December 22, 2023
Min Read

How Many Views Is Viral for Video Content?

Knowing how many views is viral is key to deciding just how popular your content needs to be to meet that mark and reach wider audiences.

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Whether you're an aspiring or experienced content creator dreaming of going viral, learning more about how to get there will help you engage more viewers. You can use these tips and ideas to your advantage to reach your goals.

Here’s how many views is viral across social media platforms so you know when your content reaches that mark.

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What Does Going “Viral” Mean?

Going viral means a piece of content (typically a video, image, or meme) reaches widespread popularity through a rapid and exponential increase in views. When content “goes viral,” users share, like, and comment on it at more than the average post. 

Social media algorithms display content that’s going viral due to the quick increase in clicks and shares from other users, exposing it to an even wider audience.  

The content then ends up in the explore feed of users — beyond just the poster’s following — on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. When it’s truly viral, it might be reposted by different accounts across platforms.

Take, for example, Brittany Broski, who blew up overnight for her hilarious reaction after tasting kombucha for the first time. The video earned over 40 million views on Twitter and became a popular reaction image. She’s now a thriving influencer. 

To go viral, creating shareable content is key. That means posting content that’s relatable, informative, or laugh-out-loud funny — anything that would encourage viewers to send it to their friends. 

How Many Views Is “Viral” for Video Content?

The number of views considered "viral" depends on a platform's user base, the content type, and current trends. A video typically goes viral when it receives many views quickly. 

A video receiving hundreds of thousands to millions of views in a brief time usually indicates virality, but its view count is relative to the platform. Here are a few broad ranges to give you an idea of a viral video on various social media platforms.

How Many Views Is “Viral” on TikTok?

On TikTok, which is well-known for its viral trends and short-form content, a viral video typically accumulates 1 million views within a few days. 

With over 1 billion active users and a discover feed called the For You Page (FYP), the TikTok algorithm ensures an endless feed that keeps viewers engaged for hours. The FYP continuously pushes out relevant TikToks to users, meaning creators have more opportunities to increase engagement and generate millions of views. 

A screenshot of TikTok’s For You Page on the left, with the app’s trending hashtags on the right

If your TikTok’s view count continues to grow and amasses 3–5 million views in a week, it has officially reached viral status.

How Many Views Is “Viral” on YouTube?

For YouTube, going viral means having a long-form video reach about 5 million views in a week. 

After TikTok's explosive rise to fame and popularity of short-form content, YouTube launched Shorts in 2020. This new content format quickly emerged, earning millions of monthly views thanks to a higher reach and easier viewing than the standard long-form YouTube format.

From left to right: Shorts within the YouTube app, the most popular Shorts made using a specific song, and a full-screen view of a YouTube Short

YouTube's algorithm highlights Shorts in search results and pushes them to user feeds and the related video list. This push of Shorts reaches potential followers to turn them into subscribers. If the viral Short is a teaser clip of a long-form video, it drives interested users to the original post, further increasing the video’s view count. 

How Many Views is “Viral” on Instagram?

Despite TikTok and YouTube Shorts' popularity, Instagram is a crucial social media player, with over 2 billion monthly active users. 

To keep up with the emergence of short-form content, Instagram launched Reels in 2020 — a short-form video feature with infinite scrolling. Like TikTok, Instagram videos and posts must earn a million views in a few days to reach viral status.

However, Instagram is unique because your video could have fewer views with higher engagement and still go viral, meaning hundreds of thousands of views won’t necessarily translate to virality. If no one interacts with the Reel, it might not make it beyond the creator’s following. Over time, higher engagement — more likes, shares, and comments — shows the algorithm it’s good content, landing the video on Explore pages and in users’ feeds to increase the view count and make your video viral.

While there are benchmarks for numbers, like 1 million views in a couple of days or 3–5 million views in a week, Instagram videos with lower view counts but substantially higher engagement still have viral potential, which is ideal for small creators.

What Is Considered “Viral” on Facebook?

Facebook's growth rate has slowed due to competition from TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram. However, it's still the most popular social network, with roughly 3 billion monthly active users. Facebook and Instagram also share the same parent company, Meta, making it easy to integrate profiles and share content on both platforms seamlessly.

Facebook actively promotes video content, which is its most popular content format. Thanks to its user base, a video with 3–5 million views in a week achieves virality.

5 Practical Tips to Help You Go Viral

Going viral might seem unpredictable — you never know whether all your time spent researching other content and newly acquired editing techniques will perfectly align with a platform’s algorithm. That said, you can do your best to prepare for the next trend and improve your luck with these tips:

1. Track Top Trends

The most successful content creators always know what's happening and how to capitalize on it. If you want people to see and share your content, ensure it reflects current pop culture and relevant trends, like dances or meme formats. 

A screenshot of Instagram’s trending hashtags.

Use trending hashtags and consider using popular music, even if it's in the background. You can find popular hashtags under “Tags” with Instagram’s search functionality. Similarly, apps often suggest trending music when making Reels or TikToks. The algorithm might favor videos using these popular sounds, and sometimes, reaching broader audiences is as simple as tapping into a trend.

2. Analyze the Platform

Understanding and using a platform’s unique features helps your video reach more viewers since different platforms appeal to different groups of people. For example, TikTok is popular with younger audiences, and LinkedIn is geared more toward professionals. This will help you go viral by guaranteeing your content matches what users want to see: TikTok allows for 10-minute videos, but those rarely outperform catchy 15-second videos. Keep your short-form videos where users expect to see them.

You can also get to know more about algorithms, including the importance of early engagement on Instagram and watch time on YouTube. To get your video noticed, try analyzing which content form and trends will give you the best shot at going viral by increasing its appeal, like using trending topics or challenges.

3. Collect More Views by Adding Subtitles in Any Language

Adding subtitles means your content is accessible to a wider audience, including users with hearing impairments or scrolling social media platforms on mute. Someone who can’t understand a post’s content due to a lack of subtitles or audio will just keep scrolling. Adding subtitles means more people can understand your content and are then more likely to interact with it. 

Add subtitles

Captions is the perfect tool for this — it automatically adds subtitles to your videos, with 28 languages to choose from. Plus, you can change the font to match your video’s color palette for a more attractive appearance.

4. Build a Dedicated Following

Since a crucial part of going viral is high engagement, having a loyal follower base gives you a head start when it comes to earning likes, views, or shares. More followers — especially if they usually interact with your content — means the post will see more engagement by default. From there, your followers’ likes and shares help the algorithm find and circulate the post.  

Consistently post relevant, high-quality content to attract and retain a loyal audience. Interact with followers through comments and direct messages, and collaborate with other creators and influencers to reach wider audiences and related industries. If you're a home cook, you can work with another home cook in your area or get together with a cooking equipment company to expose your audience to other creators or products.

5. Monitor Analytics and Insights

Use in-app analytics to track your content and its impact. This way, you can learn what posts have the widest reach and highest engagement. For example, viewers may abandon your TikToks early, never watching until the end. You can then try to decide if that’s because the audio isn’t clear so people aren’t watching until the end or if followers aren’t liking a certain type of post. 

A screenshot of the Meta Business Suite dashboard

What Makes a Video Viral?

There isn't a one-size-fits-all formula for making viral videos. However, there are common themes among many viral videos, including:

  • Emotional impact — Viral videos typically evoke strong emotions, such as nostalgia, inspiration, or empathy. Emotional content resonates with viewers, encouraging them to share your videos.
  • Uniqueness — Viral videos have something that others don't: they're unique. They bring something new to the table by offering a fresh perspective to a common topic or showing something genuinely creative.
  • Accessibility — When more people understand your content, your chances of going viral increase. Including captions, subtitles, and translation options means a higher number of viewers can understand and enjoy your videos, encouraging them to click and share.
  • Short-form content — Short-form content quickly grabs attention and keeps viewers engaged. Viewers are more likely to watch shorter videos in their entirety and share them. 
  • High-quality production — High-quality videos tend to perform better. Good video, lighting, and editing create a more professional final product.
  • Element of surprise — Surprise is a powerful tool to capture and hold interest. An unexpected twist in a video, like a looping effect, can entertain viewers and encourage them to share your content.

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FAQs About Viral Content

Here are the answers to a few more questions you might have about viral content. 

What Happens When a Video Goes Viral?

When a video goes viral, its popularity skyrockets, often gaining millions of views and shares in a few days. Viral videos can lead to increased followers, engagement, and recognition.

How Do You Go Viral?

To achieve viral status, you must create content that's engaging and easy to share. Focus on creativity, trends, and creating content that resonates with your followers. 

When you reach a certain follower count or level of engagement, your content is more likely to end up in an app’s algorithm. The more successful posts you have, the more likely your next posts succeed.

Do You Get Paid for Going Viral?

While viral videos lead to a sudden influx of views, it doesn't immediately translate to financial gain. Going viral is a stepping stone to financial opportunities, but not all viral content guarantees monetization. You might need to repeatedly reach a viral threshold to gain the attention of brands. 

How Do Viral Videos Spread?

Videos typically go viral through social media. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube have algorithms that promote content with high engagement, leading to virality. When people share videos with friends and family, your content reaches new and broader audiences.

Videos are definitely viral when they jump to other platforms. If someone shares your TikTok on Facebook and it picks up traffic there, you’re going truly viral.

Can Any Type of Video Go Viral?

Any video has the potential to go viral with the right combination of factors, including evoking emotion, being creatively informative or humorous, and having high shareability.

Create Viral Content With Captions

You can’t always know if a video will go viral, but you can know if it’s top quality. Captions offers professional-grade tools, allowing you to optimize content for TikTok, Instagram, and other social media channels to make viral-worthy videos. With eye-contact correction, AI subtitles, and easy trimming features, you can create content that your followers — both current and future — will love. 

December 22, 2023
Min Read
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