YouTube Advertising: How to Create More Effective Campaigns

min read
YouTube Advertising: How to Create More Effective Campaigns

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital advertising, YouTube has emerged as a powerful platform for advertisers to expand their reach and engage with their target audience through captivating video content. Since its inception in 2007, YouTube Ads has been able to collect a vast user base — it offers advertisers a unique opportunity to connect with billions of monthly active listeners.

In this post, we’ve provided an overview of how YouTube can assist advertisers in achieving their marketing objectives, and highlighted its ability to deliver ads to the right people at the right time through granular targeting features. By harnessing the potential of YouTube's advertising capabilities, businesses can effectively communicate their brand messages and foster meaningful connections with their audience.

What Is YouTube Advertising?

YouTube advertising is a powerful digital marketing tool that allows businesses to reach a vast audience through video content. With a variety of ad formats, including TrueView Ads, Bumper Ads, and Display Ads, YouTube provides advertisers with extensive targeting options to ensure their ads are shown to the right people at the right time. This platform offers unparalleled opportunities for brand visibility and customer engagement, allowing businesses to effectively communicate their messages, drive conversions, and build meaningful connections with their target audience on a global scale.

Why Use YouTube Advertising?

With over 2 billion monthly active users as of this year, YouTube has an extensive audience, making it a crucial platform for advertisers to connect with their target market. The platform's targeting capabilities allow businesses to effectively reach the right audience based on demographics, interests, and viewing behaviors, ensuring maximum relevance and impact for their ads. Moreover, YouTube is the second-largest search engine globally, with users watching over 1 billion hours of video content every day. This immense viewership presents advertisers with a unique opportunity to capture the attention of a massive audience and deliver their brand messages effectively.

With various ad formats, such as skippable and non-skippable ads, as well as display and sponsored cards, YouTube offers versatile options for advertisers to engage users at different stages of the customer journey.

In summary, YouTube's vast user base, targeting capabilities, and high engagement levels make it an indispensable platform for businesses to expand their reach, drive brand awareness, and foster meaningful connections with their audience.

5 Types of YouTube Ads

So, how can you connect your audience by advertising on YouTube? Answering that question is a bit complicated because there are several different options. Here’s an overview of five types of YouTube ads:

1. TrueView Ads

YouTube’s ad platform is Google’s TrueView — and the value it offers marketers is that it’s “built on the promise that you’ll only pay when someone chooses to watch your video ad.” That means marketers are only charged when a user watches a TrueView ad for at least 30 seconds or takes some action at the end of the video, whichever comes first. Also, because viewers choose to watch the video ads, it’s a good bet that they’re actually interested in the content.

TrueView ads are YouTube’s standard ad type, and they come in two flavors:

  • Video ads, formerly known as “in-stream video ads,” which run before, during and after YouTube videos. These ads play before a viewer watches a selected video on YouTube; in most cases, viewers can skip the ad after five seconds.
  • Video discovery ads, previously known as “in-display ads,” which appear, as their name suggests, in areas where viewers are discovering content: in search results, in suggested videos and on the YouTube mobile homepage. (By the way, more than 70% of YouTube watch time comes from mobile devices, according to YouTube.)

2. Non-Skippable Video Ads

Users viewing a YouTube video may encounter non-skippable video ads in either the pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll phase of the main video. These ads can be up to 15-20 seconds long. That isn’t much time to sell a message, which is why these ads often feature a CTA designed to motivate users to act while they’re (hopefully) paying attention.

Google reports in the YouTube Help Center that it uses “a range of signals, including content type, and how a user discovered the video, to help determine the best time to serve a video ad.” It also says that non-skippable ads, which are sold on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis, may generate higher CPMs than other YouTube ad formats.

3. Bumper Ads

These six-second, non-skippable video ads appear before a user can watch a selected video on YouTube. Bumper ads typically complement larger video campaigns, often serving as teasers for longer video ads.

YouTube is now in the process of testing a new “Bumper Machine” tool which will allow marketers to quickly and easily create an array of bumper ads from existing video ads that are 90 seconds or less. (See the GrubHub example in this article to get a sense of what the Bumper Machine can produce.)

For more on YouTube’s video ads and how they work, see this page. You can also find an overview of YouTube advertising formats here.

4. Sponsored Card Ads

Sponsored cards are a type of YouTube ad format that allows advertisers to provide additional context and information to viewers while they are watching a video. Think of them as those highway signs you see on a road trip. When you’re anxiously looking for that “Rest Area” sign with the additional gas symbol, restaurant symbol, or info, they “pop up” just before an exit to let you know what’s available. These cards also appear as overlay pop-ups, containing relevant content, products, or information that complement the video content.

When viewers click on a sponsored card, they are directed to a designated landing page or website, providing an opportunity for advertisers to drive traffic, promote specific products, or encourage engagement. Sponsored cards enable advertisers to deliver targeted messages, enhance the viewing experience, and seamlessly connect with their audience, making them a valuable tool for driving conversions and enhancing brand visibility on YouTube.

5. Display Ads

YouTube display ads are a visually compelling form of advertising that appears alongside video content on the YouTube platform. These ads are displayed in various formats, including banners, overlays, and sidebar placements. With their eye-catching visuals and strategic placement, YouTube display ads effectively capture viewers' attention, driving brand awareness and engagement. They offer advertisers an opportunity to showcase their products, services, or messaging in a visually appealing manner, enticing viewers to click and explore further. Because YouTube ads include audio, video, and closed captioning, they’re also more inclusive for the visually or hearing impaired. 

Check out our display advertising strategies blog to learn more about this ad format.

6 Quick Tips for Creating Effective YouTube Video Ads

Now that you have an idea of the video ad formats you can use on YouTube currently, here are a few best practices to help ensure your ads are effective:

  1. Deliver your most important messages early in the video (just in case viewers’ skip out before the ad is done playing).
  2. Have a clear call-to-action within your ad so viewers know exactly where you want them to go and what you want them to do.
  3. Tell a compelling story. (It’s possible to do this even in six-second bumper ads.)
  4. Be memorable by creating videos that are surprising, inspiring, funny as heck, cry-worthy, or even just a bit weird. (Interactive can be a good strategy, too.)
  5. After your ads have run for some time, make the proper adjustments for future ads based on how your audiences have been responding.
  6. Take note of what strategies other ads are utilizing and why it was compelling to you and/or your colleagues. What is the “it factor” that drew your attention most? Why do you think that is? How can your product or service do the same? 

You’ll find plenty of examples on YouTube to inspire you, of course. Also, check out these useful tips and examples on Think with Google for creating effective ads.

Targeting Audiences on YouTube

The memorable ad content you will work so hard to create for YouTube needs to get in front of the right audience, at the right time. Some of the targeting methods for video ads on the video-sharing platform include:

  • Demographic groups: You can choose the age, gender, parental status, or household income of the audience you want to reach.
  • Affinity audiences: You can raise brand awareness by reaching people who already have a strong interest in relevant topics.
  • Custom affinity audiences: You can create custom audiences that are more tailored to your brands.
  • In-market audiences: You can identify customers who are researching products and actively considering buying a service or product like those you offer.
  • Custom intent audiences: You can reach viewers as they’re making a purchase decision based on the keywords they’ve recently searched on

Google recently announced that it will be combining customer affinity and customer intent so that marketers can build “custom audiences” and target prospects based on interests and behaviors. Marketers also will be able to use a new audience expansion tool to create very specific or broad parameters when building custom audiences for their campaigns. For more information on audience targeting, visit this page.  

Another strategy for targeting the right audiences on YouTube is by creating “lookalike audiences” with data from your call tracking platform. For example, you can use conversion data from Invoca to build lookalike audiences that behave like your most valuable customers but have never connected with your brand before. That allows you to expand your audience to just the right people — and optimize your conversion rates and spending on YouTube. (Note: You can do this on Facebook and with Google Ads, too. Learn more in this ebook from Invoca.)

Get Attribution and Create Custom Audiences on YouTube With Invoca

If you’re using YouTube video ads to drive phone calls to your business, you’ll want to be able to attribute calls and resulting sales to the specific ads that drove them. By using a call tracking and analytics platform like Invoca, you can attribute conversions that come from your YouTube ads. Using customer data from Invoca and its integration with Google Display & Video 360, you can also enhance your digital marketing programs by targeting, suppressing, or creating look-alike audiences based on call converters or non-converters on YouTube through AdWords Customer Match. This allows you to optimize your marketing spend and create a better customer experience with a complete picture of your customers’ actions.

This post presents some basic information for getting started with video advertising on YouTube. That said, if you are only just getting started, you may want to pick up the pace. YouTube video advertising has been around for more than a decade, but it’s expanding and evolving fast as more brands shift their focus toward reaching consumers around the globe through this popular platform. And they’re experimenting with mobile, interactive and other emerging video ad formats, too.

So, get a handle on the basics fast and you can start reaching your target audiences, and engaging entirely new customers within YouTube’s nearly 2 billion-strong community of active monthly users.

Additional Reading

Want to learn more about the insights Invoca can help you increase returns from your digital advertising? Check out these resources:

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