VR content is still in its early days, but with every passing day, more contents are posted online. Because of that, YouTube wants to help you to create better 360-degree and virtual reality videos by introducing new analytic tools, allowing creators to see how viewers are interacting with the content.
Basically the heatmaps will let content creators see what parts of your video are catching a viewer's attention and how long they are looking at a specific part of the video. At the moment, the insights for these contents are available only for videos with over 1,000 views. YouTube highlighted a few notable findings and they are:
- Focus on what's in front of you: The defining feature of a 360-degree video is that it allows you to freely look around in any direction, but surprisingly, people spent 75% of their time within the front 90 degrees of a video. So don't forget to spend significant time on what's in front of the viewer.
- Get their attention: While a lot of time is spent focusing on what's in front, for many of the most popular VR videos, people viewed more of the full 360-degree space with almost 20% of views actually being behind them. The more engaging the full scene is, the more likely viewers will want to explore the full 360-degree view. Try using markers and animations to draw attention to different parts of the scene.
- Keep different experiences in mind: The context in which people are viewing VR videos matters too. Some might be watching on a mobile and portable Cardboard, while others are watching on a desktop computer. For instance, we found viewers usually need a couple seconds to get situated in Cardboard, which isn't needed for other devices. So make sure to give your viewers a few seconds before jumping into the action.