: Creating videos that are not evergreen.

You would not want to spend so much time creating your videos only for the views to stop rolling in after a few days or weeks. So many views go viral years after they were first uploaded. So, make sure you make videos that will remain evergreen and relevant no matter what the season and trends are.


Staying true to who you are as a person and what your interests are will give you a better chance of creating viral YouTube videos. So don’t be afraid to take videos of what you love and share them with the world. You never know just who you might inspire by your story.


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