Every person or company that posts a video has a dream that it will be a viral sensation — popular and adored around the world. But, as many of us know (for example, see my most viral video, with 1,074 views :-)), this is not typical.

As Brian Morris, who writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog, puts it: “Companies dream of video marketing campaigns that go viral; earning the kind of response that makes millionaires.  But not everyone can repeat the YouTube success of the Dollar Shave Club, much less PSYWhat is it about certain videos that make them go viral and unleash a chain reaction that results in massive profits? And why isn’t your video going viral?”

Morris points to these factors as inhibitors to viral success of videos:

  • “It’s not funny, touching, or cute”
  • “You’re not promoting it”
  • “Poor timing”
  • “Practice makes perfect”
  • “It’s not in the stars”

Click the YouTube image to read Moore’s tips.

Post suggested by KCJ


18 Replies to “Reasons Why Videos Do NOT Go Viral”

  1. I have never seen the “Dollar Shave Club” video before, but I found it hilarious! It was different than most commercials I’ve seen and it really grabs the viewer’s attention. Most of the time I enjoy watching viral videos. “Charlie Bit My Finger” and “David After Dentist” are classics! However, some viral videos like “Gangnam Style” and “Harlem Shake” get old pretty quickly. The job of viral videos is to get people’s attention. Whether you love them or hate them, viral videos will continue to invade the Internet. Social media sites really help with the promotion of viral videos. I can tell that a video has gone viral when 10 people post it as their Facebook status. We can’t escape them because they are infectious, so we might as well embrace them for what they are.

  2. I have always found it interesting how videos become viral. I think the most important part of a video is promotion. There are many videos across the Internet that without a doubt could have gone viral had they received enough publicity for it. That’s not to say that the other criteria mentioned for making a viral video aren’t important just publicity should be the top priority. Even if all the other criteria are met, if no one knows about it the video is not going to go viral.

  3. This article brings up a very interesting point ….
    Most videos that went viral had the advantage of appealing to a vast number of people.
    As this article shows Timing is everything. The likelihood that a video on cats will go viral on a sunday night during superbowl is very low.
    However what this article failed to realize is that a video may have been posted a few months prior to going viral… Thus is timing really an important factor ?! Luck and promotion in my opinion are the prime determinants of a videos success.

  4. This article’s emphasis on timing being everything is accurate in certain respects. Viral videos, or moreover trends in general, catch on and audiences quickly move on from them because the newest fad comes along and/or people milk out everything they can from it until it no longer has value. I remembered a Hofstra alum creating the Binders Full of Women tumblr account the night after the first Presidential Debate this fall. She appeared on multiple media forums because of it, but the attention she received died down after she was offered permanent positions by several companies. Therefore I, too, believe luck and monetary promotion determine a trend’s success.

  5. I do agree with all of these suggestions on how to promote your video but I don’t think suggestions are ever going to help a video go viral. Just like it says, “it’s not in the stars.” There is no way of knowing for sure how to make a successful video. I think you just have to go with something you truly care about or you find extremely entertaining and if your whole heart is in it, other people may indeed respect that and be just as entertained. If you’re not impressed by your video or you wouldn’t want to watch it again and again, chances are no one else will be either. The most important is to definitely go with something that excites you and that even if it doesn’t go viral you will still be happy with. The best work is done when an artist is trying to please themselves; they can’t be concerned with the opinion of everyone else because you simply can’t please everyone.

  6. It always amazes me when a video goes viral. Those videos usually are the rare ones that everyone can relate to in some way. But in order to find that one common similarity takes a lot of time, a good marketing strategy, and a great idea. Sometimes, though, with the right amount of promoting a video can go viral even if not everyone relates to it. As long as the video is getting out there, and people are seeing things abut it, then there’s no stopping a video from going viral.

  7. From my personal knowledge of seeing YouTube videos throughout my life, I have come to one major conclusion. This conclusion is the fact that about half of all of viral videos out there happen by chance, and the cameraman happened to catch the scenario as it was happening. When someone tries to create a viral video themselves, it usually doesn’t come out the way they planned and ends up failing. Once in a while, however, someone is really funny and acquires a huge following via YouTube. This very rarely happens though.

  8. The idea to market a brand or company using videos that may or may not (actually probably not) go viral seems a bit silly to me. Viral videos are usually by chance, or they go viral because they’re exceptionally funny. Actually, I can’t remember watching a viral video that had to do with a specific company. I feel as though companies have so many other options on how to market to their audience than hoping their video on youtube goes viral.

  9. As far as YouTube goes if you want the video to be successful in my opinion it has to be funny. Why else would people go out of their way to watch the video if it wasn’t.

  10. I agree with all the points that Morris makes about videos going viral. I think it is important for a video to be funny and amusing to people because that is one of the main things that keeps the viewers attention. Many people have posted videos on Youtube which have gone viral since their videos are either really funny, idiotic or cool.

  11. In my opinion, in order to make a video go viral it has to make people talk. There needs to be something in the video that keeps viewers coming back for more and wanting to share it. Another important thing is that the video be relatable, however it is not always necessary. If there is a video that everyone is talking about, whether it pertains to you or not, you are most likely going to watch it. A company should not rely on a video going viral as their main marketing strategy, but if it does happen, lucky for them!

  12. Youtube itself has created its own domain for viral videos. People simply put up a video of something that they know most people can relate to and find either very funny or very sad. Granted, you need to find a good time to put up a viral video (except for Rebecca Black), but knowing what people like to see (whether it’s a cat video or the Harlem Shake (which is basically a modern day Sandstorm)) and having social media really helps those videos get a jump start. Once all the factors come together, your work is basically cut out for you (as demonstrated by PSY).

  13. I really enjoyed your video “Career Opportunities” Dr. Evans. It’s very informational and gives great suggestions for the current times. I think Psy is really funny and people like to see funny things and laugh about them. Also he does an easy dance which is easy to learn and encourages people to learn the steps to have fun with friends joking around. Also the Dollar Shave Club is one of the best advertising videos I’ve seen. They keep entertained the whole time, it’s clever, easy to remember and it makes a good point.

  14. I agree with the reasons behind why a video goes viral. It needs to have some factor that draws in an audience whether it’s comical or touching. The Dollar Shave Club video definitely succeeds with the comical approach. The randomness of the video keeps the viewer on their toes and captures their attention. The entertaining video makes you remember their name and viewers are more likely to share it with others which makes the video go viral.

  15. The title of this blog “Reasons Why Videos Do NOT Go Viral” makes you wonder what you’re doing wrong. That is actually what this article is about but on a positive note, it gives pointers of how you can enhance the view ability and success of your video. The most interesting observation however, that the author Brian Morris makes is that “most videos achieve viral status by accident.” Basically, what he is saying is, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Nonetheless, some of this tips do make sense and are probably worth trying when making a video and putting it out there on the web.

  16. I completely agree with Morris. The reasons he points out are more or less obvious. The Dollar Shave Club was simple and funny, which is why it viral. To make a viral video it must first appeal to human emotion weather it be funny like dollar shave club or something little more appealing like the budweiser commercial with the horse.

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