If you’ve spent any time researching your opportunity for video marketing, then you’ve probably heard this often-shared data point: YouTube is the second-biggest search engine behind Google. It’s almost a cliche by now, but it’s likely true. YouTube sits right behind Google in Alexa.com’s list of the top 500 websites (just ahead of Facebook) and earns 1.5 billion visits each month.

This article isn’t going to go into the rising popularity of video marketing because that’s probably why you’re here! Instead we’re going to learn how to do YouTube keyword research by first understanding the search behavior that is observed on the world’s most-popular video platform.

Why Do Video Keyword Research Separately?

You can’t rely on your regular keyword research process alone to produce great content ideas for video marketing. Why? The motivations for seeking out video are different than your typical organic search.

How watching videos on YouTube makes people feel:

how youtube videos make people feel

Have you ever plugged in a keyword into Google to feel inspired, empowered or impassioned? Probably not. That’s where videos come in.

By separately researching keyword opportunities for video marketing, you’ll identify content opportunities that may not surface in “normal” keyword research.

Finding the Best Keywords for YouTube

Unlike the Google Adwords Keyword Planner, which can be a useful tool for paid and organic search marketing, there isn’t a keyword tool provided by YouTube. Thankfully, Google publishes a ton of research on YouTube search activity that we can use to help us find the best keywords for video.

Let’s take a look at recent YouTube search trends and the platform’s most-searched keywords to help you do effective research.

Recent YouTube Search Trends

As access to free video content has grown, people have grown more accustomed to seeking out video content first for knowledge and inspiration.

Here are the most popular reasons people search on YouTube:

  • To help me fix something in my home or car
  • To be entertained
  • To learn something new
  • To satisfy my curiosity about something
  • To help me solve a problem
  • To see something unique
  • To relax
  • To de-stress
  • To get inspiration or motivation
  • To improve my school or job skills

youtube search trends

Millennial YouTube Trends

Millennials are shaping the way video content is being produced. They are using available technologies, especially video, for self-improvement and to acquire new skills.

millennial youtube search trends 70% want to learn how to do something new

This search trend goes beyond learning how to fix a car. In fact, many millennials turn to YouTube for ways to improve their own health and happiness.

millennial youtube search trends 47% want to improve their health

When it comes to products and services, millennials take a “try before you buy approach” by taking advantage of free video content. Instead of taking a risk on a new workout routine or wearable fitness device, they’ll watch free instructional videos or product reviews.

millennial youtube search trends try before you buy approach

Gen X YouTube Trends

It’s not only millennials who are fueling the growth in online video content, older generations are discovering the benefits too. According to Google, “75% of Gen Xers watch YouTube at least monthly on any device. And 64% of Gen Xers bought a product or service they saw in a video on YouTube when they were learning how to do something.”

Here’s why Gen Xers are choosing to watch YouTube videos:

1. To relive past events

gen x youtube search trends 75% want to relive the past

2. To stay current

gen x youtube search trends 68% want to stay current

3. To learn something new

gen x youtube search trends 73% want to learn how to do something

What does all of this mean for brands? Your best opportunity to engage your target audience with video is to produce content that aligns with their viewing habits. Across all ages, YouTube is being used to learn new skills, which is where your product or service can come into play. Show people the benefits your company provides in the context of facilitating self-improvement.

To explore even more YouTube search trends, check out these resources:

The Most-Searched Keywords on YouTube

Now, let’s translate recent search trends into actual keywords that are being plugged into the search bar. Here are several of the most-searched types of keywords on YouTube that brands should know about.

“How to” Keywords

Given how hungry YouTube viewers are to learn new skills, it’s no surprise that keywords that include the phrase “how to” represent the largest category of searches.

Cooking, home improvement, automotive repair and parenting advice represent some of the most popular topics for these types of keywords.

“Review” Keywords

YouTube is a popular destination for previewing products or services before buying. Videos with the word “review” in the titles have had 50,000 years of viewing time in the past two years, according to Google.

People want to see and experience a product as much as they possibly can before buying. This is why unboxing videos (videos where people literally just open new products from their boxes) have over 48 million hours of viewing time.

Beyond “review” keywords, people also want to know if your product or service is worth the risk of buying. “Is ____ worth it?” keywords have increased in popularity over the last two years.

“Best” Keywords

Along the same vein of watching product reviews, people want to discover the best solution for their problem using video. These searches aren’t limited to broad categorical search, like “best shoes”. No, people want to find the best product or method for addressing their specific issue.

examples of the most search keywords on youtube for best shoes

People don’t only want to know what is the best, but also what to avoid. YouTube keyword searches that include “to avoid” have grown by 1.5 times in last two year.

Free YouTube Keyword Research Tools

YouTube Autocomplete

Google Autocomplete is my favorite keyword research tool. So when video content is the focus, I’ll start with the YouTube version.

youtube autocomplete for keyword research

Just start typing and see what’s recommended.

KeywordTool.io for Youtube

This tool scrapes YouTube Autocomplete to give you many more keywords. Whereas YouTube Autocomplete might give you 10 or so suggestions, KeywordTool.io shows you hundreds.

youtube keyword research tool

To view the keyword data you’ll need a paid subscription. But, if all you’re looking for is keywords, this a great tool to use.

TubeBuddy for YouTube Chrome Extension

This tool is great for keyword research and analyzing competitors’ videos. When you search, you’ll see keyword data and suggestions in a sidebar to the right of the results.

youtube competitive analysis and keyword tool

Click on any video to more keyword and optimization insights, including:

  • How many tags they’re using and where they rank in YouTube search results for each one
  • Keyword trends and rising keyword opportunities
  • Which best practices for YouTube video optimization they’re following

youtube competitive analysis tool

To get this extensions, first go add it to Chrome. Then, sign in to YouTube and you’re ready to go.

Google Trends for YouTube

Did you know you see keyword trends on YouTube by using Google Trends? I didn’t until I started writing this article. Now I’ll use it all the time.

After you’ve entered a keyword into Google Trends, click on the filter to the right labeled “Web Search” and switch it to “YouTube Search”.

search youtube trends using google trends

You’ll get the same great data and keyword suggestions, but now they’ll be specific to YouTube. Pretty neat.

Video is becoming an increasingly important medium for reaching customers. With solid keyword research and SEO, your videos will earn you visibility and conversions.

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