Google announced this evening the immediate availability of a new video statistics package free for anyone with a YouTube account. The software, called Insight, gives users access to a range of statistics about the videos they upload to the site, such as where viewers are from, how often viewers in specific geographic regions viewed a video, or how long it took a video to become popular.
"Insight gives the creators an inside look into the viewing trends of their videos on YouTube, and helps them to increase views and become more popular," said YouTube Product Manager Tracy Chan. "Partners can evaluate metrics to better serve and understand their audiences, as well as increase ad revenue. And advertisers can study their metrics and successes to tailor their marketing -- both on and off the site -- and reach the right viewers."
Currently, the stats package does lack a few important metrics such as search engine referral information, being able to tell where users bail on a video, and general link referral info. Chan did seem to indicate that referral information would be available at some point, though.
According to Chan, Insight turns YouTube into "one of the world's largest focus groups." What it really does, though, is add another piece of the puzzle for YouTube to become what Google wants it to be: the place where all the world's videos are stored. We reported a couple of weeks ago on additions to YouTube's API that will enable YouTube to become more like a content delivery network (think: Akamai or Limelight for videos of your cat). As YouTube says, they are now "an open, general purpose, video services platform, available for use by just about any third-party website, desktop application, or consumer device." Adding detailed video stats simply makes YouTube that much more attractive to use as a video host.