YouTube Video Ads: Getting Started
Video is a huge part of our daily lives. Think about the last time you let a day go by without watching some type of video — on television or the Internet.
People aren’t just watching funny cat videos, either. Many businesses are harnessing the power of video to drive awareness and sales.
Because Google owns YouTube, video ads on YouTube are handled through AdWords. And they’re surprisingly easy to use. Here’s how your business can get started with YouTube ads.
Decide On Your Campaign Goals
Don’t just jump on the video ad bandwagon because everyone else is doing it. Think about what you’d like to get out of it. Do you have a complicated product or service that’s more easily explained with video than with text? Are you launching a new product and want to generate awareness? Are you hoping to drive sales via video?
Video ads can work for all of the above scenarios, but as with any paid search campaign, a little advance planning will help make your campaign a success.
Learn the Basics
YouTube ads run on a cost-per-view basis, not cost-per-click. While you can and should drive traffic via YouTube ads, you’re charged every time someone watches your video for a minimum amount of time — usually 25 percent of the video length.
In many ways, therefore, YouTube is a branding or awareness exercise, rather than a direct-response medium. You can certainly drive leads or sales from YouTube, but you’ll pay whether or not the viewer ever reaches your website.
That’s not to say that YouTube won’t drive conversions, but your success metrics may be different than for regular PPC campaigns.
One nice feature of YouTube ads is targeting options. Targeting for YouTube is similar to the Google Display Network. You can target by interest, topics, keywords, demographic characteristics like age and gender, or a combination of these. Remember, YouTube has a huge audience. You’ll want to narrow down your audience choices. Think about who you’d like to see your ad, and target accordingly. But be aware that keyword targeting can severely limit your ad’s reach.
Where the Ads Appear
YouTube ads appear on YouTube. But they also appear on sites in the Google Display Network. That’s because YouTube ads have three formats: in-stream, in-display, and in-search.
In-stream ads appear as a pre-roll prior to another video.
In-display ads serve on YouTube, as well as on other sites in the Google Display Network, where a user has embedded a YouTube video. In-display ads can have one of three formats.
- In-display ads show on YouTube near similar videos.
- In-display ads also appear as an overlay on YouTube videos embedded on Google Display Network websites.
- Finally, in-display ads appear as video display ads on Google Display Network sites.
The third YouTube ad format is in-search. In-search ads appear in YouTube search results.
Ads appear in all three places. Keep that in mind as you craft your ad copy.
Set Up your Targets
A traditional pay-per-click campaign is organized by campaigns, ad groups, ads, and keywords. Ads are assigned to an ad group, and are triggered by any of the keywords in that group.
The YouTube campaign structure is a different. YouTube has campaigns, ads, videos, and targets. Campaigns are essentially the same as traditional PPC ads — this is where you’ll set geography, daily budgets, and such.
Videos are simply the videos you’re promoting. A single video can be assigned to multiple campaigns.
Ads couple your video with ad copy. Ad copy is basically the same as traditional PPC, with a headline, description, display URL, and destination URL.
Targets are the confusing part. You can target by interest, topics, keywords, demographic characteristics like age and gender, or a combination of any or all of these. Within a campaign, you’ll combine targets, ads, and videos to create what viewers will see.
You can trigger your ad via all targeting groups in a campaign, or only some of them. Experiment with different targeting options to see what works best.
Think About your Landing Page
With YouTube ads, you can send visitors to your YouTube channel page or to a landing page on your website. This is where your goals come into play. If you are trying to build awareness and grow your YouTube subscriber list, then sending visitors to your YouTube channel makes sense.
But if you’re going for lead generation, you’ll want to send visitors to an optimized page on your website, where they can complete a conversion.
The nice thing about YouTube ads is that while not everyone will click through or even watch the entire video, you’ve still gained exposure to your brand via the ads.
Link your YouTube and AdWords Accounts
Linking your YouTube and AdWords accounts enables you to see additional statistics that aren’t available if accounts aren’t linked.
If possible, you’ll want to link your accounts to take advantage of these powerful features.
Create a Video Overlay
Once you’ve added a video to an AdWords campaign, you have the option of creating a video overlay. This is a block of text that displays over your video every time someone views it. Clicks on video overlays are free.
Video overlays are created within YouTube, not AdWords. Log in to your YouTube account and navigate to your YouTube channel. Find the Video Manager in the dashboard.
You’ll see all of your uploaded videos on the Uploads page. Find the video for which you’d like to create an overlay, and click Edit.
From there, click “Call-to-Action Overlay,” and you’ll be able to edit your ad copy.
YouTube video ads may seem confusing, but once you get the hang of them, they’re a great way to promote your business, generate awareness, and create leads.