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YouTube's Insight: Hot. "I'm a PC": Not.

YouTube Hot Spots
YouTube Hot Spots. Source: Google

I noted with interest Google's latest addition to YouTube: a new feature for video uploaders called "Hot Spots". Here's the gist: When viewing a clip's stats through the seven-month-old Insight tool, an uploader can now identify the most popular parts of their video.

From Google:

> We determine "hot" and "cold" spots by comparing your video's abandonment rate at that moment to other videos on YouTube of the same length, and incorporating data about rewinds and fast-forwards [...] when the graph goes up, your video is hot: few viewers are leaving, and many are even rewinding on the control bar to see that sequence again. When the graph goes down, your content's gone cold: many viewers are moving to another part of the video or leaving the video entirely.
>
> ...Users can figure out which scenes in their videos are the "hottest" and edit those videos, or include well-timed annotations, to keep their audience more engaged. Partners might similarly create better content -- like more exciting promotional trailers -- for use on and off YouTube ... Now that Insight shows what parts of videos viewers are watching and skipping, creators no longer have to play guessing games. YouTube, the world's largest focus group, provides them with answers.

That's truly awesome, near-professional-grade market research for budding user-generated-content moguls out there.

I hope a few traditional media stakeholders take notice, as well. Wouldn't it be a useful step up from focus testing to try out existing or new advertising creative live, on YouTube? It seems so, particularly for ads targeting the elusive, media-savvy and user-generated-content-fiending youth of today. How would they fare when analyzed with Hot Spots and an audience of millions?

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