Anyone can be a star on YouTube. Now, with tools released on Wednesday for charting the popularity of clips posted to the popular video-sharing site, video creators can analyze their own celebrity potential.
Besides satisfying a morbid curiosity about one’s relative star power in the YouTube firmament, these analytical tools give video creators rudimentary tools for figuring out how to make money from advertising sold alongside videos.
The analytics service, called YouTube Insight, is a free software tool that lets video creators see detailed statistics about the videos that they upload to the site, giving them a glimpse of chronological and demographic audience trends.
“Whether a YouTube video has 10 views or 10 million, people always want to know the same thing: Who’s watching this? Where do viewers come from? How did they find my video?” YouTube, a unit of Google, said in a blog post.
YouTube had 269 million monthly visitors worldwide in February, up 84 percent from the same month a year ago, according to Web traffic measurement firm ComScore.
YouTube Insight tools provide aggregate data on viewer behavior for anyone who uploads their videos to YouTube as well as advertisers looking to place advertising on the site.
Previously, YouTube offered video creators basic tools for tracking how many comments viewers make on their videos, average viewer ratings and the ultimate ranking of a clip relative to all other YouTube videos. Insight provides context on where viewers come from and when viewers watched a video.
Advertisers themselves can use the tools to receive some basic measures of which sorts of videos they might run ads against, prospect for new marketing opportunities, and determine what return on their investments they receive.
“YouTube has really become the world’s largest focus group,” Tracy Chan, product manager for YouTube Insight, said in a phone interview.
Chan described how a Hollywood studio marketing a movie to YouTube viewers might put up several trailers designed to appeal to different users. Meanwhile, offline, the studio might run targeted ads in newspaper and on TV, in say Michigan.
The analytics tool could help the studio measure the effectiveness of different trailers in different geographic locations and at different times of the day or week. It could see if the offline Michigan ads were registering on YouTube.
The studio might identify heavy viewership of one of its trailers in Utah, where it had done no marketing, and thereby decide to direct further marketing attention to that state.
YouTube plans to make rapid improvements to the Insight service, including a feature to track what sites are driving users to a particular video, Chan said.
He described how bands testing the new service have discovered pockets of their fans they didn’t know existed and have begun planning future music tours based on this data.