Discovering Hot Spots From YouTube Insights

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...Image by via CrunchBase

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.

Discovery

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?

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 Weather.com 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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