YouTube Releases Video Analytics Tool

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YouTube announced the release of the free tool, called YouTube Insight, on the company's blog. The toolset enables anyone with a YouTube account to view statistics about the videos that they upload to the site. For example, anyone uploading a video can see how often their videos are viewed in different geographic regions, as well as how popular they are relative to all videos in that market over a given period of time. You can also delve deeper into the lifecycle of your videos, like how long it takes for a video to become popular, and what happens to video views as popularity peaks.

The tracking ability allows users to more accurately assess where, when and why certain videos become popular. YouTube, a unit of Mountain View, Calif-based Google, said Insight will help users identify target audiences and revenue generation through advertising displayed alongside the video. "Using these metrics, you can increase your videos' view counts and improve your popularity on the site," the blog post explains. "With this information, you can concentrate on creating compelling new content that appeals to your target audiences, and post these videos on days you know these viewers are on the site."

Earlier this month, Web traffic measurement firm comScore reported YouTube accounted for one-third of the 9.8 billion videos viewed online in the U.S. during January 2008. By allowing users to track those numbers with greater dexterity, marketing and advertising rates can be calculated with greater precision. "One thing we've heard from our community is that they want our help in making their videos more popular on the site," a YouTube spokesperson said. "Before, if a user wanted to see how a video was doing on the site, they only had a static number " total view count " with no context about how that view count fluctuated over time, or where those views came from."

"YouTube has really become the world's largest focus group," Tracy Chan, product manager for YouTube Insight, told Reuters. Companies like movie studios could use the information to target various demographic groups for promotions like trailers and viral videos, he said. Chan also revealed more improvements to the service are on the way, including a feature that can track which Websites drive users to a particular video.

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YouTube said Insight also nourishes posted videos at the grassroots level. "Using Insight, a band could find out that their music videos are doing really well in Washington," the spokesperson said. "Using this information they might choose to target Washington for a big album launch party they're having or they might realize that instead, since views are low in the Midwest, they should try to increase marketing efforts in that part of the country."