Candace Payne’s contagious joy over her Star Wars Chewbacca mask has quickly spread throughout the entire world. On Thursday, the Texas mom turned on Facebook Live and recorded herself trying on her new purchase. The next day, her video already had 40 million views.
In the video, Candace just can’t stop laughing when she hears the Chewbacca mask roar. Neither can anyone who watches. Candace’s video holds a record as the most-watched video on Facebook Live, with over 141 million views to date.
Definition of a viral video
What is considered a viral video? The rule of thumb is that a video needs to gain over 5 million views in a 2-3 week period. The most famous viral videos have well surpassed that number.
Elements of a viral video
The content of viral videos over the years is incredibly varied, but here are three common characteristics that we can identify as nearly always being present.
1. Viral videos evoke an emotion. Whether it’s joy, laughter or tears, when we feel something, we are most likely to remember and talk about it. (Convince & Covert)
2. Viral videos are memorable and consumable. Generally, something short and simple will stick in our minds better than a long and complicated plot line. (Forbes)
3. Viral videos tell a story. We connect with stories; they to resonate with us. As viewers, knowing the story behind a moment makes it all the meaningful to us. (Medium)
But really… can you plan to make a viral video?
There’s a lot of research out there that gives advice about how to make your videos go viral. And it’s absolutely true that you can take steps to improve the reach, relevancy and content of a video. A strong marketing plan that guides when and with whom a video is shared can dramatically increase its viewership.
But planning to make your video a viral sensation is kind of like planning to be spontaneous. The real thing is impossibly hard to predict.
Sometimes we just want to smile. And when we see an excited woman in a Chewbacca mask, we know we’re connecting with real and honest joy. It’s hard not to share that joy with others.
Let’s keep creating videos that are as compelling and meaningful as possible. But let’s also be excited when we witness those genuine moments that make our eyes sting with tears or our cheeks hurt with laughter. Let’s embrace the moments when the world is filled with happy Chewbaccas.