YouTube Advertising Best Practices and Learnings

On July 9th, 2011 I wrote a blog post about YouTube Advertising Best Practices.  Today on February 2nd, 2012 I wanted to write a follow-up in regards to what I've learned since writing that blog post.

Adwords has changed a lot in a short amount of time.  In particular, Adwords YouTube Advertising has taken huge bounds in advancement.  In this blog post, I want to share with you the new and improved way of advertising on YouTube - the RIGHT way.

In the last blog post, I learned I made a big mistake when targeting networks.  My Google rep informed me that my ads weren't showing up on search results pages in YouTube.  He told me that if I wanted this, I needed to opt-in to the Search Network.  Makes sense I thought, but how do I show my ads ONLY on YouTube and at the same time prevent them from showing up on Google Search?

The answer simply lies in the fact that you create YouTube ad formats.  Be sure not to create regular text ads because those ads will appear on Google search results and there's no current way to just target Google Search Partners and not Google.

A Campaign with ONLY YouTube ads targeting the search and display network will allow you to show your ads on YouTube Search Results Pages (YouTube SERPs) as well as on watch pages within YouTube.

One thing I failed to realize initially is that YouTube is BOTH a Search and Display Network partner.  To show your ads on YouTube search results and relevant pages, you want to make sure you're opted in to both networks within your Campaign Settings.

Now let me show you the newest awesomest bestest features YouTube Advertisers have at their fingertips!

If you're planning to advertise on YouTube, I recommend you follow these steps.

1. Create a New campaign and select Online video.

Select New Campaign then Online Video

2. Stop and notice a few important things!

  1. Notice where you are within Adwords - A new section specifically for video campaigns!
  2. Notice how you have the option to link your YouTube account to Adwords!
  3. Notice that you can choose your Adwords video you want to promote.
Create a New Video Campaign

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If you are doing advertising for a large brand, I would recommend that you link the brand's YouTube account with the Adwords Account.  This gives you quick and easy access to videos within the brand's channel.

Linking a YouTube account to Adwords is easy.

Step 1: Click on the Link YouTube account button.

Link YouTube Account to Adwords

Step 2: Log into the YouTube account you want to grant Google Access to.

Link YouTube by Granting Access to Adwords

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Step 3: You're all linked up!

Linked YouTube Account

You can unlink your YouTube account at any time.

3. Choose your video you wish to promote.

If you chose to link your YouTube account, you will have access to your linked channel's videos.

YouTube Channel Linked Preview

If you didn't link your YouTube channel, you will be able to choose a video by searching a channel or by video URL.

Search YouTube by Channel or Video URL

4. Write your ad and choose your ad formats

This is where it gets exciting!  Once you've picked your video you want to promote, you have some pretty awesome options.

Where it says Ad formats & networks click the radio button that says Let Me Choose ...  This will display your network settings.

Network Settings

These settings determine where on the Internet your ads appear. Ads can appear on YouTube Search, YouTube Videos, Google's Display Network (which includes YouTube as a publisher site), or a combination of all three networks.

YouTube Search includes YouTube search results pages. TrueView in-search video ads can appear in the search results when a user searches on YouTube.

YouTube Videos includes videos on the YouTube watch and channel pages. TrueView in-display, in-stream, and in-slate video ad formats can appear on this network.

The Google Display Network includes a collection of websites that have partnered with Google (display partners), YouTube, and specific Google properties that display AdWords ads. TrueView in-display, in-stream, and in-slate video ad formats can appear on this network.

Write YouTube Ads

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TrueView In-search Video Ad Formats - Think search network.  If this box is unchecked, your ads won't appear in YouTube search results pages.

TrueView In-search YouTube Video Ad Format

Here's the official definition within Adwords:

This video ad format lets you promote a video alongside search results on YouTube using keywords to highlight your video for viewers who may be interested in your content. The appearance of the ad format will include a 640x90 Rectangle or 300x70 Small Rectangle depending on the ad’s position in search results. You'll pay only when viewers choose to watch the ad.

Note - This video ad format now includes what was previously known as the search network targeting portion of YouTube Promoted Videos.

TrueView In-slate video ads - These ads appear before longer videos on YouTube.  The user will have the choice to choose which ads they want to see.

Tru-view In-slate YouTube video Ad Format

Here's the official definition within Adwords:

This video ad format lets you promote a video ad before longform videos (videos longer than 10 minutes) on YouTube or the Google Display Network. Before the longform video plays, viewers have the option to choose to watch one of three ads from different advertisers, or to watch regular commercial breaks throughout the video. You'll pay only when viewers choose to watch the ad.

TrueView In-display video ads - These ads appear along-side YouTube watch pages.

TrueView In-display YouTube video ad formatTrueView In-display YouTube Text Overlay video ad format

Here's the official definition within Adwords:

This video ad format lets you promote a video alongside website content across the Google Display Network. The appearance of the ad format will vary, depending on which ad sizes and display formats content publishers support.

For example, the video ad preview unit may vary and the video may play either within the ad unit or when a viewer clicks the unit to watch the video on its YouTube Watch page. You'll be charged for clicks when viewers choose to watch or click your ad. If the same ad appears on a video site in the Google Display Network, the content publisher (website owner) can define which format may be displayed on their entire site, or on certain pages or areas of interest within their site.

Note - This format now includes these previous individual ad formats: Promoted Videos overlay, Promoted Videos featured videos, and AdWords Click-to-Play video ads.

Suggestion: If you choose this option, I would change the Network settings to target Managed placements that you define and then add as the only managed placement.  That way, your ads will ONLY appear on YouTube and not other sites within the Google Display Network.  Another alternative would be to opt-out of the Google Display Network like so:

Target Only YouTube

TrueView In-stream video ads - You know those annoying YouTube commercials you are forced to watch before seeing the actual video want to see?  Sometimes there's an option that says "Skip this ad now >>"?  Yeah, that's what In-stream video ads are.  The kind of in-stream ads that usually catch my eye are video game ads (cuz I'm a G4M3r) and movie trailers.  You can also add a companion banner to the right of your In-stream video to still stay in the face of the viewer.

TrueView In-stream YouTube video ad format

Here's the official definition within Adwords:

This video ad format allows you to promote a video ad before, in the middle of, or after short- or longform videos on YouTube or the Google Display Network. After 5 seconds, the viewer has an option to skip the ad and you are only charged when the viewer has completed 30 seconds of viewing or seen the entire ad, whichever is shorter. For example, a :15 second ad will be charged when the viewer has completed watching it and a :60 second ad will be charged at the :30 second mark. You will also be charged when a viewer clicks on the ad.

Those are your options for YouTube ad formats.

Once you select your targeting and ad formats, you will want to write your ad(s).  Here is an example.

Write your YouTube Ad

For the Device Targeting setting, I would choose to target Desktop and laptop computers and Tablets.  If you are set on advertising on YouTube for Mobile devices, I would suggest you make a separate YouTube (Mobile) campaign so you can control bids and segment results.  At the same time, you might consider creating a YouTube (Tablets) campaign as well that way you're segmenting your campaigns by device.  An even more crazy-granular approach would be to separate campaigns by device and Network.  For example: YouTube (Mobile - Search), YouTube (Mobile - GDN).  My suggestion - don't get too crazy with it.  Keep it simple.

YouTube Advertising Device Targeting

5. Define how you will target your ads

There's a TON of features and options on this page for targeting your YouTube ads.

In summary, you can target by:

  • Keywords
  • Topics
  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Remarketing lists
  • Placements
YouTube Video Targeting

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What's also cool to note is that you can determine how much you want to bid on each ad format.  That's pretty sweet.

I've literally been able to get $0.01 clicks on YouTube and I don't mean just a few $0.01 clicks; I'm talking thousands.  You also have to remember though that YouTube clicks are really just video views.  Someone clicked your ad to watch your video.

The question on a lot of marketers' minds are "How do you drive conversions from YouTube?"

One example I saw was a guy talking about HCG which is a dietary supplement that he claims made him skinny.  It was really compelling because he went through a Powerpoint of ALL the things he's tried to lose weight and how none of those things worked for him until this secret HCG formula.  After really explaining HCG, his failures to lose weight, all the things he's tried, customer testimonials, and everything else, he told you where you could join his HCG mailing list.  When he had new batches ready for shipment, he would send emails to the people on his email list.  This guy made a killing before HCG went main-stream.

Thinking outside of strictly sales conversions, you could view a conversions in the following ways:

  • YouTube Subscriber Conversion
  • Video Views
  • Clicked Link from Video Description (tracked of course)
  • Shared on Social Networks
  • Favorited
  • Comments

6. Add Call-to-action Video Overlays!

On the Videos tab, click the Add call-to-action overlay link.

Call to action Video Overlays

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Add a Call-to-action Overlay

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At this point, you should be pretty set to go.

An important point for you search marketers out there that use Adwords Editor a lot.  You won't find these new campaign features available in Adwords Editor yet.  You're going to have to do most of the work manually in the interface.  It's a pain but it's so worth it over a regular CPC campaign.

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7 Responses to “YouTube Advertising Best Practices and Learnings”

  1. Tony Nguyen February 21, 2012 at 12:16 am #

    Thanks for taking the time and putting up this post, you should put together a YouTube video on how to do this, that would be fitting.

  2. Christopher Regan April 4, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Dear Campaign Generator folks,

    How can a TrueView in-slate ads YouTube advertiser
    end the CPV targeting after an x# of refusals/
    'skip the ad' clicks. Of, is it endless until the campaign/
    insertion is killed/ended?

    I ask, for an otherwise bright digital marketing firm is pounding
    my daily YouTube with the same CPV intro, no matter my
    refusal to watch the ad....



    • PPC Campaign Generator April 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      It sounds like you are asking from the context of both an advertiser and a publisher. If an advertiser is pounding your YouTube channel with the same CPV intro, I believe you can block a single ad or advertiser within your Adsense account. I honestly can't say for certain but that would be where I would start.

      Since you are opted in with Adsense, Google will pick the most relevant/highest-bidded ad to display. It sounds like this advertiser has big budgets or is super-targeted toward your videos. Their ads will continue to run until their campaign is paused or their targeting is changed.

  3. nir July 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    Question: Is segmenting, lets say age range, affects the CPV ? is there a link between the CPV pricing (of TrueView for example) and segmentation ?

    • Jarad Collier July 17, 2012 at 2:51 am #

      I would say the market - the competition within that market - determines the CPV. I can't truthfully speak from experience in terms of segmentation by age. I have targeted specific ages but this was just one of many tactics I used. Although, Google will give you competitive benchmarks about what others within a category spend and the CPV's that I managed were so ridiculously low compared to what everyone else was spending. Ex: $1.10 CPV (Competitors) vs $0.09 CPV (Me).

      I honestly don't think a video view is work $1.10 unless it hooks them from start to finish and is compelling enough to get them to take action.


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