How much time do you think you spend watching online videos like Youtube each day?
Be honest and take a guess.
While you probably have a pretty good sense of the type of content you are watching on YouTube, do you know how much time you spend watching?
You are likely underestimating the amount of time you spend watching online videos. According various studies, the average adult watches videos and TV for an hour longer than they estimate.
In short, we think we watch less TV and online videos than we actually do.
Personally, there have been nights where I’ll guiltily realize at 2am or later that I’ve just spent several hours streaming dozens of entertaining videos but wish I hadn’t. I’ll tell myself again and again “just one more video” as the dawn nears. I have oscillating feelings about YouTube, since it’s a free medium to watch amazing content, entertainment and educational.
If you have ever wondered what and how many videos you are watching online, you are in luck because you can transform Google’s YouTube Watch History into tracking statistics that tell you what you are watching and how much. Unlike other forms of tracking, it doesn’t require you to set anything up to access this tracking data.
The reality is that people spend a lot more time on YouTube: about an hour or more per day, according to Google. In comparison to my own tracking data, which I’ll go into detail on how you can get these stats too, I have watched well over 45 days worth of videos on YouTube in my life, and in the past two months, I’ve spent over a day and half each month watching YouTube videos or about 73 minutes per day.
While a lot of blogs and people online talk about protecting your privacy and about deleting your history on this or that service, I highly encourage you to collect your data before you delete it. Google and YouTube data is particularly interesting, since it can tell you a lot about your online behavior. You can see trends in what you watched during different times of your life. Collecting your Youtube watch history is also a great way to save as well as extend and augment your digital memory.
Our relation with technologies like smartphones, social media, apps, etc. is not always as simple as accept or reject. Instead, there can be a nuanced understanding and a conscious engagement. By tracking and analyzing our usage of certain technologies, we can better understand our engagement and make conscious choices about how and how much we we want use a technology like YouTube.
In this post, I want to share some ways to track and quantify your YouTube watching as a few steps you can use to change and improve your YouTube usage. We will look at three different techniques for tracking your Youtube video watching. Two are quite simple and require minimal setup but provide only a limited view of your YouTube History, while the third way will require some Python Code and Data Analysis in order to gain the most complete data on your Youtube History.
Hopefully this techniques can help you not only understand how much and what you watch YouTube, but change it too.