What are these new Estimated Minutes Watched statistics on YouTube all about ?

If, like me, you spend almost every hour of the day monitoring the positions of your videos on YouTube, then you will have probably noticed that they’re bouncing all over the shop at the moment and it’s due to the new estimated minutes watched feature.

One minute a film that’s been at position three for a particular search term disappears completely, only to return on page three. Check again and it’s magically returned to position three again. Something is a foot with YouTube.

You may also have noticed this little fella:

Estimated Minutes Watched.

Estimated Minutes Watched.


YouTube . . . the future 

This little fella points to the future of YouTube. Those of you who have heard our presentations will know about the algorithm change which favours films which show engaging audience retention statistics and ‘features’ them, helping to increase video views. Now YouTube appear to be pushing this out as a ranking tool too.


Google Tv

Google Tv


“We’re channel-izing YouTube, the product”


Well the easy answer is if someone watches more of your film then they have probably found what they are looking for. This creates a positive user experience and this is exactly what Google want – content that is relevant and has authority. Kamanger (The CEO of YouTube and Senior Vice President of Video at Google) says that Google/YouTube want to give “people exactly what they want to watch today”.

He calls this the ‘Third Wave of Media’ (the first being broadcast, the second being cable) and it’s the future!

Where is Kamanger planning to take us in the future?

“We’re trying to catalyze channel creation,” Kamangar said. “We’re channel-izing YouTube, the product.”

Most new TV’s now link directly to the internet and Google are actively encouraging you to spend time watching your favourite YouTube channels from the comfort of your armchair.



Get an audience and keep them!

After all it’s big business. The average American spends 15 minutes a day watching YouTube but a massive 5 hours watching the television. In monitery terms, $63 billion is spent on using film to advertise on television and online, but over 95% of this money is exclusively spent on TV advertising.

Google’s whole structure is built around advertising so it’s an obvious progression to bring a valuable YouTube viewing experience to your TV.

Aggressive YouTube 

The initial problem with YouTube, of course, is that we have to actively choose what we want to watch every few minutes, where with TV we watch passively. Google are investing millions of dollars into creating a ‘lean-back viewing experience’ and this is where the new ‘Estimated Minutes Watched’ analytic comes into play.


Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 16.10.17


Youtube needs to become more of a passive experience.

So, why the ‘Estimated Minutes Watched’ ?

Google want to nurture the channels that make people stay on YouTube. They want to encourage you to stay on channels that you like and watch them regularly. In return, your films will rank higher on YouTube, Google and…TV!

Imagine being able to create a very targeted advertising campaign on TV…all through YouTube.

What can you do to help yourself?

If you have a channel, make sure that you’re producing engaging, regular content and using all the tools to get your subscription rates up. Also, monitor your ‘Audience Retention‘ and see which films are working and which aren’t. There are many ways to increase your subscriber base on YouTube, but that’s a whole other blog post.

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