With 2.56 billion active users worldwide, YouTube is the second largest search engine and the second most popular social media platform. The popularity of this platform lends to its success in marketing strategies. Online video advertising is a great way to reach your audience through what they are choosing to watch and encourage them to take action. According to YouTube, viewers are twice as likely to buy something they’ve seen on the platform and they are four times as likely to use YouTube to research brands, products, and services. In fact, over 70% of viewers have stated that YouTube increases their awareness of brands. When executed well through relatable content and storytelling, YouTube ads can be a great ally in your marketing.
Here’s how it works: Somewhere in the world, a creator starts a channel and starts building an audience. They decide to monetize their channel by allowing targeted ads to be placed on their videos. Advertisers set up campaigns and, if the viewers of the creator’s channel are in their target audience (determined by Google search histories), their ads are displayed with the creator’s videos. Viewers watch the creator’s videos and engage with the advertisements, allowing them to connect with content and brands relevant to their interests.
So how do you get started with YouTube ads? First things first, you need to create a YouTube channel. This will be the hub for your advertisements as well as any additional content you want to produce. Next, create video ads! The format of the advertisement will change depending on the type of ad you are using, but it’s good to have a variety of options to choose from. After you have your video(s) ready, create a campaign and set up your target audience, objective, metrics, and budget. Finally, keep track of your results and adjust accordingly. Checking your analytics and performance is important for understanding what is and is not working in your campaign, allowing you to optimize your advertisements for more reach and more results.
In terms of the ad formats themselves, there are a few different options to choose from: TrueView In-Stream Skippable, TrueView Discovery, Non-Skippable In-Stream, Bumper, and Overlay. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, and an advertisement that works well in one format may not work for another.
TrueView In-Stream Skippable ads are the standard and most affordable option. Length can vary from as short as 12 seconds to as long as 3 minutes. They typically play at the beginning of a video (though they can appear mid- or post-video) and the viewer has the option to skip it after five seconds. Because they are skippable, you only pay for the ad if the viewer watches at least 30 seconds of a longer video, an entire short video, or if they interact with the call-to-action button. These ads include a banner ad, call-to-action overlay, headline, and call-to-action button. They can also be customized with different calls-to-action, which helps with A:B testing and optimizations.
TrueView Discovery ads (also known as in-display ads) are displayed on the YouTube homepage, with search results, or as a related video on watch pages. These link to an existing video on your YouTube channel, so there are no length restrictions. Their main purpose is to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your channel. These ads include a video thumbnail, headline, two descriptions, and an ad tag.
Non-Skippable In-Stream ads are, as the name suggests, unable to be skipped and are played before, during, or after a video that is at least 10 minutes long. There is a 5-second countdown to the start of the ad and the advertisement itself can be up to 20 seconds long. These ads are charged on a pay-per-click basis and include a banner, call-to-action overlay, headline, and call-to-action button. They are best for brand awareness; the key is to make sure it’s valuable to the viewer since they cannot be skipped.
Like Non-Skippable In-Stream ads, Bumper ads are not able to be skipped. However, these are much shorter in length and are the shortest type available, with a maximum limit of 6 seconds. Bumper ads are played at the start of a video and include a banner, call-to-action overlay, headline, and call-to-action button. Because of their short duration, these ads are best used to promote your brand, services, or products.
The last ad format option is Overlay ads. These ads are non-intrusive, hovering at the bottom of a video while it plays. They pop up after the video starts playing and can be formatted as a text ad or an image ad. Viewers have the option to click on the ad and go to the landing page associated with it, or they can close the ad by clicking an “X” in the top right corner of the ad. These ads are charged on a pay-per-click basis and include a headline, description, and call-to-action button.
Regardless of which ad type you choose, there are best practices to follow to ensure you are making the most of your ad spend. First of all, with video advertising, videos between 15-60 seconds long are ideal, with 30 seconds having the best view-through rate. The important thing, in any case, is to hook your audience in the first 7 seconds to keep them interested in the full advertisement. Secondly, use these advertisements to increase your brand awareness and show your brand in action. Who are you? What do you do? What products or services do you offer? Why choose your brand? Answer these questions with your ads. Thirdly, include a call-to-action that directs your audience to engage with the ad. Do you want them to visit your website? Book an appointment? Request a quote? Whatever the desired action is, choose a clear and concise call-to-action and tell your audience what you want them to do. Finally, use remarketing, retargeting, and optimization strategies to continually improve your targeting, keywords, bids, and advertisements overall.
If you need help with setting up or managing your ads, or if you have any questions about advertising, reach out to us today for more information!