Viral Video

What Does Viral Video Mean?

A viral video is any clip of animation or film that is spread rapidly through online sharing. Viral videos can receive millions of views as they are shared on social media sites, reposted to blogs, sent in emails and so on. Most viral videos contain humor and fall into three broad categories:

  • Unintentional Viral Videos: Videos that the creators never intended to go viral. These videos may have been posted by the creator or shared with friends, who then spread the content.
  • Humorous Viral Videos: Videos that have been created specifically to entertain people. If a video is funny enough, it will spread.
  • Promotional Viral videos: Videos that are designed to go viral with a marketing message to raise brand awareness. Promotional viral videos fall under viral marketing practices.

Techopedia Explains Viral Video

Now that most mobile devices include a video camera, the creation of online video is becoming easier as video sharing sites and viral videos become increasingly common.

Examples of unintentional viral videos include:

  • Numa Numa Dance
  • Star Wars Kid
  • Epic Fail
  • Don’t Tase Me, Bro!

Examples of humorous viral videos include:

  • “Lazy Sunday”, “I’m On a Boat” and “Jack Sparrow” by Lonely Island
  • “Evolution of Dance” by Judson Laipply
  • “Charlie the Unicorn” by Type Queen of

Examples of promotional viral videos include:

  • Terry Tate, Office Linebacker (Reebok)
  • Young Darth Vader (Volkswagen)
  • The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (Old Spice)

There is no set formula for creating a viral video, but many successful ones share a quick pace and near-instant payoff as far as the first laugh that hooks people into watching the entire video.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.