YouTube rolls out second-by-second analytics

YouTube unveiled an awesome new toy yesterday. This is super cool technology that will no doubt lead to further refinement in the fine arts of political advertising, music video production and home movies of people getting hit in the nuts.

The feature, called “Hot Spots,” tells users exactly how viewers responded to each second of their videos, and includes stats on rewinding and fast-forwarding. Apparently it also works with demographic data, so you can, for example, observe that female viewers like to rewind the Mike Schmidt scene in Quantum Boggs: Episode I and watch it over and over again.

The GOOGLE BLOG explains more:

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.

This is a pretty amazing development, although we have little doubt it will be used by the forces of evil to optimize their mind-control apparatus – also known as local television news programs.


About Alpine McGregor
Just like you, man. I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. All in the game, though, right?

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