Choosing the right channels is the first step of every social media strategy. In addition to the mandatory Facebook profile, there’s a wide selection of other social media platforms that can help aid in your efforts to further your brand and image. Reaching out to customers and defining target groups are just two of many advantages that these portals can offer.
Fame, sponsoring contracts and big money - this is what some YouTubers dream of. To make it easier to achieve this dream, the video platform YouTube provides a practical analytics tool to help them optimise their content and attract more subscribers. However, not everyone can master its complex interface. Many users instead resort to using tools from third-party providers. SocialBlade is one of the most popular of these providers. In the following sections, you will learn about the functions provided by this tool.
What is SocialBlade?
SocialBlade (also written as "Social Blade” by the provider except for in the logo) is an American, English-language website for tracking and analysing social media data. While this service mainly focuses on the video platform YouTube, it also provides information on its direct and indirect competitors including Twitch, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as well as on the platforms Mixer and Dailymotion.
SocialBlade uses these social media websites’ public APIs (application programming interfaces) to access the data they share. As a result, this website is currently tracking more than 27 million YouTube channels, eight million Twitter profiles and seven million Twitch accounts (as of April 2019). However, that is not all it does. SocialBlade also analyses the data it collects and presents the results in a clear format so that these results can then be shared with video producers, companies and news portals. A smartphone app for iOS and Android is also available.
When the CEO of SocialBlade Jason Urgo launched his website in February 2008, it was initially only used to track data from the social networking website Digg, thus only reaching a niche audience. In an effort to create a service for all social media users, he ended up developing SocialBlade. In a blog post from February 2017, Urgo described it as a tool to cut through social media algorithms and find out how they work and grow.
Urgo, who has been using the pseudonym Urgo6667as a Youtuber himself since 2007, originally used YouTube Analytics as well as a third-party tool which is no longer available online. In response, he redirected SocialBlade to focus on performing analytics of YouTube starting in 2010. As a result of a collaboration with Maker Studios (now one of the three largest production networks for YouTube videos), the project gained momentum in February 2011, and SocialBlade was officially registered in October 2012 as a limited liability company (LLC).
SocialBlade is currently tracking more than 50 million social media accounts from seven different platforms (as of April 2019). Seven million users visit the website every month, many of whom even visit it several times per day. In the global Alexa ranking system, it is ranked at 792 (as of December 2018). Urgo himself advertises the project which is dear to him, as the number one source for YouTube statistics outside of YouTube itself.
What features does SocialBlade offer?
Since its launch, SocialBlade has presented itself as a forward-thinking company and is constantly expanding its range of products and services with new functions and services.
Detailed social media data
The website’s main job is to collect and compile YouTube data which it obtains through the public programming interface YouTube API. SocialBlade then presents this data in a visually appealingandeasy-to-understand format which is available to all visitors free of charge. For example, you can find “top lists” on the website which provide an overview of the YouTube channels with the highest number of views and subscriptions for specific countries or subjects.
If you are instead looking for more detailed information about a specific channel, you can enter either its URL (for old channels) or its username (for new channels) in SocialBlade’s search bar.
Any channels entered in the search bar for the first time are added to SocialBlade’s database automatically.
Once you are on the specific channel’s page, you will see an overview of the most important data:the number of uploads, subscribers and video views as well as the channel’s country of origin, the channel type and its date of creation. Channels receive a Social Blade rank which is calculated from a number of criteria such as its average number of video views and whether the channel is being cited on other channels. This rank indicates how influential the channel is on YouTube using the US school grading system: A, B+, C, etc. You can also see how the number of video views and subscribers has changed over the last 30 days as well as get an estimation of the channel’s projected monthly and yearly earnings.
If you scroll down the channel’s page, you will find more detailed information such as tables with daily reports on the previously mentioned metrics and graphs with a visual representation of the channel’s monthly progress.
The following information and functions can also be accessed via different tabs on the page:
- Future projections about the number of video views and subscribers
- Graphs displaying daily and monthly numbers for video views and subscribers
- An overview of all channels listed in the channel’s “Featured Channels” widget, including its statistics
- A selection of similar YouTube channels
- A list of all uploaded videos including its number of views, average ratings and number of comments
- A real time YouTube subscriber count which can be updated at various time intervals
SocialBlade also allows you to compare up to three channels simultaneously. To do this, either click the "Compare" button in the upper right-hand corner of the channel page or go to the Compare YouTube Channels and Statistics link.
This service also provides the functions and information described here for other social media platforms with a comparable or somewhat reduced scope. If you click on the drop-down menu on the top right of the website, you can also track your Instagram account with SocialBlade and develop strategies from the data you receive to attract more instagram followers .
Dashboard and premium features
If you plan to use SocialBlade often, we recommend creating your own dashboard account. This is absolutely free on the website and also gives you access to additional features. You can add up to five social media channels as favourites to your overview page (i.e. your dashboard) which allows you to constantly monitor them. Registered users also receive regular progress reports which they can have automatically sent to them by email.
Professional YouTubers and other professionals can choose from four different types of premium accounts: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Membership costs between US$3.99 (£3 approx.) and US$99.99 (£75 approx) per month depending on the account and adds a number of features. For example, you will benefit from being able to add more favourites as well as from significantly longer analysis periods (in some cases periods going back up to 356 days).
SocialBlade’s latest innovations include “Report Cards”. You can use these to clearly display your channel’s most important key figures and save them as PDF files, which can then be shown to potential business partners, for example. Since 2014, this website has also been offering consulting services which are certified by YouTube and include video chats with experts on topics such as marketing and SEO.
Digital media coverage
SocialBlade does not just offer an analytics tool. It also runs its own blog which features interesting articles and the latest news regarding the digital media industry. You can also have a newsletter containing a summary of the latest news sent to you by email. If you wish to interact with other users, you can do so by leaving comments, participating in an active forum or joining a community Discord chat channel.
SocialBlade also has its own YouTube channel. On this channel, you can find short tutorials on how to use the website or the YouTube video platform, for example. A special highlight was the livestream which the channel started in October 2018. It involved pitting PewDiePie, who at that time had the number one channel on YouTube, against the Indian newcomer T-Series in a competition which tracked the number of subscribers for both channels in real time.
SocialBlade owes its success primarily to its partnership with the multi-channel network (MCN) Maker Studios. It is thus hardly surprising that the website itself also offers a partner program.
SocialBlade works in collaboration with the Canadian digital entertainment company BroadbandTV Corp (BBTV), whose network includes the NBA as well Sony Pictures. Together they support SocialBlade YouTubers receiving a minimum of 500,000 views per month in all aspects of its creative work, from content production to marketing and digital rights management.
Partners who have successfully applied will be prominently featured in various parts of the website and will have access to exclusive resources such as Epidemic Sound’s library which contains thousands of royalty-free musical tracks to be used in the production of YouTube videos. In return, SocialBlade often keeps a portion of the revenue generated by each channel. This varies based on the individual contract.
Is the data on SocialBlade reliable?
If you use YouTube as an advertising platform or monetise your own YouTube channel , you have probably already come in contact with the YouTube Analytics tool. Technically, this tool offers all the information you need for your channel, so why should you consult SocialBlade?
The CEO Jason Urgo argues that the existence of his website is justified because it presents the available data in a more comprehensible and user-friendly way and thus provides users with even deeper insight into analytics. In addition, SocialBlade does not just provide data about the user’s own channel but about other people’s channels as well.
But are the statistics compiled by this third-party provider reliable?
When it comes to US media platforms such as Money, NBC and HuffPost, the answer is yes. In the past, these and other industry professionals have often used SocialBlade as a source such as for the estimated revenue of famous YouTubers.
However, there is a major issue in how the estimated revenue is calculated. These figures are only rough estimates based on certain CPT values which reflect the advertising cost per 1,000 clicks or views (cost per thousand). Since these costs are only known by the channel operator and YouTube itself and can range from a minimum of US$0.25 (£0.20 approx) and a maximum of US$4.00 (£3 approx), the “estimated earnings” provided on SocialBlade have large ranges with a difference of several thousand to even tens of thousands of dollars between the lowest and highest estimated revenues.
With such a large range, the analysed channel is likely to fall within it, but this estimation does not include the additional cost factors related to YouTuber activities. These factors may include the network’s share, taxes, contributions to private health, pension and unemployment insurance, production software and hardware expenses as well as any advertising revenue lost when viewers use adblockers.
For this reason, YouTube has stated on one of its official Twitter accounts that third-party apps such as SocialBlade cannot accurately reflect subscriber activities (and the resulting revenue trends). Furthermore, the video platform has a time-related advantage when it comes to its own data. On SocialBlade, the frequency with which a channel page is updated depends largely on how much traffic it generates. The data is usually updated once per day. However, if there is not much user interest, this may only be done in a piecemeal fashion.
In response to YouTube's tweet, SocialBlade posted its own statement: "We don't make up data. We get it from the YouTube API. We rely on it for accuracy" (@SocialBlade, 19 December 2016). As the website’s FAQ further explains, the tool is not supposed to be a replacement for YouTube Analytics anyway. It is intended as an additional resource with which users can quickly view user-friendly information about other people’s channels as well as their own.
In conclusion, the data on SocialBlade to some extent does allow you to draw conclusions about the performance of specific social media channels, recognise trends and improve your content based on this information. If you are a professional looking for a skilled influencer, you can also make use of the analytics tool to help you separate the real subscriber magnets from those who buy followers.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal has recently led internet companies like Facebook to change their APIs drastically, greatly limiting the number of data requests per hour. This also impacted SocialBlade. Since April 2018, the website has not been able to readily provide data from Instagram (a Facebook subsidiary). However, a compromise has since been reached. The information has once again become available, but due to its limitations, it will primarily be made available to users who have verified their Instagram accounts. To do this, you need an Instagram business profile, which can be set up in no time at all.