What do people REALLY think of your video??

3 replies [Last post]
Mike Pulcinella
Joined: Jan 30 2007

I've been trying to decide where best to post this and I thought that the Review section made the most sense. This might be common knowledge for many of you but I just discovered it and it has really helped me assess how successful (or unsuccessful) my videos have been at holding attention and where the problems lie. I wanted to share it with all of you.

I am proud that I have many clips on my YouTube page that have gathered many thousands of hits. But recently I began to wonder, how do I know if people are watching my videos all the way through? Just because someone is enticed to click on my video doesn’t mean they are sticking around. Maybe they thought it was going to be one thing but then were disappointed. Those numbers are meaningless without more info. So how can I tell? Now there’s a way!

Insight and Hot Spots

Youtube has added a new set of features called Insight. The button is found to the right of the viewer window.

This takes you to a page that has several useful sets of statistics about your video, but the one we are going to be concentrating on this time is the one called Hot Spots.

Hot Spots draws a graph of the popularity of your video during the course of the video as compared to all other Youtube videos of a similar length.

If people get bored and click away the graph dips down. If viewers re-play certain sections of the video the curve rises. In other words it is a moment by moment assessment of how well you are holding your audience’s interest. Great idea, right?

I checked the Hot Spots info for some of my more popular vids and was devastated to find that several of them were performing well below the average at certain points!! For instance in this clip from Beyond the Pain, my documentary about women’s bodybuilding, the viewers, obviously die-hard fans of female bodybuilding, were relatively uninterested in a short segment showing figure competitors.

That taught me a valuable lesson about where the interests of that particular audience lie. In an earlier part of the same clip, a peak in viewer interest corresponds to that part of the video showing Vicki Nixon being sprayed with tanning solution while completely naked. No surprise there!

In another instance Hot Spots caused me to actually re-edit one of my clips. I found that much of this posedown video between Victor Martinez and Phil Heath was underperforming. I had shot the posedown with two cameras and had tried to be a little “artsy” with the editing.

It turns out that artsy is not what bodybuilding fans want and the segments that had the highest rating were the very simple, straight-on shots that showed the two athletes posing side-by-side.

I re-edited the video, discarding the closeups and angled shots and instead included more of the front camera shots that showed that comparisons between the two physiques the best. I re-posted that video and got a much more favorable response overall.

One caveat:

Hot Spots is a valuable tool for gauging moment-by-moment responses to your work but you must be careful not to let the statistics disappoint you too much or drive you to make radical re-edits. The YouTube audience is not necessarily your target audience. A clip that is quiet or thoughtful or has difficult to understand concepts will get less attention than a cat playing a piano.

For most people, watching Youtube videos is like eating candy. They search for fun, short clips and then quickly move on. If your video explores a serious topic you may have a difficult time getting good Hot Spot stats but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a bad video. Hot Spots is useful...but use it sparingly.

Joined: Nov 19 2005

very cool info, danke


Joined: May 9 2005

Excellent and helpful. thanks Mike.

Mike Pulcinella
Joined: Jan 30 2007

So this isn't common knowledge yet? I'm glad to be of service!