Web Wednesday – What makes a viral video?

We’ve all seen them, seemingly unscripted and usually badly filmed videos that have exploded onto the social media platforms you use day in, day out. There’s a child covered in Peanut butter, a girl singing cher lloyd by cher lloyd or the moment a professor was interrupted by his son and daughter on a zoom call, whilst live on BBC News. Whatever you’re into, there’s likely to be an immensely popular video on the internet on it, but have you ever wondered what the figures actually look like?

Well, let’s take a look.

Now I’ll start by saying that this video I shared on another account I managed hasn’t exactly reached the heights of Gangnam Style or Kony 2012 (seriously, remember this?!), but it does give some insight into what the accounts that post the video would receive in terms of engagement. I shared this video back in May 2020, and it has since reached over 1.8 million accounts all over the world. It’s worth noting that this was posted pre-Reels too, meaning it’s potentially a fair bit easier to gain momentum on your videos nowadays.

Look a little deeper in the insights tab on Instagram and you’ll find what really matters to your profile or business account, the profile visits and follows. This shows the number of people who have directly followed or visited your profile after watching the video. Scroll a little higher up and you can see the reach from the specific post, and the accounts that watched it and are following you, and cruicialy those who aren’t.


Whilst it’s very unlikely every single video you share is going to reach millions, it’s important to simply create content that you want to share to the world. The biggest mistake people make is creating a video with the sole purpose of ‘going viral’, it’s not something that is usually as simple as that, it’s often the millions of social media users who do the sharing for you. For businesses, create content that you want your followers to see, film enjoyable moments, capture the everyday moments, simply be authentic and honest – that’s what many are interested in. When something is funny (within reason), capture it, you never know if the video might end up in Youtube’s top trending! 



Elliot NewtonWeb Wednesday – What makes a viral video?