YouTube technically announced YouTube Trends about a week ago, in a blog post regarding the most-watched videos of the year. It was a casual link in the last paragraph for readers interested in seeing more detailed year-end lists. But today they're giving Trends a more appropriate unveiling, with a feature blog post.
So what is YouTube Trends? Well, if you're familiar with Google Trends—which helps users discover the latest patterns in keyword search behavior—it's kind of like that, only for YouTube. Or like Twitter's trending topics... for video. Technically, YouTube Trends is a new blog in the Google network of blogs, but they're pitching it as a one-stop shop for information on what's hot at YouTube right this second.
Says the YouTube blog:
"YouTube Trends features new algorithmically-generated feeds that highlight which topics and videos are trending right now. The site also offers a 'top videos' module and a blog with more in-depth explorations of videos, trends, news, and cultural phenomena as seen through the lens of YouTube… YouTube Trends is like your water cooler for web video, so check back each day to see the very latest.”
They've created, with some help from the Gregory Brothers, a great video that spoofs old-timey "science & industry" style educational films while still explaining the goal of YouTube Trends. Take a look:
If YouTube-proper is an encyclopedia-style archive of online video, then Trends is the microcosm of what's popular right now. Let's say you write a weekly column highlighting the week's best viral videos, as I do. You might, in that case, find something like Trends to be a goldmine of valuable information on the very latest and fastest-rising videos.
There's also something called the Trends Dashboard, which offers the ability to filter the data on the very hottest videos of the moment by a variety of demographic settings like location, gender, or age. This is an outstanding information source for video professionals in all markets, whether global, regional, or local.
For instance, if I filter for my home town—Nashville, TN—I see this:
And I can spot at the top there a new video called Nashville Freeze 2010, which shows off a frozen-in-place flash-mob that took place recently in a shopping mall that is only a few minutes from where I sit as I type this. I had no idea this had happened, and might not have discovered it if it wasn't for YouTube Trends.
Trends will benefit everyone from the full-time video marketing professional to the casual video viewer. If keeping your finger on the pulse of what's hot in viral video is important for video marketing success—and I believe it is—then Trends is a most-welcome gift, and one that can enlighten and inform our own video efforts as we strive for popularity and success.
Learn more about Trends in this special FAQ, or find out how to use it by watching this video: