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YouTube Advertising: When and How To Use It

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Video Advertising

Ana Gotter

April 21, 2022

When To Start Integrating YouTube Advertising Into Your Marketing Strategy

Is YouTube advertising the right choice for your company? There are a lot of things to consider about bringing YouTube into your marketing strategy, such as whether your target audience is even on the platform or whether you have the means to create video content in the first place.

Making the decision to start advertising on YouTube is not as easy as simply picking a budget. There are several factors that need to be considered, including where your company is in its lifecycle and what your goals are for digital marketing.

That said, YouTube advertising is an excellent option if it fits your company. Consider things like:

  • Where you are in your business growth cycle.
  • The demographics of your target audience.
  • The kind of budget you’re willing to allocate to YouTube advertising.
  • Whether your product or service is suitable for YouTube ads.

YouTube advertising is growing in popularity for both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses. It’s a great way to reach people who are consuming video content on the world’s most popular video platform, as long as you have the necessary data.  

You Know Your Ideal Customer

Your ideal customer is the one person who represents all the customers who will love your product most — and buy it over and over again. Why is this so important? Because the more narrowly you can define your ideal customer, the more effective your advertising will be and the more efficient your ad spending becomes.

Start by creating a buyer persona and defining the demographics of your target audience. That’s going to include things such as their:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income
  • Education level

And then personalize it even more. You should know this persona’s psychological characteristics, especially their interests, hobbies, values, lifestyle choices, and behavior patterns. What are their social media habits? Do they like Facebook, or do they spend a lot of time on YouTube?

The goal is to find potential customers who will see your YouTube promotion at just the right time. If you don’t know who your ideal customer is, then it will be very difficult for you to develop a video ad that targets them properly.

You Have the Means To Develop Video Content for Advertising Campaigns

You will need the right equipment to create high-quality and engaging video content. Online audiences have high expectations for video quality, so it is important that you invest in the right tools.

A smartphone camera can be good enough for short videos, but for more advanced productions, you will need to level up to a more serious camera or camcorder. You’ll also want lights and microphones to capture the best audio and visuals you can.

It’s not as easy as the YouTubers make it look, but neither is it as hard as you might think. While video editing is a complicated process that requires a significant degree of training and knowledge, you can also invest in video editing software and take a more DIY approach. That’s a good option for small businesses on a budget.

How To Advertise on YouTube

You’ll need to have some understanding of the different kinds of video advertising available on YouTube before you begin. Each has its own style and optimal length as well as certain nuances that will affect the success and cost of your ad campaigns.

TrueView is the most common kind of paid advertising format on YouTube and the one with which you’re probably most familiar. These skippable video ads show up in front of the video that you want to watch and allow you to skip after five seconds.

You have some options available for further customizing a TrueView ad. For instance:

  • In-stream videos: These are the ads that play before, during, or after another video. When creating your ad, you decide where it plays and for how long, whether it’s a few seconds or all the way through the pre-roll spot.
  • Discovery ads: These TrueView ads appear on the search results page and in related videos sections on YouTube, as well as in Gmail and Google Display Network sites when someone visits them from YouTube. They’re designed to encourage people to click through and watch your video — ideal if you have a long video with lots of information that might take time.
  • Reach ads: These are TrueView ads that reach people who don’t know about your brand and introduce them to it by delivering high-quality views at a low cost. You’ll only pay when people watch or engage with your video.

In addition, you can use YouTube’s search and discovery tools to help you find new customers and increase awareness of your business. It’s a powerful platform for raising brand awareness and engagement.

YouTube Ad Formats

YouTube ads are a great way to reach your target audience, but not all video ad formats are created equal. Sure, you can run a TrueView ad, but which format is best for your brand?

YouTube has a range of options that allow businesses to customize their ads around a broad range of parameters. You can choose the setting and format of your video, the audience you want to reach, how much you’re willing to spend, and more.

Here’s a quick breakdown of all the YouTube advertising options available to brands like yours.

Skippable Ad

These are the ads viewers are most familiar with seeing on YouTube. The viewer has the option to skip the ad after five seconds. If the viewer doesn’t, you’re charged for that view. These ads can be up to 60 seconds long, so it’s important to capture interest within those first five seconds.

Non-skippable Ad

Non-skippable ads are just what they sound like: You can’t skip them! These 15- or 20-second ads must be viewed in their entirety before the video plays. These videos cost more per view than skippable ads, but they ensure viewers see your video in its entirety.

Video Overlay Ad

These semi-transparent banners appear in the lower 20 percent portion of your video and remain there throughout its entire duration. Viewers can click on these ads at any time during playback, taking them directly to the advertiser’s landing page or website. These video overlay ads cost less than non-skippable ads, and viewers can choose whether to click through to learn more about what’s being advertised.

In-feed Video Ad

These ads are the ones that are part of the upcoming and suggested videos list on the right-hand side of the page when a video is being watched. They may also be present on the home page or as a part of search results. Because they can be found where they relate to content the viewer is already seeking, they improve your chances of being noticed by potential customers.

Bumper Ad

Bumper ads are short, non-skippable video ads that play before a YouTube video. They’re some of the best for branding and awareness and definitely useful for reaching people on the go who want to get in and out of content quickly. You can use bumper ads to complement longer TrueView campaigns with a strong call to action at the end of your video.

Outstream Ad

Outstream ads are an entirely mobile ad format for YouTube meant to be viewed on smartphones and tablets. These are non-skippable, 15-second videos that play in between two content videos on a YouTube channel. They’re also known as vertical video ads, as they work well with the portrait video mode used mainly on mobile devices.

Masthead Ad

The Masthead format is a large display format that occupies a prominent position within the YouTube masthead. It’s built specifically for brand advertising and allows you to maximize reach among your audience by delivering your message across all devices in a single engagement.

Launch Your First YouTube Ad

Now that you know something about the ins and outs of advertising formats on YouTube, it’s time to start your first campaign.

Decide now what action you want your viewers to take after seeing your ad. Are you content with them clicking on a specific link, or do you want them to actually go to your website and subscribe to or purchase something? That’s going to decide the campaign you implement as well as the advertising format that works best for you.

Using AdWords, you can set up your campaign to include a wide range of goals, such as video views, brand awareness, and clickthroughs. You can also select what types of advertising you want to be included in your campaign.

For example, you can target specific channels, keywords, and audience demographics. AdWords integrates directly with YouTube so you can manage your ads from the same platform used to run your search campaigns, easily implementing the targeting and metric criteria you’ve already established.

But first things first:

Start a YouTube Channel

The first step to running a video advertising campaign on YouTube is to actually have your own YouTube channel. You’ll need one in order to upload your ads and measure their performance.

What do you need for this?

  • A Google account (i.e., a Gmail address).
  • A YouTube channel name (your business name is a good start).
  • A channel icon (your business logo is a good choice here).
  • A channel art image (a photo of your store or products works just fine).

You’ll also want to get set up on AdWords. If you don’t already have an account, go ahead and sign up for one using the same Google account you used to create your YouTube channel.

Integrating AdWords can be a little confusing for newcomers. It’s basically like making an ad campaign that you’ll never actually use in real life — it just serves as a placeholder for the future campaigns you’ll control through AdWords.

Create a Video Ad

Making a unique video ad is the meat and potatoes of the process. You’ll need the right equipment and the right planning to make sure you can get your message across effectively.

If you want to make videos that look good, you’ll need to use something other than your smartphone. Most smartphones don’t have good-quality lenses or mics that capture great sound, and they rarely have stabilization features.

The three words for you to know are:

  • Shooting: Filming your ad and making it look good.
  • Editing: Piecing together all the film you shot in a way that makes sense — editing, not filming, is what creates the story.
  • Distribution: Uploading it to YouTube and choosing the right ad format to go with it.

Set Up a Video Ad Campaign

Here’s where you bring together everything you know about video ad campaigns on YouTube. You’ll need to precisely define your audience, your goals, and the budget for your campaign.

Carefully consider the different ad formats available and decide which goes best with your video and goals. This is also where you’ll decide what kind of optimization strategy will be most effective for your campaign.

Keep Track of Video Views, Viewers, and Advertising Costs with YouTube and Google Analytics

You’ll need to meticulously track every aspect of your YouTube advertising campaign, from views and subscribers to the types of viewers you’re attracting and how much you are paying for each one.

Reading your YouTube advertising analytics is easier than you think. You can do it for free with two Google products: YouTube Analytics and Google Analytics. And they’re both critical components of optimizing your ad campaigns to be more profitable.

Be mindful of how much you’re spending for each click and how that aligns with your projected budget. You’ll want to see in detail how many people are actually viewing your ads and how many of those viewers click through to your website for potential conversions.

How YouTube Ads Can Help Grow Your Business

With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to creating a strong YouTube ad campaign for your business. It’s a stellar platform for all your video advertising needs — as long as you’re using it correctly. There are a few forms of YouTube ads, and each has its own pros and cons when it comes to your marketing strategy.As with any advertising campaign, it’s important to experiment with different approaches and figure out which works best for you. You might find it helpful to work with a company that already has a strong background in video advertising, such as Disruptive Advertising. We’re experts at placing video ads on YouTube, and we’d be happy to help you create your own successful campaign.

Ana Gotter

Author

Ana Gotter is a freelance writer specializing in social media and content marketing, though she writes on a variety of other niches and subjects. She can be contacted at anagotter.com.

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