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Definition of Viral Video July 18, 2011

Posted by joinchoir in Uncategorized.

I have been trying to find criteria for what would universally be considered a “Viral” video and that includes view count in the definition. Wikipedia’s definition, “A viral video is one that becomes popular through the process of Internet sharing…” Doesn’t help much. Because viral refers to the process by which a video is shared (electronic word of mouth), it does not lend itself easily to a set number. However, I feel that if a video is receiving a whole lot of views in a short time, it is clear that the viral process is taking place.

Here is a definition of “Viral Video”:

A video is considered to have gone viral if it is on track to receive 10,000 or more views in the span of 30 days.

There are levels of viral:
A video is considered mildly viral if it is on track to receive 10,000 views in 30 days.
A video is considered somewhat viral if it is on track to receive 50,000 views in 30 days.
A video is considered moderately viral if it is on track to receive 100,000 views in 30 days.
A video is considered fully viral if it is on track to receive 500,000 views in 30 days.
A video is considered epically viral if it is on track to receive 1,000,000 views in 30 days.

One can talk about a video that receives more than 10,000 views in the second 30 days as “continuing to go viral” or continuing to go fully viral if it is on track to hit 500,000 more views by the second 30 days. You can say “last March the video went epically viral, receiving 1,200,000 views.” Of course you can just say “viral” without the adverb.

I would sure like to know what criteria they use at Viral Video Charts or similar sites.

Add your two cents about this definition. I apologize if this seems presumptuous but I am doing some graduate level work on this topic and am annoyed that it hasn’t been defined in a way I can quote in my research.



1. Noel St. John - November 19, 2011

I happened here because of a similar question. I’m tracking the Youtube numbers on the video out of U.C. Davis where a campus cop pepper sprays a line of peaceful protestors. By your definitions, this is viral at 304k views. This is within the past 24 hours. Have you thought of including a time curve in the definition as well?

joinchoir - November 21, 2011

That video has clearly gone viral. I had included a “slow boil” caveat for videos that get a lot of views over time but it was just too cumbersome. The key part of this definition is the “on track to receive” part. If the video you spoke of got 304K in 24 hours it would be on track to receive millions of views in 30 days. Epically viral!

2. Dave Baldin - April 24, 2012

I’m interested because I post videos on Youtube. While I don’t have the numbers stated in the definitions above, I still wonder if viral doesn’t mean my video went from 1,000 total hits that took about 10 months to achieve, to suddenly reaching 4,600 total hits in the last two months. So I get over 3,000 hits suddenly within a two month period. That’s kind of viral, isn’t it? I have another video that has over 22,000 hits, but it’s taken 6 years to get there, and never has had such a large jump in a short amount of time.

joinchoir - April 24, 2012

Hi Dave. Congratulations on the success of your videos. Viral or not, 22,000 views is nothing to sneeze at. From your description your videos wouldn’t fit my definition but if you look close at the view progression, if you can find a place where they got 333 views in a day that would be “on track” to receive 10,000 views in 30 days. If that happened you could say your videos had gone viral that day. Let me know what you find.

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