Studying Your Competitors Videos
If you’re trying to build a successful YouTube channel the good news here is that your competitors have done most of the heavy lifting already. What you want to do is figure out your niche and focus on your keywords.
Basically, you come up with a list of keywords that are related to your niche. Next, you go to Google Adwords, get an account (it’s free), and access their keyword planner tool.
Once you have access to the Google keyword planner tool, find keywords that are related to your niche. For example, you know that you want to sell dried mango chips online through video. Fair enough.
You go to Google Adwords’ tool and you type in “dried mango chips.” It will do a good job spitting out all sorts of keywords that are either directly related or thematically related to your niche. Use your common sense to filter these keywords.
Next, enter each and every one of these keywords into YouTube. You will then see the videos of your competitors. The same applies to Facebook pages. Look for official pages of your competitors selling the same stuff.
You can do the same on Instagram using hashtags. You just turn your keywords into hashtags.
Pick Your Competitors’ Best Videos
I know you’re probably scratching your head at this point. You’re probably thinking, “Okay, great, I’m supposed to reverse engineer my competitors’ best videos.
I already know what they talk about, but how do I know what’s best?” Well, the good news is, these platforms make this very easy for you. In fact, it’s quite transparent.
On YouTube, pay attention to their views and engagement. By engagement, I’m talking about the number of comments and likes. This gives you an objective standard as to which content your competitors offer that truly get engagement.
You need to use an objective standard because otherwise, you’re just going to be trusting your hunch. You’re going to be watching video after video, and the only thing you have to go on is that you like one video more than the other. That’s not good enough. Not even close.
So the next thing that you need to do is to go on Instagram and look for the same indicators of success. Again, engagement. The same applies to the videos on Facebook groups and Facebook pages.
Key Warnings to Keep In Mind
So far, it seems like everything is cut and dried. It seems like everything is pretty straightforward. But I have a little bit of a warning for you: things are not what they appear on social media.
I know, it’s shocking, but believe it or not, people do buy video views for social proof. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Why would somebody publish a video on YouTube and buy views, fake or real, for that video? What’s in it for them?”
Well, it’s one thing to look at the obvious, which is that the people that they are hiring or the software robots that they are retaining to get those views obviously won’t buy.
Often times, the people that they get to view these videos for less than a cent actually come from countries like the Philippines or India. These people are usually not the target market for such videos.
So are these people wasting their time? Not necessarily, you need to understand that they’re buying for social proof.
What is “social proof?” The easiest way to explain social proof is to imagine yourself going to a new city that you’ve never been before. When you pass a restaurant, would you be more likely to eat at that restaurant if there is a lot of people there, or if it’s completely empty?
If you’re like most people, you would not eat at an empty restaurant. Subconsciously, you’re equating or associating the emptiness of the restaurant with the quality of the food. Now, that’s arguable, but that’s how the human mind works.
The same applies to your video. When you promote your video and people see that there are only 20 views, they might automatically read that as a shorthand for the quality of your video. They think that if only 20 people viewed your video, your video must suck.
Now, you know, and I know that that’s not the case because you reverse engineered the very best videos of your competitors to come up with something new and cutting edge.
But you know what? Consumers couldn’t care less. All they see is the number. All they see is the fact that your video has 20 views and they have better things to do.
Sure, your video is in a niche that they are interested in. Sure, your video has a very catchy title and it seems that the thumbnail picture of your YouTube video is quite engaging indeed. But all of these really aren’t going to help you if you have very low views.
This is why a lot of big name brands on YouTube and elsewhere buy views as part of normal business. You have to understand that this is happening.
When you determine which videos to reverse engineer and which of your competitors’ videos to copy, you have to consider this fact. You have to factor this in, otherwise, you’re going to make a mistake.
So please understand that social proof is an issue. Don’t just go with the number of views. Look at it as one factor that you’re considering. Pay attention to comments, likes and other objective standards of virality and popularity.
The Bottom Line
I can’t emphasize this enough. Don’t get caught up on video views. Focus instead on the overall level of engagement a video has. Focus also on the engagement quality.
Do the fans of the video mostly leave comments? Do the comments look like they’re copied and pasted? Or do they look like real comments?
Next, focus on how niche-specific your competitors’ videos are. This is a big deal because even though many videos seem to target the same keywords, they may actually be about completely unrelated topics. These videos are not going to help you.
You have to balance all these factors. Pay attention to overall engagement level, video views, quality of engagement, and niche specificity.
With everything else being equal, your main priority should be on how niche-specific the videos are, and then focus on the rest of the indicators I’ve listed above. If you do your homework right, you would have isolated the right videos to reverse engineer.
Studying Your Competitors Videos – Conclusion
Remember, reverse engineering is not just about figuring out who to copy. It’s not just about copying. You’re not copying for copying’s sake. That’s not going to help you. You’re going to have to improve on what’s out there.
Now that you have a clear idea of which videos to reverse engineer, the next step is to figure out how to improve on them. In my next post I’ll share exactly how to do that.
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