Who Watches ( and Shares ) What on YouTube ? And When ? Using Twitter to Understand YouTube Viewership

Adiya Abisheva, Venkata Rama Kiran Garimella, David Garcia and Ingmar Weber

In Proceedings of the 7th ACM international conference on Web search and data mining, pages: 593-602 (2014)


We combine user-centric Twitter data with video-centric YouTube data to analyze who watches and shares what on YouTube. Combination of two data sets, with 87k Twitter users, 5.6mln YouTube videos and 15mln video sharing events, allows rich analysis going beyond what could be obtained with either of the two data sets individually. For Twitter, we generate user features relating to activity, interests and demographics. For YouTube, we obtain video features for topic, popularity and polarization. These two feature sets are combined through sharing events for YouTube URLs on Twitter. This combination is done both in a user-, a video-and a sharing-event-centric manner. For the user-centric analysis, we show how Twitter user features correlate both with YouTube features and with sharing-related features. As two examples, we show urban users are quicker to share than rural users and for some notions of \"influence\" influential users on Twitter share videos with a higher number of views. For the video-centric analysis, we find a superlinear relation between initial Twitter shares and the final amounts of views, showing the correlated behavior of Twitter. On user impact, we find the total amount of followers of users that shared the video in the first week does not affect its final popularity. However, aggregated user retweet rates serve as a better predictor for YouTube video popularity. For the sharing-centric analysis, we reveal existence of correlated behavior concerning the time between video creation and sharing within certain timescales, showing the time onset for a coherent response, and the time limit after which collective responses are extremely unlikely. We show that response times depend on video category, revealing that Twitter sharing of a video is highly dependent on its content. To the best of our knowledge this is the first large-scale study combining YouTube and Twitter data.