How Many Views Do You Need to Be Viral?

A few years ago, a video could be considered “viral” if it hit a million views. Now I’d like to propose a more stringent definition, and tell you that President Obama meets the criteria.

A video, I submit, is “viral” if it gets more than 5 million views in a 3-7 day period. So Obama getting more than 6 million views in a week is indeed viral. You are correct, Michael Memoli. However many of your peers talk about videos going viral without really considering the competition… many top YouTubers get more videos in a day than what media considers a viral sensation.

One caveat, however. Part of what makes a video “viral” is not just the views but the degree of discussion online and offline (media). Here we get into a “chicken and the egg” issue, since the video’s viral nature may prompt “coverage,” which inspires even more views (although less than you’d think). Most views are driven by online activity not television or print coverage.


13 Replies to “How Many Views Do You Need to Be Viral?”

  1. As we approach campaign season Obama is big again –

    However, in this economy his campaign motto is going to be a little different this time around, i.e. At least he’s not a republican – in name.

    I think there should be a new viral criteria: The Viral to Eyeball Ratio – IOW how many eyeballs there are online in a given month (perhaps week) should be taken into consideration.

    I wonder if google could whip up a chart since youtube launched it’s first viral video, setting a standard.

  2. 5 million views in 3-7 days? Thats definitely viral ,but i once had a video which had just over 500 views in about a week,and youtube asked if i wanted to monetize it. Btw,most of my youtube views,over 60%,are from mobile devices. As usual…just sayin!

  3. I just Farted. And let me tell you it’s Viral. Also Alphacats Obama video 1 million views in 48 hours is viral.

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