YouTube Is Letting Creators See What’s Heating Up Their 360-Degree and VR Videos

The video site is also launching its first-ever VR-intensive program at YouTube Space LA

YouTube announced Friday that it now offers heatmaps for 360-degree videos and virtual reality videos with more than 1,000 views.

Product manager Frank Rodriguez said in a blog post that the new heatmaps will allow creators of 360-degree and VR videos to determine which parts of those videos are drawing the most attention from viewers, and he shared the following tips for creators:

  • Focus on what’s in front of you: The defining feature of a 360-degree video is that it allows you to freely look around in any direction, but surprisingly, people spent 75 percent of their time within the front 90 degrees of a video. So don’t forget to spend significant time on what’s in front of the viewer.
  • Get their attention: While a lot of time is spent focusing on what’s in front, for many of the most popular VR videos, people viewed more of the full 360-degree space, with almost 20 percent of views actually being behind them. The more engaging the full scene is, the more likely viewers will want to explore the full 360-degree view. Try using markers and animations to draw attention to different parts of the scene.
  • Keep different experiences in mind: The context in which people are viewing VR videos matters, too. Some might be watching on a mobile and portable Cardboard, while others are watching on a desktop computer. For instance, we found that viewers usually need a couple of seconds to get situated in Cardboard, which isn’t needed for other devices. So make sure to give your viewers a few seconds before jumping into the action.

Rodriguez also revealed that YouTube is launching its first-ever VR-intensive program at YouTube Space LA, the VR Creator Lab, and applications are now being accepted.