How to Successfully Advertise on YouTube

YouTube is one of the fastest growing advertising hotspots, and it’s easy to see why. After all, over 1.8 billion registered users access the site every month, and that figure doesn’t account for the casual users who don’t bother to register or sign in. For marketers, that leads to a critical question: how do you access those users? This quick guide will present an overview of how to advertise on YouTube, and why you should do it.

Why Should You Advertise on YouTube?

Nearly two billion users on YouTube gives your business a lot of reach, but that won’t do you much good if users aren’t interested in ads. However, users are actually turning to YouTube for product information of all types, including reviews, unboxings, tutorials, and more. These users are primed for product interactions, including ads. In fact, 40% of buyers claimed they had turned to YouTube for product reviews before purchasing, and 70% expressed interest in learning about other, related products.

Learn About the Types of Ads Available

In general, YouTube ads come in six distinct varieties, each with a different pay structure and a different format. Each also differ on their availability on the mobile site, the app, and the desktop site. The six types can be divided into two categories – video ads and non-video ads.

Video Ads

Video ads can further be broken down into three distinct types:

  • TrueView, or skippable, video ads may be the most engaging type of YouTube ad. These ads appear at the beginning, middle or end of other videos. Users may skip the ads after 5 seconds of play time or continue to watch until the ad completes. You only pay for the instances in which users watch over 30 seconds of your ad.

    TrueView ads are popular because of their budget-friendly nature and because they are available across all devices that support YouTube, including TVs and game consoles. If users don’t continue to watch, you don’t pay. Nevertheless, it’s important to make those first seconds of your ad engaging, because users can easily click through to the video if they’re not interested. TrueView ads are useful for promoting your brand story, product release, or your product’s solution to some problem.

  • Non-skippable ads occur at the beginning, middle or end of other videos on both the desktop and mobile versions. Users are not able to skip past the ad and must let it play until it is complete. Although users must wait through your entire ad, use non-skippable ads carefully, as they are intrusive and not favored by YouTube users.

    In fact, Google dropped 30 second, non-skippable ads in favor of 15 and 20 second ads. This ad type requires a bit more of a commitment as well, and you’ll be charged a certain cost per a thousand views. Non-skippable ads are formatted a bit shorter than TrueView ads but have the same uses.

  • Bumper ads are the shortest ad type by far at only six seconds. Still, they can provide a reasonable middle ground between TrueView and non-skippable ads. Users must watch the entire six seconds, so if you can get a message across in those six seconds, bumper ads can be a valuable resource. You’ll pay for bumper ads per thousand views.

Non-Video Ads

When you think of YouTube ads, video ads probably come to mind first. However, other types of ads exist, and they occur on both the desktop and mobile versions of YouTube.

  • Sponsored cards appear on both desktop and mobile and occur first in the form of a few-second teaser. If users desire, they can click in order to see content relevant to the content of the video. These ads are useful if you wish to target viewers of a specific type of video with relevant products. You’ll pay per click, though price can vary based on card size.
  • Overlay ads appear only on desktop, while the video is playing. These semi-transparent ads display on the bottom 20% of the video and you’ll pay per click. Many marketers use these ads in conjunction with video ads to enhance product sales.
  • Display ads are another desktop-only feature. These ads appear above the video list and you’ll pay per click. Similar to overlay ads, use display ads best in conjunction with video ads to create a more comprehensive marketing campaign.

What Should I Know About Video Ads?

Overall, your video ads should be to-the-point and engaging right from the beginning – the use of emotional or humorous videos is a great way to engage your users. Users may only view the first several seconds, so it’s important to catch their attention right away. Include a strong call to action your viewers can’t miss. It’s also important to stay well within YouTube’s parameters.

What to Do After You’ve Created a Video Ad

Whether you develop your own ad or hire a team to create one for you, you’ll need to get it uploaded on YouTube before you can create your ad campaign. Once it’s uploaded, follow these steps:

  • Within Google AdWords, select the red “Campaign” dropdown menu, and select video.
  • Enter your campaign name and select the correct video from the ones you’ve uploaded.
  • Select the ad type you want to use.
  • Choose whether you want your ads to appear in Google search, or as a TrueView ad.
  • Choose locations to include or exclude.
  • You can target your video to those on specific mobile devices, operating systems, and nearly limitless other audience targets, including keyword targeting.
  • Name the ad group and insert the correct YouTube link for the ad video. Depending on whether you choose in-stream or in-display ads, you will then need to enter a description or a URL. Make sure these elements accurately describe your ideal landing page and brand mission.
  • Bid on the maximum price you will pay per view. Adjust this number in order to increase your projected views and compare them with your budget.
  • Link your YouTube channel with the AdWords account.

Once your ad is live, you can track the metrics of its performance. Consider A/B testing different ad types, or using different ad content, and adjust your campaign as you go. You can add cards, overlays, or bumper videos to boost your ad’s performance, or scale back the content that just isn’t working.

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