Bicycle belt drives: more popular in America?

That’s one conclusion to take from the new video view stats from YouTube. Yesterday, with Google’s help, the world’s biggest Flash conversion outfit released YouTube Insight. This allows account holders to track detailed viewing statistics about the videos they upload.

Other video sites such as Vimeo can give me day by day breakdowns but not geographical ones.

I’ve looked into the metrics for my YouTube videos. Some that feature very English content, don’t get viewed that often in America. Perhaps SMIDSY (sorry, mate I didn’t see you) isn’t such a well-known phrase to US cyclists and that’s the reason the video of the same name has had almost of its YouTube views in the UK, and almost none in the US?

(I loaded the same video to Vimeo also, but added a better soundtrack…it’s had more Vimeo views than YouTube ones, but I can’t tell from where).

SMIDSY from on Vimeo.

Using YouTube Insight, I can see that Americans are really interested in watching a video about bicycle belt drives, but there are a lot less views from the UK.

According to Tracy Chan, a YouTube product manager, uploaders can see how often their videos are viewed in different geographic regions, as well as how popular they are relative to all videos in that market over a given period of time.

You can also delve deeper into the lifecycle of your videos, like how long it takes for a video to become popular, and what happens to video views as popularity peaks.

It’s great to find out where your video is getting the most views from, but there could be a downside for YouTube.

According to Scott James of Unruly Media, publisher of the Viral Video Chart, the value of a YouTube hit may now be seen to be considerably lower than many may have assumed.

He said: “We reckon a lot of marketers with YouTube hits on their hands are in for a rude shock. A million views in the US, India or China ain’t worth a lot when you’re marketing a product into UK or European markets.”

Of course, most posters to YouTube aren’t interested in the quality they’re just after the width. But for professional users, YouTube Insight could cause a shakeout among what James calls low integrity seeding outfits.

He said: “Until now, they could drive cheap views from literally anywhere and no one would be any the wiser. Now, they’re going to have to figure out how to get a European viral in front of a European audience.”

Low integrity seeding outfits? What, even video viewing is now outsourced to Mumbai?