5 Popular YouTube Videos (& What) Made Them Go Viral

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Some YouTube videos simply perform better than others in terms of ranking and view counts. For some of these videos, the reasons are obvious: They show something that is intelligent, awe-inspiring, hilarious, or otherwise interesting, and as such, internet users want to share the video with their friends and family members. For other videos, it’s hard to quite put your finger on why the subject goes viral.

Here is a look at recent most watched YouTube videos a look at what made them so popular.

#1: With more than 22,000,000 hits, Ken Block’s Gymkhana THREE video combines driving skill with staging and theatrics to create a visually pleasing tuner video with Ken Block and the 2011 Ford Fiesta at the l’Autodrome in France. Although there are numerous Ken Block videos on YouTube, his skills at the l’Autodrome are most impressive.

#2: Parodying Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” video, Key of Awesome’s “Glitter Puke” taps into the viral nature of parody videos with more than 54,000,000 views so far. Not only is the video funny on its own, but it parodies an already-ridiculous song and video, taking parody to the extreme.

#3: With more than 35,000,000 hits, Grayson Chance’s “Paparazzi” cover of the Lady Gaga song taps into relevancy while inspiring awe. This sixth grade boy has an incredible voice, following the trend of popular YouTube videos relating to unexpected singers with amazing voices, and the nod to Lady Gaga doesn’t hurt either.

#4: The Old Spice Man is a popular character on commercials, and when his videos hit YouTube, they garner hits in the millions. With 26,000,000 views so far, “The Man You Could Smell Like” is the man that every man wants to be, and the man that every woman wants on her arm with a nice mix of humor and parody mixed in.

#5: With more than 21,000,000 hits, OK GO’s “This Too Shall Pass” Rube Goldberg Machine video is just another in the band’s lineup of viral videos. While staged as musical videos, these YouTube videos have a natural, comfortable and fun and exciting feel to them that allows them to go viral with little effort at all. Everyone wishes that they could have this much fun for a living, after all.

Viral videos spread like wildfire when they meet the right criteria. What makes them go viral can differ greatly from video to video, but the response that they generate is often the same. Viral videos are almost always memorable, funny, unique or a combination of the three.

Viral videos may be staged or natural, but natural or candid videos tend to have the biggest effect. Viral videos are fun, awe-inspiring, enjoyable or interesting. Above all else, they conjure emotions or feelings that incite people to comment on and share the video, which is what makes a viral video viral in the first place. Your video has the greatest likelihood of being viral if it makes people think or act, even if only to scratch their heads.

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