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Using You Tube as a research tool

April 6, 2011

Ever consider using You Tube as a legitimate research source? What typically comes to mind is the latest silly singing sensation gone “viral” or a politician’s unintentional faux pas. However, in the last few months, YouTube has added several interesting search and filtering features which make combing through their 50 million videos quite appealing as a research tool.

Whether you are a business student or someone trying to get background information on a company or an industry, video can be a useful type of research source. It can be particularly useful for finding the following kinds of business information:

Interviews with CEOs and other industry leaders
A company might post interviews or speeches by the CEO on a video site. Through these, you can get a sense of the CEO, his or her strategic focus, style and manner. If you are meeting a client, it’s helpful if you can see and hear the person in action before the actual meeting.
Conference presentations
From these, you can get a sense of what events the company attends and /sponsors, what they present at those events, their presence (Do they have a big booth?), etc.
Video press releases, new or existing product introductions
Here, you might find “behind the scenes” footage, and/or video of experts in the company discussing products or technologies informally.
Interns’ postings
You may find company interns discussing their desires and aspirations in working for a company, in addition to discussing their experience doing an internship at a company. This aspect is potentially very helpful both for the potential intern who is interested in working for a company, and helping the company recruit interns.
Company investment/earnings conferences and discussion

Searching hints:
As in virtually all search engines, you can enter a word or string of words into YouTube’s basic search box and retrieve relevant matches. In addition, like most search engines, there are a variety of advanced features and filters to give you a more precise and effective search.
a. Multiple words default to AND
b. Use quotation marks for phrases
c. Use an OR operator between words and phrases
d. Use advanced limit operators such as allintitle to limit your word or phrase just to those found in the video title
e. Use a (*) between words as a place holder for other words
f. After a search is complete, limit with the special filters: Type, Sort, Category, Duration, and Features.

There are four new tools that could enhance your research:
You Tube Topics (beta; you must opt in)
After doing a search in Browse, it provides a list of related topics, giving you narrower sub topics to search from. You can also add a topic to your current search by clicking on the + sign that shows when you hover over it. Each new topic you click will give you new results to explore.
YouTube Trends
Users can find out what videos are being viewed and shared the most, based on the location of the viewer (by country or major metro area) as well as age/gender demographics.
 Comment Search
You can conduct a keyword search on comments made by viewers of YouTube videos. The archive only extends back about a week so it’s not that useful .
 Insights for Audience
If you are working on a market research project and trying to identify and/or reach certain types of consumers, you can identify them by finding out what type of online videos your target group watches. Demographic options that can be selected are gender, age, country, and subject interest.
For more information,
read about Topics
in the Help Center

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