My Gif Went Viral This Week. This Is What Happened

This past Monday we celebrated my daughter’s 28th birthday and my grandson’s 6th birthday at the same time. My sister got this funky candle so I made sure I started shooting a video from my I-Phone.
After seeing my grandson’s reaction, I know it was a special video that the internet would enjoy. But, people generally hate videos compared to gifs. So I uploaded the video to Youtube. After uploading it I trimmed it on YouTube to make it very short.

How Do I Turn A Video To Gif?

Once you have your video uploaded to YouTube you can go to Imgur and use their video to gif feature. There you simply paste the video url and they will turn it into a gif. You can then trim at and make it short as needed.
Technically it’s not really a .gif, it’s a .gifv but that’s a whole other story. You can download the gif afterwards but the file is very large to display on your website or blog, so here it is embedded here:

The Imgur Post

He was a little horrified about the candle at first

Note the views. As of this writing, it’s been seen over 2.8 million times in a very short period. The reason why it was so popular is because people love emotions. As you can see by the top comment on Reddit, user zigzagcow said “Love the transition from boredom to sheer panic to pure joy“. Considering over 10,500 users upvoted that comment shows you how everyone felt.

 The Reddit Post

Cool birthday cake candle from r/gifs

As of this writing, this gif was upvoted over 84,000 times.

How Fast It Went Viral

It was probably around 9:00 PM on March 5th that I posted it. I added it to Imgur and then added the link to I tried to go to sleep for the night, but after about 10 minutes I picked up my Ipad to browse Reddit. I saw in the upper right corner that I had some comments. You can’t miss it because it’s orange.

So I looked and the gif already had 40 upvotes and a handful of comments. After I read the comments, I refreshed the page and it started going crazy. That’s when I realized that this was going to go viral.

At 12:27am, 3 hours and 20 minutes after I posted it the post landed on the front page of Reddit. For 8 hours and 10 minutes it stayed on the front page. Here is a screenshot when I checked:

Top Post Reddit

I intentionally opened another browser so I wasn’t logged in to Reddit. I wanted to see what the world saw, and sure enough it was number one for all of Reddit.

Many other Reddit users also reposted it in different subreddits.

Reposting on Reddit

Many people reposted it in other subreddits that helped increase the views on Imgur.

It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized how popular it had became. My phone was ringing off the hook from media companies as far away as Brazil.

I was also messaged by many, including this:

Hey OP, I work for a Facebook page called [removed] We love this video you posted: Do you own the footage? If so, would you be happy for us to post it on our Facebook page? We can credit your reddit username or Instagram/Twitter accounts if you have one. Let me know what you think and if that sounds good to you, please send the original file to [removed] Thanks! 

I said no problem, but then they tried to get me to give them the rights to it. No Way! I didn’t like this language at all, and I wasn’t getting anything out of it anyway.

1. You confirm that you are the sole rights holder of the Content and hereby irrevocably grant [removed] the non-exclusive right to use the Content on any of [removed]’s websites and/or social media pages. 2. You warrant and represent that (a) you are the full, legal owner of all rights in and to the Content and grant us the rights provided herein; (b) you have obtained all required permissions and releases from individuals, parties or locations, to enable you to grant us the rights granted herein; (c) nothing in the Content, nor our exploitation of the Content, will infringe or violate the rights or interests of any third party, including intellectual property rights, proprietary rights or rights of publicity or privacy, or bring us into disrepute; (d) there has been no infringement or likely infringement of the Content; (e) you have not granted, nor shall you grant, to anyone else any right which would conflict, with and/or prevent or impair in any way your right to grant us the rights specified herein. 3. [removed] shall be entitled to edit, upload and monetize the Content on any of our websites and/or social media pages (“Pages”). The foregoing shall include any of [removed]’s brands currently in existence or invented in the future and any such uploads may remain on the Pages in perpetuity.

I suppose I could have tried to make a few bucks, but my reason for posting the gif was because it was cute.

So remember, people love emotions, and they love short gifs. Think about that next time you post a video.


About the Author

I've been working in digital marketing since 1994. I'm the original founder of Showroom Logic based out of Miami Florida, which was the 26th fastest growing private company in the United States in 2015. It was also the fastest growing marketing company in all of the US. In 2016 I sold by shares and moved back to Massachusetts.