There are two types of POD niche research one can conduct on YouTube: empirical research and hidden keyword research.

Empirical research pertains to that which we can observe with our eyes and ears — in other words, ideas and inspiration for tshirt designs based on what we see and hear in videos about the niches or trends we are investigating.

Hidden keyword research, however, is what I conduct when hunting for subniches on YouTube.

Once I determine which niche I want to drill into, I’ll begin leveraging YouTube by conducting a primary search for my main keyword (in this example, it’s “firefighters”) and then sorting the results by most views.

As you can see in the provided screen shot, “firefighters” returns scores of popular videos that have been watched millions of times.

Among the first I clicked on in my research into “firefighters” is a 2:55 video about the New York City Fire Department, which has just over 1 million views.

Did I watch the whole video and sift through dialogue and images for inspiration? Nope. Instead, I went straight to find the hidden keywords associated with this niche video. How do I do that? Using a handy trick many keyword pros rely on for important research usually geared toward video marketing but still incredibly helpful and relevant to POD entrepreneurs.

To find the latent keywords of any YouTube video, simply do the following:

1. Open your favorite desktop browser and go to YouTube. Search for videos in the niche you’re concentrating on and sort the results by most viewed (this will help you find popular videos quickly). Click on a popular video.

2. Right click anywhere on the video’s page and then click on “View Page Source” (you can also just press Ctrl+U)

3. Press Ctrl+F button to open the “Find Feature”

4. Type the word “keywords.” This will reveal the keywords used in the video (see image below).

In our firefighter video example, one of the keywords uncovered is “battalion.” This immediately stood out to me because despite the abundance of tees I have in the firefighter niche, I don’t have any that leverage the word “battalion.”

A quick Google search for “battalion firefighter” returns some insight into the significance of this finding. Per Wikipedia: “A battalion chief is the rank and title of a subordinate fire chief or commanding officer in the firefighting command structure.”

Guess what? While there are tens of thousands of firefighter-related products across the ecommerce landscape, “Battalion chief tshirt” returns only a small number of designs. But here’s the best part, Merch Informer’s keyword finder points to thousands of searches for “battalion chief,” yet is has “low competition.”

In just this one example you can see how YouTube can be extremely helpful in providing leads that can serve both as subniche and keyword — in this case, “battalion chief.”

All you have to do is search for your primary niche on YouTube and check the keyword data on the most popular videos you can find. This may just lead you to the discovery of subniches and keywords few other Merchers are leveraging even in some of the most competitive and profitable niches on Amazon.