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Viral Marketing 101: What Are the Hallmarks of Good Viral Videos?

Have you ever logged on to a social media platform and see one particular video shared by multiple people? If you have, that is what is called a viral video. Depending on the content, it can mean a good thing or a very bad thing for a brand.

A good viral video can mean international coverage and massive positive feedback and business. A negative viral video, while can draw the ire of millions can eventually be utilized and transformed into a positive moment for the company. As much as possible, however, it would be good to aim for a good viral video.

So what exactly are the hallmarks of good viral videos? We’ve given it a lot of thought and we watched a lot of viral videos to try to find common denominators. Here are a few of what we have found out:

Illicit Emotion

Viral videos are often shared because it manages to illicit emotion from its audience. At the start of this year, YouTube “star” Logan Paul uploaded a video on his channel. It was his recent trip to Japan’s suicide forest wherein he filmed the body of a person that had committed suicide.

This, understandably, made a lot of people angry. From the moment it was uploaded and until the YouTuber was made to take it down, it was constantly talked about and shared upon various social media platform.

Logan Paul and his video is a perfect example of a bad viral video. However, it still qualified as a “viral” video as it was able to illicit emotions from its audience. When people feel something whether it be positive or negative, they feel a compulsion to share the video with their own views attached.


Viral videos often have content that is relatable for their audiences. They showcase a celebrity doing everyday or out of the ordinary things. They showcase acts of kindness or acts of cruelty. Whatever it is, it is something that is grounded in reality.

It is something that a viewer can see and say “hey, I totally get that”.

Under Three Minutes

The deal with social media is that information is shared fast and consumed fast. Therefore, a viral video usually has a time mark of being under three minutes. The message needs to be cohesive and delivered within that timeframe. Anything longer than that makes people lose interest.


We live in an age where everything is consumed at the speed of light. Viral videos are one of the ways businesses and brands can make a name for themselves. However, viral videos are a double edged sword. They must be used properly or else they can crush any startup that is still trying to find its groove.

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Infographic by: singlegrain.com

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