If you're a marketer and you put content online...you want data. Data is what tells us our ideas our working. Data is also what tells us our ideas are falling short. It's what tells us who came, where they came from, how long they hung around and if they actually did anything during their visit. The problem data loving marketers are facing these days is how to reconcile new sources of traffic and exposure with an extreme lack of insight into how people are interacting with our content.
With the rise of social media marketing and so much content moving from our web sites onto these third party social media sites, it gets frustrating to try and track data. Sure, you can keep tabs on mentions and incoming traffic from those social media stories, links, videos and so on...but we rarely have insight into how people interact with our content when the content isn't on our site.
We're starting to have more options on tracking this data, (Twitter users can rely on Twitstat and Tweet Scan) but we've got a long way to go. That's why I was pleased to see YouTube's announcement that they'll be offering up video analytics to their users.
Today we're releasing YouTube Insight, a free tool that enables anyone with a YouTube account to view detailed statistics about the videos that they upload to the site.
YouTube points out the potential in their blog post announcing the feature.
...using these metrics, you can increase your videos' view counts and improve your popularity on the site. For instance, you might learn that your videos are most popular on Wednesdays, that you have a huge following in Spain, or that new videos that play off previous content become more popular more quickly. 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. (Maybe even post your next video in Spanish?)
So how do you view these stats in your YouTube account?
Step 1: Log in to YouTube and go to your account page. Look for the "Videos, Favorites & Playlists" link under Manage my Videos.
Step 2: Find the video you want to get the information on and click on the "About this Video" button.
Step 3: Check out the data!
Right now, the data breaks your traffic down by date and by geographical region.
When it comes to viewing the traffic by date, YouTube gives you a handle little slider that lets you move back and forth to view data over a long period of time. As you move the slider at the bottom, the data viewable on the chart moves to match your selected dates. You can even expand the size of the slider bar so you can view data over a larger range of dates all at once. Overall, it's a pretty slick way of doing things.
On the geographical data, you start with a default view of traffic from around the globe. Users can either click on a country or use a drop down box to select a continent to view data from. In the image above, I've zoomed in on traffic from the United States. You can quickly see the majority of views for our video come from California, Texas, Ohio and New York.
What's interesting is how you can match up the traffic levels on the left with your geographical region on the right.
For instance, take a look at the traffic level for the video in early March when I narrow the field to Ohio visitors.
Now, look at data for traffic from California for the exact same time period.
For some reason, our visits from California tended to spark higher and faster than our visits from Ohio. A more connected audience? Perhaps. Or maybe Ohio Internet users just aren't in as much a hurry to go view videos and read RSS feeds as our west coast friends.
What's interesting is that I can use that same information to spot a giant surge in Ohio when the event was blogged by Anita Campbell. While Anita is hugely popular with small business owners around the country, she's based out of Cleveland and likely has a very strong Ohio reader base. Matching up the dates the video was blogged with the location of the bloggers can go a long way toward helping me see how audiences vary not only by site, but by region.
YouTube says they have more data on the way. On their list is a more specific break down of just how visitors found their way to a particular video. In the meantime, it's certainly worth while to get in there to play around with your data.
Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.
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