- Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
Recently my partner in crime, Matt, wrote a blog post covering YouTube’s Insight features. One feature in the tool set that is often overlooked is Hot Spots. Insight Hot Spots record the engagement of viewers at any moment compared to other videos of similar length, measuring your video’s ability to retain audience attention. The data is extrapolated and plotted on a hot or cold graph that provides a visual showing when viewers dropped off or rewound your video. For more information see Insight Hot Spots.
Being that Insight Hot Spots quantify audience attention based on videos of similar length, I chose three videos from our 2008 interactive choose your own adventure holiday card. The lengths are not exactly the same, but the data provides some valuable lessons.
The first two I want to review are “Sensei Santa”, runtime 1:43, and “The Way of the Santa”, runtime 3:11. Each show a steady decline in the audience attention graph from the start with a slight rise when the action picks up. When reviewing the Hot Spots in the third video, “Santa’s The One”, we see a much different landscape. The graph stays above average and drastically spikes when Santa takes a bite out of a cookie while he is holding Agent Smith back. The video continues to hold the audience above average with viewers dropping off at the end. When comparing all three graphs with the content presented, the message was clear.
THE WAY OF SANTA:
SANTA’S THE ONE:
Both “Sensei Santa” and “The Way of the Santa” start off slow, building to climax with a final joke. In each case, a fair amount of our viewers dropped off before the conclusion, the payoff. Our community responded well to both of the clips, the ratings were high, but the content failed to appeal to a broad audience. It succeeded by connecting with those who are fans or can identify with the two Kung Fu movies. However, it lacked the early spark to maintain viewers that are less familiar with the subject matter or who don’t have the patience. The YouTube generation has grown accustomed to on demand entertainment, with an appetite for speed and to the point content at the click of a button. With online short form video content, creators need to hook their audience early and continue to maintain audience expectations throughout. Hot topic or not, it is essential for content creators to build on anticipation of the resolution in order for their story to be heard.
With “Santa’s The One”, granted Neo is much more of a in the know topic than Bruce Lee and Ralph Macchio, I would argue that the curiosity in seeing Santa as Neo in the famous Agent Smith battle grabbed the users’ attention. However, what kept them from leaving the scene that our viewers have most likely watched several times was the carrot or the cookie. Looking at the graph you will notice the attention spike around 1:02, Santa’s glorious, “Get in my belly!” cookie moment. Viewers rewinding the video to re-watch the segment created the spike in attention. By dangling the cookie halfway through the video we created anticipation for more, for what’s next. This reengaged our viewers, holding them to the end, allowing for our story to be communicated.
With YouTube’s Hot Spots brands and content creators have the power to see what works and what should fall to rest on the editing room floor. It provides meaningful insight to make educated decisions that help ensure your message is being communicated, potentially leading to cost savings and increased profits. When it comes to your story, it is not necessarily about what you want, it is about what connects with your audience.