The 5 Steps Any Advertiser, Brand, or Agency Needs To Make Their Ad Go Viral

Why do some ads go viral and others don’t? Sometimes it is because they feature a celebrity or trigger a psychological response. According to new research, the most shared Super Bowl advertisements from the last game all produced at least one (and often more than one) emotional reaction from viewers. So how can you make your ad go viral so you can get more views on your web site, portfolio or agency?

We interviewed CEO Alexander Debelov — the viral video expert who helped spread the Kobe vs. Messi ad, to get actionable isnights into what makes something “go viral.” While these tips are written specific to video, the concept of planning for a successful “launch” can be applied to any marketing initiative. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Follow these 5 steps for your next “viral” success!:

1. Enhance viewer engagement

Show the video to a smaller sample of viewers and optimize it using analytic tools such as a heatmap of mouse movements and clicks.

2. Time your release

Pick a day and time to release your ad when you’ll need less views to reach the top of YouTube leaderboards (such as when others in your industry aren’t releasing theirs).

3. Seed your initial views

Before a video can be shared, a core group needs to see it first. Use a platform like — or reach out to others on your mailing list — to get these initial views.

4. Accelerate the first 24 hours

Create additional marketing spikes during the first 24 hours to show YouTube algorithms high rates of views, likes, comments, and shares.

5. Fuel the fire to keep it going

When you see the pace of video views starting to slow, use more paid views and reach out to your biggest fans with new incentives for social sharing.