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YouTube Scraper

bernardo/youtube-scraper

Extracts data about videos across YouTube channels, so you don't have to use an API. With a URL or search term as the input, you can get video information, including channel name, likes, number of views, and number of subscribers. The results are provided in several formats, such as XLS, JSON, HTML.

Actor - Youtube scraper

Youtube scraper powered by Apify's puppeteer crawler

Youtube has an API that gives access to search data as well as detailed data on each video. This however requires you to log in and although it is free for now, they impose quota limits on each API endpoint. This is understandable as it prevents abuse but it may be too restrictive or technical for simple use cases.

The youtube API is designed for apps that manipulate and reuse the data programmatically, and apps that require detailed technical information.

That is why this scraper was created and implemented as an "actor" on the Apify platform. At this time this actor allows you to:

  • Scrape videos by specifying search keyword(s) to get the following details:

    id title url views upload date likes dislikes channel name channel url subscribers details

  • Limit the videos returned by upload date by entering date in an easy-read format e.g "2 weeks ago"

  • Limit the overall number of videos returned by entering a number e.g "50" videos maximum

Features not available in this actor:

  • Scraping comments on a video
  • Scraping channel details

Input parameters

The input of this actor should be JSON specifying what to search for on Youtube. If this actor is run on the Apify platform a user friendly graphical interface will be provided for you to configure the scraper before running it. This actor recognizes the following fields:

Field Type Description
searchKeywords String (required) Query to search Youtube for
maxResults Integer (optional) How many videos should be loaded from each search, default is 50, maximum is 999
postsFromDate String (optional) How far back in history to go, default is "5 years ago". You can also use minutes,hours,days,weeks and months
startUrl String (required) Starting Youtube URLs, default is https://youtube.com
proxyConfiguration Object Proxy configuration
verboseLog Boolean Whether to turn on verbose logging

This solution requires the use of Proxy servers, either your own proxy servers or you can use Apify Proxy.

Youtube scraper Input example

{
    "searchKeywords": "Terminator dark fate",
    "maxResults": 30,
    "postsFromDate": "2 weeks ago",
    "startUrl": "https://www.youtube.com",
    "proxyConfiguration": {
        "useApifyProxy": true
    },
    "verboseLog": false
}

During the run

During the run, the actor will output messages letting you know what it is doing and which youtube URL is being processed.

If an error occurs there will be a detail error log in the run console as well as in the output dataset.

Scraper output

As the actor runs, the actor stores results into a dataset. Each Youtube video becomes a separate item in the dataset (example below).

The actor converts Youtube data into a form that can be compared and analyzed as exemplified in the table below:

# Likes Output
1.2M 1200000
1.65K 1650
1.65M 1650000

The output can then be easily manipulated in any language (Python, PHP, Node JS/NPM).

See the Apify API reference to learn more about getting results from this Youtube actor.

Here is a sample of the output (long lines shortened):

{
  "title": "Terminator: Dark Fate - Official Trailer (2019) - Paramount Pictures",
  "id": "oxy8udgWRmo",
  "url": "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxy8udgWRmo",
  "viewCount": 15432,
  "date": "2019-08-29T00:00:00+00:00",
  "likes": 121000,
  "dislikes": 23000,
  "channelName": "Paramount Pictures",
  "channelUrl": "https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF9imwPMSGz4Vq1NiTWCC7g",
  "numberOfSubscribers": 1660000,
  "details": "Welcome to the day after <a class=\"yt-simple-endpoint style-sco..."
}

Notes for developers

Typical usage on Apify platform using 4096MB for memory is shown below:

Resource Average Max
Memory 480.3 MB 1.1 GB
CPU 53% 140%

This actor manipulates the mouse and keyboard like a real user would.

It uses xPaths to find DOM elements; they are all stored in one file for easy update.

All xPath variables and functions end in 'Xp'.

The logic of the actor makes use of Youtube's own date filters because:

  • Youtube does not by default show videos in chronological order. The order of videos is related to the number of likes, subscribers, etc.
  • There is no way to give Youtube an exact cutoff date (unless you use Youtube's developer API)
  • Youtube has a separate filter that toggles sorting by date

So when a user requests videos from "5 days ago", we apply Youtube's "This week" filter as well as the "Sort by Upload date" filter.

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