Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Your YouTube video: Hot or Not?

YouTube Insight has helped millions of you learn more about your YouTube videos and figure out when, where, and why your videos are popular. But what if you could learn not just which of your videos are hot on the site, but which specific parts of those videos are hotter than others? What if you could know exactly when viewers tend to leave your videos, or which scenes within a video they watch again and again?

This information is now available to all YouTube video uploaders with an innovative new feature for Insight called "Hot Spots." The Hot Spots tab in Insight plays your video alongside a graph that shows the ups-and-downs of viewership at different moments within the video. We determine "hot" and "cold" spots by comparing your video's abandonment rate at that moment to other videos on YouTube of the same length, and incorporating data about rewinds and fast-forwards. So what does that mean? Well, when the graph goes up, your video is hot: few viewers are leaving, and many are even rewinding on the control bar to see that sequence again. When the graph goes down, your content's gone cold: many viewers are moving to another part of the video or leaving the video entirely.

Here's an example of Hot Spots in action:

You can see that many viewers are not impressed with the dance moves of Michael Rucker, Associate Product Marketing Manager at YouTube; they're leaving the video at a faster than average rate almost immediately after the video begins. But the longer the video goes on, the more people tend to stay, generating a hot spot at the end of the video. Better late than never -- kudos, Rucker!

We think you'll find Hot Spots useful in several ways. For example, users can figure out which scenes in their videos are the "hottest" and edit those videos, or include well-timed annotations, to keep their audience more engaged. Partners might similarly create better content -- like more exciting promotional trailers -- for use on and off YouTube, and advertisers and agencies can study the effectiveness of their creative, to make sure they keep viewers' attention throughout an ad. Now that Insight shows what parts of videos viewers are watching and skipping, creators no longer have to play guessing games. YouTube, the world's largest focus group, provides them with answers. You can find this new feature under the "Hot Spots" tab within the Insight Dashboard.

As with all of Insight's features, we learn about the most creative examples from you. We can't wait to see what you come up with next.


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