There’s a lot of YouTube tools out there.
But not all tools are created equal.
That’s why I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite YouTube optimization tools, broken down by category.
Read on to find out my favorites for research, competitor analysis, video creation, optimization and rank tracking, and analytics.
YouTube Tools: Keyword Research Tools
The first place to start? Is YouTube itself.
Added bonus: it’s also the easiest.
Like a traditional search, when you launch YouTube and start typing in the search bar, YouTube will attempt to predict your search by showing you what’s popular.
For example, when I type in “social media” YouTube will give me the following options to streamline the results:
It may seem too good (or easy) to be true, but YouTube’s showing these suggestions because it’s what people are searching for the most, meaning if you can successfully target these keywords, you’ll be in good shape.
Pro tip: don’t always go for exactly what YouTube suggests. These will generally be really tough to rank for, but you can take what YouTube gives you and look for keyword variations to target.
This is a pretty cool tool that lets you conduct research for YouTube specifically.
When you get to the Keyword.io homepage, you’ll see an option for a YouTube tab – that’s the one you want to be on.
From there, enter your keyword. You can filter results by keywords, questions, prepostions, or hashtags.
This is super handy, and I recommend using the questions tab to find possible titles for your video. A Pro account will also give you access to information like search volume, trend, CPC, and competition.
Keyword Keg is another tool with its own YouTube-centric section.
What’s cool is that it pulls data from 9 external sources (outside of Google) including Amazon, YouTube, Wikipedia, etc. While we want to focus on YouTube here, it’s always good to have as much information at your fingertips as possible.
Like Keywordtool.io, it will give you information regarding search volume, CPC, competition, etc., as well as rank keyword difficulty, CTR scope, and keyword power.
YouTube Tools: Competitor Research and Analyzation Tools
TubeBuddy is an exceptional YouTube tool – and one I highly recommend all YouTubers take a serious look at.
It will help throughout the entire video creation process, from testing titles and descriptions to auto-publishing.
You can even add it as an extension to your Chrome browser for easy use.
But, as this is the competitor research section, I want to focus specifically on one of TubeBuddy’s best features: its Tag Explorer.
Tags are incredibly important when it comes to YouTube optimization, as they allow further categorize each video and give the YouTube algorithm easy way to understand what it’s about and what categories (and searches) it’s most relevant to.
TubeBuddy allows you to see the exact tags your competition is using for their videos. So if I were publishing a video on “how to optimize my video for SEO,” I could use TubeBuddy to see the tags the highest-ranking videos were using on the subject.
Bonus feature: you can even see which tags the channel itslef used when optimizing for SEO.
Beyond tags, TubeBuddy offers a feature called Competitor Scorecard, which will show how you stack up to the competition in terms of views, subscribers, uploads, and engagement.
You can also gain insight into how many Facebook likes a competitor’s video is getting, the number of views, how many words they used in a description, etc.
Bottom line: TubeBuddy’s a must.
Tags For YouTube
Because when it comes to YouTube, you can never have too many tag tools.
For anyone unaware, YouTube has made tags invisible to audiences, meaning that spying on your competitor’s tag game manually isn’t an option.
Luckily, the Chrome extension Tags For YouTube is designed to exactly that.
While it doesn’t have the added bells and whistles of TubeBuddy, it does its one job really well.
Once the extension is installed, it will let you view tags like you could before YouTube removed them from view. From there, you can click “Show More” to see all the tags used for any video.
Rival IQ is a complex tool designed to give you key insights into social media analytics.
A big part of that is competitor research tools, which Rival IQ definitely doesn’t skimp on.
Using Rival IQ, you can see how well your videos and channel perform compared to the competition through competitive benchmarking.
Once you’re logged in, Rival IQ lets you monitor number of posts per day, the engagement rate of each post, when they’re posting, what’s getting likes and comments, etc.
It’s a great tool to easily visualize how you’re doing in comparison, and see what’s working for them that could very well work for you too.
YouTube Tools: Video Creation Tools
It’s no surprise that when it comes to YouTube, the higher quality video you can produce, the better. And you don’t even have to be a pro to do it.
Instead, you can use a tool like Blender.
Blender is a free, open-source editor that lets you add the basic edits to your video, as well as create your own animations, renderings, and even games.
With the editor, you can perform basic edits like cuts and splices, video masking, audio mixing and syncing, and more.
It does offer a few more advanced features like animations, etc., that may require the help of someone a little more experienced, but hey, it’s free, so why not experiment.
For anyone looking for a solid, basic editing tool, Blender is a great option.
VideoScribe is a really cool option for anyone looking to add a whiteboard/doodle effect to their videos.
This is a particularly good route to go for more B2B oriented business or those looking to present something tutorial-style via video, as it gives a way to make an ordinary whiteboard video pop through “hand-drawn” doodle animations.
Take a look at the video below to get a feel for what VideoScribe can help you create.
Magisto is another great option for editing, and offers a few notable features:
- A cloud-based video editor
- An omni-channel distribution platform
- Analytics for actionable insights
Beyond that, the software offers an AI-based video maker that will analyze your production and optimize it for your target market.
Pretty cool, right?
Wirecast makes the list because it does something entirely different than the other video softwares: it’s made specifically for livestreams.
Since the recent introduction of YouTube Live (and the extreme popularity of live video in general), this is definitely a tool your brand needs to check out.
While live videos are, by nature, a bit more unpolished than your pre-recorded video, studies show that 67% of viewers say that quality is the most important factor when watching a livestream.
All that goes to show that a tool like Wirecast is still necessary, even with a live video.
Use it as you stream to add in graphics, show built-in tallies to keep an eye on viewers and comments, and much more.
Outside of the video itself, the thumbnail you choose will have a major impact on how many people actually click.
Do not – I repeat do not – stick to the thumbnail options YouTube gives you as you upload your video.
Instead, create a custom thumbnail for each video with a tool like Canva.
Canva allows you to upload photos or use existing templates, all formatted to the correct size for YouTube.
Once you’ve selected your background image or template, you can add in images from Canva’s library, insert your logo, type your title into the image and format it with an almost endless array of borders or shapes.
Remember, you need your thumbnail to stand out. Creating a custom image in Canva is a great way to make sure it does.
YouTube Tools: Video Optimization and Tracking Tools
vidIQ is a feature-packed tool that will help increase the rank and reach of your videos.
Those include features like the SEO Tool, which finds the best keywords for your content based on Big Data analysis and YouTube search trends. And remember, the better and more applicable your keywords, the more often you’ll be found in search.
One of its cooler, keyword-related functions is that it helps you identify keywords that millions are already searching for – yet no content exists for them. Prime opportunity if you ask me (or any marketer).
It also allows you to track social conversations to monitor your video’s performance across Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube through sentiment analysis and engagement metrics.
Like TubeBuddy, it’s offered as a Chrome extension and can easily identify plenty of tag opportunities
based on what your competitors are using.
vidIQ also comes with features designed to help you identify and connect with influencers, as well as a Channel Audit tool that helps you better understand what’s working or what’s missing from your videos.
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of tags, and the tools that can help you find your competitor’s.
But what about a tool that automatically generates tags based on your video topic?
That’s what Rapid Tags does.
All you have to do is launch the Rapid Tags tag generator, type in the name of your YouTube video, and it will automatically generate. For each video, Rapid Tags aims to fill the 500-character max that YouTube allows for tags.
You can edit or remove any of the tags generated, and once you have a list you like, simply copy and paste the tag collection into your YouTube editor.
Rapid Tags can also help you identify where you’re ranking for specific tags or keywords, generate short links, and help you identify the best days and times to post based on your video topics.
This tool’s pretty straightforward: it helps you track the rank of your YouTube videos.
Naturally, keeping a close eye on how well your videos are doing is extremely important, and this is the tool to help you do it.
Just launch the YTRank homepage, insert the URL of the video you want to track and 1-6 keywords you want to see the rank for.
While this tool doesn’t come with the bells and whistles of some of the software above, it’s an awesome one for casual creators and brands alike. It’s completely free, super easy to use, and gives you valuable information on the rank of your videos for the keywords you’re targeting.
YouTube Tools: Analytics Tools
The easiest place to start: YouTube’s baked-in analytics dashboard.
To access, just log into your YouTube account, click your profile icon and select Creator Studio.
This will bring you to your dashboard, which will show you some basic analytics like watch time, views, subscribers, and estimated revenue.
From there, you can select Analytics on the left to get a more in-depth view.
As you dig deeper, you’ll be able to see insights into audience retention (how long do people watch your videos, and where do they stop?), demographics (who’s watching and where), traffic sources (where are people discovering your videos) and much more.
Overall, it’s a great resource for gaining an overview of how well your videos are performing, without downloading or signing up for any extra tools.
If you’re looking for a deeper dive into your analytics, you might want to try a software like ChannelMeter.
This is one of the only platforms built solely for video, which means it digs a little deeper into the YouTube performance and is great for anyone with a serious emphasis on video marketing.
It’s more than just an analytics platform, offering everything from influencer outreach and management, campaign management and automation tools, and verification tools.
But it’s robust analytics tools is why it lands on the list. It’s exhaustive reporting tools allow you to measure video performance cross-channel, segment your data into essential insights, view detailed demographic data, playlist analytics, keyword monitoring, and much more.
Vidooly is another comprehensive analytics platform geared towards video.
With it, you’ll have access to in-depth audience insights, including targeting data, content opportunities to maximize engagement, as well as insight into their viewing habits across platforms and devices.
You’ll also get valuable measurement data, including the ability to track brand owned and user-generated content across platforms, benchmark performance against competitors, and measure the success of video campaigns.
Beyond that you can track suggested tags, suggested channels to subscribe to, comment analysis, and more.
Wrapping Up YouTube Tools
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of the tools you need to create the best – and most successful! – YouTube videos out there.
Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments!