How To Go Viral On TikTok

We'll drill down into the common elements that contribute to videos going viral on TikTok, and look at case studies for some of the most popular viral TikTok videos.

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Alle Ceambur
On This Page
  1. What does "going viral" mean? 
  2. Going viral comes with benefits, but also challenges
  3. How to go viral on TikTok
  4. Case study #1: Leah Halton's Viral Lip-sync
  5. Case study #2: Viral Harry Porter video
  6. Elements of a viral TikTok video
  7. How to go viral on TikTok overnight
  8. How to go viral on TikTok without followers
  9. Analyzing metrics and measuring success on TikTok
  10. Conclusion

A six second video by Leah Halton "broke" the TikTok algorithm. In just a few days it has gained over 815M views, 50M likes, and 1.9M comments. But what does it take for a video to go viral on TikTok and can it be done overnight?

In this article, we'll look at case studies of popular viral TikTok videos and drill down into the common elements that may well have contributed to them going viral.

We'll also share common themes that you can apply to create viral-worthy content for TikTok.

Viral TikTok video stats

What does "going viral" mean? 

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of "going viral" is "spreading or becoming popular very quickly through communication from one person to another, especially on the internet".

So basically, when we say an image, a video, an article, or a social media post is "going viral", it means that it has reached a large audience, in a very short time.

This is usually the result of the posts being re-shared on social media by many users.

Cambridge Dictionary also states that "there's no surefire way to make a given video go viral, even if it features a celebrity."

So, there is no known formula to why something goes viral, but we can look closely at examples that have, and find similarities that may have contributed to them going viral.

Going viral comes with benefits, but also challenges

Going viral has become the ultimate goal for many brands and influencers.

Benefits of going viral:

  1. Increased visibility as a result of the post being shared
  2. Boost in engagement (likes, comments and DMs)
  3. Increased brand recognition
  4. Popularity and increased global reputation
  5. Growth in sales

But it does comes with challenges:

  1. The potential of negative comments at scale
  2. The need to manage an increased volume of comments and DMs
  3. Not being able to control the narrative
  4. The effects of a viral video are short-lived
  5. It can also lead to burnout and anxiety

How to go viral on TikTok

TikTok has proved that it can turn anyone into an overnight sensation. This is due to their unique algorithm.

TikTok generally promotes content that is:

  1. Engaging
  2. Entertaining
  3. Tailored to users' preference
  4. Based on a song, challenge, or trend

Now let's look at some examples of videos that have gone viral on TikTok.

Case study #1: Leah Halton's Viral Lip-sync

Leah Halton's six second video went viral in May 2024, reaching over 815M views and counting. In the video, Leah lip-syncs to YG Marley's "Praise Jah in the Moonlight".

Leah Halton's viral TikTok video

Video: TikTok

Video stats:




So why did it go viral?

We can only speculate, but some notable things about this video:

  1. It's short - only six seconds
  2. It captures the viewers' attention, right from the start
  3. It's authentic - it shows a real person
  4. It's in a real setting, in a moving car
  5. It doesn't take itself too seriously
  6. It's in sync with a catchy tune

Users are drawing comparisons with Bella Poarch's viral "M to the B" lip-sync video. And we can totally see why!

Bella Poarch's viral tiktok video M to the B

video: TikTok

Case study #2: Viral Harry Porter video

Zach King is one of the most popular TikTok video creators. He holds the record for the most views on a TikTok video with a flying Harry Porter video that has been viewed 2.3B times! In the video, Zack appears dressed up as Harry Porter, appearing to be flying on a magical broom.

Harry Porter viral TikTok video

Video: TikTok

Video stats:




So why did it go viral?

  1. It captures attention from the start - a person dressed as Harry Porter appears to be flying on a broomstick
  2. The ending reveals an optical illusion
  3. Users will rewatch again and again to work out how it was filmed
  4. It's playful and fun, so users will want to share it with their friends

Elements of a viral TikTok video

After studying videos that went viral on TikTok, we identified six common elements that seem to be key:

  1. First, the video needs to be visually appealing
  2. It should capture attention from the start - in the first few seconds
  3. Using eye-catching elements is important, such as vibrant colors, sudden motion, quick transitions, unique angles
  4. Taking part in current challenges and trends can give you a boost in visibility on TikTok
  5. Sound is an essential component that makes videos entertaining and memorable
  6. Captions should be kept short, with a maximum of 1-2 hashtags

How to go viral on TikTok overnight

Going viral on TikTok overnight may seem like a dream, but it is possible. Every day, various styles of videos go viral on TikTok, so there is no reason that you can't go viral too.

It's important to keep an eye on the "For You" page and find trends that you can recreate and put your own spin on.

Timing is crucial on TikTok. If your content needs to go through rounds of client approvals - forget it!

Tips for going viral overnight

  1. Look at what's trending on the TikTok "For You" page
  2. Create TikTok videos that are short, use trending songs
  3. Post videos as soon as possible, on the same day

How to go viral on TikTok without followers

Anyone can go viral on TikTok, even without a large number of followers. This comes down to the TikTok algorithm, which recommends content based on users' preferences and not by the number of followers.

Tips for going viral without followers

  1. Take your time to explore different types of content
  2. Understand what resonates with different audiences
  3. Focus on entertaining audiences rather than gaining followers
  4. Consider collaborating with other brands, and influencers (eg. dueting or reposting popular videos can reach a wider audience)

Analyzing metrics and measuring success on TikTok

Analyzing metrics is an important consideration when growing your TikTok account. Start by keeping an eye on basic metrics: views, likes, and comments to measure your monthly performance. As your audience grows, you can experiment with different hashtags, posting times, and editing tools to increase your chances of going viral.

Metrics to track on TikTok:

  4. Saves


Going viral on TikTok is not beyond the realms of possibility. With some research, experimentation, and being quick to jump on trends, anyone can go viral on TikTok. However, the benefits of overnight success can be short-term and could even lead to burnout if you're constantly trying to create viral-worthy content.

Remember to always aim for a balance when creating content for social media - schedule your evergreen posts in advance and occasionally jump on new trends.

Related articles:

  1. TikTok money calculator - Estimate your earnings
  2. How to schedule your TikTok videos
  3. How to repost a TikTok video
  4. TikTok Creative Center - How to use it

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