By Rob Ciampa, Theresa Moore, John Carucci, Stan Muller, Adam Wescott

When an uploaded video goes viral in the good sense, it becomes a sensation that users share and share and share — in the process gathering more numbers of viewers than there are grains of sand in an hourglass.

Having your video go viral is like releasing a hit record or having your book make the New York Times best seller list, except that you’re unlikely to get anywhere near as rich from going viral even if you get a couple of million hits.

Planning on a video going viral is like planning on winning the lottery. It could happen, but you shouldn’t bet on it. If you are seriously interested in earning some ad revenue from your video content, work on creating a range of compelling content for your channel, rather than hoping on that one‐shot, grand slam home run.

While there’s no way of telling if a video will go viral, there are some traits that successful ones share. Here are some factors that can make a video a runaway success:

  • Spontaneity: There’s a real in‐the‐moment feel to a viral video that ­captures a random and decisive moment that you could never repeat. The popular Sneezing Panda and its 200 million clicks comes to mind.

  • Be light hearted: People love stuff that’s silly and that makes them laugh and think — or even consider trying something, much like the Coke and Mentos video collection that have drawn hundreds of millions of views.

  • Get it out on social media: Yeah, you can rely on chance that someone stumbles across your video, but that’s sort of passive, like waiting by the phone for someone to “find you” for the job. A better tack would be for you to let social media know about your latest masterpiece. Just a few tweets here, a Facebook post there, and then maybe an announcement on Reddit could instantly start turning the wheels of virality.