How to Go Viral on YouTube 2021

Dec 10, 2020


If you're like most content creators, chances are you'd love to know how to go viral on YouTube in 2021. Believe it or not, going viral on YouTube isn't as difficult as it seems. By doing the right things and following the correct process, you can position your videos to go viral and receive a large number of views consistently.

To go viral on YouTube in 2021, you must create a high-quality video about a trending or popular topic. The video you create must be unique and related to your niche. Often, the best way to create a video capable of going viral is to take an idea that worked well in another niche and use it in your niche.

Going viral isn't the most difficult thing in the world, but it isn't the easiest either. You must still put in a lot of work to create a video capable of going viral. Along with this, there are some best practices that you must follow to ensure that you have put your video in the position to go viral. Failing to follow these best practices will lead to poor results.

How to Make Your Video Go Viral on YouTube


Study viral videos enough, and you'll see that they often share similarities. Often, videos go viral when they are created and promoted effectively. If you want to create a video and have it go viral, then it is in your best interest to follow the same process that has been used to help other videos go viral.

Here's how to make your video go viral on YouTube in a nutshell:

  1. Find a trending topic
  2. Make the trending topic niche-specific
  3. Create an engaging video
  4. Design a click-friendly video thumbnail
  5. Optimize the video metadata
  6. Publish the video
  7. Promote the video

Let's dive deeper into each of these steps.

1. Find a Trending Topic

To begin, you will need to find a trending topic or idea. Often, the best way to do this is to pay attention to what types of videos large channels in your niche are creating. Along with this, monitoring social media and websites such as Reddit can help you discover trending topics and ideas quickly.

Another thing you can do to find trending topics or ideas is to monitor the Trending tab on YouTube. While not every video on the Trending tab is technically "trending" there are some videos that will actually be trending. Try focusing on videos that have been created by individual creators- not corporations.

2. Make the Trending Topic Niche-Specific

Once you have found a trending topic or idea, you will need to make the topic or idea niche-specific. For example, if you discovered a trending topic where people built a replica of the Empire State Building using popsicle sticks, you could build a replica of the Empire State Building using hockey sticks in your yard (if you have a channel in the hockey niche).

What you need to try and do is put a unique spin on a trending topic or idea that your target audience will enjoy. General vlog channels have an easy time doing this, as they are not tied down by a particular niche. However, this doesn't mean channels based in specific niches can't create viral videos- it just takes a little more creativity.

3. Create an Engaging Video

After determining the basis for your video, you will then need to create the video. Your goal should be to make the video as engaging as possible. Meaning, your goal should be to get viewers to watch your entire video, not just the first minute. This way, the average view duration/audience retention of your video will be high, which will lead to more success.

Creating an engaging video starts with how a video is structured. If viewers click on a video to be met with a slow-paced, boring introduction, then this will cause them to click off the video. On the flip side, if viewers are met with an engaging introduction, they will be more likely to stick around to watch the video.

4. Design a Click-Friendly Video Thumbnail

Your video will not gain any views if people do not click on it. Typically, people decide to click on a video based on the thumbnail. Knowing this, it's in your best interest to design a click-friendly thumbnail for your video so you can convince as many people as possible to click on your video.

To determine how your thumbnail should look, you can look at how the thumbnails of other viral videos have been designed. Take note of the colors that are used and the types of images that are used, and use these elements in your thumbnails. If viewers responded positively to those thumbnails, then chances are they will to yours as well.

5. Optimize the Video Metadata

While viral videos are typically not the most SEO-friendly videos, it is still important for you to optimize your video metadata. Ideally, you should include keywords in your video title, description, and tags. However, you must focus on creating an eye-catching title as well, so your title might not be as well optimized as it ideally should be.

Take the time to write a good video description. Meaning, your description should include a variety of different keywords related to your video. Also, make sure that your tags are relevant to your video as well. Having optimizing metadata will help YouTube's algorithms understand what your video is about so it can be promoted to potential viewers.

6. Publish the Video

So, you've found a trending topic, created an engaging video, designed a click-friendly thumbnail, and optimized your metadata. Now it's time to publish your video! Before you publish your video, however, you should find the ideal day and time to publish it so you can gain as many views as possible as quickly as possible.

You see, a big part of getting a video to go viral is view velocity. In other words, how fast your video gains views within the first hour to 3 hours of being published. Your goal should be to get as many views as possible in the first 1 to 3 hours after your video is published, and uploading your video on the right day at the right time will help with this.

7. Promote the Video

One of the best ways to get more attention for a video is to promote it off of YouTube. Typically, the best places to promote YouTube videos are social media (Twitter, Instagram, etc.), Reddit, and forums. When done properly, promoting a video can help it gain a significant number of views.

As was mentioned above, you should try to get as many views as possible within the first hour to 3 hours after your video has been published. This means that once your video has been published, you should start to promote your video as effectively as possible on your platforms of choice.

How Many Views Does It Take to Go Viral on YouTube


You might be wondering- how many views does it take to go viral on YouTube? After all, videos that go viral tend to get a large number of views. Is there a certain number of views it takes for a video to go viral? Or, can a video go viral with a small number of views depending on the niche?

There is no set number of views a video must get to go viral. This fact is the same in every niche. The goal should always be to get as many views as quickly as possible when trying to get a video to go viral. Sometimes, videos with a very small number of views manage to go viral based on how they perform upon being published.

Certain niches are more competitive than others. Since this is the case, some niches might require a video to perform better upon being published than other niches. Smaller niches will typically have less competition, but also fewer people to attract, whereas bigger niches will typically have more competition.

Remember, there is no guarantee that a video will go viral. Following the process listed above will help you position a video to go viral, but there is no guarantee that a video will go viral. It might take a few attempts for one of your videos to go viral, so do not expect your first attempt to be successful.

How Long Does It Take for a YouTube Video to Go Viral


At this point, you're probably wondering- how long does it take for a YouTube video to go viral? After all, videos typically go viral when they accumulate a lot of views in a short time, so it must not take long for a video to go viral, right? Well, it depends- some videos take longer than others to hide their stride.

It is not unusual for a video to go viral that has an average performance upon being uploaded. Many videos pick up days, weeks, or even months after they are published- especially for small channels. So, if your video does not perform extremely well when you publish it, don't lose hope- it could still end up going viral in the future.

When you upload new videos, try tracking the performance of each video. Take note of how many views each video gets within the first hour, 3 hours, and 24 hours. Eventually, you'll be able to recognize when a video is going to perform well or perform poorly based on your collected data.

Monitoring how videos perform on channels similar to yours in size can also help you determine how long it can take for a video to go viral. If a channel similar to yours uploads a video and it gets 1,000 views in the first hour, and it goes viral, then you'll know that your goal should be to get 1,000 views as soon as possible on your video.


Learning how to go viral on YouTube in 2021 is beneficial for any content creator looking to achieve YouTube success. A viral video can help a channel get a big bump in growth, which can lead to future success. Follow the 7-step process outlined in this article, track the performance of your videos, and you'll manage to get one of your videos to go viral.

Daniel James
Hi there! I’m Daniel, the founder, and CEO of Tubefluence. I help businesses and influencers utilize the power of YouTube marketing to grow an audience and generate leads.
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