What does it really take for a video to “break the internet” and go viral? With billions of videos online, viral success seems nothing short of winning the lottery. But behind every viral hit lies view counts and engagement metrics that reveal when a video has truly struck gold.
In this post, we’ll unpack the blurry concept of a viral video by digging into the key question: how many views are considered viral on leading platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Instagram? While going viral depends on many factors, view thresholds help quantify when a video has left merely “popular” behind to become unambiguously, massively viral.
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How Many Views is Viral on Tiktok?
There is no definitive number of views that makes a TikTok video “go viral“, since it depends on factors like the size of the creator’s existing audience. However, here are some general guidelines on what could be considered viral on TikTok:
50,000 Views – The Newcomer Mark
For a creator just starting out on TikTok with a smaller following, a video getting 50,000 views or more within 24-48 hours indicates it has gone viral. This shows strong organic growth beyond their existing audience. A benchmark for newer accounts is 10x their average view count per video.
500,000 Views – The Rising Star Level
Once a TikTok creator grows their following to around 500,000 fans and beyond, a video getting over 500K views shows it is gaining viral traction. According to TikTok, the average view count for top creators is around 150,000. Anything 3-4x higher means buzz is building.
1 Million Views – Certified Viral
Any TikTok video that hits the 1 million view mark within a few days has undeniably gone viral. Even top creators with millions of followers can struggle to get 1 million views that quickly on a single video organically. 1 million+ views means the algorithm is heavily favoring it.
10 Million+ Views – The Superstar Tier
When a TikTok video gets tens of millions of views, especially when the bulk comes from non-followers on the “For You” page, it means it has reached elite viral status. This is Multinomial even for megastars like Charli D’Amelio. Videos in the 50-100 million view club essentially break the internet.
So in summary, there’s no one view count that guarantees a video has gone viral, but anywhere from 50k to millions of views beyond a creator’s usual audience size and growth rate can signify a video taking off and reaching viral status. The speed of getting those views also factors in.
Defining a YouTube Sensation
On YouTube, a video hitting 1 million views would safely be considered viral. But viral videos on the platform often far exceed that:
- For smaller channels (under 10k subs), a video getting 50k-100k views can be considered viral
- For channels with 100k-1M subscribers, a video getting 500k+ views shows strong viral potential
- Once a channel passes 1M subscribers, a video getting 1-2 million views quite quickly indicates it is going viral
- Videos that reach 5-10 million views and beyond are reaching elite viral status on YouTube
- A massive viral video for even top creators is 50-100 million views or more
- View count should also be looked at relative to the channel’s average. 5-10x higher than usual shows noteworthy growth
- Major virality on YouTube also comes from non-subscribers/external traffic, not just a creator’s existing audience
So while there’s no definitive view count, these benchmarks give a good sense for videos that beat the odds and significantly outperform a channel’s norms on YouTube. Growth rate and whether views come from subscribers or the algorithm recommending the video externally are key factors as well. But overall, higher view counts = higher virality.
How Many Views Makes a Facebook or Instagram Video Go Viral?
While view counts make a difference, engagement is just as important, if not more, in determining virality on Facebook and Instagram.
Shares and comments can make a video go viral as much as raw views. For example, a Facebook video with only 100,000 views could reach sensation status with 100,000 shares. And an Instagram Reel with decent views but tons of likes and comments may also catch fire.
Distribution of views matters too. 1 million views from a narrow audience has different viral implications than 1 million views spread widely across both platforms organically.
So while general viral view count benchmarks exist, lower view counts with extremely high engagement can still very much achieve virality, especially for smaller pages and creators.
The Viral View/Share Sweet Spot
As a general guideline, Facebook native videos with over 1 million views have likely gone viral. For Instagram Reels, hundreds of thousands of views can qualify, with high engagement.
But a video with just 300,000 views and 50,000 shares makes a strong viral case based on Facebook sharing alone. The mix of views and engagement together is what fuels major viral moments.
In the end, there’s no one perfect benchmark. But analyzing views, shares, comments, sentiment, distribution and more can determine when a video has won the viral lottery on Facebook and Instagram.
Key Ingredients for Going Viral
While going viral depends on many factors, the numbers don’t lie. By looking at benchmarks, we can decode when a video has made the leap:
- Views – On YouTube and TikTok, multi-millions of views indicate a video has gone viral. Facebook and Instagram rely more on shares and comments, but still benefit from high view counts.
- Velocity – Fast exponential growth shows organic, contagious sharing, which is the hallmark of viral videos.
- Engagement – Likes, shares and comments fan the flames of virality. YouTube relies more on views, while TikTok, Facebook and Instagram weight engagement metrics highly as well.
- Shareability – Easily digestible, funny, shocking or emotional content gets shared more. Relatable, snappy visuals also boost sharing.
No content creator can guarantee a viral hit. But understanding the data and trends of videos that have broken out provides valuable insight into lightning striking. While viral success remains mysterious in many ways, numbers shed light on the difference between a popular video and a blockbuster smash.
Next time you spot a video quickly racking up incredible view counts, you can better evaluate whether it’s officially “broken the internet” based on the key benchmarks across top platforms. With people’s infinite scrolling, a hit video is out there somewhere right now on the verge of going viral—even if what exactly makes videos blow up remains a fascination.