YouTube adds tool to analyze activity of video viewers

Insight tool shows companies how often videos are viewed and the locations of users

In a move likely to appeal to the growing number of companies looking to add video to their web sites, YouTube Wednesday rolled out a tool that can closely monitor how uploaded videos are used.

The YouTube Insight tool, available without charge, provides users with detailed statistics on how often their videos are viewed and where the users are located, said YouTube product manager Tracy Chan, in a blog post. In addition, the tool can measure how popular a video is in a specific region compared to all videos viewed there during a specific period of time.

Chan said that users can access the data by clicking on a button labeled "About This Video" in their Insight accounts.

"[YouTube Insight] gives the creators an inside look into the viewing trends of their videos on YouTube, and helps them to increase views and become more popular," Chan noted. "Partners can evaluate metrics to better serve and understand their audiences, as well as increase ad revenue. And advertisers can study their metrics and successes to tailor their marketing - both on and off the site - and reach the right viewers. As a result, Insight turns YouTube into one of the world's largest focus groups."

Josh Catone, a blogger at Read Write Web, noted that the Insight package does not provide users with important metrics like search engine referral data. The tool also cannot provide general link information or whether users stop watching a video before it is finished, Catone said.

However, Catone said that Insight does "add another piece of the puzzle for YouTube to become what Google wants it to be: the place where all the world's videos are stored." Along with this month's addition of an API that allows third party sites to access YouTube's underlying libraries and infrastructure to create their own YouTube-like videos, the new analytics tool "simply makes YouTube that much more attractive to use as a video host," Catone noted.

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