How to Create a Viral YouTube Video: The Science Behind Shareability

Is “virality” really so mysterious? No, it’s not.

Emily Olson
3 min readMar 30

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Why does “going viral” feel so unpredictable?

Because there’s no guaranteed formula for it!

But, if you understand the science behind shareability, it can increase📈 your chances of creating a video that resonates with a large audience…aka 🔥GOES VIRAL🔥

1. Your video evokes a strong emotion from your audience.

Content that evokes strong emotions, such as joy, sadness, anger, or surprise… is more likely to be shared!

We all know this, because we’ve all accidentally cried at 8:00 am..fully at work, at a random “feel good” story about a dog that found it’s way home after getting lost and falling into a muddy pit near the railroad tra…oh wait that’s Homeward Bound.

Emotion is why we’re so mad Jack didn’t fit on the door with Rose.
(In one of the highest grossing movies EVER.)

You get the point!

2. Your video offers Social Currency to your audience.

People are more likely to share content that makes them look good in the eyes of their peers.

Is your video: entertaining, informative, or thought-provoking?
Creating a video that teaches a new skill or sheds light on a little-known topic can make your audience feel like they’re sharing valuable knowledge with their friends.

3. Your video offers everyday value to your audience.

People are more likely to share content that’s helpful to them in some way.

Think: how-to videos, tutorials, or product reviews.
Try to focus on providing actionable advice they can apply to their own lives.

4. Your video tells a compelling story to your audience.

People are more likely to share content that tells a compelling story.

Remember, if it’s 30 seconds or 3 hours, every video tells a story.
Some stories are more compelling than others because they use storytelling techniques like:

  • a theme,
  • good pacing,
  • relatable characters,
  • foreshadowing, and
  • unexpected plot twists.

Why is storytelling important?
It helps you create emotional resonance.

5. Your video visually appeals to your audience.

Videos that are visually appealing are more likely to be shared.

Think about it: if you were scrolling and saw a video that looked like it was filmed on a potato, with shaky camera movements and terrible lighting, would you click on it? Nope!

But if you saw a video that had bright, colorful visuals, good editing, creative camera angles, and a visually stunning backdrop, you’d be much more likely to watch it and share it with your friends.

And it’s not just about the aesthetics.
Videos that are visually appealing are also more likely to be memorable and stick in people’s minds.

It’s about good content, but also being aware of how you present that content visually.

Remember, when it comes to going viral, there’s no magic potion — just a generous helping of creativity, and a whole lot of shareability science!

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