Example on how to call the YouTube Data API from Node.js

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In this short blog post I will show you how to call the Youtube Data API v3 to get information about youtube videos. I am especially interested in the video duration, description, title, tags and publication date attributes. This is the metadata I use to automagically bookmark youtube videos.

Source code for this article can be found on Github

Let’s dive directly into how it’s done

You need to make a GET REST call. In my case the call is made from a Node.js/ExpressJS backend. I use superagent to make the call, but you can use a REST client of your choice:

let getYoutubeVideoData = async (youtubeVideoId) => {
  const response = await request
    .query({id: youtubeVideoId})
    .query({key: process.env.YOUTUBE_API_KEY || "change-me-with-a-valid-youtube-key-if-you-need-me"}) //used only when saving youtube videos
    .query({part: 'snippet,contentDetails,statistics,status'});

  let title = response.body.items[0].snippet.title;
  const tags = response.body.items[0].snippet.tags;
  const description = response.body.items[0].snippet.description;
  const publishedAt = response.body.items[0].snippet.publishedAt;
  const publishedOn = publishedAt.substring(0, publishedAt.indexOf('T'));
  const videoDuration = formatDuration(response.body.items[0].contentDetails.duration);
  if (title.endsWith('- YouTube')) {
    title = title.replace('- YouTube', ' - ' + videoDuration);
  } else {
    title = title + ' - ' + videoDuration;

  let webpageData = {
    title: title,
    metaDescription: description.substring(0, 500),
    publishedOn: publishedOn,
    videoDuration: videoDuration

  if(tags) { //some youtube videos might not have tags defined
    webpageData.tags = tags.slice(0,8).map(tag => tag.trim().replace(/\s+/g, '-'));

  return webpageData;

What are the used parameters?

  • videoId - this is the id of the video; it’s the value you find the v query parameter of a youtube link
  • e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q12HDjWY44
  • key - you need an API key to access the Youtube Data API. You can create one from the Google Developers Console. Make sure you select the YouTube Data API (v3 in my case); in the code example above the value of the key is read from the environment variables
  • you can query only the parts you are interested in, by specifying them in the part query parameter as shown in the code snippet above

I use the response data to make it easy to bookmark youtube videos. In the video below you can see it in action:

Note the Save to Bookmarks.dev Chrome Extension at the beginning of the video, which I developed and open-sourced to make it easy to save bookmarks.

Quota usage

The YouTube Data API uses a quota. All API requests, including invalid requests, incur at least a one-point quota cost. You can find the quota available to your application in the API Console.

Projects that enable the YouTube Data API have a default quota allocation of 10 thousand units per day.

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Adrian Matei (aka adixchen)

Adrian Matei (aka adixchen)
Life force expressing itself as a coding capable human being

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