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Virality over YouTube: an empirical analysis

Gohar Feroz Khan (School of Industrial Management, Korea University of Technology & Education (KoreaTECH), Cheonan City, South Korea)
Sokha Vong (Health, Food Security and Nutrition Department of Council for Agricultural and Rural Development, Office of the Council of Ministers, Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 30 September 2014




The purpose of this paper is to seek reasons for some videos going viral over YouTube (a type of social media platform).


Using YouTube APIs (Application Programming Interface) and Webometrics analyst tool, the authors collected data on about 100 all-time-most-viewed YouTube videos and information about the users associated with the videos. The authors constructed and tested an empirical model to understand the relationship among users’ social and non-social capital (e.g. User Age, Gender, View Count, Subscriber, Join Date, Total Videos Posted), video characteristics (Post Date, Duration, and Video Category), external network capital (in-links and hit counts), and Virality (Likes, Dislikes, Favorite Count, View Count, and Comment Count). Partial least square and Webometric analysis was used to explore the association among the constructs.


Among other findings, the results showed that popularity of the videos was not only the function of YouTube system per se, but that network dynamics (e.g. in-links and hits counts) and offline social capital (e.g. fan base and fame) play crucial roles in the viral phenomenon, particularly view count.


The authors for the first time constructed and tested an empirical model to find out the determinants of viral phenomenon over YouTube.



This research was supported by the research subsidy for newly appointed Professor of Korea University of Technology and Education (KoreaTECH) for the year 2012.


Feroz Khan, G. and Vong, S. (2014), "Virality over YouTube: an empirical analysis", Internet Research, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 629-647.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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