Looking to expand the reach of your YouTube content? Interested in reaching the audiences of your competitors? This article will outline a step-by-step strategy to successfully and ethically target your competitors’ viewers.
Step 1: Conducting Competitor Research on YouTube
Start by researching your competitors or building a list of potential competitors. Competitive research allows you to identify and evaluate other brands in your industry, helping you focus your efforts effectively.
Discover Competitor Content on YouTube
If you already have a shortlist of competitors, use the YouTube search function to explore their channels. Look for channels with a significant subscriber base and regular content uploads. Ideally, target channels with at least 1,000 subscribers that publish content at least once a week. Check the Home tab for subscriber count and the Videos tab for recent uploads.
Uncover Channels Your Target Audience Engages With on YouTube
Expand your scope by adding more channels to your list to maximize results from targeting competitor audiences. Analyze the channels your own audience watches by using YouTube Studio Analytics. Look for the “Channels Your Audience Watches” and “Content Your Audience Watches” panels to gather ideas for potential competitors.
Another way to expand your targeting is by identifying the videos that drive traffic to your channel. Access YouTube Studio Analytics, navigate to the Content tab and find the “How Viewers Find Your Videos (or Shorts)” panel. Click on the Suggested Videos chip to view content generating traffic for your channel. Explore the full list and click through to analyze the channels and videos.
You should have a list of potential channels and videos to target. You can enhance this list by identifying your competitors’ videos’ keywords. Guess the primary keywords from their video titles or descriptions. For a comprehensive list, open a competitor’s video, right-click on the page, and select View Page Source. Search the source code for “Keywords” to reveal the keywords tagged in the video.
Analyze YouTube Audience Searches
Utilize your audience data to expand your list of keywords, as the search traffic that drives your channel’s views is likely similar to your competitors. Access YouTube Studio analytics, go to the Content tab and scroll down to the “How Viewers Find Your Videos (or Shorts)” panel. Select the YouTube Search chip to gain insights into the keywords used by your audience to find your videos.
Explore YouTube Keywords through Research
Leverage YouTube’s Research tool to discover additional keywords for targeting or as inspiration for further competitive research. Access YouTube Studio Analytics, navigate to the Research tab, and search for keywords from your list.
Pay attention to the estimated search volume for each keyword. Keywords with high or medium search volume have greater potential for attracting viewers than those with low search volume. Additionally, explore related search terms suggested by YouTube Studio, which can help expand your keyword list and enhance your targeting.
Step 2: Effectively Engaging Competitors’ Audiences Organically
Once you have researched your competitors’ channels, content, and keywords, you can start targeting their audiences organically. Use the following ideas to create content that appeals to your rivals’ viewers.
Maximize Your Content’s Reach by Optimizing for Competitor Keywords
If your YouTube channel already has high-quality long-form videos and shorts, start optimizing your content for search. Apply YouTube search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to increase visibility to competitors’ audiences when they search for relevant terms.
Select a relevant keyword for each video based on your keyword research. Incorporate the keyword naturally into the video title, ensuring the title is compelling and intriguing. Include the keyword in the video description at least once, utilizing the description’s ample character limit to introduce the topic, add related keywords, and include relevant links.
Using relevant hashtags in the description can provide additional context and improve SEO. Create manual chapters with keyword-rich titles for long-form videos, enhancing the user experience.
Create Fresh Content Tailored for Competitor Audiences
Utilize your keyword research to develop a new content plan for your channel. Prioritize topics based on competitor rankings and search volume. Focus on high-volume search terms where your competitors are already ranking.
Follow YouTube SEO best practices mentioned earlier to optimize each video for search. These guidelines apply to both short- and long-form videos. Organize your published SEO-driven content into playlists, allowing your channel to rank in relevant searches and helping viewers discover more of your content.
The more your rivals’ audiences engage with your content, the greater the likelihood of them encountering your channel’s content on their home pages. Gradually, you can capture the attention of your competitors’ audiences over time.
Step 3: Reaching Competitors’ Audiences with YouTube Ads
While organic targeting can be effective, paid content provides direct access to your competitors’ audiences, offering more efficient results. However, as of early 2023, certain content-based audience targeting options, including detailed targeting by channel, video, topic, or keyword, are only compatible with top- and middle-of-the-funnel objectives such as awareness and consideration.
Directly Target Competitors’ YouTube Channels
Placing your YouTube ads directly on your competitors’ channel content is a straightforward way to reach their audiences. Your ads can appear before, during, or after your competitors’ videos, capturing their viewers’ attention.
Create a video campaign in Google Ads to target a competitor’s YouTube channel. Access the Content settings and select YouTube Channels. Enter the competitor’s channel names. Google Ads provides subscriber and video count information to estimate potential reach.
Note that when using YouTube channel placements, your ads won’t appear on content from unlisted channels other than those you have targeted. Your campaign may not deliver efficiently if you target only one or two small channels. Ensure that your competitor channels generate enough views to achieve your impressions, views, and other metrics goals.
Strategically Advertise on Specific YouTube Videos
If your competitors’ channels cover a wide range of topics, targeting specific videos rather than entire channels can help you reach a more relevant target audience. Return to the Placements panel, select YouTube Videos, search for a specific video or enter its URL or video ID.
Google Ads displays the number of views each video has generated, helping you choose high-traffic videos for optimal results. However, be cautious not to limit your ad delivery and campaign performance by exclusively targeting low-traffic videos. Narrow targeting can reach a specific audience, but balancing it with ad delivery and campaign goals is essential.
Target Competitors’ Niche Audiences Effectively
Consider targeting video lineups to expand your placement options while still targeting your competitors’ audiences. Google Ads offers preset lists of video lineups that align with niche interests and categories. Hover over each option to view a description of the categories and audience segments they represent.
You can combine multiple placement targeting options within a single YouTube ad set without compromising performance. This means you can target a mix of channels, videos, and video lineups with one ad set.
However, Google Ads advises against combining different types of content targeting. Avoid combining the placement options mentioned above with keyword and topic options, as it can significantly limit your reach.
Precision Targeting: Competitors’ Keyword Strategy
YouTube ads’ keyword targeting allows you to leverage keyword research by placing ads on relevant YouTube channels and videos. Pay attention to the search intent behind each keyword and ensure it aligns with the objective of your ad.
For top-of-the-funnel ads, target keywords with informational intent. For bottom-of-the-funnel ads, focus on transactional keywords. Keywords with low search volume may not generate significant results and can impact ad delivery. Check the search volume in YouTube Studio and consider combining multiple low-volume keywords into a single ad group.
To add keywords to a video ad campaign:
- Go to Google Ads’ Content settings and expand the Keywords panel.
- Copy and paste your list of keywords.
- Continuously monitor Google Ads’ campaign estimates to ensure they align with your desired results. If the estimate is too small, expand your keyword list further.
You can also use Google Ads’ keyword generator to gather more ideas. Paste a competitor’s website and review the list of keywords. Add relevant keywords individually or select “Add All Ideas” to include them in bulk.
It’s ethical to target competitors’ brand names as keywords. However, refrain from using their brand names in ad copy or calls to action, especially if their names are trademarked.
Capturing Competitors’ Topics: A Targeting Approach
When you want to reach broader audiences of multiple competitors, Google Ads’ topic targeting is suitable. It allows you to place ads on competitor channels that might not be on your radar. However, it offers less control over specific channels or videos.
To select topics:
- Access Google Ads’ Content settings and expand the Topics panel.
- Browse the options or search for words and phrases relevant to your target audience.
- Monitor the estimated impressions to ensure your ads have sufficient opportunities for display.
Creating Custom Audience Segments with Strategic Intent
When creating video awareness or consideration campaigns in Google Ads, custom audience segments can help you target users interested in your competitors. Build custom segments using your list of competitors, search terms, or a combination. You can create segments based on people searching for your competitors, their search terms, or those interested in or intent to purchase from competitors on your list.
When creating custom segments, expand your audience to include browsing history. You can further reach your rivals’ audiences by targeting people who browse websites similar to your competitors.
By effectively targeting your competitors’ audiences, whether through organic content or YouTube ads, you can reap the benefits for your business. From placing ads directly on competitor channels and videos to incorporating relevant topics and keywords into your content strategy, you can successfully expose your YouTube content to your competitors’ viewers.
This article was originally posted on The SocioBlend Blog