YouTube spying for easy extra video views
If you’re reading this blog post then there’s a good chance you have a fair idea about how important YouTube is. In fact, if you’re reading this post and you’ve never heard of YouTube, well, then you have a huge world of wonder ahead of you to explore. If you’re making or commissioning videos, then uploading them to your YouTube channel and hoping for the best then you’re missing out on a whole lot of extra views, website traffic and brand exposure. Ultimately you’re missing out on the opportunity to boost your profits or further your cause. These extra YouTube videos I’m teasing you with can be earned very easily, and with a surprisingly small amount of effort. I’ll show you how.
For this short guide you’ll need to install a browser extension called TubeBuddy. If Google Chrome is your browser of choice you can get TubeBuddy for free by clicking here… . TubeBuddy is also available for Firefox and Safari / Mac. We’re not affiliated with TubeBuddy, we just think it’s great. There is a paid version of TubeBuddy, but everything in this post can be done with a free account.
Once you have got TubeBuddy installed you’ll notice that YouTube starts to look rather different. The most obvious change is the huge stats section that now appears on the right hand side of every video. It looks like this:
Digging deeper into YouTube statistics
I chose a video at random for this article, so there’s no association between Summer Isle Films and the makers of the above video. The reason I choose the above video is that some of the stats that are revealed tell us quite a lot about how YouTube users have interacted with this video. This information is incredibly interesting, especially if you use it to spy on how well your competitors are doing with their YouTube videos. However, it’s worth noting that only Google have the 100% real, genuine data when it comes to YouTube stats. The stats that TubeBuddy display appear to be incredibly close to being entirely accurate, but as with making any business decision based on stats, it’s worth taking this data with a pinch of salt.
Using competitors’ YouTube stats and YouTube for fun and profit
So now you’ve started gathering all this data what are you going to do with it? You could use competitors’ channel stats to benchmark your own YouTube activity. Because (excluding TubeBuddy) there is relatively little public information available for YouTube activities it can be difficult to tell how successful your videos are. Sure, you might set targets for yourself in terms of new subscribers. You may view increased leads or a jump in website traffic as a sign that you’re winning on YouTube. But if you don’t know how well the leaders in your niche are doing then it’s impossible to know whether pushing a little harder might increase the success of your channel.
As an aside, being able to benchmark your channel against industry leaders is also a great way to prove the worth of video marketing to the departments in your organisation who control budgets. If you can prove that you are meeting the objectives of your bosses and gaining ground over competitors then that’s great!
Using TubeBuddy for research before making your videos.
In some marketing circles there is a saying that neatly sums up why research is crucial to the success of any marketing campaign. If you market anything to an audience that is ambivalent or non-existent then you are ‘waiting for your cat to bark’. So if you make a video for YouTube that doesn’t have an audience that is ready to engage with it then you’re wasting your resources.
The problem goes deeper than this, in a way that is nearly unique to any Internet Marketing – if you make a video that won’t rank then you’re wasting your resources. When I talk about videos ranking I’m referring to how highly they appear in results when people use the YouTube search function. If your video doesn’t rank then it won’t be found. If it’s not found it won’t be watched. If it isn’t watched then… well you get the idea.
But as with all perceived problems the problem of not ranking has a solution. You’ve probably guessed by now that you can make life much easier if you research how difficult a video will be to rank before even drawing up any storyboards. The good news is that TubeBuddy makes this type of research, sometimes called ‘keyword’ or ‘tag’ research really simple. Inside TubeBuddy there’s a very useful section called ‘Tag Explorer’.
Tag Explorer is very simple to use. Enter the topic you’re considering shooting for in the search box and hit the blue ‘Explore’ button. In the above example I typed in ‘Ipswich’. The section immediately below the search box tells us what other tags the top ranking videos for ‘Ipswich’ use.
Being cautious with keyword scores
The keyword score section on the bottom right tells us how many people are searching for our target keyword. It’s well worth bearing in mind that (at least as far as we can tell) the search volume relates to the entire world. So while search volume is low for ‘Ipswich’ if you take into consideration the entire world then we can assume that there are still a high number of searches for ‘Ipswich’ being carried out locally, within the UK. To clarify this, if you were to search for ‘cats being funny’ then the search volume would be high. Because everyone in the entire world wants to see videos of cats being funny.
So keyword search volume is important, but it’s the competition score that’s crucial to this type of research. The lower the competition slider is the easier it will be to rank your video. In the example above TubeBuddy is telling us that the keyword ‘Ipswich’ will be difficult to rank for. The golden goose in this scenario would be a keyword or phrase that has a very high search volume, but very little competition. Just to complete this line of logic; if your keyword has a low competition score, but also has a very low search volume, then you’ll be able to rank it highly, but because so few people are searching for your video then you’ll probably be wasting your time.
If your target keyword / topic is competitive then fear not, we still have a trick up our sleeves, and it’s a big one. Part of the way YouTube decides where to rank videos is by the keyword tags video publishers assign to their videos when uploading them. The frustration in the past has been that it’s impossible to know what tags users have assigned to their videos. TubeBuddy changes this. By using the TubeBuddy browser extension we can see what keywords YouTube users have assigned to their videos.
This is where the tag explorer tool is really helpful. Near the top right of the Tag Explorer is a section that shows us which video ranks the highest for the keyword you are working with. This is the good stuff. This is the video we want to discover the tags for, after all, the video at the top for any keyword is the ‘winner’. This is the easy bit; click on the video in the tag explorer and when it loads you’ll be able to see the tags:
If you use the ‘Copy To’ button you can copy the tags to your clipboard. When uploading your own video paste those keywords into the appropriate place and you’ll stand a better chance of ranking. This is just one of the factors used by Google to rank videos, but as is often the case in the world of Internet Marketing, marginal gains matter.
I recommend you leave TubeBuddy running all the time when using YouTube. Becoming familiar with the methods others are using to promote videos is hugely helpful in steering your own campaigns. I’ve only lightly grazed the surface of what this remarkable bit of software can do. If you want to do everything you can to make your YouTube videos punch much harder then I can heartily recommend digging deeper into TubeBuddy.
And finally; don’t forget Google Analytics!
TubeBuddy is great because it can show us statistics for videos and channels that we don’t own. But you can also gain business and marketing insights from your own videos if you connect your YouTube channel to your Google Analytics profile. Connecting your YouTube channel to Google Analytics is surprisingly easy. Click here for a handy guide…