Discovering Hot Spots From YouTube Insights

The most valuable benefit of marketing videos on YouTube may not be the views but what you learn about the viewers.

Last week,  we talked about YouTube's Sponsored Video ad platform and how it's a complement to, but not replacement for, traditional search engine marketing. If you do find value in driving video views, you'll be even more excited about what YouTube tells you about those viewers. We'll review some examples of what Insights tells you and how you can use it.

There are five categories of reports in Insights: Views, Popularity, Demographics, Discovery, and Hot Spots. The first three are straightforward, where you can find out: how many views your video has received over time with breakouts by state, country, and continent;  the relative popularity of your video compared to others on YouTube; and age and gender breakdowns for the video's viewers. The last two require a closer look.




This is the dashboard you'll love most as a search marketing junkie. You can find out how and where people are watching the video, including options such as YouTube search, an embedded player, Google search, external links (Twitter is included here), related videos, and a "viral/other" category that means it was passed along via email or IM.

With the search categories, you can click to see which terms people are using. Want to build a keyword list to market your video through Sponsored Video or AdWords? Start with the most effective terms from this list. Maybe there are searches you'd expect to see but don't; consumers either aren't using those terms, or your video isn't optimized for those queries.  Similarly, your video might be ranking for unexpected queries. This all presents new optimization opportunities. And if you optimize well for YouTube's search engine, those videos could potentially rank higher in Google, too.

The referring sources for embedded videos should also be monitored. Would these sources want to embed more of your content? Are there other ways to forge deeper relationships? Would related sites be interested?

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Hot Spots

With Hot Spots, you can find out which segments of a video are capturing the most attention, provided the video has enough views. There's an average attention line for your video; "cold" segments indicate viewer drop-off or a lack of repeat viewing, while "hot" areas indicate repeat viewing. I'll use an example of a video clip I posted where  I posed as a anchor (see the  write-up from Christina Kerley for the background). There's an introductory segment in the clip that's cold, though it gradually gains steam. Then, 12 seconds into it, right as I start the broadcast, it heats up for the next 30 seconds.

What might I do if I'm a marketer? One idea is that with Sponsored Video ads, I could draw attention to the hot part of the video. If it's a certain cast member people are watching, play that up. If people keep rewinding a racy segment, allude to that. While it's not always easy to predict what the best parts will be ahead of time, usually it's easy to understand why the Hot Spots are on fire.

Let's say you're trying to get the word out through digital word of mouth -- reaching out to bloggers and other online influencers. These people might not have the attention span to watch a two-minute clip. But if you tell them to check out the best 20 seconds so they'll know why it's perfect for their audience, you might strike a chord with those influencers -- and their audiences. Such a strategy can build up links to improve that video's ranking in natural search results, and sometimes they'll link to your homepage or other properties, giving you even more Google juice.

That's a Wrap

I'd love to be able to combine these reports even more. For instance, what if you could combine Demographics and Discovery to learn the search terms by age, gender, and country? Might Hot Spots differ for different types of users? All of this could continue to provide even more fuel for video marketing.
Until then, there's enough here to keep busy with. The more views you can attract for your videos, the better the information will be, so it's a virtuous circle that's augmented when you apply the intelligence to improving your campaigns.

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