YouTube Is Introducing Heatmaps To Let Content Creators Know Exactly What VR Users Are Looking At

By Dave Meikleham on at

Are you a prolific YouTube personality? If so, do we ever have some gloriously life-affirming news for you. The video streaming colossus is introducing heatmaps for VR and 360-degree videos, so if your channel happens to be stuffed full of virtual reality content, you'll soon be able to find out exactly what your subscribers at looking at.

Here's a little blurb from the YouTube Creator Blog detailing the hopeful benefits of said heatmaps:

Today we’re introducing heatmaps for 360-degree and VR videos with over 1,000 views, which will give you specific insight into how your viewers are engaging with your content. With heatmaps, you’ll be able to see exactly what parts of your video are catching a viewer’s attention and how long they’re looking at a specific part of the video.

According to YouTube's figures, people who regularly watch 360-degree content normally don't get the benefit of all those fancypants panning shots, as 75% of the time they're staring at the front 90-degrees of the video. YouTube hopes these heatmaps will encourage content creators to examine viewing trends, and it suggests channels that offer VR videos try to use markers and other visual indicators to get viewers looking at parts of a scene they otherwise wouldn't.

Unless YouTube launches a PlayStation VR app, I'll probably never watch a virtual reality vid. Still, these heatmaps do sound like they'll prod people to become more fully engaged with the format (and 360-degree content), providing they have the appropriate hardware.