In this one I’m going to chat about the social analytical tool Social Blade and give you upsides and downsides of using it from an online musician’s pov.
What is Social Blade?
If you’ve been around the internet a fair bit, you’ve probably come across Social Blade.
It’s a social media monitoring tool, basically a place where you can measure how well (or not well) you’re doing across social media platforms. For instance, for YouTube you can get estimated dates for where you’ll hit subscriber or view milestones.
Now this all becomes quite a bit more interesting when you look up other people in your niche, i.e. other musicians, and see how they’re getting on. You might then decide to make decisions based on that information such as reaching out for a collaboration, or just spending some time researching what’s working for them and how it could help you.
There’s a tonne of data there but do bear in mind it’s all estimated projections, they don’t 100% know the future.
Now, in the intro I mentioned there are upsides and downsides of using a tool like this. I’ve already briefly mentioned the upsides, but I will stress this, if you’re going to use this, I’d use it sparingly.
As with any analytical tool, I think it’s great to get into the numbers but I do hear about people getting really obsessed and it can lead to a little depression when your stats look like they’re in a lull, especially when you’re comparing yourself to someone else.
And that’s the big thing here, comparison. There’s an awesome saying that I think you should stick on a post-it-note somewhere right now. “Comparison is the thief of Joy”.
There’s always going to be someone doing better than you and there’s always going to be someone doing better than them, unless you’re Radiohead, and they’re Radiohead…
Anyway, with all that said let’s have a quick tour, shall we?
A Tour of Social Blade
So, we just head over to socialblade.com, and if you look over on the right-hand side there’s a search bar with a dropdown menu for each social platform. For this example, let’s select YouTube and we’ll search for my band, Wired to Follow.
Now, we won’t have any decent projected stats at all (boo-hoo) but to be honest that kind of excites me, weirdly enough, starting from nothing is fun!
Now we can see the dashboard area for the selected profile. We can see the number of uploads, subscribers, video views as well as location, what type of channel it is, and when it was created.
This becomes immediately more interesting when you open up another similar YouTube channel to compare to. Let’s do that now for and we’ll pick a band that’s also quite independent but ahead. I’ll go for Hammock even though they’re pretty big, I just can’t think of anyone else right now and it’s just an example.
Just flipping between these tabs gives us some fun data to look at… or cry about. Nah, it’s all good, remember don’t get wrapped up in the numbers, just use them as a guide.
Underneath that info bar, we have a lot of interesting menu items here but let’s start with the User Summary page, since we’re already on it.
1. User Summary
This top section gives your channel a grade and you can hover over the tool tip here which’ll tell you that “The total grade is a visual representation of the “Social Blade Rank” (or SB Rank), based on the ranking against our whole database”. This basically gives you an idea of how well the channel is doing at a quick glance.
If we flip over to our comparison account you can see they have a B- where we have a C-, which makes sense when you look at their stats compared to mine. My band’s channel is down on subscribers and views whereas Hammock’s is way-up. Maybe I should have chosen a closer match ha! In future it’d probably be more helpful for me to find a channel that’s at a C or C+ grade as that’d be a bit closer in terms of the numbers.
Anyway, if we scroll down on this page, you’ll see an estimated drill down of subscribers, views and earnings over the last two weeks. I say estimated as YouTube recently abbreviated subscriber counts so it’s harder for sites like this to accurately get that info. A quick comparison looking at Hammock’s page and you’ll see an estimated 100 subscribers on most days, pretty good!
You’ll see a monthly history of all this in a graph if you scroll even further down too.
2. Future Projections
I guess this is the fun part as it projects the future state of the channel as is. So, as you can see for Wired to Follow the numbers go up, which is nice to know.
You can drill this down to just Subscribers or View milestones and you can scroll down to see this all-in graph form.
It’s probably the one page I look at the most on Social Blade as you can get a good idea of how things are going. So, for me, looking at this I’m thinking yes, the numbers are going up… but really slowly. 40 odd subscribers in two months compared to 2000 for Hammock.
3. Detailed Statistics
Pretty simple one but this basically gives you a monthly overview of subscribers, views and estimated earnings. There’s a couple of graphs at the bottom there too.
4. Featured Box
The Featured Box just lists the channels that are featured, you know the ones that usually appear on the right-hand side of the channel page. You can go into a bit of rabbit hole here if you wish.
5. Similar Channels
The Similar Channels page lists a good bunch of channels that might be worth looking through, especially if they’re in your niche.
6. User Videos
The User Videos page is basically what is says, it lists all of the channel’s videos and gives them a rating based on the likes and dislikes.
I find these details interesting as you can get a good picture of how often the channel releases videos if you look at the date column on the left, as well as which type of video is more engaging for them, stuff like that.
There’s a menu there to show most viewed, and highest rated. It’s a fun one to play around with.
7. Live Subscriber Count
Now this used to give you an accurate count, but YouTube fiddled with their API. It can only do that for channels under 1000, like the Wired to Follow channel.
I find this to be a fun way to get started as it gamifies the whole experience. I like this as sometimes you just need a little incentive just to get going, and I like games, I like to see numbers go up!
Anyway, that’ll do for the tour!
So, that’s Social Blade and as you can see it can be a pretty powerful tool. Now, I’ve just briefly shown off YouTube but you can do all that with other social networks so you can really dig your heel into how your account is doing compared to others, and make creative decisions based on that.
And I suppose there lies a problem. I’m all in for being an ‘online musician’ but the more you try and game your way to getting better numbers, the more you can become less organic and well, less you.
So, I’d say use it sparingly. I mentioned that people can get wrapped up in it all and get a bit down when they aren’t seeing results. I definitely have and probably will do again! I blame Destiny.