Posted by Matt-Miller
With YouTube coming in as the second-largest search engine on the web, I often think it is overlooked as a viable advertising source for many small and medium-sized businesses.
I have been advertising on YouTube since Google integrated video ads in the Adwords platform in 2012. Since then, I have consulted with hundreds of businesses in different industries and here are my go-to hacks for YouTube advertising.
Choosing the right video
The first step in creating a successful YouTube advertising campaign is choosing the right video. A carefully selected video can keep costs down, get engaged visitors, and capture user intent.
My optimal YouTube video ad criteria:
- 30-45 seconds in length
- 10-second elevator pitch/unique selling position (USP) at the very beginning
- Call-to-action (CTA) at :15 seconds into the video.
Selecting a video that meets these criteria can help you with branding goals, as well as create a direct response to your product or service, while keeping costs low.
Why do I like this approach? YouTube’s In-Stream TrueView costs accrue after the video has been watched for 30 seconds, which explains why you want to have your call to action within 15 seconds, then allow the video to continue rolling with your CTA on the screen.
One of two things will occur: The user will hit “skip the ad,” which results in you not having to pay for it; or the user will click through to your website.
This model has worked well to reach a wide audience and keep costs relatively low.
Choosing the right targeting settings
Lets assume you’re selling weight loss products or personal training services. There are several different targeting methods available for YouTube ads, but for the purpose of this article, I’m only going to share my top two favorite targeting options: placement targeting and remarketing.
YouTube placement targeting is one of my all-time favorite targeting options due to this little-known secret: You can target popular videos and/or your competitors’ videos on YouTube.
I like to use the YouTube search bar to type in my primary keywords. Then I right-click on those video URLs, and copy and paste them into an Excel spreadsheet. Typically, I do this for the first two pages of search results, and for any other popular video I see that is highly targeted to my audience.
Once you have compiled an Excel spreadsheet of all of the video URLs related to your product or service, you will want to put those in the placement targeting options.
Now your video ads can play in-stream on those videos (assuming they allow ads), or be displayed next to those videos (learn more about ad formats here), which are what I consider to be a highly targeted audience.
Remarketing with YouTube
I’m a huge fan of remarketing across all advertising platforms, and YouTube remarketing is no different. With YouTube, you can serve YouTube ads to previous visitors of your website, as well as to users who have viewed your YouTube Videos.
I like to segment my remarketing lists based on the following criteria for two categories, and tailor the video ads appropriately:
- All website visitors
- All YouTube video views
User intent remarketing:
- Email subscribers (identified by tag on email thank you page)
- YouTube subscribers
Segmenting these two categories is important because you want to get the right message in front of the right audience. If a user is already on your email list, or subscribed to your channel, then you may want to serve a more direct video ad to them that will move them through your sales process.
On the other hand, a YouTube video view or website visitor may need a different message. A more specific video highlighting the value your business provides can convert them into an email subscriber, free trial user, etc.
To add your remarketing lists (assuming your YouTube and Adwords accounts are linked), simply go to Video Targeting > Remarketing.
Then add your remarketing list.
Choose an Adwords list (website traffic) or a YouTube list (Video views & subscribers).
Next, select and move all the lists that you want to target in your video campaign.
Video remarketing targeting:
Website remarketing targeting:
Finally, save your targeting group, and you’re all set.
There are many different targeting options available for promoting your videos. I have found that YouTube ads work better in some niches than others. Be careful with “keyword” targeting in particular on YouTube, as you cannot choose keyword type, so it is very broad. It is easy to waste a lot of money with YouTube ads and leave a sour taste in your client’s mouth on the idea of video advertising.
Following these guidelines and creating highly targeted YouTube campaigns have kept my clients happy for years now. I hope this will help you do the same.
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