The Web's Most Viral Colors

Do the colors of photos help make content viral?

Posted 1 year ago by Tom Maiaroto.

I gather a lot of data, though I seem to have an unquenchable thirst. I want more. Before I get there, however, I keep saying how I could use Virality Score figure out the most viral color on the web using the data I have. So I figured, why not take a few minutes to prove it?

I ran a simple aggregate query in my database and for Sept. 19th through the 24th, I came up with some results. The dominant colors in the photographs for the most viral content of this period of time are as follows:


They seem to get less viral after that (and these are in order of virality, left to right, right being less viral)...I'm also not counting white or black in this case. Though that tan you see is a bit bright, I left it in because it's actually a very light share of yellow/orange. My query didn't remove those colors, I had to manually skip over things like #fefefe (off-white). I need a better query (map/reduce) in the future to automatically remove those values. In fact, I have luminance details so I could do it that way.

You'll notice that the colors aren't that different...That's because I'm aggregating by hex value. I should probably aggregate by color range. For example, "blues" and "reds" etc. This is possible, but again it's going to take some time to get the query just right.

Already though, just at a quick glance, we can see that blues and oranges are the most viral. This is actually pretty interesting because there's already been quite a lot of research and theories on these colors in particular.

Again, we aren't dealing with movie posters here. These colors come from photographs associated with viral stories. However, it would appear that people select photographs for editorial in much the same manner. It would also appear that people may respond to these types of colors as well.

Are we conditioned to this? Will this always be the case? I'm not really sure. I'm going to continue with my research here and find out though.

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