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Thursday, 31st December 2009

YouTube: Getting Users to Spend More Time on the Site

YouTube's Suggestion Challenge: Getting users to spend more time on the site looking at more videos. Right now the average user spends 15 minutes per day on YouTube.

As you'll read further down the page, the challenge to get users to look at titles and click on suggested videos is not only an issue for YouTube.

From the Article:

Mr. Walk [director of product management at YouTube] leads a team of about a dozen engineers, designers and project managers who are fine-tuning YouTube to give its users what they want, even even when the users arenít quite sure what that is. The goal is to get them to spend a few more minutes on the site every day.

This is easier said than done. YouTube will not disclose the size of its video library, but the company has said that about 20 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute. That is the equivalent of more than 100,000 full-length movies uploaded every week. With hundreds of millions of clips to choose from, the challenge that Mr. Walkís team faces is to figure out how to select the 5 or 10 or 20 that a user might enjoy most.

[Snip]

But perhaps more important, YouTube must finesse what technicians call discovery. Thatís the art of suggesting videos that users may want to watch based on what they have watched before, or on what others with similar tastes have enjoyed. The effort requires mastering data-mining techniques similar to those used by the likes of Netflix and Amazon to make movie or book recommendations.

ďI donít think the YouTube problem is different from the Netflix problem or the Amazon problem,Ē said Christopher T. Volinsky, executive director of statistics research at AT&T Labs Research. Mr. Volinsky recently helped lead a team that won a $1 million prize established by Netflix to improve that siteís recommendation engine by 10 percent.

Source: New York Times


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