TikTok has exploded in popularity in recent years, becoming one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. With its short-form videos and powerful algorithm, TikTok makes it possible for videos to go viral very quickly. But exactly how quickly can a TikTok video go viral? Let’s take a closer look at the data to find out.
What does it mean for a TikTok to “go viral”?
There’s no official threshold, but generally a TikTok is considered to have “gone viral” when it accumulates a substantial number of views, likes, comments, and shares in a short period of time. For the purposes of this article, we’ll define a viral TikTok as one that reaches 1 million views within 1 week of being posted.
Factors that influence how quickly a TikTok goes viral
Many factors come into play in determining how quickly a TikTok goes viral:
Quality and creativity of the video
High-quality, creative videos are more likely to capture viewer attention and get shares/engagement.
Strength of creator’s follower base
Videos from accounts with more existing followers have a greater launch pad to reach a wide audience fast.
Use of viral trends/sounds
Leveraging popular memes, sounds, hashtags, and effects can help a video take off.
Timing of posting
Posting at peak times when more users are active on the app can maximize views.
The app’s recommendation engine plays a key role in putting videos in front of receptive feeds.
Case studies of recent viral TikToks
Looking at real-world examples can give a better sense of just how quickly a successful TikTok video can gain traction. Here are the trajectories of a few recent viral hits:
“The One” dance challenge
This dance challenge to singer-songwriter James Hype’s song took off hugely in November 2022. The video that kicked it off came from @missmercedesjones and hit 1 million views in just 2 days.
Corn song by schmoyoho
This comedic song about corn blew up rapidly in July 2022. The original video by @schmoyoho reached 1 million views in only 1 day and 10 million views in 6 days.
TikToker interviews beachgoer about economy
In this viral video from October 2022, popular TikToker @kylescheele asks a man on the beach about economic conditions in an entertaining interview. It crossed 1 million views in 4 days.
“Jiggle Jiggle” dance videos
Set to a sped-up version of Louis Theroux’s rap “Jiggle Jiggle,” these viral dance videos absolutely took over TikTok feeds in June 2022. The earliest ones hit 1 million views in around 2 days.
How long does it take the fastest TikToks to reach 1 million views?
Based on the trajectories of current viral hits, the absolute fastest TikToks are able to hit the 1 million view threshold within 24-48 hours. Videos that gain traction that quickly tend to benefit from:
- Posting at a peak time when the app is most active
- Leveraging popular trends/sounds/effects
- Coming from an account with millions of existing followers
- Having high entertainment value, humor, or creativity
While 1 million views in 1 day represents the upper limit of speed, it’s not uncommon for videos containing these elements to gain 1 million views within 3-4 days. Slower weekday periods can extend the time a bit as well.
Most viral TikToks reach 1 million views within 1 week
For a viral TikTok with more typical conditions, the time to reach 1 million views is within 3-7 days. This range applies to videos that:
- Come from accounts with a modest following
- Leverage at least one viral trend/sound/hashtag
- Have strong entertainment appeal
- Receive some early promotion within the app via shares, collabs, etc.
One week allows time for the algorithm to pick up traction and extend the video’s reach through recommendations. While not record-breaking fast, one week to 1 million views represents significant viral success on TikTok.
Factors that can lengthen the viral timeline
For more average TikTok videos, it can take substantially longer than 1 week to hit the viral threshold, even if they ultimately get there. Factors that may slow down the growth trajectory include:
- Coming from an account with a small follower base
- Lacking integration with viral trends/sounds/effects
- Competing against other big videos for algorithmic promotion
- Appealing to a more niche audience
Videos lacking some key elements of virality may take 2 weeks rather than 1 week to reach 1 million views. TikToks with limited marketability can take a month or longer to gain traction through word-of-mouth sharing and chance algorithm picks ups.
The most viral TikToks of all time
To put TikTok’s viral potential in perspective, it’s worth looking at the app’s most-viewed videos to date:
|@bomanizer’s “ShadowBan Test”||14.4 billion|
|@shineglobal17’s “Chicken Wing Dance”||12.7 billion|
|@lucienkemp’s “Oh No” song||10.9 billion|
The fastest-viewed TikTok ever belongs to @Totouchanemu, whose 2014 video of a dancing anime figurine reached 1 million views in under 24 hours. It now sits at a staggering 2.7 billion views and counting.
For perspective, if someone started watching that Totouchanemu TikTok the moment they were born and did nothing else but watch it continuously on repeat, it would take them over 85 years to view it 2.7 billion times. That’s the scale of viral we’re talking about here!
So in summary, here are some key points on how quickly TikToks can go viral:
- The absolute fastest TikToks hit 1 million views within 24-48 hours
- Most viral hits reach 1 million views within 3-7 days
- Average videos can take 2 weeks to 1 month to gain traction
- Factors like trend use, follower count, and creativity impact speed
- The most-viewed TikToks of all time are in the billions
With the right blend of entertainment value, trend leverage, account popularity, and algorithm luck, a TikTok can go from zero to viral sensation in a matter of days. TikTok’s explosive growth shows no signs of slowing down, so world-record view counts may be just around the corner.