Video Search Hacks For Checking Competitors

There are plenty of analytics tools available to help you measure traffic to your collection of videos. These range from the straightforward stats supplied by YouTube Insight to the complex dashboards available from TubeMogul.

One area where we’ve not seen much progress is competitor analysis. In conventional search marketing, we have a variety of tools to help us assess the competition. Visibility in natural search results can be measured by that old standby, WebPosition. PPC activity can be mined using aggregators like LongTailAdwords. And for those with mega-budgets, Hitwise offers a birds-eye-view of pretty much everything on the web.

But there’s nothing video specific. Fortunately, there’s plenty of video gadgetry out there that can be exploited to monitor your competition.


TimeTube is a project from Dipity, a start-up specializing in visualizing collections of information as timelines. In this case, Dipity turns a keyword search into a very intuitive timeline of posted YouTube videos. This is great for watching the development of a video collection from a certain user, or clustered around a particular topic.

For example, let’s say I’m a manufacturer of those half-size “netbook” laptops, and wondering how much hype there is in the market, and who’s receiving the most attention. Viewing YouTube videos through TimeTube is a great way to collect that information in a very intuitive and visually clean format. TimeTube doesn’t offer print capability, but one can string together screenshots and create a very comprehensive snapshot of the space.

timetube - netbook

Figure 1: A TimeTube snapshot for “netbook”, the generic term for the category, over the last six months. The most popular videos are shown as screenshots, with other clips captioned or flagged below.

timetube - asus eee

Figure 2: A TimeTube snapshot for Asus EEE PC, the leader in the netbook category, shown over the same timespan.

timetube - hp mininote

Figure 3: A TimeTube snapshot for the HP Mininote, a newer competitor. Note that the level of activity is already comparable to the EEE, despite the fact that it was only launched in July.

Viral video chart

If you’re up against a competitor that triggers a lot of viral video activity (either directly, or through a fan base) then Viral Video Chart (VVC) can help you monitor that activity.

VVC is intended as a what’s-hot guide to those strangely irresistible kitten videos. But it also has a search function, allowing you to dig-up past and present videos that have gone viral around a topic of interest. Each video includes a historical chart, plotting the rise and eventual fall of blogger interest in that clip. The site also include concise one-liner assessments of the video’s performance, such as “This video went really viral, but it’s pretty old news now.”

viral video chart - esquite e-ink cover

Figure 4: Video Viral Chart page for a video of the recent Esquire magazine cover, printed in animated e-ink. Note the spike, showing blogger activity around this video.

Google Alerts

While TimeTube and VVC can provide a historical perspective, Google Alerts is great for keeping tabs on new content. Alerts can be set-up to monitor specific keyphrases, and can also be set to focus exclusively on video results.

Alerts are great for detecting new competitor activity, as well as monitoring user-generated videos that test or compare those products against your own.

google alerts for videos

Figure 5: Google Alerts can be set-up to specifically look for video content, delivering HTML-formatted e-mails that are easy to skim through.

Sherwood Stranieri is Director of Natural Search at SMG Search, a dedicated search unit of Starcom MediaVest Group. Based in Chicago, SMG Search creates integrated search strategies for some of the world’s largest companies. The Video Search column appears on Thursdays at Search Engine Land.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Video | How To: SEM | Video Search


About The Author: runs Skypromote, an SEO agency in Boston and NYC, and has been doing search since 1998. You can follow him on Twitter @SherwoodSEO.

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