Ever wonder why certain videos go viral? Chewbacca Mom was able to generate over 78 million views in just three days, however, creating the next video to take over the internet will take a lot more than charm and a Chewbacca mask. Since the web is so oversaturated with video content, it is more challenging than ever to make your video reach virality. In fact, a study by Upworthy estimated that only 0.3% of videos actually go viral. If you’re a creator who is still looking to make that viral hit, you will need to strategize a plan that consists of timing, creativity, and–– a little luck. In order to help you improve the odds your videos go viral, we took a look at some of the biggest viral videos on YouTube to analyze the trends and common traits that led to their success. Here are the top takeaways that we found:

Make It Relevant- Timing Is Everything

Timing is one aspect that you can leverage in hopes of helping your videos go viral and we found that creators that published content based on events that were currently trending saw success. A great example is the Obama Girl video that was famous during the 2008 election. Amber Lee Ettinger or better known as “Obama Girl” took advantage of the growing popularity of Barack Obama and created a short two-minute video. Eight years and 27 million views later, the video is still worth watching:

If you are going to create content based off of a current event, the actual time you choose to publish is another very important factor to consider. For example, you don’t want to post a video on the day of a breaking news story but instead on a slower news day so it doesn’t get lost in the noise. The best days to post video content are Wednesday-Friday because these are the days the most sharing occurs on social media. The first two days after a video is posted is the most important in terms of its success. This is because if a video doesn’t generate a certain amount of views in the first couple of days, the chances of it going viral diminish significantly. Ideally, you want to post your video on a Wednesday so that it takes advantage of this three-day window.

Inform Your Audience

Videos that educate the viewer are great for going viral because it is human nature to share things we find that are useful. One of the most informative viral videos of all time is the Pepsi and Mentos experiment, which today has been replicated over and over. Steve Spangler, answered the question “What happens when you put a pack of Mentos into a two-liter coke bottle?” Millions of curious viewers around the world clicked the video to see what would unfold. The resulting image of what can only be described as a Coca-Cola explosion took the internet by storm.

Make sure that if you are creating an informative video, you keep it short and impactful. Tasty (who cracked the Top 10 Most-Watched Facebook Video Publishers) does a great job of leveraging this with their cooking videos because within one to two minutes the viewer learns how to make a new tasty dish. To help you avoid viewer drop off by finding the best video length for each platform, check out our blog.

Make Your Audience Smile

If you think about your favorite viral video of all time there’s a good chance it made you laugh, that isn’t a coincidence. A study found that happiness, surprise, and admiration are the three top emotional responses to viral images. Additionally, online users were asked what were some of the reasons why they share videos and it was determined to be “I want to see what my friends think about”. When you combined that information with the fact that 43% of people say the primary reason they use social networks is to share funny content, you see why creating a video that evokes a positive emotion can go viral quickly. Look back to the famous “Charlie Bit My Finger” went viral for these exact reasons. The image of a small boy getting his finger bitten by his toddler brother (much to his dismay and shock) filled its viewers from across the world with laughter and glee.

Copy What’s Working

When trying to help your videos go viral, you don’t have to try to create new content that reinvents the wheel, but instead look at what’s already working and try and put your own spin on it. In 2013, The Harlem Shake took over the web. The video would start with an individual usually wearing a mask dancing by themselves in a room surrounded by other people. When the bass drops, the video would cut to everyone dancing randomly all at once in crazy outfits and costumes. Over the next few weeks, thousands of replicas were being uploaded to YouTube every day, with many of them going viral as well.

In addition to looking at what type of content is working, you should also track the different video strategies other creators are incorporating to get their content more visible. For example, Facebook actively suppresses YouTube or Vimeo links, so posting your video natively to Facebook will help it do much better. For more tips on how to get your content to the top of the feed, check out this blog.

Protect Your Content

As you can see, having your videos go viral requires a lot of work (and some luck) and there’s no predicting when it will take off. As our final tip, users should be proactive with protecting their content by making sure they establish their rights as soon as the video is published. Vydia’s own proprietary protection technology, Social and Rights Sync, gives creators the ability to post their video natively to Facebook or YouTube. Videos will automatically to their Vydia Media Manager and once imported, the creator will be notified to set their protection policies. Don’t leave your content vulnerable online, protect your video before it goes viral in order to maximize your earnings early on!