Video Essentials

Understanding YouTube Hot Spots

Besides being an excellent free video syndication tool (one that now allows videos of up to 15 minutes, as opposed to 10), YouTube also offers some useful analytics tools. One that you should know about is Hot Spots.

While it sounds like an interactivity tool, Hot Spots are actually a way of telling what parts of your video are hot. If you know what your viewers like in your videos, you can do more of it. The feature also lets you see where your videos are cold, so you can learn what’s making people click away.

Even if you serve your videos with an online video platform, it’s worth also loading them onto YouTube. After all, YouTube is by far the most popular video destination online. You can’t afford to say no to all those viewers. If you haven’t done so yet, create a YouTube account and load up some videos.

There are a few ways to explore Hot Spots, once your videos have been on YouTube for a while and have garnered enough hits for the needed analysis (it looks like you’ll need about 200 to 300 views before you an see the Hot Spots feature). From the top right corner of your account page, click the down arrow next to your account name and select My Videos.

From there, click the Insight button next to one of your videos, and then Hot Spots from the lower left. You’ll see a chart next to a copy of the video. The chart shows viewer attention over time. As the video plays, you’ll see a vertical bar move through the chart on the left. What you’re seeing is a measure of average viewer attention at that particular moment. Where the curved line is high, viewers were paying more attention. They weren’t clicking away and may have replayed a section to see it again. Where the line is low, they clicked off.

By studying the results of Hot Spot charts, you can learn what viewers respond to, not just on YouTube, but wherever your videos are shown. Experiment with your work and see if you can keep that engagement line high until the end of the video. More engaged viewers means more good reviews and more viral sharing, so it can only help your numbers.


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  1. Great post, most folks don’t know about or use this resource.

    Here is a link to the page on Hot Spots

    And a link to one of my Hot Spot videos analyzed

    Posted by Jose Castillo | August 4, 2010, 11:52 am
  2. thats great I did not even know you could track your videos like this and hot spots seems like it will realy help with future videos.

    Posted by michael | November 23, 2010, 7:10 pm
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