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.
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.
What is the YouTube API?
The YouTube API is an application programming interface that allows you to embed videos, curate playlists, and offer other YouTube functionalities on your website.
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.
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.
How to Get a YouTube API Key
Log in to Google Developers Console.
Create a new project.
On the new project dashboard, click Explore & Enable APIs.
In the library, navigate to YouTube Data API v3 under YouTube APIs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
What 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.
To create a code sample for your specific use case, take the following steps.
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.”
Choose a method that aligns with what you’re generally looking to do. For “videos,” for example, you can choose “list,” “getRating,” or “insert.”
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.
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.
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.
Originally published Sep 14, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated September 14 2021