Why some content go viral on YouTube? In order to answer this question, in a recent study (accepted for publication in Internet Research journal), we found 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.
For more details on the study design an other findings, you can read the authors’ version of the article here.
Khan, G. F., Sokha, V., (2014), Virality over YouTube: an Empirical Analysis, Internet Research, accepted for publication. Download Authors’ version.