Need more ideas for YouTube content? Wondering how to do a YouTube content gap analysis?
In this article, you’ll learn how to use the YouTube Research tab in YouTube Studio to find new YouTube video ideas your target audience is interested in.
Why Is the YouTube Research Tab Insights Tool So Valuable?
Every social media network has a search function. For YouTube, search plays a much more significant role. Although YouTube’s role as the world’s second-biggest search engine is a topic for debate, it’s true that search is a key driver for discovery across the platform.
For potential customers to find your channel and enter your sales funnel, your content has to appear in relevant YouTube searches. That means you need to know what kind of content your customers are searching for and you have to publish content that ranks at the top of their search engine results.
Your team can tackle the second half of the equation by using standard YouTube search engine optimization best practices. For example, creative elements like custom thumbnails and copy elements like optimized titles and descriptions can help improve rankings and boost visibility.
But until recently, addressing the first half of the equation has typically been much trickier. For example, your team may have used a combination of Google tools and third-party tools to find trending topics and analyze demand for content.
Launched in December 2022, YouTube’s Research Tab Insights tool makes it much easier for marketers to research topics, assess demand, and find relevant ideas for content. Since this tool is built into YouTube Studio, it’s free to use and allows for seamless collaboration.
You can find the new YouTube Research Tab Insights tool by opening YouTube Studio, navigating to the Analytics panel, and selecting the new YouTube Research tab. It’s available on both desktop and mobile, but the app and browser versions have different capabilities that we’ll cover below.
How to Use YouTube Research Tab Insights
YouTube’s Research Tab Insights tool isn’t difficult to use but some of its most helpful features are easy to miss. Let’s look at how to get started with this tool so you can use it to grow your channel.
#1: Research Topics for Your YouTube Channel
Tap the search bar and enter a search term that’s relevant to your channel. The tool will automatically generate a list of search terms, topics, companies, public figures, products, and other categories related to your keyphrase. Tap any item to start researching.
Note that more narrowly defined keyphrases tend to generate much shorter lists, often including only the search term you provided. But for YouTube Research Insights, a short list of search results isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
#2: Identify Competing Content
Wondering what kind of content already exists on the topic you chose? Curious what your channel will have to compete with if your team pursues the topic?
To get a sense of competing content on the same topic, scroll down to the Watched by YouTube Viewers section, which is divided into two panels. The left panel displays recent content on the topic.
In most cases, the videos that appear on this panel were published anywhere between the past day and the previous week. That means this panel is ideal for assessing new trends for the topic and understanding what kinds of angles content creators are using right now. To see more than the default top three videos for the search term, tap the See More link.
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The thumbnails, channel names, and video titles can tell you a lot about what’s trending for the topic. But if you want to know more, you can tap to open any video in the YouTube app. There, you can see the full description, check the chapters, and watch the video.
If you’re planning to create content for an evergreen topic, it’s also important to know which videos have proven popular over time. The right panel of the Watched by YouTube Viewers section lists the most popular videos on the topic, with some content dating back several years.
Tap See More to see the full list and scan it for videos that have accumulated a million or more views. It’s a good idea to watch some of these popular videos so you can understand why they’ve gotten so many views. Do they offer the most reliable information on the topic? Do they use optimization techniques that you can use in your own workflow?
#3: Check Search Volume for Potential Topics
If your goal is maximizing video views, then it’s important to choose a topic with decent search volume. It’s a good idea to use both desktop and mobile app versions of YouTube Studio to check search volume because they include completely different results.
In the YouTube Studio app, look for the Searched by YouTube Viewers section, which features a list of search terms related to your keyphrase. You can tap to search for any of these terms and reinforce your research.
Make note of the search volume for each term. As a general rule, there’s no right or wrong search volume to prioritize. Search terms with high volume may get more views but they’re also likely to have more competition. Terms with low search volume may not appear in search as often but they’re likely to face less competition.
While the YouTube Studio mobile app displays search terms that are adjacent to your keyphrase, the desktop version of the platform generates a list of similar search terms. For example, a search for “digital marketing” brings up a list with terms like “digital marketing course” and “what is digital marketing?”
The search results available on desktop are much more helpful for deciding how to position a topic you’re already thinking about and identifying keywords to incorporate into the title and description. The desktop version of YouTube Studio also reveals search volume for each search term so you can find keywords that are relevant to your goals.
#4: Discover Content Gaps for Search Terms
When you analyze competing content and check search volume, you can make informed decisions about pursuing keywords or creating content on popular topics. But what if you want to create new videos on topics that might be easier to rank for?
The YouTube Research Tab Insights tool identifies content gaps to help you pinpoint areas where new content could provide particularly good value. YouTube defines content gaps as topics that don’t produce many search results or areas where most content is outdated or of relatively low quality.
In the YouTube Studio mobile app, you can find content gaps listed in the Searched by YouTube Viewers section. But it’s important to note that the app doesn’t identify content gaps for every search term. You can generally find content gaps for keyphrases that YouTube Studio labels as Topics.
To view content gaps on desktop, open the Searches drop-down menu and select Content Gaps Only.
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You’re likely to find different results on desktop so searching both spots can allow you to build the longest possible list of content gaps.
No matter which type of device you use, you can select any content gap to learn more about the topic. Keep in mind that some content gaps reflect topics with outdated or low-quality content. As you browse recent and popular videos for content gaps, focus on identifying areas where your team can add value or update information.
#5: Find Related Topics to Guide Your Content Strategy
Once your team has covered core topics for your channel, you’ll likely want to build out your content strategy with related topics. The YouTube Research Tab Insights tool can give you tons of ideas to run with, as long as you know where to look.
To find related topics in the YouTube Studio mobile app, scroll to the bottom of any keyphrase search. You can tap any of the topics to open a new search, where you can explore popular videos, content gaps, and search volume like we covered above. For each search, you can find more related topics to expand your content strategy even further.
With the desktop version of YouTube Studio, you can dig much deeper into related topics. When you select a keyphrase or topic from the list of search terms, YouTube Studio automatically opens the related search results page in YouTube. You can fine-tune these results by using built-in filters to find recent or popular content.
Scroll past the top search results to find the People Also Watched section, which may spark related ideas for content creation. To do surface-level research before investing time in watching full videos, click to view the chapters and moments for some of the top-ranking videos. These extra details can help you assess whether a topic is right for your channel.
Want to mark a video for additional research or flag it for your team to check out? Click the three dots to the right of any video and select Save to Playlist. If you haven’t yet set up a research playlist, select Create New Playlist to make one your team can easily reference.
Then keep scrolling to find the People Also Search For section, which features tiles for related topics. Click any topic that’s relevant to your channel and audience to open a new YouTube search. From there, you can repeat the steps above to spark new content ideas for your YouTube channel.
The YouTube Research Insights tool largely focuses on long-form video. But when you use the tool to research topics on desktop, you can get additional ideas for YouTube Shorts. Once you’ve arrived at the YouTube search interface, scroll down to find a carousel with top-ranked shorts and see what’s working for short-form video.
#6: Assess Your Audience’s Interest in Content Topics
If you’ve done basic keyword research for your YouTube channel or your team has produced a list of content topics, then you can gain plenty of insight using the workflows above. But keep in mind that the Research Insights search tool reflects activity for all U.S.–based users, not just your audience.
To focus your research on your audience rather than on YouTube users in general, go to the Your Viewers’ Searches tab on desktop. Similar to the Searches Across YouTube tab, the content here reflects relevant search terms and related search volume. You can click on any item in the list to open the linked YouTube search page and explore further.
But there’s one major difference between the two tabs. The Your Viewers’ Searches tab reflects what viewers of your channel and channels like yours are searching for. That means it can help you identify topics that are of interest to your audience—even those that didn’t pop up in your keyword research or standard research insights.
As a result, these audience research insights can help you create a content strategy that’s tailored to your audience. They can also help you position your content to be more relatable to your audience and even give you ideas for influencer partnerships that can expand your reach.
Because the audience Research Insights tab automatically shows data from the last 28 days, it’s ideal for finding timely information. When using this tool, plan to check it weekly or monthly to find current trends.
Note that the Your Viewers’ Searches tab doesn’t display content for every channel. If your channel is new or if your audience is small, YouTube Studio may not have enough data to populate it.
#7: Create Topic Lists for Your Content Plan
Whether you’re using the Standard Search tab or the Audience Research tab, you can keep track of your findings in YouTube Studio. Tap or click the bookmark icon next to any search term to save it to a list.
You can review your list at any time by going to the Saved tab. Here, you can continue researching topics with potential or remove search terms by clicking or tapping the bookmark icon again.
Note that the Saved tab doesn’t appear to sync between the mobile app and the desktop version of YouTube Studio. If you or your team members work across multiple versions, make sure to check both the mobile app and the browser version as you research.
#8: Guide Your Content Strategy Automatically
The more you use the YouTube Studio Research Insights tool, the more it can help you come up with content ideas. As you save ideas in the mobile app, the tool automatically generates search results panels for those and related topics.
For example, after bookmarking “digital marketing,” the tool automatically recommended videos on similar topics like “marketing” and “advertising.” The tool also suggested content gaps to help pinpoint where new content could be most useful to viewers.
You can tap to start researching any of the suggested topics. To confirm that these topics are relevant to your channel, you can also tap the three dots in the upper-right corner of the panel and select Save Topic. If any of the topics don’t work for your channel, select Not Interested to get better suggestions going forward.
Whether you want to learn about your audience’s interests or explore keywords for your channel, the YouTube Studio Research Tab Insights tool provides plenty of helpful information. Combine these research insights with YouTube analytics, you can enhance your content strategy so your team can create effective content that reaches marketing goals.
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