If there’s anything the marketing industry loves, it’s a good analytic. YouTube knows how badly we crave insight into our audience’s behavior, which is why they’ve created YouTube Trends. The release of this tool is particularly relevant as America has been hit with several massive news stories in the past month. Marketers walk a tightrope when trying to get their brand out there after a tragedy or national event, and YouTube Trends can help them improve their timeliness.

Is This Timely or Insensitive?

After any national tragedy or news story, there’s inevitably the brand that gains national attention for releasing a campaign too soon after the event that seems crass and insensitive. Even if a brand doesn’t catch flack for glossing over a tragedy, they having their posts ignored completely if America is still focused on another story.

Brands know better than to send out news releases on Election Day, but how far after should they break their news? PR and social media managers can use YouTube trends to see how much attention the nation is paying to a news story in the days following.

Have We Missed the Boat?

Even worse than making an announcement too soon is belated newsjacking. The window to create a Gangnam Style or Call Me Maybe parody closed a long time ago, yet people keep forcing it open in the name of virality. If the song or story you’re hoping to create a viral parody about isn’t trending anywhere in the nation, for any demographic, it may be time to consider riding the next viral wave instead of chasing the old one.

Is The Message Reaching Our Audience?

If you look at the map this afternoon, you can see that the nation is still in shock from the events in Cleveland. The face of Charles Ramsey giving interviews (and getting autotuned) is all over the screen, but one little icon sticks out. In Columbus, OH, Nike’s Ohio State promo video is trending across all demographics: male, female, ages 13 – 65+. Nike doesn’t need the national spotlight for this ad to be a success, the fact that it cut through front page news to top YouTube Trends for its target region is enough. YouTube Trends doesn’t give you an arbitrary number to make your reports look good, it visually illustrates if you’re reaching your intended demographic.

What Does the Region Care About?

Nike’s Ohio State video shows that not all of us are running national campaigns, so it’s helpful to see what particular regions care about instead of relying on YouTube’s top videos worldwide. If you’re looking to target a particular region or demographic, see what they’re watching on YouTube right now and use it to predict the popularity of your post. Is the state of Texas still watching the fertilizer plant explosion or have they moved on to the True Blood season 6 trailer? If your demographic is turning to lighter news and videos, it may be a more opportune moment for your brand to push its message through.

YouTube has been making a lot of changes lately and has announced plans to expand its video streaming and music components, but it’s still a website that users go to for news and the latest videos. If marketers can capture the attention of YouTube viewers, they will see social shares and mentions on other websites increase as well.