How to export YouTube video comments to Excel file? – Free template + Power Query case study - KING OF EXCEL

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

How to export YouTube video comments to Excel file? – Free template + Power Query case study

How to export YouTube video comments to Excel file? – Free template + Power Query case study
This week, I am running a contest on YouTube. One of the criteria for picking winners is that they must comment on my video. So far, I got more than 200 comments. To make my job easier, I want to export video comments to Excel file. Turns out this is easily done once you have a Google developer API key. In this article, let me explain the process how to export Youtube video comments to Excel table.
Export YouTube comments to Excel
You can use this idea to export other data for a video too (views, likes vs. dislikes, listing of all videos in a channel etc.)

What you need

You need,
  • The video id
  • Your Google Developer API key – get it from Dev console
  • optional – pageToken if you want to see comments beyond first 100

The YouTube comments export template

If you don’t care about the bits & bolts of how this works and just want to use the template, please download it here.
Input these values:
  • Video ID
  • Google API key
  • optional Page Token
Go to comments tab and press ALT+F5 to refresh it.
This template will fetch first 100 comments of any video. If you want more comments:
  1. Fetch the first 100 comments
  2. Make a backup of those comments in a new file
  3. Note the nextpageToken in the result table column G
  4. Use this value as page token for input parameters
  5. Refresh the query and copy the values to backup file
  6. Repeat steps 3 to 5 for every 100 comments

How to get YouTube comments with Power Query?

If you want to know the behind scenes for this little extractor, read on.

The URL pattern for YouTube Data v3 API

You can use a simple GET request (ie if you paste this URL in a browser or web extract tools like Power Query or Excel’s WEBSERVICE, it will work) to access YouTube Data API (ref).
To see all comment threads in a video, you use below URL pattern.
https://www.googleapis.com/youtube/v3/commentThreads?maxResults=100&videoId=VID_ID&key=[YOUR_API_KEY]
Notice the red bits. They are the parameters you need.

How to get the results in Power Query?

Once you have the necessary parameters in Power Query – either by loading an Excel table or setting them up as parameters in PQ,
Construct the URL by combining parameters with the pattern shown above.
From the URL in a column (named URL), use below code to create a custom column to fetch the data.
=Json.Document(Web.Contents([URL]))
This will fetch a Json document with the entire comment thread tree for first 100 comments.
You want to expand it a few times. This path should work:
Items > Top level comment > Snippet
This will add a bunch of columns with all sorts of detail.
Keep below columns:
  • authorDisplayName
  • authorChannelUrl
  • textDisplay
  • textOriginal
  • publishedAt
  • nextPageToken
When done, close & load to see these comments in Excel or Power BI as a table.

How to paginate?

Unfortunately, the YouTube Data API is not paginated with sequential numbers. Instead you must provide a pageToken with the request to get next 100 comments.
You can build an accumulating function that first gets all the pageTokens with something like List.Accumulate.
Once you have such a list, you can then just call the URL for all tokens.
This is just too much hassle for a few hundred comments, but makes perfect sense when you have thousands of comments.
An easier option is to just back-up the data (either manually or thru VBA) and refreshing the query with next page token.

Errors & issues

Privacy warning or error:
Power Query - Privacy setting (Query editor > File > Query options)
This is the first one you might encounter. Power Query doesn’t like mixing cell values, parameters etc with web queries. You can go to Query editor and adjust query options from File menu to ignore all privacy warnings.
You may need to rebuild the query to get the results after this step.
API issues:
It is a good idea to test the URL from your Google developer console. Make sure you can actually see some results there before trying it with Power Query.
Please also refer to YouTube API documentation for help on the parameters and output formats.
All other errors:
I would start by checking my internet connection and errors with either video ID or API key or page token. If all else fails, leave a comment and I will share what I know.
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