Good news: There's an easy way to use YouTube to grow your business without creating videos. You can embed existing YouTube content on your site using the YouTube API.

→ Free Templates: How to Use YouTube for Business [Download Now]

No scripting, no story boarding, and no filming required. Just use the content that has already been created. Let’s take a look at what the YouTube API is, how you can get an API key, and how you can use it for your brand.

The YouTube Data API is valuable because it allows you to curate YouTube videos on your website. Additionally, it has a wide selection of features and functionalities that make it accessible to developers and valuable to businesses.

Not sure what an API is? Let’s take a look at the definition.

What’s an API?

An API (Application Programming Interface) is the connecting link between two applications that communicate with each other.

An API makes a programmer’s work easier by skipping the drudgery of writing every single line of code every time users need to access data. Instead, programmers can use predefined functions and protocols to quickly surface the information they need.

Benefits of Using the YouTube API

Many marketers and business owners are missing out on the benefits of incorporating YouTube into their digital marketing strategy. Usually, it's a question of how much time it takes to create high-quality video content.

In a typical YouTube marketing strategy, you would consistently publish video content every week with the hopes of generating likes and subscribers — a portion of which you’d hope would convert into customers. Luckily, this is no longer the only way to use YouTube for your business. YouTube has created an API that allows you to integrate your website with the social platform.

Here are some of the greatest benefits of using the YouTube API.

1. You can take advantage of existing content.

With the YouTube API, you don’t have to spend valuable time and resources creating content. Instead, you can take advantage of the content that has already been published to increase user engagement on your site.

2. YouTube is one of the top social media platforms.

YouTube is no run-of-the-mill platform with a dwindling user base. It boasts more than two billion active users and has some impressive stats to support that number. The social search engine is:

3. Featuring YouTube’s content can increase your dwell time.

Because the YouTube API can help you add YouTube content to your website, it will help users stay on the page for longer as they watch the content that you’ve specifically curated for them. This increase in dwell time signals to search engines that your content is valuable, boosting your rankings for target keywords.

4. Using the API can help you convert more website visitors.

Using the API is also valuable from a conversion rate and revenue standpoint. Prospects who engage with your content and stay on your website are more likely than not to make a purchase.

What kind of data can you feature using the YouTube API? Let’s take a look.

YouTube API Data

The YouTube API gives you access to YouTube’s data in a more comprehensive, scalable way than standalone YouTube embed codes would. You can retrieve entire playlists, users’ uploads, and even search results using the YouTube API. You can also add YouTube functionalities to your website so that users can upload videos and manage channel subscriptions straight from your website or app.

Using the YouTube API is a no-brainer for many marketers, but YouTube doesn't allow just anyone to access this valuable tool or its data. To prevent potential abuse, YouTube grants each user a unique API key that allows them to connect their website or app to the platform.

Each API key is designated for an individual project. If you’re using the API on two different websites, you should create two different API keys.

Now, let’s go over how to get a YouTube API key step-by-step.

1. Log in to Google Developers Console.

You can log in to Google Developers Console using your Google account. If you don’t yet have one, you’ll need to create one.

2. Create a new project.

Once you log in, you’ll automatically be taken to an empty dashboard. On the upper right-hand corner, click Create Project.

Google Developers Console dashboard

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You’ll be taken to a screen where you can add a project name, select your organization, and select a location (URL).

You can create a project without an organization. If you don’t have an organization, you won’t be prompted to select a location.

New project form in Google Developer Console

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Once you create a project, everything you do from here onwards, including creating the API key, will apply to that specific project. If you have multiple projects going at the same time, ensure that the correct one is selected by double-checking that the project is listed on the top navigation bar.

3. On the new project dashboard, click Explore & Enable APIs.

After creating a project, you’ll be taken to a brand new dashboard with different cards: Project Info, Resources, and so on.

Navigate to the Getting Started card and click on Explore & Enable APIs.

New project dashboard in Google Developers Console

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Alternatively, on the sidebar, navigate to APIs & Services > Library.

4. In the library, navigate to YouTube Data API v3 under YouTube APIs.

Once you’ve reached the library, you’ll see a page divided into sections. Navigate to the section titled YouTube APIs and select YouTube Data API v3.

Google's API library, where the YouTube API is located

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Alternatively, you can search for the YouTube Data API on the search bar.

5. Enable the API.

After you arrive at the YouTube Data API page, click a blue button with the word Enable.

YouTube API page on the Google Developers Console's API library

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6. Create a credential.

After clicking Enable, you’ll be taken to an overview page.

Dashboard for the YouTube Data API, where you can then create a credential

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On the top right corner, click Create Credentials.

On the Credentials window, select YouTube Data API v3 for the first blank space, Web server (e.g. node js. Tomcat) for the second, and check the Public data box on the third prompt.

Credential configurations for creating a YouTube API key

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Right below that, click on the blue button titled What credentials do I need?

After that, your API key will automatically load.

YouTube API created after clicking "What credentials do I need?"

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Click Done.

7. A screen will appear with the API key.

Finished! You’ve got your API key. It’s saved in your credentials for easy retrieval.

YouTube API key created and listed on the API & Services dashboard in Google Developers Console

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YouTube API Key FAQs

Still have questions about using the YouTube API? We have answers below.

Is the YouTube API Free?

The YouTube API is free if you don’t exceed your daily API request quota. Each request costs a predetermined amount of points. You get 10,000 points per day.

How Much Does the YouTube API Cost?

The charge for accessing the YouTube Data API is based on quota usage. For each project, you're given 10,000 free points per day and all requests cost at least one point.

YouTube Data API quota calculator

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You can estimate your quota costs using the Quota Calculator, and if you need more queries, you can apply for higher quotas. The pricing may not remain the same.

Where is My YouTube API Key?

Have you created an API key but don’t know how to find it? We’ll walk you through the process of finding it step-by-step.

    • Step 1: Log in to Google Developers Console.
    • Step 2: You’ll automatically be taken to your project dashboard, where you’ll see a series of cards. Under the APIs card, click Go to APIs overview.
APIs card on Google Developers Console dashboard

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  • Step 3: You’ll be taken to a dashboard with a sidebar. On this sidebar, click Credentials.

Credentials sidebar that allows you to find your YouTube API key

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    • Step 4: All done! You’ll find the YouTube API key you created.
YouTube API key dashboard

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My YouTube API Key is Not Working

Glitches happen all the time, especially when it comes to APIs.

Your API key may not be working because you’re using it for the wrong project. Be sure you’re using the key for the project that you created it for, especially if you created multiple projects at the same time.

If it’s still not working, consider creating a new API key entirely.

How to Use the YouTube API on Your WordPress Website

One of the most effective ways to promote your business through video marketing, without creating the videos yourself, is to curate YouTube content. With so much content already being created on YouTube (300 hours of video per minute), browsing on the platform can get overwhelming for the user.

Using a plugin and a YouTube API key, you can step in and develop standalone content or lists of videos about specific subjects within your industry. This will make it easier for your audience to discover quality YouTube content while promoting the content creator for free. Your payment comes about in the form of growing website traffic.

Video is also a great way to illustrate your points when writing blog posts. It delivers the message faster, can cover more depth, and is the preferred content consumption method for many.

Youtube videos embedded in blog post

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Here are some WordPress plugins you can use to engage your visitors on your WordPress website. For each of these plugins, you’ll need a YouTube API key.

1. WonderPlugin

WonderPlugin lets you embed a playlist gallery on your website using a YouTube API key. You can also embed YouTube carousels.

2. VideographyWP

VideographyWP is a handy plugin that allows you to replace featured images with featured videos. After you input a YouTube API key into the plugin’s settings, the plugin retrieves the video for you without you needing to code it into the theme or page.

3. Automatic YouTube Gallery

Automatic YouTube Gallery is as automatic as it sounds. To create a video gallery on your WP website, simply input the name of the channel, user, search term, or playlist into the plugin’s settings. You’ll need a YouTube API key for this plugin to automatically retrieve the data.

4. WP YouTube Lite

WP YouTube Lite allows you to embed videos on your site without slowing down your page speed. Using the YouTube API, it loads YouTube videos into a much lighter video player that will keep your page’s loading time fast.

5. Feed Them Social

The Feed Them Social plugin allows you to create and embed social media feeds on your website. It interfaces with the YouTube API to retrieve all of YouTube’s data and create a custom feed. To activate a YouTube feed, you’ll navigate to the YouTube Options page on your plugin settings and enter your API key.

YouTube API Examples

YouTube API examples: Code samplesWhat are some other ways you can use the YouTube API on your website or app? Below, you’ll find useful code samples for common YouTube API use cases.

1. Retrieving Your Uploads

The following code samples allow you to retrieve your own or another user’s uploads. Choose the one that aligns with the coding language or platform you’re using.


See the Pen YouTube API Example: Retrieving Uploads by Christina Perricone (@hubspot) on CodePen.


See the Pen YouTube API Example: Retrieving Uploads (Go) by Christina Perricone (@hubspot) on CodePen.


See the Pen YouTube API Example: Retrieving Uploads (.NET) by Christina Perricone (@hubspot) on CodePen.


See the Pen YouTube API Example: Retrieving Uploads (Ruby) by Christina Perricone (@hubspot) on CodePen.

2. Retrieving Search Results for a Certain Keyword

You can use the YouTube API to retrieve search results for a certain keyword. Use the code samples below to do so.


See the Pen YouTube API Example: Search (AppsScript) by Christina Perricone (@hubspot) on CodePen.


See the Pen YouTube API Example: Search (Go) by Christina Perricone (@hubspot) on CodePen.


See the Pen YouTube API Example: Search (.NET) by Christina Perricone (@hubspot) on CodePen.


See the Pen YouTube API Example: Search (Ruby) by Christina Perricone (@hubspot) on CodePen.

For more AppsScript, Go, .NET, and Ruby code samples, click here.

Custom YouTube API Code Samples

YouTube API examples: Use cases and code snippets

If you’re using Java, JavaScript, PHP, Python, or curl to connect your website or app to the YouTube API, click here to access code samples you can customize.

To create a code sample for your specific use case, take the following steps.

  1. Choose a resource. This refers to the data you want to retrieve using the API. For example, you can choose “channels,” “videos,” “playlists,” and “search.”
  2. Choose a method that aligns with what you’re generally looking to do. For “videos,” for example, you can choose “list,” “getRating,” or “insert.”
  3. Find the use case that aligns with what you specifically want to do. For instance, after choosing “videos” as your resource and “list” as your method, you can either get a code sample for listing YouTube’s most popular videos or listing your liked videos.
  4. Click the </> next to the use case. This will open up a “Try this API” window where you can customize the request parameters, such as the videoCategoryId and regionCode.
  5. After you’re finished customizing, click Execute. You’ll be prompted to log in and provide access to the API Explorer. You’ll then be taken back to the previous window, where your code snippet has been generated.

Use the YouTube API to Grow Better

YouTube can help you reach a larger audience and grow your customer base. It has an established user base, providing the perfect environment for businesses, marketers, creatives, and virtually anyone who wants to reach the public to do so easily.

Consistently creating high quality, original content can be difficult to incorporate into most marketing strategies. But with access to the YouTube Data API, you can take the second-best route to use YouTube for marketing: sharing video on your website.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in March 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Originally published Sep 14, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated October 08 2021


Application Programming Interface (API)