What Are the Factors In Creating a Viral Video?


We’ve all heard of videos that become insanely popular and get 10 million hits on YouTube.

But how is this done?  Is this just dumb luck?

Or is there some formula (other than video taping babies and kittens) that anyone can use to create viral videos?

According to an April 2012 study found in the Journal of Marketing research Vol. XLIX, by the American Marketing Association, the factors affecting virality have a lot to do with the connection between the content and the respondent.

What does this mean?

Factors in Creating a Viral Video | Journal of Marketing Research Report

According to the report, impacting the level of arousal of the viewer can impact virality.

The biggest factor connected to virality in this study was the level of arousal the content induced. It also looked at the affect of positive content versus negative content, and how all of these factors link together to create viral content.

There are two types of arousal: high and low. High arousal can be content that is positive or negative, while low arousal is characterized by creating sadness or relaxation.

Positive Arousal

great aspect of viral content is that the more positive and upbeat it is, the more likely it is to become viral.

Positive and negative emotions characterized by activation or arousal (i.e., awe, anxiety, and anger) are positively linked to virality, while emotions characterized by deactivation (i.e., sadness) are negatively linked to virality,” according to the American Marketing Association.

In other words, content that creates high arousal with a viewer is more likely to be viral than content that creates low arousal. High arousal was the key content virality factor in this study.

While both more positive and negative extremes in content have a greater chance to become viral, positive content will trump the negative.  Positive is more viral than negative, hands down.

Negative Arousal Works Too

Negative content can be viral as well, even though positive content is more viral, negative content is also linked to higher virality.

According to the report, ‘Videos that induce anxiety or anger are more often shared by users. Something evoking shock, like a high-speed car chase or an intense fight, creates high-arousal or activation.’

This data tells us that negative videos can go viral as well. So don’t back away from sharing the negative just because positive content is a little more viral.

Do you have any tips on how to create viral videos?  If so, leave your comments below.