YouTube to open up access to its Insight analytics data

The site aims to get information to users "where and how they want it"

YouTube plans to open up its Insight analytics tool, which video uploaders can use to track a variety of metrics related to clips' usage, viewership and popularity.

Insight, launched a year ago, is a standalone tool that isn't integrated with other analytics software, not even with Google Analytics, and that lacks automated functionality to import and export data.

That, however, will likely change soon.

"One of the things we're looking to do going forward is to provide people Insight information where and how they want it," said Tracy Chan, a YouTube product manager, in an interview.

"Right now you have to log into YouTube to get the information, but we're working on servicing that need of getting the information where and when you want it. That's something we've heard loud and clear from our users," he added.

Those plans sound like good news to John Evershed, CEO of Mondo Media, whose popular animated shorts have made its channel the fifth most popular on YouTube.

"That would be useful, particularly for our ad sales. Advertisers want as much data as possible on who your audience is," Evershed said. "Right now, it's hard to pull out some of the [Insight] data."

Mondo Media, which has 10 employees, began putting its clips on YouTube in May 2007, but its ability to properly time their release and to gather granular usage data took a major leap with the release of Insight in March 2008. "Before Insight, there was a lot more eyeballing and theories about why things were going on rather than actual hard data," he said.

Among the data Insight can capture is the state and country of viewers, the sites from where viewers are referred and the varying popularity levels of different parts of a single video clip.

This month, Insight also gained a "community" tab, which aggregates stats for things like ratings, comments and the number of actions viewers take per view of a video.

Insight is free and available to anyone who uploads videos to YouTube.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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