YouTube is a compelling opportunity for businesses in their digital marketing and advertising strategies. One of the reasons advertising on YouTube can be advantageous is because it’s the second-most popular website in the world, with two billion visitors a month.
YouTube is owned by Google, so when you advertise on the video-based search engine, you’re working in the Google Ads network.
The following is a guide to advertising on YouTube and the basics of what you need to know to get started.
Types of Ads
There are a few main types of YouTube ads that are available. These include:
In-Stream, Skippable Ads
These ads are what you see playing before a video or during it, which is technically pre-roll or mid-roll. The key feature of in-stream, skippable ads is that a viewer can opt to skip them after the initial five seconds.
If you’re the advertiser, you pay when viewers choose to keep watching past the first five seconds. Your ad has to be at least 12 seconds long, and you pay once someone watches the first 30 seconds or the whole thing. You’ll also pay if they interact with your ad via a click—it’s whichever comes first that advertisers pay for.
Non-Skippable Ads That Are In-Stream
Around 76% of people on YouTube report automatically skipping ads. This leads advertisers to run ads pre-roll or mid-roll with no skip button. If you want a lift in brand awareness and you think your creative will hold the attention of your audience for a full 15 seconds, you might use these ads.
With non-skippable ads, the advertiser pays per impression.
There’s also a sub-category of these non-skippable ads—bumper ads. These are six seconds long, and they’re the same as the non-skippable in-stream ad in that you pay for impressions. They’re best for awareness and reach campaigns.
In-stream ads are like commercials on traditional TV, but discovery ads are more like what you see when you’re using Google to search for something.
A discovery ad will show up with organic search results.
A discovery ad includes three text lines and a thumbnail. When someone clicks on your ad, they’re directed to your YouTube channel or video page.
If you don’t have the budget for video, YouTube also offers non-video ads.
There are display ads that will show up on the right sidebar, and they include text and an image, as well as a link to your website and a CTA.
In-video overlay ads are something that will show up as floating on top of video content from channels that are monetized.
Creating a Campaign
If you want to advertise on YouTube, the first thing you need to do is log into your Google Ads account and choose New Campaign.
From there, you can choose your campaign goal, such as website traffic, leads, sales, or brand awareness and reach.
You then choose your campaign type.
Once you’ve chosen your type, you can choose your bid strategy, which will primarily be driven by your campaign type, and you’ll enter your budget. You can set up your budget by day, or you can do it as the total you’ll spend on the campaigns.
Targeting Your Audience
You’ll need buyer personas to target your audience, so if you haven’t already created them, it’s a good idea to do so.
Demographics include things like household income, parental status, age, and gender. YouTube also goes more in-depth, so you can target groups like students, new parents, or new homeowners, just as a few examples.
Interests are how you can target people based on their previous behavior.
You can also use remarketing, so you’re targeting audiences that have already had an interaction with your business on your website, with your other videos, or using your app.
If you’re using skippable or non-skippable stream video ads, then you have to upload them as a regular YouTube video first. The ad technical specs, like your dimensions and ad image sizes, should be the same as they would be for any other YouTube video.
The exception to this is with Discovery ads. These have to be a maximum file size of 1 GB. Discovery ads need to have an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 4:3, but YouTube can automatically adapt the file.
The minimum length for skippable ads is 12 seconds. The maximum length for skippable ads is three minutes, and for YouTube kids, the limit is 60 seconds.
Non-skippable ads can’t be more than 15 seconds long, and bumper ads have to be no more than six seconds long.
The Pros of YouTube Advertising
YouTube advertising is cost-effective. You can choose exactly what you’re willing to pay, and you’re only paying when someone takes a certain action that you determine.
An upside of YouTube ads is also that it’s very targeted. You can get extremely detailed as you’re targeting the audience you want to reach.
People tend to feel more connected to brands after watching a video. There’s the chance to better understand the company and see how a service or product works, and there are faces that can represent the brand in a video ad. You can also be the face of your brand, so you’re able to foster a strong connection with your audience.
The YouTube ad metrics are easy to measure, and you’ll have access to a lot of insight as far as what works and what you could improve.
The results can occur quickly since there are billions of monthly users. You’re simply getting your ads in front of a potentially huge pool of people, boosting your clicks, traffic, and sales.
Video has a powerful emotional impact, making it one of the most effective approaches to advertising.
The Downsides of YouTube Advertising
As with anything, YouTube advertising does have a few downsides that marketers need to think about and consider too.
People don’t love ads in their videos. While they might end up watching some of them if they get their attention, overall, they feel they’re intrusive. If someone feels like your ad is intrusive and not offering them value, it might evoke negative emotions.
You’re also still going to need an advertising budget, and you may not be able to afford much here, depending on what yours is.
If you think YouTube advertising could be right for your brand, there are certain things you should do when creating your ads.
· Create an ad that’s immediately going to hook people. Maybe you choose a good song for the background, or you immediately work to evoke strong emotion.
· Branding should ideally occur in your first five seconds and also throughout your ad if you’re working at the top of the funnel. If you’re creating ads for audiences that are further down your funnel, then you might be able to add branding later in your video, and that’ll increase your watch times while viewers are engaging with the story of your ad.
· You want to have a story for your ad because this is how you’re going to be able to get an emotional response.
· Make sure people know what step you want them to take next with your ad. You need a goal to measure how successful your ads are.
· Answer a few questions when you’re creating an ad. Think about who the people you’re targeting are, what video content they already engage with online, and what aspects of that can be used and integrated with your own brand story.
· Consider the context where your ad is going to appear. To understand this, get familiar with the type of video content your targeted audience is already engaging with and consuming.
· One interesting way you can target your audience is to show your ad to people who have already searched for terms relevant to your business.
· Use cards to encourage people to buy. A YouTube card is something that a viewer can click to expand. You can make the appearance of a card timed so that the users who are engaged with the video are the ones who will see it. You can feature products in the video using cards to drive purchases.
· Use an end screen that drives subscribers to wherever you want them to go. For example, maybe you encourage them to subscribe to your channel to get future updates.
· Use negative remarketing. For example, if you want to show an ad that’s only going to be for new users, you can exclude people who have previously interacted with you in some way.
· Use closed captioning and, if relevant, transcriptions in other languages.
Overall, YouTube is a powerful place to run your brand ads. Your paid advertising can work hand-in-hand with your organic social media strategy on YouTube. You do have to remember that these ads can get expensive and complex if you’re not working in a targeted way. You want to know your audience and let the preferences of the people you’re targeting guide the creative process to create your ads for YouTube.