Viral Videos Characteristics

The idea behind a viral video is to create a video that people can’t help sharing. It would be tempting to say that most of these:

  • Involve celebrities or cute kids and animals
  • Are outrageous
  • Are funny

But even if one or more of these criteria are true, there’s always one thing more.

make your videos go viral

Viral videos often ask: “What if…?”

And because of that, they are original. They step well outside of everyone’s envelope.

Just take a look at the Drive Through Invisible Driver video (getting views like wildfire with 33,771,524 views at last count). He has made multiple videos with that “costume,” and now has Tshirts for sale.

Here’s how it goes:

1. Perpetrator explains briefly what he is going to do – wear a “car seat” costume and pretend that his car is driving itself up to the take-out restaurant window.

invisible driver costume

2. A hidden, in-car camera records a number of reactions from staff members at multiple Drive Through restaurants.

invisible driver prank

3. We laugh WITH the perpetrator, securely in on the joke.

4. He finishes by asking people to subscribe.

subscribe for more videos

(Wow. TEN calls to action, if you include the links to three more videos!)

5. We are directed to more of his videos – arranged in a playlist.

invisible drive playlist

There was nothing complex about this video – but the car seat costume was a clever idea, and it makes people laugh. They enjoy being in on the joke.

That’s just one format. Obviously you can’t use this tactic if you’re making business videos – though it works for British Monty Python alumni, John Cleese, who is now famous for business training videos – but you can make sure your videos contain the basic elements of “Drive Through Invisible Driver”.

You need them to:

  • Be short
  • Be engaging
  • Be fast-paced, with good flow
  • Avoid tangents and distractions; focus on one single factor or point
  • Contain a brief introduction and a satisfying conclusion
  • Deliver on the promise
  • End with one or more calls to action, including directing viewers to (a) subscribe (b) the next video in the “series”

Follow this viral video formula, complete with all the right sharing prompts – and your video may end up being featured in top video magazines as this one was (“What’s Trending” and “Huffington Post” just to name two). More traffic means more subscribers which is always good.

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