Find below the best tips on how to make a video go viral in 2024 and win millions of free earned views. Check out below some of the most popular YouTube, Instagram and TikTok viral video examples.

Brought to you by Mau, a Senior Digital Marketing Specialist at eDigital.

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Find below some of the top Instagram, TikTok and YouTube video creator tips to make your video go viral.

What makes people share a video that goes viral?

You can produce a video and make it more shareable and viral by using some of the below 12 human psychology motivators. There are more, but these give you a good starting point.

If you want to do more research, track down writings on the subject by Freud, Maslow, McClelland, Murray, Costa & McCrae, and Erhard.

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12. Unpredictability

To score higher video views, there’s a human motivator that makes sharing a viral video so addictive: the video has to be completely unpredictable.

As many creators are not professionals in a specific field, they can try the most unexpected ideas, combinations or techniques without any fear.

For example, that unpredictability has made Guga a hit with viewers from all over the world. In fact, while Tosta’s (owner of the Guga channel on Youtube) other channels appeal to mainly U.S.-based audiences, his Shorts hub has built a thriving global fanbase.

steak pizza guga gordon ramsey reaction gustavo tosta

Steak pizza by Guga – Gordon Ramsey reaction  – Gustavo Tosta – Watch it now!

You may be saying: “Who the f***k is Guga?

With a combined 4+ million followers across all his Youtube channels, Guga is the king of the most unexpected “steak combos” and a few other surprises such as dry-aged python or Coke-boiled chicken.

It is great your audience has an idea of the type of videos you upload, but you should also budget for “surprise”.  If you want your videos to go viral, your audience should never be certain what will come out next.

Mau, Global Head of Marketing Strategy at eDigital

11. Fun

No wonder why TikTok and Youtube video content is so popular. Their viral videos and fun and make you laugh will always be welcome and shared by millions of viewers. And “fun” does not have to be perfectly produced. Some of the world’s most-followed people on TikTok share raw videos made with their phone cameras.

most viral video TikTok Zach King Harry Potter illusion

most viral video TikTok Zach King Harry Potter illusion


Nicholas Boshier  – Creator of Beached az bro! (Beached Whale), Trent from Punchy & Bondi Hipsters – Viral and popular YouTube videos. Some of Nick’s tips for video virality are shared below:

  • You never know what’s gonna hit but some key elements normally work: needs to be easy to watch, short version, has colourful colours, and is optimised to be easily watched from smartphones.
  • Needs to be sharable (make something that people want to share – advocacy). Give it away – Free.
  • YouTube is hungry for cool and unique content.
  • YouTube can also help your content to be a partner with specific brands.
  • Do not wait for perfection. Create and launch quickly. If something bites then you build around it. Create simple stuff – do not complicate it.
  • Visit, watch and use all the tips given on the YouTube Creators Academy
  • You need to have a constant desire to push stuff out.
  • Be willing to suck up, to be bad and learn from mistakes. Next time you will do it better.
  • The idea was created with $16 dollars and coffee. A simple creation.
  • Whether you are a creator or not, you have access to a massive audience via YouTube.
  • Cafe Press allowed them to sell Promotional staff including a Beached az bro g-string!
  • Supre approached them and they wanted to do a Beached az t-shirt as soon as they started selling t-shirts via Supre the Beach Az concept worked and sold thousands of t-shirts.
  • Then, ABC (Australian TV channel) came in and wanted to expand the concept and make it one of the most-watched TV series in Australia. 

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Another popular spin for making videos go viral is the use of “self-sacrifice” in a funny way.

For example, YouTube’s popular Pink Shirt Couple channel makes use of funny “self-sacrifice” entertaining videos. In this YouTube short, for instance, the creators thank their viewers for reaching 2.3 million subscribers by slapping each other in the face with tortillas. That particular video has earned more than 82 million views, but it’s far from the duo’s only method for expressing their gratitude. From peeling wax off their chins to ingesting ghost pepper gummies.

10. Novelty

People who are driven by seeking novelty will share videos that offer a new view of an unfamiliar activity or concept.


Viral video Ariana Grande DIY dress Micarah Tewers

Viral video Ariana Grande DIY dress Micarah Tewers – Youtube


This American man could not stop drinking cranberry juice while skateboarding and singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” song making his video go viral and producing a meteoric revival of the song.


People’s insatiable desire to go back to basics has helped these farmers in Asia get celebrity status.

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9. Validation

People who share videos online get an instant “I am a good/smart citizen” boost.

By doing the video sharing, they feel positive about themselves and make a statement to the world that they are worth having followers on social media as followers get value from the shared content.

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8. Curiosity for something strange or new

Curiosity is a powerful motivation for why people share a video. Whether it is schadenfreude, vicarious pleasure or just exclusive access to something you cannot see or experience, people will love to create, share or consume these types of videos.

Example: Competitive slapping in Russia

The 14 million views video is age-restricted so I cannot be embedded here. You can watch the video on YouTube.

slapping competition russia viral video fat guy

slapping competition Russia viral video two guys male shirtless crowd funny

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Example: Nusret Gokce CHEF (Salt Bae) Ottoman Steak Instagram viral video 

Nusret Goksce is probably one of the top 10 most-followed chefs on Instagram with 33+ million followers. Nusret came to stardom when he published on Instagram his famous 2017 “Ottoman Steak” a 36-second video reaching 16+ million views.

The Ottoman steak is supposed to be mouth-watering mustard-marinated bone-in ribeye retailing for USD$130. I am sure you can cook a yummier one but I won’t have the “salt” circus around the experience. 

Nusret Gokce Salt Bae Ottoman Steak Instagram video 16 million views

Nusret Gokce Salt Bae Ottoman Steak Instagram video 16 million views

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The key to Nusret’s viral video success:

  • Make something uniquely simple. It was not about the steak. It was about his theatrical “salt sprinkle” performance over the steak piece.
  • Twitter discovery. Twitter discovered the video and ran with it. The next day, Bruno Mars tweeted a picture of Salt Bae with the caption “Annndddd I’m out,” and a meme was born. Within 48 hours, the Instagram viral video post had 2.4 million views. To date, the viral video has amassed  16+ million views.
  • Make the experience more accessible. Barely a year after the video went viral, Gokce went into a crazy frenzy and opened more than a dozen restaurants around the world.
  • Get celebrities in. The names of those who have eaten at his restaurants include Drake, Leonardo DiCaprio and DJ Khaled, Odell Beckham Jr. and P Diddy.
  • Get media interest. Salt Bae has been featured in dozens of articles and late-night television shows.
  • Become part of the culture. In, Melbourne, Australia, there is even a mural of him — Gokce is pictured, frozen mid-salt, in his cobra-style pose.

In Jan 2021, The Turkish Ministry for Culture and Tourism announced Restauranteur Salt Bae will be part of a new public relations campaign.

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Example: Danny Macaskill – Rooftop BMX riding

With 105+ million views, this GoPro and Redbull-sponsored video went viral in a fraction of an hour.

GoPro viral video MacAskill bmx riding Gran Canaria pov

GoPro viral video MacAskill BMX riding Gran Canaria pov


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7. Status

Some videos go viral just for the mere fact of people trying to associate themselves with upper-class, wealthy and/or elite people, celebrities and brands.

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6. Identity projection

People create and share other people’s videos to confirm who they are and be vindicated in their identity.


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5. Being helpful

People are compelled to share videos that they find useful because they want to be perceived as helpful and nurturing to their friends or family. It feels good to be looked at as someone who is competent and knows what she/he is doing.

Example: Gary Turk’s “Lookup” Youtube viral

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Gary Turk - Look Up Viral Video Youtube

Gary Turk – Look Up Viral Video Youtube

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4. Sharing safety tips or dangerous situations to avoid

Fear is embedded in the most primal part of people’s psychology. If people sense danger, their brains have evolved to pay attention. When something terrible is happening, people want to record it and share it with the world so they can find out more and if appropriate, protect themselves.

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Example: “Dumb Ways to Die” viral video

In 2012, Metro Trains (with ad agency McCann Australia) published a funny video on Youtube called: “Dumb Ways to Die”. The video has been played more than 250 million times on YouTube, has spawned a growing franchise of digital gaming content that Melbourne’s rail network recently sold for more than $2 million, and is right now trending globally on TikTok alongside videos of young people accidentally injuring themselves.

I know what you are thinking:

‘But it did not go viral cause it wanted to make everyone safe, it went viral cause it used a super catchy song and cool characters”

The cartoon that accompanied the song featured colourful, blobby characters doing the dumb activities featured in the lyrics, things like setting fire to their hair, eating tubes of Super Glue and using their genitals as piranha bait.

Viewers enjoyed so much the viral video so that it got more than 28 million views within its first couple of weeks on YouTube (an impressive feat in the early 2010s). The “Dumb ways to die” song reached No.1 on the iTunes charts in more than 28 countries, and the following year, Metro Trains released a hugely successful mobile game based on the same characters and premise – the first of many – which is currently at the top of local and international app store charts above titles like RobloxCall of Duty and Mario Kart.

On TikTok, the “Dumb Ways to Die” song is being used to soundtrack videos of people hurting themselves in particularly “dumb” ways – whether backflipping directly onto their head on a trampoline or somehow getting their neck stuck in a car headrest. It’s also being used for socially or emotionally “dumb” situations, like a man complaining about being tired to his pregnant partner.

Dumb Ways to Die is considered one of the most successful Australian viral videos.

Many animals mentioned in the video are not native to Australia; the animated characters were created without gender or ethnicity; and fans were encouraged to “mess with it” via covers and parodies.

In 2021, Metro Trains sold all the “Dumb Ways to Die” assets and copyright to Melbourne game developers PlaySide Studios for a reported $2.25 million. Since then, the official Dumb Ways to Die TikTok account – which boasts 2.7 million followers – has been actively engaging with old and new fans, and PlaySide has started selling a line of NFTs based on the game characters.

“A lot of people think about advertising as a bullshit factory, but usually things are most interesting when you find the truth of a situation … and the truth is: if you get hit by a train, you’re an idiot”

John Mescall, Global Executive Creative Director, McCann New York

3. Order

Videos that show extreme personality types related to order are likely to go viral. Videos of highly organised and efficient people tend to succeed more than those who are naturally messier.

2. Inspire others

Example: “The magic of a kiss” viral video by Jason Silva

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1. Longing/nostalgia

In September 2021, Blue’s Clues’ Steve Burns sent millennials – who grew up watching the show – into a tailspin. For a lot of viewers, Blue’s Clues was an integral part of their formative years. This simple video features Steve in costume explaining his abrupt exit 20 years ago. It helped Nick Jr. garner over 2M likes and over half a million retweets, and it was just a part of the show’s 25th-anniversary celebration.

steve burns viral video blues clues nickelodeon nick jr 2021

Steve Burns viral video Blue’s Clues Nickelodeon Nick Jr 2021 on Twitter

The anatomy of a #viral video

  • Short intro: Build interest between 1st to the fifth second. Hook the audience within 3 seconds. You only have three seconds to capture a viewer’s attention before they keep scrolling, so don’t be afraid to give away some spoilers. You can open with quick clips of your video’s best moments, or ask a question that leaves viewers wanting more.
  • Make your videos interesting with creative visuals with and without sound. Most people multitask while scrolling through social media, so your videos should entertain even on mute. Try to include text, graphics, and visual elements whenever you can.
  • Roller coaster joy (induce humour) or a massive surprise
  • Make use of recent social media trends and trending graphic design elements
  • Execution well the creative idea (quality, great content and diversity of protagonists)
  • Weave #brand image unobtrusively thru #ad
  • Should be share-worthy

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Never produced a video with the only objective to go viral. Produce videos that solve or bring a unique perspective to an issue your most valuable customer segment is interested in. This way, if the video does not go viral, it does still offer value to your current or potential customers. 

eDigital can help you conceptualise, plan, develop, run and optimise successful digital marketing campaigns that generate leads and sales for your brand.

Our digital marketing services include:

  • Strategic planning for social media and other digital marketing channels.
  • Online advertising management and optimisation (Search, Display, social media ads and re-marketing).
  • Marketing training: social media training and digital marketing training. 
  • SEO strategy and execution. Including content development (articles, stories, eye-catching and SEO-optimised visuals).
  • Celebrity and influencer marketing campaign strategy. 
  • Brand development. Logo creation, brand personality development and design of marketing materials.
  • Consumer contests/competitions/giveaways.
  • Email marketing. Dip sequence design and deployment. 
  • Conversion rate optimisation. It is also called “path to purchase” optimisation. 

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