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The 4 ingredients of a viral video: how trends form on TikTok

With the latest music, must-try challenges and a highly engaged creative audience, TikTok has quickly become a catalyst for viral success. 

Anyone can start a trend on TikTok, including brands. Our user interface is optimised for discovery, meaning good content is prioritised over all else. And unlike social media, you don’t have to chase followers to get your content seen. 

While there is no one way to create a viral hit, there are a few things our most popular videos do have in common.

What makes a viral TikTok video?

1. It’s simple

Our suite of business solutions are designed to enable brands to tell their stories in ways that are familiar and appealing to our community. These solutions seamlessly embed a brand’s content into the overall TikTok experience, meaning users are more likely to connect and engage with it. To learn more about our products, talk to our partnerships team.

2. It’s entertaining

TikTok is a mobile video entertainment platform. And our top performing posts reflect this. Use our creative toolkit to add visual effects, voiceovers and music to your videos, or add suspense and energy by adjusting the speed. Whether you contribute to the latest trend or start a new one, you’ll be rewarded for thinking like a TikToker and unleashing your creativity.

3. It’s imitable

TikTok thrives on creative expression and individuality is celebrated on a global scale. Our community is always on the lookout for new trends and challenges to participate in. Brands that make creative, easy to imitate videos have the strongest chance of being discovered by TikTok users hungry to share their own unique interpretations. Using Branded Effects and Branded Hashtag Challenges can really accelerate participation and the creation of UGC by giving users fresh inspiration to work with. Getting a TikTok Creator to participate in your campaign can help it go even further.

4. It’s rooted in culture

TikTok is a driving force of internet meme culture today. When memes are popular online they immediately find their way onto the platform. Users can also use tools like Voiceover or Green Screen to add references from their favourite films or TV shows to their TikTok videos.Just as real-world trends can influence what happens on the app, TikTok trends often spill into real life. This can be clearly seen when it comes to music, with stars like Lil Nas X and Doja Cat going viral on TikTok before they hit the mainstream charts.

Adding an up and coming artist’s track to a video is a great way for brands to connect with the TikTok community, especially when that track is paired with an imitable dance routine. To simplify the music sourcing process, we’ve created a Commercial Music Library where brands can choose from 7,000 royalty-free tracks to enhance their videos.

How else can brands get involved?

Co-creation is at the heart of TikTok and our community will happily take inspiration from other users and brands. Our business solutions prompt the creation of UGC by giving our community new tools to create with and trends to be part of. Put simply, the more you inspire the community, the more likely it is your video will go viral. Like to find out more?