Last updated on January 14, 2021
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Achieving success on YouTube demands that creators produce engaging, high-quality content to keep viewers entertained. That recipe has helped thousands of YouTubers earn six, seven, and eight-figure incomes annually. Although many creators earn ad revenue through the YouTube Partner Program, there are many ways to make money from YouTube by uploading videos. The number of channels earning $100,000+ proves that YouTube is a viable way to earn a living. Regarding earnings and subscribers, YouTube reports the following:
- The number of channels earning five figures per year grew more than 50 percent year-over-year (y/y).
- The number of channels earning six figures per year grew more than 40 percent y/y.
- The number of channels with more than one million subscribers grew by more than 65 percent y/y.
Best YouTube Tools
Video, audio, and editing products and software are essential to make videos, for example, a camera and lapel microphone. They enable content creation and production processes. I use Camtasia, which is a video editor and screen recorder. Alternatively, many free and premium video editing applications are available.
Video editing software and recording equipment are only half of the battle. You must also have a basic understanding of channel management, analytics, keyword and tag research, monetization, graphic design, marketing, and how to boost views and get subscribers to succeed. Thankfully, there are many excellent tools to support those functions.
Arguably, four to six apps in your toolkit will suffice. For example, Joe uses one tool from each of these categories, i.e., channel management, analytics, keyword research, and graphic design for a total of four apps.
Let’s review the best YouTube tools, apps, products, and services for YouTubers, content creators, vloggers, and marketers.
TubeBuddy is the YouTube tool that creators rave about, and for many, it’s the only app they use. It offers 60+ features to help YouTubers, creators, marketers, and agencies grow their channels. Its free browser extension—for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera—has tools for productivity, keyword research, tags, bulk processing, analytics, and more. Its web app provides dashboards and charts for various video and channel metrics. Many features are free to access, while others are available through paid plans. TubeBuddy is a YouTube certified app.
Let’s review some features that can help you get more views and subs (read my TubeBuddy review for a complete rundown).
Channel & Video Analytics
TubeBuddy provides video and channel statistics on any user through its browser extension and web app. The Videolytics side panel offers video and channel data, including total views, comments, ratings, SEO insights, social media engagement, and best practice recommendations.
Channelytics, a different feature, is available on a channel’s homepage, and showcases live stats, including total and 30-day metrics for views, videos, and subs. The web app offers additional video and channel insights through a health report, retention analyzer, and usage stats.
Videolytics enables you to make video comparisons on your channel and against other users. Secondly, you can get notifications and alerts when your competitors upload new videos. Lastly, the web app has a scorecard tab for comparing your channel to others.
Keywords & SEO
See the YouTube Keyword Tools section below for more details.
Video tags are another component of ranking well on YouTube. TubeBuddy helps you select tags in real-time as you type, discover relevant and high-ranking tags, translate tags, arrange tags, and create centralized lists for quick access. Moreover, you can view and copy tags from the Videolytics side panel from any video, including your competitors.
Comments make the YouTube universe go round. YouTubers who manage user comments efficiently can experience increases in video engagement, channel loyalty, and distribution. However, managing comments can be time-consuming. TubeBuddy streamlines the process with canned responses, comment filters, formatting, and the ability to identify your Patreon supporters.
TubeBuddy is the ultimate time-saver with its bulk update and processing features. Users can make changes to their metadata on all their videos simultaneously. Users can bulk update, copy, delete, replace, and append items, depending on the task. For instance, I make bulk updates frequently to links in my descriptions.
TubeBuddy’s thumbnail editor can create professional-looking thumbnails using still frames from videos. You can choose a background, add text/designs, preview, and publish. Furthermore, save and reuse templates for future use.
We’re only scratching the surface of TubeBuddy’s capabilities. You should also review its end screen templates, video topic planner, metadata split tester, milestones, social media integrations, demonetization prevention, mobile app, COPPA center, channel backup/export, and member perks. TubeBuddy creates new content for its YouTube channel and blog weekly.
TubeBuddy has five plans, including Free, Pro, Star, Legend, and Enterprise. Pricing starts at $9 monthly, and coupons/discounts are available. For example, users can save up to 50 percent on the pricing page, if they meet specific criteria. Start using TubeBuddy for free.
VidIQ offers tools to help creators, marketers, and agencies grow their channels and brand awareness. Its free Chrome browser extension features ratings, search engine optimization scores, keyword research, tag management, analytics, and more. Its web app provides dashboards and charts for various video and channel metrics. Many features are free to access, while others are available through paid plans. VidIQ is a YouTube certified app.
Let’s explore some functions that can help you grow your channel (read my VidIQ review for a complete analysis).
Channel & Video Analytics
VidIQ’s “Scorecard” side panel is its primary offering for video/channel analytics and statistics. The dashboard highlights an overall video score, views per hour, total views, and video duration. The rating considers various data points to determine the likelihood that a video will appear in YouTube search results, related and recommended videos. The closer a score is to 100, the better.
The social media sections display Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter engagement stats. At the very top of a YouTube channel webpage, a status bar shows different performance results in real-time. A channel audit tool displays your month-over-month views, subs, and watch time percentages. The web app isn’t as impressive as the browser extension. However, analytics, video, and subscriber tabs provide useful insights.
VidIQ’s browser extension and web app have competitor tabs. You can compare your channel to others for total, cumulative, views, subs, and uploads. Also, review your competitors trending videos for different time intervals. The Scorecard showcases insights, stats, and ratings for every video and channel.
Keywords & SEO
See the YouTube Keyword Tools section below for more details.
VidIQ provides user-friendly and efficient tag management solutions. You can see what terms are in use for any video on the Scorecard under the video and channel tag headings. Copy tags by clicking the paperclip icon or download terms to a CSV file. You can translate, reorganize, and copy tags on your video’s YouTube page and create tag templates to use later. VidIQ also offers recommendations, suggestions, and rankings for terms.
VidIQ’s thumbnail maker enables you to create eye-catching images in three steps. Select a video still, solid color, image, or current thumbnail. Then, add text, styles, shapes, images, and create templates for future use. Click the save button, and your thumbnail is ready.
Demonetization is a recurring concern of YouTubers. VidIQ’s controversial keywords feature identifies words and phrases that could be problematic for advertisers and monetization. For instance, the title, “How to Shoot Great Pics With Your iPhone” would be identified as potentially troublesome because the term “shoot” could refer to tragedy or violence.
Like TubeBuddy, VidIQ has too many features to list. You should also explore its trend alerts, most viewed, achievements, description campaigns, comments, online videos/tutorials, and productivity tools. VidIQ has a fantastic YouTube channel and uploads content weekly. (Read, TubeBuddy Vs. VidIQ: Which YouTube Tool Is Better?).
VidIQ has four plans, including Basic (free), Pro, Boost, and Enterprise. Pricing starts at $7.50 monthly. It rarely offers coupons and discounts. Start using VidIQ for free.
3. YouTube Studio
YouTube Studio is YouTube’s channel/video management, performance, and news hub for creators. It’s available as a web and mobile app, which is convenient for activities on the go. Often overlooked, it’s packed with robust analytics to drive progress. Third-party apps that connect to your account will retrieve data from YouTube Studio. Let’s briefly review the function of each page.
The channel dashboard displays channel analytics and violations, latest video performance, news and product updates, creator insights, and recent subscribers.
The channel videos page is for video management, and it’s where the magic happens. The page allows you to manage video details and view analytics, comments, monetization, and other options for each video. Additionally, it features data for visibility, monetization, restrictions, views, number of comments, performance, and publish date. You can filter your videos to find them faster, such as videos with over 10,000 views.
Clicking on the Playlists menu item will direct you to YouTube to create a playlist.
Are your viewers mostly male or female? How much do your top videos earn? The analytics page displays the channel and video performance for different periods. I encourage you to explore each section and the advance mode for more granular details. Channel analytics include these five tabs:
- Overview: real-time stats, views, watch time, subs, estimated revenue, and top videos
- Reach: impressions, CTRs, views, unique viewers, and traffic sources
- Engagement: watch time, average view duration, and top videos and elements
- Audience: unique viewers, average views per viewer, subscribers, viewer watch schedules, and user demographics (country, age, gender, etc.)
- Revenue: estimated earnings, revenue per mile (RPM), cost per mile (CPM), top-earning videos, revenue sources, ad types, and transaction revenue
Managing viewer comments take place on the channel comments page. It allows you to interact with other users and review and filter posts.
Add subtitles and get your videos translated easily and automatically by the YouTube community on the subtitles page. Adding subtitles and captions can help you reach a global audience to attract more views, subs, and revenue.
Channel copyright is where you’ll find videos that match yours through YouTube’s machine learning and artificial intelligence processes. You can ignore or request the video’s removal by the user who has uploaded your content to his or her channel.
The monetization page outlines the ways you can make money on YouTube and guidelines to follow.
Clicking on the Audio library menu option will direct you to YouTube to browse and download free music for your videos.
The settings page enables you to:
- Choose the currency unit you would want to see on YouTube Studio
- Update and view channel keywords, country, audience, branding, and eligibility details
- Set upload defaults for metadata, video criteria, and monetization
- Manage permissions, users, and comments
- View agreements, such as the YouTube Partner Program
- Underneath settings, users can send feedback to YouTube.
4. Social Blade
Social Blade tracks user statistics and charts for multiple video sharing, social media, and gaming websites, such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. In total, it provides analytics for more than 70 million accounts, including 40+ million YouTube creators. It has a website, browser extensions, and mobile apps.
Social Blade Reports helps businesses and advertisers find influencers. Social Blade EDU consists of nearly 40 video tutorials to help aspiring creators. YouTube certified experts are available for consults, and creators can join the BBTV network through Social Blade.
Some YouTubers use Social Blade to track similar channels for video ideas and titles, with most creators adding unique touches to their videos. The underlying thought is to mimic what’s working for successful YouTubers and creators in your niche.
Social Blade provides the latest, most viewed, highest rated, and most relevant videos of users. The tabs display video titles and performance data. Those insights are a goldmine to support content planning. For example, a YouTuber researches a few creators in her niche—cat videos—to understand their best performing videos. She uses data on Social Blade to plan her next ten videos.
Social Blade can help you with benchmarking. Benchmarking is the practice of comparing videos and performance metrics to other YouTube users. The benefits of benchmarking include setting performance expectations, learning best practices, and developing new strategies and processes.
Suppose you want to create a self-challenge video about going vegan for a month. You can search for that query on YouTube to isolate similar videos. You can then drill down further on Social Blade for those videos and creators to get a holistic picture of what’s achievable with that topic.
Keyword Research Tools
Before we explore keyword tools for YouTube, let’s take a step back. Millions of people visit YouTube and search for videos daily. Therefore, YouTube is very dynamic, which makes user, search, and performance data less useful by the nanosecond. Secondly, YouTube doesn’t offer a keyword planning tool like Google. Given how fast-moving YouTube is and the absence of a keyword tool from it, third-party keyword tools should only be used to support planning. Moreover, any methodology used to capture search volume data won’t be 100 percent reliable.
YouTubers should use YouTube autosuggest and data from published videos to gauge search interest. As you type into YouTube’s search field, suggestions automatically appear. Those suggestions surface because of their popularity among YouTube users. For example, “how to create a blog” is a common search query and auto-suggested, whereas “how to eat pig feet with chopsticks” isn’t.
Upon generating search engine results, evaluate the view count of videos to determine user interest. Also, use filters such as upload date, type, duration, features, and sort by to support your planning further. For instance, filter to results for the past year to understand how videos performed for a given query/topic.
Many third-party app developers claim to have the secret recipe for extracting keyword search volumes from YouTube. Even if they did, which they don’t, things change so fast that keyword search volumes become less useful by the second. YouTube autosuggest, analysis of published videos, and one or two third-party keyword tools are all anyone requires for content planning. The following tools can help support your keyword, tag, and metadata activities.
Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO and marketing toolkit with free learning resources, including blogs, guides, videos, and tutorials. It’s Keywords Explorer runs on a database of over 640 million YouTube keywords. Search for almost any keyword and see metrics powered by clickstream data, including local and global search volume (for nearly every country), clicks, click percentage, and more. Also, review search volumes and click-through rates (CTRs). Content Explorer enables you to see which videos get traffic from Google search results.
6. Keyword Tool
Keyword Tool helps you get hundreds of long-tail keywords from YouTube Autocomplete by appending and prepending the keyword that you specify with various letters and numbers. To make keyword suggestions more relevant, you can localize results to all the countries and languages YouTube supports.
7. Keyword Keg
Keyword Keg is a suite of five keyword research tools. It gets data from 11 top APIs, in addition to YouTube, to provide the maximum number of keyword suggestions possible. It shows you the most searched for terms, the number of searches per month, what customers are paying for (cost per click), buyer intent, and more.
8. Keyword Planner
Google’s Keyword Planner gives you insights into how often words are searched and how those searches have changed over time on Google. That can help you narrow your keyword list to optimize search engine rankings. To get exact search volumes, you must run a paid campaign (even if it only costs a few dollars monthly). Keyword Planner focuses on user search activities on Google, not YouTube. Therefore, I use it to understand and gauge interest only. For SEO and blogging, I use Keyword Planner frequently.
Thumbnail Makers & Design Tools
Similar to video editing software, there is a surplus of graphic design apps to create thumbnails, channel art, banners, and logos. You’ll find free and paid options in the marketplace and will usually pay to access additional features. Here are three fantastic design tools that garner a lot of attention.
Canva is a graphic design application that helps users create social media graphics, presentations, logos, and posters with various layouts, images, photo filters, and fonts. Its software combines a drag-and-drop tool with a library of photographs, illustrations, and imagery. Canva also has tools to create and edit videos. Its design school offers tutorials to help your creative journey. Canva helps YouTubers with thumbnails, banners, and video development.
For thumbnails, choose a template from Canva’s library. Select design elements such as banners, icons, frames, and more. Click on the placeholder text to add your message. Change the background and colors. Finally, download or share your finished YouTube thumbnail.
For banner or channel art, choose from thousands of sleek templates or start your design from scratch. Alternatively, upload an image or choose from millions of premium images in Canva’s catalog. Drag-and-drop colors, fonts, and images to complete your design. Download in any format (JPEG, PNG, or PDF) and upload your artwork to YouTube.
Canva isn’t known for its video editing prowess, but you can make high-quality videos without being a professional video editor. They offer thousands of templates, free stock videos, animated graphics, and music tracks to create short videos to post online, without watermarks.
10. Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark is an integrated suite of media creation applications for mobile and web developed by Adobe Systems. It includes three separate design apps: Spark Page, Spark Post, and Spark Video. Spark Page turns words and images into beautiful, magazine-style web stories that will impress readers. Spark Post makes picking a photo, adding text, and applying design filters and animations efficient for your social media activities. Spark Videos supports video creation with photos, clips, icons, audio, soundtracks, and cinematic motion.
Adobe enables you to make thumbnails in minutes. Choose from one of many templates, customize your thumbnail with logos, fonts, filters, and more. Then, download your image to use it on YouTube.
Other YouTuber Tools
Fiverr is the largest online marketplace for freelancers with services starting at five dollars. Freelance services fall into various categories, including business, marketing, programming, design, writing, translation, video, music, and more. Additionally, over 150 service subcategories include logo design, illustration, sales copy, voiceover, WordPress, celebrity impersonators, and so on.
Fiverr has 1,500+ YouTube services for creators to outsource work or build a team. Freelancers are available to help with subscribers, graphic design (thumbnails, banners, logos, etc.), intros and outros, video editing, channel management, SEO (keywords and tags), account set up, marketing, and more. Explore these best-selling YouTube gigs on Fiverr to improve your results.
Bitly is used by businesses worldwide to build connections with their customers across every digital channel. Their link management and analytics platform empower individuals and companies to embed short, branded call-to-action links to maximize their digital initiatives.
Thousands of YouTubers, including myself, use Bitly to shorten and add links to their descriptions. It’s also the perfect tool to cloak standard and affiliate links.
Grammarly is a writing assistant and enhancement app that includes grammar, punctuation, and spell checkers for the English language. It identifies errors in real-time so that your video titles, keywords, and descriptions can be mistake-free. It’s available as a browser extension, online editor, and app for Windows and Office 365.
Patreon provides a platform to help thousands of video creators, musicians, podcasters, game developers, comic creators, and others make money off YouTube. Through ongoing funding and monthly subscriptions, creators can spend more time engaging their fan-base through exclusive/bonus content, member-only live streams, limited time offers, rewards, creator access, courses, services, and more.
Woobox displays your YouTube videos on a Facebook page tab with the ability to select a featured video. Visitors can click through and view other videos in a gallery without leaving the tab. Furthermore, Woobox is a social promotion app. It enables users to create marketing campaigns, contests, giveaways, coupons, polls, quizzes, and more.
16. YouTube Tab
The YouTube Tab app allows you to add your videos to your Facebook page. Videos will appear in a thumbnail-style layout. Users can fully engage your videos as if they were on YouTube.