Lydia Sweatt is a writer who loves balancing her article/blog time indoors with a healthy dose of nature. She bikes, hikes, and identifies edible plants along the way.
18 Viral Video Hooks for YouTube Shorts [Proven Hacks]
Did you know that the right video introduction can make your YouTube Short go viral? It’s true. We call these "hooks" in the YouTube world, and they have the power to grab viewers' attention in the first three seconds.
The reason you'd want to grab someone's attention, especially with a Short, is to stop them from swiping to the next video. Swiping away has a negative effect on your content and stops you from going explosively viral.
There isn't much research about Shorts and their performance, but one study adds some clarity. Paddy Galloway discovered that the best-performing Shorts have 70% of people viewing them versus swiping away from them.
To keep viewers engaged, you need an intro that propels them from one scene to the next. Here are 18 viral hooks to help you out!
1. “Have You Heard About..?”
As an opening line, “have you heard about” creates a healthy dose of FOMO on YouTube, which stands for "fear of missing out." No one likes to be excluded, so this hook summons a viewer’s natural curiosity.
For example, have you heard about Sean Andrew (see what we did there? 😉) In the Short below, he immediately asks, “Have you heard about the world’s loneliest toilet?” Most people would say no, and that alone propels them to watch the video. It has over 13 million views!
Other variations of this hook:
- “Did you know that…”
- “Have you ever wondered…”
- “Is it possible to…”
2. “They Don’t Want You to Know This Secret…”
This hook has enticing qualities, all of which can make a Short go viral in no time. It's got conspiracy, intrigue, and an “us versus them” dynamic happening all at once. As long as you don't use bad clickbait, this hook should get you more YouTube views.
Want proof? Techranium got 14 million views after claiming that “Apple doesn’t want people to know” about this password hack for iPhones:
3. “You’ve Never Seen Anything Like This…”
This hook is a straight-up challenge for your audience. You’re asking them to prove whether they know a random fact or not, which sort of feels like a game! It's as if they've been called out, and now they have to answer the call by watching your video.
Mrwhosetheboss got over 3 million views with this hook. He claims that viewers have “never seen a pair of headphones like the HHOGene GPods,” and he may be right. Millions of people stuck around to see what all the hype was about.
4. “I Never Do THIS, and Here’s Why…”
When someone says they never do something, they’re about to share an unpopular opinion. This can be intriguing on YouTube, as many creators repeat the same ideas and beliefs they've heard elsewhere!
Nas Daily has a popular Short using this magic phrase. In it, Dear Alyne says, “I never buy silk, and this is the strange reason why.” The intro must have worked because the video has over 22 million views.
Other variations of this hook:
- “Why I’d never do this…”
- “Do’s and don’ts when it comes to [topic]..."
5. “This Is the Best Product I’ve Ever Used…”
In just a few words, this hook tells us a valuable recommendation is on the way — maybe even for a life-changing product. But viewers have to keep watching until the product is revealed, making this excellent hook for boosting your Shorts views.
Here’s another example from Mrwhosetheboss. He opens the video by saying, “This is the most powerful charger I’ve ever laid hands on.” Instinctively, you want to keep watching to see which charger he’s talking about. The video has 2.4 million views!
6. “I Was ‘Today Years Old’ When I Found This Out…”
"I was today years old" is a humorous way to reveal something you just learned. Maybe you didn’t know a drink tote from Chik-fil-a holds six beverages instead of four. Perhaps you just realized Ritz crackers have serrated edges for cutting cheese.
Starting a video with this phrase helps you establish common ground and shows that you’re learning alongside the viewer. It’s no wonder a creator like Bentellect got 6 million views explaining that “news” is an acronym (Notable Events, Weather and Sport).
7. “Questions I Get Asked a Lot…”
Do viewers ask you the same questions repeatedly? The next time you make a Short, kick off the video by saying, “Questions I get asked a lot." This implies that you have something relevant to say, and viewers should stick around to hear it.
For example, Hwaniiee got 5 million views answering questions about his experience as a male nurse.
8. “I Asked Google…”
This phrase should catch anyone's attention because most people use Google in 2023. Plus, the phrase “I asked Google” brings so many questions to mind. What did the person search for? What did the results say? Did they learn something funny, shocking, or interesting?
Sean Andrew used this opener to get 400,000 views on a long-jumping video. He asked Google “what the longest jump in history is,” and then attempted to break the long-jump record.
9. “Three Things I Do Before…”
Sometimes, you just can’t beat practicality. If you have a how-to channel, “three things I do before” is the hook you need to provide value and solve problems for your audience.
One example is Erika Kullberg’s “Quick Travel Tips.” She starts out by saying, “Here are three things I do before every flight, coming from a lawyer who travels six months out of the year.” She speaks directly to travelers and builds credibility by saying how often she travels.
10. “Try This to [Accomplish Goal]...”
“Try this” is a typical call to action on YouTube. It catches a viewer’s attention because the phrase empowers them to learn something new.
For example, KeeanSocial intrigued 500,000 people by simply saying, “Try this to get more views on your next YouTube Short.” It’s quick, simple, and works wonders for grabbing attention.
11. “Did You Know That..?”
This hook has an element of surprise, which works well for captivating viewers in the first three seconds. But more than that, it promises a rare piece of knowledge you can’t get if you swipe away!
This intro worked well for Nas Daily, who asked a simple question: “Did you know this book is poisonous?” The Short was so intriguing that it got over 22 million views.
12. “X vs. Y…”
Don’t worry, we’re not talking about math here. “X versus Y” refers to a “this or that” scenario, where you compare two things to see which one is better. Viewers love this intro because it sparks competition.
Again, Mrwhosetheboss sets a great example here. He asks, “The thickest phone case or the thinnest phone case: Which is actually better?” 16 million people couldn’t resist this two-second experiment!
13. “How to Create…”
The value of this hook just can’t be overstated! With three little words, you convince viewers you’re about to solve a problem, teach a skill, and empower them to accomplish their goals.
If you think “how to” content is severely overdone on YouTube, think again. Creators like Lydia Tomlinson are getting over 600,000 views with openers like “how to create festive outfits.”
Another variation of this hook is “how to do [virtually anything]...”
14. “I’m Trying This So You Don’t Have To…”
Who doesn’t love a little risk and adventure on YouTube? When you try something bold (so others don't have to), that pretty much makes you a hero! It’s also entertaining to watch a creator set up a challenge, react to it, and share the results.
Once again, Sean Andrew got people’s attention with this creative hook. He tried to survive Chinese water torture and ended up getting 6 million views.
Other variations of this hook:
- “Watch me do this…”
- “Today I’m going to try this…”
- “Today we’re gonna see if it’s possible to…”
15. “The Top 3 [Items/Ideas]...”
You guessed it: This hook is a variation of the almighty listicle video. Use it to recommend the best vacation spot, indoor vacuum, dog breed, or whatever’s close to your heart! People love this hook because they know they’re about to get real value.
And here’s a vidIQ example for you: “top three YouTube mistakes.”
16. “How to Become a…”
Typically, this hook is reserved for serious pursuits, like becoming a fisherman or a doctor. But if you want, you can be a complete goofball and turn this hook into comedic gold.
That’s what im_siowei did in the Short below. She opens it up with “how to become a mermaid in three steps,” and then 9 million people watched her take the most ridiculous journey to the sea.
17. “How to Have the Best [Activity/Idea] of Your Life…”
Most people want to do something better, faster, or easier in their daily lives. So opening your Short with “here’s how to have the best [insert common goal]” makes people pay attention to what you’re saying.
For example, Mr.Psychology reposted a video of onlyjayus telling people how to have the best sleep ever. The Short has over 500,000 views!
18. “A Simple Hack to…”
This hook is similar to the previous one, except it’s even better. While you can show someone how to do something thoroughly, providing a shortcut really gets their attention.
We used a variation of this hook recently, stating, “This could get your YouTube Shorts a lot more views.”
Just don’t give away the juicy part too soon!
Make Sure the Hook Lives Up to its Hype
While these hooks are attention-grabbing, remember that a video should always deliver on its promise. No matter what you say or do in the first three seconds, the remaining 30-50 seconds should build upon that foundation.
But crafting a good hook is just one way to go viral. Here are more characteristics of viral YouTube Shorts!