Steal These Viral Hooks: 28 Scroll-Stopping Video Hooks

Andrew Moore-Crispin
April 9, 2024
viral video hooks

Viral hooks grab your viewers by the eyeballs and paralyze their thumbs in the first few seconds so they can’t swipe away. Figuratively speaking, of course; their eyeballs and thumbs will be just fine. They could swipe away but they won’t want to, you see? It was hyperbole.  

At the risk of over-explaining any more, let’s jump into it: these are tried-and-true viral video hooks you can steal for your own content. 

Is it really stealing though? I mean, we’re inviting you to use them… and it’s not like we came up with all of these ourselves. Wait, did we steal these hooks?

Where was I? Right! Viral hooks. Sorry. Here they are:

Spark Curiosity with “Did You Know…” Viral Hooks

Create a “curiosity gap” in the first few seconds of your video and viewers will have to stick around for the pay-off. While we’re on the subject, don’t give everything away in your title, thumbnail, description of social post copy; create a curiosity gap. 

  • Did you know that you can… Suggest a surprising hack or hidden feature for a skill or product related to your niche.
  • Did you know there’s a place where… Reveal an unusual or fascinating location viewers may not be aware of.
  • Did you know your [everyday object] can actually… Uncover a secret use for a common item.

Challenge Beliefs with Bold Viral Hooks

Challenging the status quo, a common misconception, or long-held belief up front in your video makes viewers stick around for the pay-off. They may agree, or they may disagree but in either case, they’re engaged.

  • Everything you know about [topic] is a lie… Perfect for debunking myths in your industry or niche.
  • I bet you didn’t know this about… Share a little-known, mind-blowing fact about your content area.
  • They don’t want you to know this secret about… Tap into a sense of conspiracy (playfully, of course!) to hint at an insider tip.
viral hooks that play on emotions

Viral Hooks that Play on Emotions

Tapping into base-level emotions early in your hook can engage viewers and keep them watching. Think like love, joy, fear, and try to spark something in viewers in the first few seconds.

  • The craziest thing happened to me today… Imply a wild story, engaging viewers and making them want to know more.
  • This is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen… Promise a good laugh and deliver with a hilarious clip.
  • Don’t watch this if you… Reverse psychology at its finest. Build fear and suspense for spooky content, or 
  • I was so wrong about this… Show vulnerability or admit to a mistake for a relatable, attention-grabbing hook.

“Wait, What?” Surprise-Based Viral Hooks

Whether you like surprises or not, a surprise in the beginning of the video—or the hint of a surprising revelation to come—can grab viewers and keep them watching. 

  • This [common item] is worth way more than you think… Suggest a surprising value for something ordinary, sparking intrigue.
  • Watch what happens when I… Imply an unexpected result to an experiment or demonstration.
  • This changed my life… Hint at a major transformation or improvement to pique curiosity.

Tap into the “Me Too” Factor with Relatable Viral Hooks

We all want to feel like we belong. Tap into it this basic human need early in your video by creating a sense of community, or sharing something that the “in” group will understand and that the “out” group will want to learn more about. 

  • If you’re a [niche], you’ll understand this… Tap into shared experiences that your target audience will resonate with. Appeal to your tribe.
  • That awkward moment when… Showcase a relatable, embarrassing situation with a humorous twist.
  • The struggle is real… Acknowledge a common pain point in your niche. Make an emotional connection.

Join the Trend with Viral Hooks

We never recommend blindly following trends but if you see an opportunity to make a trend your own, you can ride the trend wave without compromising your content. Trends are also an opportunity to hook new viewers with your unique content too.

  • Putting my spin on the [trending challenge]… If a trend feels uniquely suited to you and your content—if you can make a trend your own—go for it.
  • Is the [viral product] worth the hype? Review a buzzworthy product or trend.
  • Hopping on this trend, but… Do a unique take on a popular trend that sets you apart.

The Power of Personal Stories

A community is an audience that doesn’t just watch videos, they build a relationship with creators and with others in the audience. Hooking viewers with something personal can make viewers want to be a part of that community.

  • The day I quit my job to… Hint at a major life change or risk taken.
  • How I overcame [challenge] and you can too… Offer inspiration and tap into a desire for self-improvement.
  • My biggest failure taught me… Show vulnerability and highlight valuable lessons learned.
viral hooks

Behind-the-Scenes Viral Hooks

Pulling back the curtains to let viewers behind the scenes shows that you’re human. It helps viewers relate and, if you can grab their attention in the first few seconds of your video, it keeps them watching.

  • Come with me as I… Invite viewers on a journey to do something unique to your content (making a product, prepare for an event, etc.).
  • A day in the life of a [your niche]… Give an inside peek at your profession or hobby.
  • Ever wonder how [item or process] is made? Satisfy curiosity about the creation process… but make sure it’s something people do actually wonder about. 

Instant Problem-Solving Hooks

Promising an easy solution to a problem—whether it’s a common problem or one unique to your niche—is a great way to grab the viewer’s attention early so they’ll stick around for the pay-off. 

  • Stop doing [common mistake] and try this instead… Offer a quick fix to a problem in your niche.
  • The #1 tool that will make [task] so much easier… People love a good shortcut. Recommend your favorite tool or resource.
  • 5 things I wish I knew before starting [niche activity]… Share valuable hindsight to give beginners in your field a head start.

Pro Tips for Mastering Your Viral Hooks

A great hook isn’t just what you say or what you show… it’s both. A great hook will grab attention whether your viewer has the sound on or off. It’ll even grab the viewer and bring their eyes back to the screen if they’re looking elsewhere. 

  • Short and sweet: You only have a couple of seconds so make it count.
  • Visually appealing: Use engaging visuals that speak to your hook.
  • End strong: Leave them asking “What’s next?” or wanting to learn more.

What we’ve shared are a few tried-and-true hooks but there are no rules. Today’s experiment could be tomorrow’s best practice so try stuff, see what works for you, and follow the data with TubeBuddy.

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