2015 was a VERY interesting year in viral videos and the concept of virality with YouTube, Facebook, and other new players.
There’s a lot that’s still not well understood about how certain videos gain such immense popularity online. As the online video industry is constantly evolving, it’s important to continually study how and why things happen the way they do. The phenomena of virality, and how videos go viral, is one such area that warrants more than just a passing mention.
That in mind, below are five of 2015’s biggest viral videos and what they tell us about the causes, mechanisms, and results of virality today.
What happens when a user-generated video that heavily features a consumer product goes viral? Back in April 2015, a video of a Scottish grandfather playing a children’s game called Pie Face with his grandson gained a tremendous amount of attention on Facebook. Two uploads of the video (here and here) have combined for more than 200 million(!) views.
Together the two versions of the video were shared more than 3 million times, but the number of shares, or share-count, that appears underneath the video only tells part of the story. There’s an under-the-radar method by which videos are commonly shared on Facebook that doesn’t include clicking the ‘share’ button. Looking at the comments section of a clip like Pie Face, you’ll see that thousands of people leave comments that tag a friend or family member. This is how users share a video with a particular person without posting it to their own timeline.
As for the Pie Face game, the video has helped catapult it to its status as one of the top-selling games and most in-demand toys of the year, proving the power and impact that organic viral videos can have.
The video has several million views on YouTube, was licensed for use in several TV shows, and was even used as the creative foundation of a TV commercial for the game itself.