Check out my latest Impact Warrior podcast episode here

YouTube’s Hot Spot-Secrets to the perfect video

Play episode
Hosted by
Casey Zeman

A holy grail story I know…What defines the perfect video?

Video tastes are subjective, but what if I could show you statistical and empirical evidence that could help you in your discovery of the Holy Grail…er I mean the perfect video?

There is a place I love to go when examining my video stats.

A YouTuber’s best friend, the Insight Feature…

Hidden deep below the surface of the Insight tab is a secret gem called…-Hot Spot.

Ok, well this feature is actually nothing new, in fact it came out several years ago. However, have you ever gone so deep into HotSpot (subsequently analyzing over 400 videos to determine a pattern in gaining the highest consistency of viewer attention) that your eyes popped out of your head?

Well I have, and luckily I was able to put them back in long enough to share this with you.
The YouTube Hot Spot Feature analyzes a video’s viewer attention.
The analysis is based on all of the views of a particular video and when in that video those viewers start to lose interest and stop watching.
Whether it’s the beginning of the video, middle of the video, or at the end.

The Hot Spot Feature can tell you whether your video is instant yawn material or if it’s making people stand up in their chairs screaming…”Wow, this is the Citizen Cane of Web Videos!!”

A Quick Note about the Hot Spot feature from YouTube:

YouTube’s features documentation states that you need 300 views on a video after March 2011 for the Hot Spot Graph and data to propagate. Well I have found this not to be the case.


Here is a screenshot below of a video that has over the 300 views and it was uploaded May 23, 2011.



Here is the Hot Spot Data from that same video. As you can see, YouTube is saying that there is insufficient data to display the Hot Spot Graph.





I have tested it out on many videos, and a good rule of thumb for a minimum number of views to guarantee Hot Spot data is about 1300-1500 views.


We are going to continue on by examining the two categories of video content, Entertainment and Informative.

First -Entertaining Videos




An Entertaining Video analyzed in Hot Spot will usually show that when someone comes to an entertaining video their attention to that video starts HIGH and ends LOW.


Entertaining videos tend to have the ability to reel people in through cool thumbnails or animation. Therefore, the attention starts high from the audience and the greatest fallout of a viewer is at the end of the video. Usually Entertaining videos start great but tend to only go downhill from there.
REMEMBER-Entertaining videos generally follow the rule to grab ones attention within the first 5 seconds of a video.

Usually an entertaining video loses interest not because the content starts to fail, but usually because the length of the video is too long.

A dip can occur at a time where much of the audience is starting to ask the question, “where is this video is going?”

A nice rule of thumb for an entertainment-based video is to keep the video length between 1-3 minutes.Usually anything more and you will begin to loose the attention of the audience.

Second-Informative Videos

An Informative Video will show the complete opposite data…interesting! Informative videos are designed to provide usable information.

The informative video can be in the form of a “How To” video or:



Training And More.

The informative video tends to start LOW and end HIGH.

Another way to look at it is in the beginning of the video, the highest number of fall-outs occur.
BUT, those that stay to watch the video, tend to watch it till the end.
People who come to watch these videos generally are here for a purpose, to learn…
To gain knowledge in regards to whatever topic the video is about. Therefore more people will stay longer to get all of the information a video has.
Because the video is generally a training video or instructional video, there is a greater commitment to watching the video. Therefore, these videos can afford to be longer without having the same fear of disinterest as an entertaining video.

An informative video can be in upwards of 10 minutes long and still hold relative interest. However, I would say at 5 minutes you may notice your training video dropping in interest.

NOW Wrap your mind around this idea…Are there parameters that could define the PERFECT VIDEO?

The goal for a video like this would be to represent high interest from beginning to end above the average line in the Hot Spot Graph.


To start high and end higher…is that possible?


Yes it is…What about combining both Entertaining and Instructional ideals…?


The screenshot represents a video that is approximately 2 minutes long, that is instructional all the way through. But also Entertaining.

Here is the recipe for the parameters around the perfect blend of video:

  • Grab the audiences attention in the first 5 seconds-(use animation and music and see if you can choose a crazy cool thumbnail to represent the video…build the interest right away…even before someone watches the video. This will guarantee that you will have high interest right in the beginning of the video.
  • Keep the video, if you can to under 3 minutes. A good entertainment video is short and sweet. An entertaining instructional video is even sweeter…
  • Capitalize on your audience’s commitment to wanting the value of the video. That will ensure their longevity in watching the full length of the video.
  • If you can do the audience the service of offering great value in an entertaining way, your interest will be higher and your margin of interest will be less and less.
  • Offer ‘call to actions’ as a source of interaction. With ‘call to actions’ you can manipulate the Hot Spot Graph by deciding where you want your audience members to respond to your ‘call to action’. (You can request that they click through to another video at that 1 minute mark based on your desired goals for the viewer. Therefore the Hot Spot Graphic would dip based on that call to action)
  • Call to action techniques can also keep the person WATCHING the video. Here is an example: If the video is 2 minutes long-at 1:oo minute i could have an annotation pop up requesting that the audience keep an eye out for the girl in the blue shirt because a surprise will happens at 1:55 seconds. (eluding to her maybe tripping or crying or slamming into the mirror. The suspense of the unknown can keep the person watching.

A great example of Both Informative and Entertaining-The ever popular OraBrush Guys!

Notice the Thumbnail…Disgusting…yet boom you have my attention…

This Video is a perfect example of the correct blend of both informative and entertaining…Look -it even says “How to tell when your breath is bad.”

So for all of you Video enthusiasts, especially those who have products of your own, realize that by examining the Hot Spot Graph, you can begin to see how interest is measured and how you can tap into using those analytics to find…the perfect video. And sometimes that perfect video might just have brown shiny sludge oozing from a sponge…yuck!

For More YouTube and Video Marketing Tips you can sign up for the Free “7 Day Video Marketing Bootcamp” as well get a few other goodies such as the first 60 pages of my Ebook “YouTube Revealed” and a package of about 400 social media buttons. My gifts to you. Go to YouTube Revealed to get them.

If you found this article useful, could you subscribe to my YouTube channel below? Then leave a comment at YouTube Revealed. By commenting at YouTube Revealed you instantly qualify to win an Ipod Touch (Valued at 250)!


Join the discussion

More from this show

Episode 2