Mode Studios, the digital video content arm of Mode Media, the 7th largest desktop and the 10th largest overall U.S. media property with 139 million monthly unique users in the U.S. with 406 million monthly active users worldwide, today announced the results of a survey conducted online on their behalf by Harris Poll this month that gauged the way Americans interact with viral videos. Sixty-nine percent of Americans say they share good viral videos online, and, of those, nearly 1-in-5 (19 percent) do so to passive aggressively express political views—especially Millennials, 25 percent of whom say they do this. Fifty-seven percent of Americans believe they can predict when an online video will be a hit/go viral, with the biggest predictors being if it made them laugh (40 percent) or if they saw their friend share it (27 percent).

Viral = sharing good videos

Sixty-nine percent of Americans say they share good viral videos online. Of those, 34 percent do so to get friends’ social reactions, 26 percent hope to start a social conversation, and 47 percent do so expecting no reaction whatsoever.

Mode Studios’ popular “100 Years” series has become a wildly successful viral hit, having crossed more than 250 million total viewers to date. The series’ episode 1, “100 Years of Women’s Fashion,” is the most viewed fashion video in digital history with over 175MM views, streaming up to 6MM views per day.

Big laughs or friends sharing = go viral

Fifty-seven percent of Americans believe they can predict when an online video will go viral. The number is even higher among Millennials, 78 percent of whom believe they can predict when an online video will go viral.

The biggest predictors, said Millennials, was that a video made them laugh (55 percent), that their friends are sharing a video (45 percent) and that celebrities are sharing a video (37 percent). Millennials consider celebrities a much higher predictor than other age groups; only 15 percent of 35-44 year olds, 7 percent of 45-54 year olds, 5 percent of 55-64 year olds, and 1 percent of seniors 65+ thought celebrity shares would impact the likelihood that a video will go viral:

How can you predict that an online video will go viral
General Pop Millennials
I laugh when I see it 40 percent 55 percent
I see my friends sharing it 27 percent 45 percent
It features animals 22 percent 27 percent
I see celebrities sharing it 15 percent 37 percent
I gasp when I watch it 14 percent 24 percent
It features kids 13 percent 16 percent

Eleven percent of men said that they could tell an online video would go viral if they felt aroused after watching it, compared to just 3 percent of women. Millennial men especially said feeling aroused was a predictor (18 percent).

Sharing is caring

Of the 82 percent of Americans who say they watch videos online, 44 percent say that when they see an online video they like, they watch it again; 42 percent show it to their significant other; 38 percent forward to a friend; 36 percent share/post to social media; 32 percent talk about it the next day; 28 percent look for more videos; and 12 percent show the video to their children. This figure was higher among 35-44-year-old women, 27 percent of whom will show their children an online video they like.

Forty-eight percent of Millennials who ever share online videos, however, hope to get friends’ social reactions; 40 percent hope to start a social conversation; 18 percent share good viral videos online in hopes of being liked (compared to 3-12 percent of people in other age groups); and 11 percent hope to make new friends (compared to 2-6 percent of people in other age groups).

Using videos to communicate indirectly…especially about politics or to win an argument

Sixty-nine percent of Americans also admit to sharing viral videos for communicating indirectly for passive aggressive reasons. This is especially true of Millennials, of whom 25 percent say they have shared a viral video to passive aggressively express political views.

Which of the following passive aggressive reasons have caused you to share a viral video online?*
Gen Pop Millennials
To express my political views 19 percent 25 percent
To win an argument 11 percent 16 percent
To share my religious beliefs 10 percent 14 percent

*of those who share videos online

Abbreviated methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Mode Media from October 6-8, 2015, among 3,027 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and, therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Gaby Perez-Silva: gaby@bospar.com.