Have you ever uploaded a video to YouTube and wondered which parts your viewers liked best? Have you ever watched a video and wondered if other viewers liked the same parts that you did? You don’t have to wonder anymore. EmbedPlus, a cool tool we covered back in December that lets you add additional functionality to YouTube embeds (such as reactions, instant replay and more) has launched a new feature called Sweet Spot Marking that finds and ranks the precise moments in videos that are causing the most viewer buzz and letting you know about them with a visual cue. I had the opportunity to ask EmbedPlus Co-founder Shola “Tay” Omojokun a few questions about the cool new feature. Find out what he had to say below, and check out Sweet Spot Marking for yourself.
Before we get to my interview with Tay, check out the new feature in action. You’ll notice that a small speech bubble with exclamation points appears at the bottom of the player, alongside the next button, just before each “sweet spot” begins. The number of exclamation points within each speech bubble represents that part of the video’s “buzz-worthiness”. You’ll see between one and three exclamation points with three being the most buzz-worthy. Click here or on the image below to see Sweet Spot Marking in action.
I asked Tay how the idea for Sweet Spot Marking came to be. He told me, “We were building a search feature into EmbedPlus so that users could directly find, view, and embed YouTube videos with our enhanced player. Ideally, we wanted the scene skipping buttons to be activated in some way that could help viewers immediately navigate through videos. Realizing this, however, requires an automatic and intelligent way of marking scenes. We played with a couple of ideas and Sweet Spot Marking was the most attractive and functional option. The goal was to then come up with an algorithm that could do it effectively.”
Although Tay couldn’t provide me with too many details about the algorithm, he did say that basically, “the goal is to extract the video parts (or times) that viewers are referencing in discussions. This can then be merged with other data to rank buzz across different parts of a video.” He also told me that “it’s likely that a newly uploaded video will have no data for marking, but as time passes and the amount of viewer discussion increases, so does the probability of sweet spots being marked.”
So who is Sweet Spot Marking most useful for? Tay tells me that it’s useful for a variety of people. “With Sweet Spot Marking, viewers get the extra benefit of being able to skim through a video, watching the best parts that other viewers are focusing on. We think it could be particularly useful with long videos and viewers that have little time (e.g. someone browsing videos during a work break).” He also pointed out that he and the team at EmbedPlus have noticed a curiosity factor amongst users who they’ve test the idea with. “Viewers that find something funny, peculiar, or entertaining can be curious to see whether other people noticed the same thing. Sweet Spot Marking helps satisfy that curiosity.” Finally, Tay told me that the Sweet Spot Marking functionality could be useful for video content producers as well. “Video content producers are likely to be curious to find out what parts of their videos are creating viewer buzz. To help them in their creative and marketing efforts, Sweet Spot Marking can supplement the data provided by other video analytics tools like YouTube Insight.”
I, for one, find this new EmbedPlus functionality extremely exciting. I love the idea of being able to see, as you watch a video, which precise moments are the most buzzed about and being able to flip back and forth between these moments. I think that YouTube and other video sites should implement something like this themselves, and I’m not alone in that thought. Tay told me, “The reactions have been quite positive from the users we had testing the feature before we released it. Like our other features, they’ve suggested it should be a YouTube default.” Tay also added, “We’ve just started working with the author of one of the more popular YouTube for WordPress plugins to integrate Sweet Spot Marking and other features in his plugin. We are looking forward to a broader set of reactions once this new plugin is released.” (Update March 8, 2011: The aforementioned YouTube Embed WordPress Plugin, by David Artiss, is now live. Click here for more information).
What’s your take on Sweet Spot Marking? Would you find the feature useful as you watched videos online?