Key Elements of a Viral Video

By: Bessmer Vowles

The best videos become viral, meaning one person sees it and shares it with their friends, and their friends share with their friends and before you know it everyone is talking about this video. 

Now just imagine if your business was responsible for the video. Whether you are producing an explainer videos for business, animation, or any other video for business, it is important to understand the key elements of any viral video.

The first key element of a viral video is that it must draw an emotional response. This doesn’t mean that the video has to be sad or evoke tears. Rather, there are four emotional levels that create a profound effect — disgust, fear, sentiment and humor. Out of these four disgust is the strongest emotional response, followed by fear and then sentiment. The stronger the emotional response is, the more likely the content of the video will impact the viewer and the more they will remember about it.

The second key element of a viral video is topicality. This means that the content of the video is timely and rides the wave of something that is being talked about in current events or pop culture. If something is wildly popular, even if only for a matter of days, viral videos take advantage of it and ride along with the wave.

Thirdly, studies have shown that interest in video clips drops off after the two minute mark, so it is best to keep just your videos at two minutes or a little less. If you need your video to be longer, it is a good idea to throw a twist in at around a minute and 40 seconds to make sure the viewer doesn’t stop watching when it nears the two minute drop off mark.

Finally, the fourth element of viral videos is seeding. While it is not always completely necessary, it can be incredibly effective to plant the video into large networks or key influencers. Once these influencers view the video and talk about it, it should begin to spread throughout that network quickly and then on to other connected networks.

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