YouTube Product Manager Talks YouTube Business Uses

    March 20, 2009
    Chris Crum

After YouTube contacted WebProNews to announce the launch of YouTube Insight’s new engagement analytics features, We were able to score an informative Q&A session with YouTube product manager Tracy Chan.

Chan talks about the past, present, and future of YouTube’s analytics tool YouTube Insight, and details many ways in which businesses can utilize YouTube (which is the 2nd largest search engine).

The Chat

Chris Crum: Tell me about how you were able to get YouTube Insight to where it’s at today.

Tracy Chan: We’ve come a long way since we first launched YouTube Insight almost a year ago, on March 26, 2008. At launch, our Insight feature only had 2 out of the 6 features that we make available now, and it only provided information on individual videos, not the collection of videos from a channel. We moved quickly to add more features — less than a month after launch we started providing data on how viewers actually get to an up-loader’s videos through our Discovery feature. A month after that we started aggregating information by Channel, and we introduced our Demographics tab.

The fall of ’08 brought even more innovation, with "Hot Spots," a feature that allowed users to see which parts of their videos are "hot" and retain their audience’s attention. This wave of recent innovations shows our strong commitment to provide our users and partners with increasingly relevant information about how their videos are performing on the site.

And Wednesday we took another major step towards giving our users information that empowers them by launching a different type of Insight feature: "Community."  For the first time, we are introducing a tool that provides information based on something other than views. The new feature provides detailed information on how the YouTube community engages with content by letting uploaders see how their comments, ratings, and favorites vary over time and in different locations.

Community Engagement

While we were busy increasing our product offerings, our users were quickly embracing our technologies. Some of the first movers are now amongst our most-viewed partners, as they have harnessed the power of our tools to build a strong community around their content.

For example, independent animation company Mondo Media, has been using one of the most basic functions of the tool to recognize patterns for new video clips—“rolling waves” of traffic that eventually crash after several days. They use this momentum to introduce new shows at the right time -"they jump on the waves" as Mondo Media’s CEO says. Their successful use of YouTube Insight is one of the things that has helped Mondo Media rise to the top – they are now the 6th most-viewed YouTube Channel.

And today, one year since the launch of YouTube Insight, our users are becoming more and more sophisticated in their use of YouTube Insight. Users are now closing major deals using it. With the demographic information they collect from it, YouTubers are able to convince potential sponsors or networks that they appeal to the desired demographic.

For instance, Paul Telner is one of YouTube’s most popular comedians. His four YouTube Channels, have a total of 29,000 subscribers and 4.6+ million views. Paul used information from YouTube Insight to negotiate and sign a deal with MuchMusic — Canada’s #1 cable music network — to star in a series of primetime specials. He used the "Demographics" feature to convince MuchMusic that he appeals to 18-24s.

And NBA All-Star Chris Bosh (member of the USA Olympic team and starting forward for the Toronto Raptors) used Insight in the exact same way to sign a huge sponsorship deal with AOL Sports.

Chris Crum: Tell me about what the future holds for YouTube Insight.

Tracy Chan:
First of all, we are looking to expand access to YouTube Insight. A lot of our content partners have been asking for the ability to do more things with this data and access it in more places so

we want to eventually take some steps to fulfill their needs. Additionally, as our Content ID System is becoming increasingly popular among our partners, we are looking to increase the amount of information we give on claimed videos.

Also, we want to give our advertisers more info on how our community receives their campaigns. While expanding access is one of our goals, we will continue increasing the amount of information Insight provides. For example, we may start combining some Insight features to give content owners a better understanding of certain viewer subgroups.

Chris Crum: Can you give some insight for business owners as to why they need to seriously get into the online video game if they are not already? 
Tracy Chan: YouTube is the world’s largest focus group. Our audience is not just one of the biggest on the web, but it’s also very diverse and we have advanced targeting tools that allow advertisers to be as broad, deep or precise as they want in their reach. This means that we give business owners a unique opportunity to reach virtually any audience they choose, and to show viewers entertaining content that engages them and encourages them to interact with their brand.

Second, we have a large variety of effective advertising products to meet the various needs of different types of businesses. Business owners who either have video assets or are able to create them can place video ads on our homepage, create a promotional Channel, use our sponsored videos product to drive traffic to their content, use our annotations tool to make interactive ads, and the list goes on.

Whichever option they choose, they can also use YouTube Insight to get very detailed information on what demographic is viewing their ads, where their viewers are located, how they get to the ads and how much they engage with them.

As a result, they are able to not only improve the effectiveness of their video ads but also get to know their audience and use that information to make offline marketing, advertising and product distribution decisions.

In a nutshell, our analytics tools can help businesses make smart decisions on and off the site. For example, it is not uncommon for bands to determine where to distribute their CDs based on data they gather from YouTube Insight. And Josh Warner, president-founder of Feed Company, a firm that major marketers, such as Ray Ban and General Motors pay to help nudge their videos viral, said Insights allows users to "adjust and calibrate their marketing outreach."

But YouTube is not just for those businesses who have video. A lot of our most popular advertising solutions do not require any video assets. Alongside one of the web’s largest audiences we over 3000 content partnerships – this means that the creative your business is looking for may already be on YouTube.

The possibilities are endless: a business owner could run InVideo ads or gadget ads against any videos from our partner content, launch a contest that encourages viewers to engage with their brand by creating relevant videos, or sponsor a branded entertainment program.

The opportunities for advertising on YouTube are vast and they keep growing as we acquire more viewers, sign more partners, improve our ads offerings and make our reporting tools, like YouTube Insight, more and more sophisticated.

Wrapping Up

I’d like to thank Tracy for taking the time to give WebProNews readers such a tremendous amount of insight into YouTube Insight and how businesses can take advantage of all of YouTube’s tools. As you can see, there are quite a few ways to utilize online video from the business standpoint. And that’s just YouTube.