announced today an interesting addition to its Insights analytics dashboard. Called "Hot Spots," the feature displays the "bounce rate" of viewers in any publisher's video on a second-by-second scale. Wondering if that joke you told went over well or not? YouTube will now tell you if a substantial number of viewers clicked away from your content at the moment your wisecrack went live.YouTube
The Insights analytics tool launched in May and offers free demographic data about viewers. We'd love to see these two features combined. Worried something you said might come across as sexist? If a whole lot of women stopped watching right after you said it - there might be some truth to that! (Who are we kidding? This is YouTube we're talking about.)
The service isn't just tracking departures in pure numbers, either, it's pretty sophisticated:
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.
Numbers are cool - benchmarks relative to the numbers of other related content are even cooler. That's the kind of thing that no video startup could meaningfully offer - just YouTube with its giant network effect and perhaps some of the other giant video services.
We were unable to test the feature ourselves. Neither old nor new videos have the Hot or Not link displayed for us yet. We'll be keeping an eye on them for sure.
In some ways Hot Spots may be more interesting than Insights demographics initially was. Viewer demographics are mostly useful when considering advertising and the effectiveness of targetted promotion. ("How can I get more young men to watch this video on YouTube?" Tough question.) Bounce rate will tell you something about the specifics of your content. We like it.