9 Vital Points To Pay Attention To If You Want To Make Training Videos Go Viral

9 Vital Points To Pay Attention To If You Want To Make Training Videos Go Viral
Summary: What's the secret of a sensational training video? It seems the folks at YouTube already know! Take a look at the hidden science separating run-of-the-mill videos from viral sensations!

How To Make Training Videos Go Viral: 9 Vital Points

If you’re looking for ways to improve your video training content, you should take some inspiration from the most successful video platform in the world, YouTube. As the foremost video sharing site, YouTube have worked out user engagement down to a science. That’s not just a metaphor either – with 300 hours of footage uploaded every second [1], sorting the good videos from the bad is not a job for a human being.

YouTube videos are ranked according to a search algorithm. This automatically ranks the videos depending on certain factors [2]. The good people at YouTube HQ know that their market edge relies on having only the best content front-and-center. They put a lot of faith in their search algorithm, and they constantly analyze and tweak it to make sure it always gives the user the perfect results. Since they’ve already done the hard work, all that’s left for you is to use this insight to inform your video production. Here are some of the key elements that determine a video’s ranking on YouTube.

1. Video Title

The title of the video is one of the first things your learners will see, and it could make them decide whether to watch the video or not. In a few short words, you need to do 2 things:

  • Tell the learner what the video is about.
  • Make the learner want to watch it.

If your learners are looking for a specific topic, and your video’s title matches that topic closely, the chances of them clicking through are much higher. If they’re not looking for anything in particular, an intriguing title might grab their eye and lead them to find out more. It can be tricky to strike a balance between informative and intriguing, which is why you should experiment with different titles and find the right fit for your audience.

2. Thumbnails

Don’t underestimate the power of eye-candy to draw people in. Content creators on YouTube have noted better performance when using custom thumbnails instead of automatically generated ones. Adding a custom thumbnail to your video gives you an opportunity to make a great first impression. It’s also a great way to thematically arrange your content, so that your learners can easily find related training.

3. Video Description

In all likelihood, your LMS will let you add a short description for any asset you upload. It can be tempting to overlook this, or paste some pre-written text from another document, but you might miss this second chance at engaging your learners. Focus on the main benefit that your learners can reap for watching the video. You can make it more tantalizing with a gamified learning platform. Here, you can assign a badge to the video, and use the description to tell the learners what they can earn.

4. Video Categories

Today’s learners are more inclined to forge their own learning path, and follow their own unique interests. If you want to keep them engaged with the learning platform, you need to let them explore the content in their own way. By categorizing your videos properly, your learners will be able to find related content more easily. The more seamless each stage of the journey is, the greater the chances of keeping the learner hooked.

5. Video Quality

Even the most interesting topics won’t hold the discerning learner’s attention for long if the quality is poor. Your training videos don’t have to be the best thing since Kubrick, but your learners expect a minimum standard. Luckily, with the right setup, you can create passable training videos with a simple smartphone. As if to prove the point, you can find scores of such videos on YouTube that will give you some useful pointers.

6. User Experience Metrics

When deciding what content should make the top of the list, YouTube’s algorithm takes user engagement into account. If more people click the 'like' button, subscribe to a channel, or leave comments, that video will have a better chance of becoming a hit. Social learning platforms mirror this functionality using a rating and reviewing feature. Here, any learner can vote the content they find most useful, or even add clarifications in the comments. This is a great way to start enabling user generated content and growing a knowledge bank that’s perfectly relevant to your organization.

7. Watch Time

Using analytics tools, you can get a picture of how long your learners spend watching videos on the LMS. This is a major ranking factor for YouTube, but it’s not as black-and-white when it comes to online learning. If many people stop watching the video before it’s finished, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that the video is 'bad'. It might just mean that their question has been satisfactorily answered. This is why it’s important to get to the point as soon as possible in the video, and to avoid adding a list of caveats towards the end.


If a video is useful and relevant, more people will watch it. If it’s a goldmine of information, they might even watch it more than once. Furthermore, if they really like it, they may even share it with their peers. This is probably the simplest ranking factor to understand. As a training manager, you need to look at the content with the highest number of views, and try to find a pattern that links them. You can identify hot topics that your learners clearly have an appetite for, and use that to inform your engagement strategy. You can also discover links between the content that isn’t performing quite as well, and plan ways to boost its visibility.

9. Closed Captions

The big online media providers have done their research and found that 85% of videos are viewed without sound [3]. However, in a study by Facebook, it was found that around 41% of videos are meaningless without sound [4]. Keep this in mind when you’re creating video training content. If you can’t design a video that works without sound, make sure you include closed captions, so that the meaning doesn’t get lost when the video is muted. This also ensures that your content can be used by learners with hearing difficulties and it makes it easier to create videos for other global regions.

Final Words

How do you think your training videos would fare against YouTube’s algorithm? Would they end up lost in the internet slush pile, or do they stand a chance of becoming viral sensations? A piece of code like a search algorithm can give us broad guidelines, but they can’t tell you who your audience is. You know that better than anyone and the most important thing you can do is to create video content that you know they’ll love. If they have an engaging online learning environment, you’re already half-way towards the viral learning campaign of your dreams!



  1. YouTube Company Statistics
  2. 10 Crucial YouTube Ranking Factors
  3. 85 percent of Facebook video is watched without sound
  4. Capture Attention with Updated Features for Video Ads
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