Optimizing YouTube Videos to Go Viral During the Holidays

Ron Stefanski
November 9, 2020 ·
Optimizing YouTube Videos to Go Viral During the Holidays

Everyone wants their YouTube videos to go viral. But, not everyone can have the same success experienced by videos like this one from the Dollar Shave Club, whose story went viral on social media, catapulting the company into a billion-dollar brand.

At the time of this writing, this video has over 27 million views and those keep increasing every single day. 

The good news is that a recent study has discovered the science behind viral YouTube videos, which means that marketers will now be able to use the formula to increase the chances of their videos going viral.

After analyzing over 430 billion video views and at least 100,000 consumer data points, Unruly, a marketing technology company found that the two most powerful drivers of video viral success are:

  1. Psychological Response: That is, the way the content makes the viewer feel.
  2. Social Motivation: The reason viewers want to or feel compelled to share the content.

Some videos that go viral are just lucky flukes that happen to hit all the right buttons, but the majority of viral videos are the result of a great video marketing strategy combined with impeccable timing, and a dash of luck.

Although you won’t find any guarantees or exact statistics when it comes to viral videos, there are certain things you can do to increase the chances of your videos spreading like wildfire — and that’s exactly what this article is about.

It takes a look at some of the most effective ways to optimize your YouTube videos to go viral during the holidays.

Why Use YouTube in Your Marketing Strategy?

The most compelling reason to use YouTube in your marketing strategy is its massive global viewership. According to recent statistics, YouTube now boasts over 5 billion video views each day.

The size, reach, and scale of this platform is unprecedented in media history, and it continues to grow with each passing year.

YouTube has become an essential part of the online experience of internet users, which makes the platform one of the best places for marketers looking for their target consumers. In addition, from my personal experience, it can also be a great platform to get individuals into an email marketing funnel to sell online courses you’ve built or other products/services. 

If you are still not convinced about the benefits of using this video-sharing site in your marketing strategy, here are some other YouTube stats to help you understand just how important this platform is for your marketing.

  • YouTube is home to viral videos: With this platform, your videos have the opportunity to spread quickly to a massive global audience online.
  • Host your own channel: By creating a YouTube channel, you can have one centralized online location for all your marketing videos.  This channel can make your brand more money, but it can also help grow your brand.
  • Robust analytics and reporting: YouTube allows you to easily track how many views each of your videos receive so you can gauge how your videos are being received by your audience.
  • Vast marketing opportunities: YouTube offers a wide variety of options for marketers to reach their target audiences, such as video ads, advertising on YouTube’s homepage, and so on.

How Do YouTube Videos Go Viral?

There are quite a few factors that cause YouTube videos to go viral. As previously mentioned, sometimes it’s just luck that makes some videos spontaneously catch fire while others sputter and die quick online deaths.

But oftentimes, there is a certain strategy that marketers use to give their videos the best chance of going viral.

Here are 4 factors that viral videos have in common:

1. Emotive Strength

When you can connect emotionally with your audience, it increases the chances that they will want to share your videos with others. A good example of this type of viral video is this video from WestJet Airline.

2. Brand Image Portrayal

Viral videos often portray the image of the brand without being overly promotional. The DollarShaveClub.com viral video is a good example of this.

3. Relatable Videos

If your video is on a subject that many people in your audience can relate to, then it’s more likely to go viral. The video below, A Video Conference Call in Real Life, is a great example of this.

4. Promotion

More often than not, you can’t publish a video and just assume it will go viral. It needs initial promotion and traction to take advantage of word of mouth spread. This means backlinks, social shares, and proactive promotion can increase the chances of success.

The image below shows many other reasons why videos go viral:

But, above all, viral videos must have a solid marketing plan behind them. Below, we look at five ways to optimize your videos so you can get lots of views during the holidays.

Getting Video Views During the Holidays

With the number of views increasing by 24% each year, the holidays are a competitive time to try to get views. There is a frenzy around Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and Thanksgiving, and if you want to get your slice of the video views pie, it’s important to have a solid marketing strategy.

6 Ways to Optimize Your Videos for the Holiday Season

There are a lot of trends that bring holiday season video marketing into sharp focus. Below, you’ll find five tips to help you boost your digital video consumption and keep your audience engaged during the holidays.

1. Start Planning Early

As a marketer, you should create your holiday YouTube marketing plan well in advance so you can put yourself in the best position to score a viral video.

Getting started early comes with a lot of benefits. For one, it will prevent you from falling behind the competition. Also, you don’t want to miss any advertising opportunities that might arise in advance of the holiday season.

Furthermore, your holiday video marketing project may take longer than you think, and you don’t want to be running around trying to get things together once the busy season hits.

2. Determine Your Keyword Strategy

If there are specific holiday keywords that you need to rank for, you need to make sure you have a keyword strategy in place. This will make it more likely that you will be able to capitalize on them and work them into your marketing strategy well in advance.

Avoid using the same keywords each holiday season. If you want to continue growing your sales, you need to have your core terms in place, but also find new keywords to help energize your holiday companies.

Once you’ve found all the keyword opportunities for your marketing campaign, you must then incorporate them into your video’s metadata.

Here are a few tips to help you optimize your video metadata:

  • Video Title: Choose the correct titles for your videos that help to illustrate the purpose of your video, and then incorporate your target keywords as near to the start of the title as possible.
  • Video Description: Include your main keywords in the first few lines of your video description and make sure that the description tells viewers exactly what your video content is all about.
  • Video Tags: Add 10 to 20 tags to each video, and make sure to include any relevant keywords that couldn’t naturally fit in your video description and title.

3. Stand Out With a Story

Connecting with your audience on an emotional level will help you drive phenomenal results for your video marketing. You can also check your analytics for demographic info and create a story that can be interesting for those that usually visit your website.  This can also help you create a content strategy around that video to potentially make it viral.

The hectic holiday season is the perfect time for marketers to use specific emotional triggers that will compel your audience to share your videos.

Focusing on feel-good stories or causes is especially powerful around the holidays when people are spending time around friends and family. They will want to share that type of content with them.

Leverage the power of this time of year by turning your brand’s message into a story that is enjoyable and shareable. You can use stories in your marketing as a way to boost conversions by making your product or brand part of a much broader narrative.

An example of a branded viral video (that’s also a great example of a relatable video) that’s done this is A Video Conference Call in Real Life created by Tripp and Tyler in partnership with Zoom. 

In this particular video, the creators do an amazing job of creating a relatable story for every viewer who’s been on a conference call that doesn’t go according to plan. They hit on all of the inconveniences of conference call platforms like buffering problems, people on their phone, software updates, and more. 

The timing of the video is even better than the content of the video itself. 

Being that we’re in the midst of a pandemic and thousands of employers have been forced to go remote with their workforce, this is an extremely relatable topic that most companies are struggling with.

At the time of this writing, this video has over 3.3 million views and it continues growing.

4. Write Viral Video Titles

The titles of viral videos tend to follow certain formulas to invoke curiosity or emotion. Some examples of titles that went viral include:

  • The Secret Ingredient of Viral Marketing – Clickbait Titles
  • Girl Learns to Dance in a Year (Time Lapse)
  • This Ultra Modern Tiny House Will Blow Your Mind

CopyBlogger has a helpful article that outlines a formula for crafting magnetic headlines. Here are a few guidelines to follow when writing viral video titles:

  • Your title should have around 6 to 7 words. It should be descriptive without being too long to avoid overwhelming people.
  • Use adjectives like “unbelievable” “incredible” “best” and “try” in your titles to make people more likely to click on your video.
  • With guides, how-to, or detailed video content, adding the current year to your title helps to increase click-throughs.

If you still need help writing viral video titles, you can use a tool like Portent Headline Generator to help you come up with creative and unique ideas. Simply enter a keyword or phrase, and the tool will do the rest.

5. Keep It Concise

One of the most important things to do to increase the chances of your video going viral is to keep the content concise.

People today have very short attention spans. Some studies have even claimed that attention spans are now shorter than a goldfish (about 8 seconds).

You have even less time than that to make an impression online today.

That’s why it’s so important to draw in viewers quickly and stay on a set topic. You must get your message across in the shortest time possible.

Make sure you have tight editing that will keep your viewers interested from the start of your video to the very end.

6. Resize and Share Videos on Social Media

While YouTube is a great place to upload videos and attempt to get them to go viral, understand that there are other platforms where video should be included as well. The reason for this is that the more platforms your video resides on, the more likely it is that they can go viral. 

As a best practice, if you upload a video on YouTube, it’s a good idea to use a free YouTube online video resizer to change the size of the video dimensions so you can upload it onto platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and more. The more platforms you share the video on, the more likely it can go viral. 


Creating a viral video isn’t easy. If it were, every marketer would have plenty of viral hits under their belt.

The six tips outlined above will help you improve the quality and shareability of your videos to not only ensure that you get a steady stream of views during the holidays, but also improve your odds of experiencing viral success and beating the post holiday slump.

Here’s a quick recap of the key points for optimizing your videos for the holiday season:

  • You must start planning early
  • Determine your keyword strategy
  • Make your campaign stand out with a story
  • Craft viral titles for your videos
  • Keep your video content concise
  • Resize and Share Videos on Other Social Platforms

Which of these concepts do you believe is most important when it comes to creating viral video content for the holidays?

Tool Features Ecommerce
Tool Features Ecommerce

Originally published November 09, 2020 - Updated April 01, 2024
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Ron Stefanski
Ron Stefanski Ron Stefanski is an internet business expert and marketing professor.
Carmen Apostu
Carmen Apostu In her role as Head of Content at Convert, Carmen is dedicated to delivering top-notch content that people can’t help but read through. Connect with Carmen on LinkedIn for any inquiries or requests.

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