I always feel a little late to the party when it comes to the most popular YouTube videos. By the time I get around to watching them, it seems like the cool kids have already moved on to the next thing. It's so fast paced that it's really hard to keep up.
YouTube is attempting to solve that problem by introducing a new feature that will show you the most popular videos in different areas of the country.
"Are teens in the South watching the same videos as middle-aged folks in New England? Now with the YouTube Trends Map (YouTube.com/TrendsMap), you can see today’s most popular videos in major markets across the U.S. You can also see what’s popular with women or men, as well as by different age groups," Kevin Allocca, Trends Manager at YouTube, wrote.
The map can be broken down both by gender or into seven different age categories: 13-17, 18-24, 25-34, 35-33, 45-54, 55-64 and 65+.
For example, the most popular video among women, aged 34-45 in Salt Lake City, Utah is something called Save BC Film PSA #1 "Trickle Down Effect". The map also tells me that this video is not #1 anywhere else in the country right now.
The map doesn't just show you which videos are popular, but will open the video into a small window over the map so users can watch it then and there.
Looking at videos from both genders, across all age groups, the most popular video, by far, right now is the True Blood Season 6 Trailer, which is number one in 79 regions, including Springfield, Missouri; Wilmington, North Carolina; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Baltimore, Maryland; and Lincoln, Nebraska.
Another popular video is The CLOOD - Life is Just a Game EP. Promo, which is number one in 13 markets across the United States, and The Walking (And Talking) Dead" — A Bad Lip Reading of The Walking Dead, which is number one in 10 markets.
The trends map is definitely a cool feature to play around with, and to see what's happening around where you live, but I have a feeling that there is a more definite purpose for something like this, and that is most likely has to do with advertising.
Knowing what specific genders, age groups and, in come cases, even regions of the country, are paramout to launching a successful advertising campaign. With the information YouTube is providing, marketers will have this information at their fingertips in real-tme, and can know exactly what kind of ads they should be running and on which videos. Now they can know that a video called Help us we're overstocked! - Rap from Quirk Cars is the top video for men aged 13-17 in San Diego, and run their ads accordingly.
And YouTube certainly seems to have monetization on its mind these days.
It was reported Monday that the video-sharing site is going to announce a plan this week that it is going to start making users pay for certain videos by letting some video makers charge a monthly subscription to their channels. This would give YouTube another source of revenue beyond only relying on advertising dollars.
(Image source: http://www.youtube.com)