YouTube to Offer Users ‘Insight’

NEW YORK Google has introduced a free YouTube tool that will provide those who post clips — whether they are semiprofessionals or media conglomerates — with deeper insights into when, where and how often their videos are viewed.

Using YouTube Insight, publishers can analyze the viewing patterns of individual videos far more thoroughly than in the past, when only total views and users ratings were available. For example, with the new tool, any content producer who posts videos on YouTube can examine which days of the week or hours of the day traffic spikes; which U.S. states account for the most viewing streams; and how long particular clips remain popular.

Theoretically, content publishers can use the tool to determine programming strategies. Advertisers can use it to test the popularity of several different ads in different parts of the country. Media planners could use it to gauge their best spending opportunities.

“Effectively, we’ve become the world’s largest focus group,” said YouTube product manager Tracey Chan. “There are so many use cases. This really enables programmers and marketers to optimize their presence on YouTube.

Total audience reach for an individual videos — something that many in the burgeoning online video space have been clamoring for — is not immediately available.  However, Chan said that several innovations to the new tool are already in the works.

It’s even possible that YouTube Insight could be used to measure video traffic on other sites — something that is mostly Nielsen or comScore’s domain at the moment. “If there is a strong desire, there is the ability to take it to other platforms,” he said. “We’re really open.” (Adweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.)