How viral videos are created and our Top Tiger tips!

Posted by Tiger Marketing on 14 April 2019

Viral Video

What is going viral?

Something that “goes viral” is defined as an image, video, or link that spreads rapidly through a population by being frequently shared with a number of individuals in a short space of time.

If we wrote a blog and it was read by 500,000 people, but it takes 5 years to do so that is an interesting, excellent blog BUT it’s not viral.

If, however it was read by 500,000 in 5 hours it would certainly be classed as going viral, you know that a piece of content has gone viral when everyone is talking about it, it’s on the news, in the newspapers, on the radio and trending on all social media platforms.

Why is it so difficult to achieve viral status?

  • There is millions of content posted every day on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and billions on Facebook
  • According to a Stanford University study, less than 1% of content goes viral
  • 1 tweet in a million will go viral
  • The like button is hit an average of 4.2 billion times per day on Instagram (Source:

Why does something go viral?

There is a whole host of reasons a piece of content could go viral but most of the time it’s a mixture of certain factors.

Demanding The User’s Attention

  • Showing authentic ideas that haven’t been seen before. Everyone loves to be the first to know about new trends which they will then show their friends
  • A lot of viral content plays on the challenge element, they are insanely difficult to do, and people want to show how clever they are by completing it then posting it on social media
  • Controversy also piques people’s interest by connecting with them on an emotional level
  • Confusion, outrage and humour are the key emotions that grab our attention

Celebrity Endorsement

  • Celebrity endorsement is a huge part of a video going viral
  • Most viewed content comes from stars
  • Notable examples of this are Katy Perry inviting ‘back-pack kid’ on stage to ‘floss’ during her Saturday Night Live performance in 2017 sending a wave through social media and news outlets with people trying to do the Floss
  • Another case study was the Kiki Challenge in 2018 a dance based on the back of Drake song ‘In My Feelings’. What really helped this become huge was Will Smith doing the dance on top of a skyline building amassing over 3.3 million likes on Instagram leading people to take note and try it themselves

Social Media Acceleration

  • Social media is a huge part of accelerating the virality of a trend
  • It is not enough to just post it once on one platform
  • If you look at the latest trend the ‘Triangle Dance’ which originated on the platform TikTok*
  • Created in the middle of February 2019 it took 5 weeks before it started getting coverage when it was picked up by mainstream media outlets such as ‘The Lad Bible’ and ‘Huffington Post’ and posted on their social channels

This shows that certain content may only go viral when it’s on a certain platform and being seen by a specific audience type.

What do they all have in common?

  • Short-Lived – The trends will die out after the short moment of fame
  • People take it on as their own and put their own twist on it – be it a question ‘What colour do you see?’ or something physical such as a dance or the ‘Dele Alli’ challenge
  • It’s generally video-based content
  • Content is easy to share

Video is the prominent type of content to go Viral. See the below HubSpot stats to see why:

  • 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others
  • More than a third of all online activity involves watching videos
  • More than a third of consumers trust video ads
  • 80% of users can recall a video ad they viewed in the last 30 days
  • Enjoyment of video advertising increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%

What has gone viral in the past, do you remember these?


Dele Alli Challenge

What is it? A hand signal challenge where you put your finger around your eye
When did it go viral? 15 August 2018
What triggered it go viral? Dele Alli using this as a celebration after scoring a goal, he then posted a video tutorial on Instagram
How long did it last? Just over a week
Stats/Numbers: His Instagram went viral with 1.2 million likes and 22,000 comments

The Harlem Shake


What is it? A video trend where the participants performed flailing or convulsive movements
When did it go viral? February 2013
What triggered it to go viral? A group of 5 teenagers recreated a video with the track this became a meme. The meme gained popularity which then helped it on the billboard top 40 which made it go viral
How long did it last? Less than a month from February 2013 to March 2013
Stats/Numbers: By February 15th 40,000 spin off videos had been made, and 40 days after the upload on March 24th Harlem shake hit the 1 billion view mark

The Dab

What is it? The dab is a dance move which involves moving your arms
When did it go viral? Summer 2015
What triggered it to go viral? Celebrities such as Migos, Jason Derulo and Kippa Da Flip incorporated this dance into their music videos as well as Derulo showing James Corden how to dab in Car Pool Karaoke helping kick off the viral trend.
How long did it last? The dab as a viral trend lasted around 3 months but today it is used both as a dance move and a statement
Stats/Numbers: Video of Cam Newton NFL player one of the ambassadors for the dance dabbing has amassed over 8 million views and Migos’ ‘Look at my dab’ has received 44 million views

Floss Dance


What is it? It’s a dance created by Russell Horning, AKA backpack kid
When did it go viral? It went viral in May 2017
What triggered it to go viral? It went viral after he appeared on Saturday night live with Katy Perry, he had originally uploaded a video of him ‘Flossing’ in 2016 but this projected him to stardom
How long did it last? It lasted for around 6 months, but its popularity has picked up again after Russell sued the game Fortnite for using his dance in their game
Stats/Numbers: ‘Backpack kids’ appearance on Saturday Night Live has over 56 million views on YouTube and his own song ‘Flossin’ has received over 10 million views

Mannequin Challenge


What is it? A video in which people remain frozen in action like mannequins while a moving camera films them, often with the song “Black Beatles playing in the background
When did it go viral? November 2016
What triggered it to go viral? The song originally by Rae Sremmurd increased in popularity when people started sharing their challenges. Rae Sremmurd caught wind of this and completed their own mannequin challenge on stage at their concert. James Corden also completed one on the Late Show.
How long did it last? The trend lasted around 3 months with a host of celebrities posting their own
Stats/Numbers: Black Beatles has over 725 million views due to the popularity of the mannequin challenge

The Dress

What is it? The dress is a photograph that became a viral internet sensation when viewers disagreed over whether the dress pictured was coloured black and blue, or white and gold
When did it go viral? February 2015
What triggered it to go viral? The controversy behind which colour people saw as it varied amongst friends and family, Buzzfeed caught on pretty quickly and posted on their sites which led to further engagement with the picture
How long did it last? This trend only lasted a few weeks as there was not any additional content that could have been created, once people had seen the picture there was nothing else for them to post
Stats/Numbers: At its peak, more than 670,000 people were simultaneously viewing Buzzfeed’s post


There’s no specific blueprint for success, but here’s our Top Tiger Tips

  • Always be original and authentic
  • Make every word, video frame, image count – you only have 3 seconds to grab someone’s attention!
  • Share your personality
  • Do you research – choose your target audience
  • Distribute across multiple platforms
  • Send to Reddit / TikTok – get it in front of people
  • Send to magazines and social media publishers like Lad Bible
  • Befriend a celebrity or influencer who can share with their followers

If you’d like any advice or inspiration with producing ROARsome content and ensuring it is seen and shared as widely as possible, please call us on 01903 237 002 or drop us a PM here. We’d love to help you ROAR!
* TikTok is a Chinese music video platform created in September 2016. This app allows users to watch music clips, shoot short videos as long as 60 seconds, edit them, and add special effects to them. It was the world’s most downloaded app in the first quarter of 2018 with an estimated 45.8 million downloads.

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