What Does Going “Viral” Mean?

Remember the video you saw that everyone can't stop talking about? That was a viral video. Read on to find out what it actually means to go "viral".
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We’re sure many of you have heard the term “going viral” when using social media – in short, it’s the process of how you see all the popular and most talked about pieces of content at any given time.

What does going viral mean?

If a video, image, or story goes viral – it simply means that content has spread quickly and widely across the internet through social media and other platforms like WhatsApp.

How do you go viral?

Going viral isn’t easy and more often than not, it isn’t planned. If it was easy, every company, influencer and individual with social media would be doing it.

You can go viral for the most unthought for of reasons. Let’s take the recent example of Binley Mega Chippy – the owners could never have imagined how their small Coventry chip shop would bring in TikTok stars and influencers from across the world.

However, its unexplained rise to fame blew it up on TikTok and saw thousands flood the local chippy with orders and the potential to create content outside and meet up with other Binley Mega Chippy fans.

Some other examples can be explained, like the resurgence of Kate Bush’s 1985 single, Running Up That Hill. After its use in the popular fourth series of Netflix’s Stranger Things, the song hit number one in the UK charts for the first ever time.

So, can you go viral?

The question on everybody’s lips is – is it possible to just “go viral”?

In short, the answer is no. An argument for this statement being true can be backed up with the Binley Mega Chippy craze – no one could have ever anticipated it to gain the traction it did. Some would argue that its sheer obscurity was one factor in why it went viral.

Planning and trying to go viral may end up in cringeworthy content and the perception that a brand or individual is trying too hard and is inauthentic.

What happens after viral fame?

This is a tricky one to answer because handled correctly, it can help propel a business or individual to new heights they never expected to see.

There are probably thousands of new Kate Bush fans all discovering her music for the first time, almost forty years after it was first released.

Counter to that, now the Binley Mega Chippy phase has died down, they’re not the first thing on people’s timelines anymore. The shop is probably seeing more custom than it was previously used to, but nothing like it achieved at the height of its short-lived stardom.

To summarise

To summarise, going viral isn’t easy and is normally very unexpected.

Nobody can predict the trend of viral videos or content coming next. If you try, you’ll likely fall short and end up with some cringeworthy content.

In ads creative solutions’ digital team opinion, the best way to go viral would be to continue to create original content, stay true to your brand and enjoy the creative process.

Who knows, you might well be the next viral sensation!