Going viral: Is it just luck?

by | Mar 15, 2024

Today, going viral seems to be the one key measurement of digital success. As marketers, we find our clients’ goals tend to be along the lines of “Make us an internet sensation!” Our answer? It’s not quite that simple! So how do the influencers do it? Is it just luck?



It’s all to do with the algorithm. On each social media platform, there’s an algorithm that detects when a post is picking up a lot of engagement. It then takes that post and boosts it, putting it on more and more people’s feeds, gaining more and more engagement until it’s reached the crowning glory: viral status!

The problem is, if you don’t already have a large following, there simply won’t be enough people to engage with the post in the first place. Say your company has 1000 followers. The average Instagram engagement rate is around 3% so, if you’re lucky, 30 people will engage with your post. Of that, perhaps 1 or 2 people might share your post but, unless either of those people have tens of thousands of followers, the post will probably die there.

So, although your chances of virality increase with the more followers you have, to an extent, yes, it is luck. Forbes predicted that the chances of going viral are literally one in a million! Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t boost your chances!

Having a strong, engaging post will always be a good start but ultimately, the more people that see your post, the higher your engagement will likely be. This is why so many brands make deals with influencers. A share from a page with a million followers will place your post in a much better position to be shared.

But before you take our advice and continue on your quest to go viral, ask yourself, is it really worth the effort? We often find that the vast majority of our clients would benefit much more from a simple, well-structured Google ad. The reason for this is that very few brands have a target audience that covers the whole digital world! If your business only operates in Surrey, there’s little gain in your social post circulating Korea and if you’re selling thermal solutions to corporate buildings, what’s the point in flexing your brand to the 5,039,906,000 other people on social media who don’t own an office building?

Google ads or a LinkedIn post that focuses solely on your target demographic will not only be much cheaper than influencer brand deals, but they’ll lead to a much higher conversion rate too! The people who will see your content may be smaller but they will be exactly the people who are looking for your services!

So to answer that burning question! ‘Is going viral based on luck?” Not entirely. There are cases where home videos just happen to have been shared by the right people at the right time but with a great post, a high enough budget and a high enough following, in theory, anyone can go viral!


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