YouTube ads

How to Create a YouTube Advertising Strategy (with Examples)

YouTube ads

With iOS 14 having a large impact on Facebook’s audience targeting and tracking capabilities, many brands have been left wondering how to replace the impressions & traffic they used to rely on getting from Facebook. Luckily for brands and advertisers, other options exist, and YouTube Ads is coming into its ‘golden age,’ providing an excellent opportunity to advertise on the world’s second most visited website. 

Not only does YouTube have more traffic than Facebook, YouTube’s average visit duration is far higher than Facebook’s, with users averaging 21 minutes and 56 seconds on the site compared to Facebook’s 10 minutes and 13 seconds. While we won’t suggest ditching Facebook Ads in this blog, we will show you why, with the right full-funnel approach in mind, YouTube Ads is an excellent option to help scale your paid traffic along with a couple of examples of how we’ve helped Tuff partners grow with YouTube Ads.

Setting Yourself Up For Success

Before beginning your advertising journey on YouTube, it’s important to first ensure that you have the proper tracking configured on your website. For YouTube Ads, this means that the conversions you are hoping to track inside Google Ads should be configured with the Google Ads tag. In other words, importing goals from Google Analytics will not suffice. This is because a standard Google Analytics conversion does not also track view-thru conversions, but rather last click interactions. 

If, for example, you have been importing your ‘Transactions’ goal from Google Analytics into Google Ads to measure conversions, you will need to update your purchase conversion tracking with a new Google Ads purchase conversion tag.

I’ve spoken with many founders & marketers alike who have believed that their YouTube Ads were not successful during their previous attempts. Many times, when digging into the conversion tracking setup, I can see that they had been relying on imported Google Analytics goals and were missing view-thru conversions, leading to missing data and the inability to judge their campaign’s true impact. With YouTube Ads, it’s not uncommon to see low click-thru conversion volume, and this is where having access to view-thru conversions can help you measure your campaign’s true influence. 

There is a comparison that can be made here to a much older medium of advertising – the billboard. It’s impossible to know exactly how many impressions a billboard received, or how many sales converted because they saw a billboard and decided to make a purchase. Instead, its purpose is to drive brand awareness or help keep a brand top-of-mind. 

YouTube Ads can be viewed as a type of digital billboard – one which gives you the opportunity to drive brand awareness or stay in front of your prospects via thousands of impressions per day by putting your brand in front of where your prospects are. One very big difference, however, is that YouTube has more effective measurement via conversion and view-thru conversion tracking to prove whether it’s actually working to influence your bottom-line or not, as well as a slew of granular targeting options that makes it an option to test for nearly any brand. 

Introducing Your Brand With YouTube Ads

After your conversion tracking is set up correctly, it’s time to build out campaigns for success. Most importantly, think about your true campaign goal as you will use this to guide your campaign type and audience selection. This can also be thought of as stages in a funnel, and YouTube’s campaign and audience targeting options provide a way to get in front of targeted users with the right message no matter where they are in your funnel.

For top-of-funnel targeting, YouTube offers a variety of targeting options and campaign types that will help introduce your brand to targeted users at scale. When beginning a new campaign on YouTube, it’s best to test as many different targeting types as possible. Oftentimes when testing audience types for partners, we will find certain targeting types that work best for the particular offering or brand, and are able to push spend towards the campaigns that are driving the results. 

This is what we did for our partner, Sabio. Sabio offers online coding bootcamps and has some awesome testimonial videos on YouTube. We knew that with this solid creative and the right targeting approach, we could introduce the Sabio brand at scale and even drive conversions from a top-of-funnel branding approach. 

Example of a YouTube Ad

When launching our first batch of prospecting in-stream ads, we tested a variety of audience types and placement targeting options including affinity, in-market, custom intent, topics, and channels. After a few thousand dollars in spend, we quickly identified that campaigns with our chosen topics had the best CPA costs and conversion rates. Even better, because topics are made up of a wide selection of channels, inventory is plentiful, and we can comfortably scale our campaigns’ budgets. After hitting a successful CPA of $55.63 in our first full month of campaign testing in 2021, we’ve been consistently running YouTube Ads to drive sign-ups for Sabio since. 

While other targeting options did not perform as well for Sabio, that does not mean that they should be avoided altogether. 

When we set out to lower the overall Cost Per Sign Up for Tuff partner Bootcamp.com’s Anatomy Bootcamp product, we tested a variety of campaign types including Search and YouTube, and found surprising results.

When testing various options of audience targeting on YouTube, we found excellent results with non-branded Custom Intent audiences at the top of the funnel. So much so that we paused non-branded Search campaigns because while our non-branded Search campaigns had an acceptable average CPS of $11.25, our non-branded Custom Intent audience targeting on YouTube outperformed Search with a CPS of $3.55. 

Since we could safely assume that the users in the Custom Intent audience had recently searched Google for our targeted non-branded keywords, we are able to hit our target prospect, just at a different time and with different costs. 

Staying Top of Mind With Retargeting

You know that injury lawyer billboard you drive passed every time you get on the interstate? Yes, you do. Billboards work so well because of repetition. Online, we can achieve this with retargeting, and YouTube Ads do a great job of helping to keep your brand top-of-mind with effective retargeting options.

Still, creating retargeting audiences should require more thought and intention than simply setting up an All Users list and hitting play. This is an area in which YouTube Ads dominate the old faithful billboard any day of the week. Setting up various retargeting audiences based on the level of engagement the user has already taken will help you create winning audience targets and campaigns, and gives you the ability to tailor your message to your audience even further.

For Tuff partner and device insurance provider, AKKO, we knew that getting users to purchase device insurance from a relatively new name would require a fair bit of nurturing, and retargeting with YouTube Ads has 

Example of a YouTube Ad.

provided us the ability to retarget to users as they journey through the middle of the funnel to the bottom and finally to purchase by creating specific retargeting audiences at each stage. 

For the middle of the funnel, we began retargeting site visitors & ad viewers. For the bottom of the funnel, we retarget the most engaged site users based on on-site behavior metrics and actions, as well as those who have started the device insurance purchase process, but didn’t complete the journey. 

With this level of retargeting segmentation, we can provide CTAs and offers depending on the position of the user in the funnel, as well as test different creative or campaign types on different audiences. 

Since we know that our bottom of the funnel audience members are highly engaged and have shown the desired intent to purchase, we can nurture them a little further with a special offer, like getting their first month for $1, to help close the deal. 

Conclusion

YouTube Ads provides an effective & cost-efficient way to introduce your brand at scale, as well as successfully retarget to your users, staying top-of-mind throughout their purchase or conversion journey. If you’re ready to see how YouTube Ads can work for your business, reach out to our YouTube Ads agency.

 

Where Search Happens: Using YouTube to Find Your eCommerce Customers

With the pandemic accelerating eCommerce spending in the US by 44% in 2020, and nearly ⅔ of shoppers saying online video has given them ideas and inspiration for their purchases, it’s easy to see why YouTube advertising has presented a perfect opportunity to enhance an eCommerce brand or product’s presence and drive online sales.

Advanced and wide-ranging targeting options coupled with low CPVs help make YouTube even more appealing to eCommerce brands looking to grow their online revenue.

YouTube knows it’s value to the eCommerce world as well, with the website recently announcing it is testing automatic product detection in videos, with the goal of showing those products in a list to viewers while they are watching the video. 

As the world of eCommerce continues to be influenced by a shift to video, we’ve put together a few pointers on how you can leverage YouTube marketing to grow your eCommerce business and turn YouTube into an eCommerce platform.

Effectively Using YouTube for eCommerce

To set your YouTube channel up for success, it can help to first take the time to create a successful organic strategy, and this starts with creating an awesome channel layout and strong, SEO-optimized content.

Tuff partners and eCommerce brand, Canoe Club, have nailed their YouTube channel layout, creating a memorable aesthetic with thumbnail continuity and easy to navigate playlists, enticing user engagement.

YouTube channel for eCommerce brand.

While having a strong organic YouTube strategy complete with a content calendar and SEO-optimized YouTube content is beneficial for your channel’s growth, particularly in the long run, having a strong organic presence is not necessary to get started taking advantage of other YouTube eCommerce marketing strengths. In fact, one of YouTube’s biggest strengths for eCommerce brands is its ability to launch ads and reach a massive, engaged audience on its ad platform quickly.

Often, budget is cited as a barrier to launching video ads for eCommerce brands. But, if you believe that engaging and effective video ads are too expensive for your brand or product, you may want to reconsider this assumption. Low Fidelity video ads (to chill/study/relax to), or ads that look more like they were shot with someone’s iPhone, are all the rage. This is because savvy marketers like Tuff’s own social expert, Kristin, have learned that these videos can outperform high budget, “professional” videos when competing side-by-side. Knock down those assumptions and pull out your smartphone – it’s time to get on YouTube.

Strategies for Paid YouTube eCommerce Marketing

Once you’ve got that perfect unboxing or product-in-use video ready, you can, within minutes, get your campaign launched and views rolling in. But before launching, you should carefully consider the true goal of your YouTube campaign to determine which campaign type will give you the best chance at success. Are you hoping to increase brand awareness and introduce your product to viewers for the first time? Or are you looking to reinforce your product and re-engage shoppers already familiar with your brand to drive click-thru conversions?

To get the most out of YouTube marketing, consider these effective eCommerce strategies for your campaigns.

Introduce & Engage with Sequences

To create a top-of-funnel interest generating prospecting and awareness campaign, we teamed up with our partner, QuietKat, to develop a YouTube video sequence that would introduce the brand to new prospecting audiences with a branded-focused ad first, before highlighting purchase incentives, such as free trials or 0% financing, or other unique selling points in subsequent videos. By coupling this sequence with a strong target audience, we’ve been able warm up cold traffic and drive new, engaged visitors to the site.

Retarget to Abandoned Carts & Product Viewers

Have a large audience of abandoned carts and product viewers without purchases? Tired of spinning your wheels with crappy display placements that never seem to drive a strong enough return? 

Generally, digital marketers and eCommerce brands will first think of Google Display, Facebook, or Instagram for their retargeting efforts, but as long as you have 1,000 users in your retargeting audiences, consider warming up those audiences further by staying top of mind and driving traffic back to your site with low-cost in-stream ads on YouTube. This retargeting approach is particularly beneficial for products that are best highlighted with video vs. static display images.

Leverage TrueView for Shopping Campaigns

Similar to the recently announced but not yet live product detection algorithm discussed above, TrueView for Shopping Ads give eCommerce brands the opportunity to feature their products on cards below or to the side of the video player when running YouTube ads. This option is already available for advertisers, and is an excellent option for eCommerce brands looking to drive lower-funnel click thru conversions from their YouTube ad campaigns.

YouTube ad preview

To take advantage of TrueView for Shopping campaigns, you’ll need a Merchant Center account and product feed set up. Once your feed is set up, you’re ready to begin leveraging these interactive video ads, featuring up to 6 shopping cards on your ad at a time. These cards can also be filtered to show only the most relevant products for your ad. 

Bonus Tip

Regardless of the campaign type, the best performing YouTube ads have one thing in common – they introduce the brand and/or product within the first 3 seconds of the video. The chart below shows why this is so important. 

Even with high quality content, nearly 50% of viewers will press the “skip ad” button within the first 5-10 seconds. By introducing your brand and product within the first few seconds, you’re sure to at least get your brand name or product in front of the viewer and top of mind before they decide to continue watching or skipping to their selected content.

As shoppers continue to leverage video in their purchase decisions, the benefits of YouTube for eCommerce marketing can’t be overstated. If you’re ready to take your brand’s growth to the next level and leverage the reach and engagement of one of the world’s largest websites, let’s chat about making Tuff your eCommerce growth agency.

Non-Branded Custom Intent Targeting on YouTube: Cut Your CPCs by 50%

Person reading a book about YouTube ads strategy.

It’s no secret that YouTube Ads are extremely effective if done right. The perfect combination of quality video creative with strong targeting can help a business achieve its online marketing goals, whether that is to increase brand awareness or increase on-site conversions. 

While placement targeting options such as channel, video, and topic targeting are all great options to reach your specific target on YouTube, YouTube audience targeting is also incredibly effective. But, going beyond Google, creating affinity and in-market audiences, and leveraging powerful Custom Audiences may help you achieve your best results – and, potentially save some money on expensive search terms. 

What are Custom Audiences?

Custom Audiences on Google can be created using recent keyword searches. However, only campaign types with placements entirely on Google-owned properties, such as YouTube campaigns, have the availability to create Custom Audiences that are created with people using keywords recently searched on Google. On non-Google owned properties, such as websites opted into the Google Display Network that your ad may show on, the Custom Audience is created with people with any of the search term interests or purchase intentions. 

When creating audiences using keywords, you have two options: create an audience using your branded keywords, or create an audience using non-branded keywords. 

When To Try Custom Audience Targeting on YouTube

With the ability to target the people who are searching for your targeted keywords in a potentially more cost-effective way, Custom Audience targeting is an exciting and effective audience type, particularly for industries with high search CPCs. This is often the case with non-branded keywords. 

Imagine, you are getting your best performance out of your non-branded search campaigns, but CPCs continue to rise. How else can you continue to get in front of people actively searching for your keywords if you don’t want to pay for ever-increasing search campaigns CPC prices? By creating a Custom Audience out of your non-branded keyword targets, and targeting this audience on YouTube, of course!

Additionally, if you already have video assets, this strategy is a no-brainer. To prove it, check out this example from a test we recently ran for our partner, Team Bootcamp. Team Bootcamp had already been highly successful at advertising their ‘Anatomy Bootcamp’ all-in-one online study tool with YouTube by targeting a list of highly matched YouTube channels. 

When looking to scale this success on YouTube and increase the volume of free trial sign ups, I knew that we would have to look for additional targeting options available. At the same time, we also had been testing a non-branded search campaign on Google that was yielding very promising conversion rates, but high CPCs, resulting in a cost per conversion that was higher than we were comfortable paying for. Enter our non-branded Custom Audience test!

To target those same keywords that we had proven to convert with search, we created a Custom Audience of non-branded keywords using the keywords that delivered the best results from our search campaign. 

Here is what the audience creation process looks like. As you can see, you simply plug in your keywords and Google will also provide audience insights on the right hand side.

youtube ad targeting

 

(Although Google recommends creating a Custom Audience using 50 or more search terms, I have actually seen better results when creating the audience using 5 terms or less.).

Before even spending $100, we saw excellent results, with a cost per conversion of less than a third of the cost from the search campaign. The combination of winning video creative with a highly targeted audience was producing great results. This signaled to us it was time to invest a greater percentage of our monthly ad budget in the YouTube campaign.

 

What If You Don’t Have Video Assets?

If you don’t have video assets but would like to try out a Custom Intent audience made up of actual search terms and not just “purchase interests,” you can still achieve this through using a campaign type with placements only on Google-owned properties, such as Gmail or Discovery. In fact, running a Google Discovery Ads campaign will also get you placements on YouTube mobile, without even needing a video ad.

This is a strategy we leveraged for Tuff partner, Dial + Bezel. When helping Dial + Bezel launch their brand new website and watch auction platform, we wanted to attract an engaged audience, but after testing a non-branded search campaign, we knew it wouldn’t be sustainable for this start-up to pay a premium on search CPC clicks. 

Instead, we again leveraged a non-branded Custom Audience and used it to target people searching for the keywords we tried paying for on search. Not only did we see CPCs of one-tenth of search, we saw on-site performance that was nearly identical, indicating that we were hitting the targeted audience that we wanted to hit, without having to pay for search CPCs.

Youtube Campaign Results

Even if you don’t have video assets and therefore can’t advertise on YouTube, you can still find your audience, and good results, using Custom Audiences on Discovery.

Conclusion

As the competition continues to increase year-over-year for placements in the top 4 results of Google Search ads, costs continue to rise for clicks across multiple industries. Although search campaigns have the highest intent targeting available, they also often have the highest costs. Utilizing Google’s Custom Audiences on Google-owned properties such as YouTube can give you the ability to reach your desired audience without breaking the bank.

tuff-the-biggest-mistake-most-businesses-make-when-investing-in-ppc

The Biggest Mistake Most Businesses Make When Investing in PPC

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new links and examples for you to use! 

What is the ROI on your PPC channels and how does it compare to your other digital marketing efforts?

If you can’t answer this question, you’re not alone.

When it comes to digital marketing, PPC is a critical piece of the client acquisition mix. Done right, it can bring you more leads, more sales, and more revenue. Done poorly, it can quickly become a big expense with minimal return.

After managing millions of dollars in ad spend, $4.4 million in 2020, to be exact, we’ve learned that one of the most critical components to account success is managing campaigns to an efficient ROI. It’s our favorite and most telling metric. Understanding ROI from your paid digital advertising campaigns means tracking leads from click to close and measuring revenue on a per-channel (or campaign) basis.

When you understand which campaigns and channels are actually generating revenue, you’ll know where you’re making or losing money and have a powerful data set to share with your fellow executives and investors.

In this post, we’ll discuss how to invest in Google, Bing, and YouTube for the long-term and learn about the unlimited opportunity to maximize your ROI.

How to identify an ROI target

When it comes to maximizing your results with PPC, the first step is to identify an ROI target. While this can be difficult to track, it’s one of the most important KPIs for your business and advertising health.

How do you determine an ROI target for your PPC efforts? Here’s how we do it:

(Sales – Marketing Cost) / Marketing Cost = ROI

So, if a PPC campaign generated $1,000 sales and the PPC campaign cost $100, then the campaign ROI is 900%.

($1000-$100) / $100 = 900%

While this doesn’t account for Lifetime Value (LTV), it’s still one of the most important metrics for you to track so you can make informed budget decisions.

How to invest in and evaluate your PPC to yield the highest ROI

Now that you’ve set an ROI target, the next step is to evaluate your performance based on ROI. It seems simple yet too often companies come to us after running PPC campaigns with uncertain feelings as to whether or not it’s working. Instead of just looking at top of the funnel metrics like reach or clicks, once you have your ROI targets, we monitor results and evaluate performance based on ROI.

The cadence of your reports should be determined on your lead-to-close time. For example, if you typically close a lead in a 7-day window, you might look to do weekly reporting. We’ve also worked with clients with longer lead-to-close times, as long as an average of 3 months. In cases like this, you might look to do quarterly evaluations.

With ROI reporting, we track the following metrics at the account level:

  • Spend
  • Traffic
  • Sales/Leads
  • Cost Per Visitor
  • Sales Conversion Rate
  • Cost Per Sale/Lead
  • ROI

The biggest mistake most businesses make when investing in PPC

To evaluate your PPC campaigns and their true effectiveness, it is important to ensure that you are tracking your conversions properly within the PPC platform. It is also crucial to understand your conversion’s attribution window, which can be set on a conversion level within the PPC platform, and what this attribution window means. Not understanding this will lead you to measure the success of your PPC campaigns with an ill-informed understanding of how your campaigns are performing and will lead to bad optimizations and poor return.

The attribution window of a conversion is different than the lead-to-close time discussed above and specifically refers to conversions. Simply put, the attribution window is the length of time in which a click or a view (in the case of Display or YouTube) from a campaign can be credited for a conversion.

It is important to determine and set the attribution window for each conversion based on your specific business and conversion goals within the PPC platform so that you can measure your campaign’s true effectiveness.

Consider this example for Tuff partner, Joyn. In a push to register free trials to Joyn’s subscription at-home workout platform in 2021, we’ve heavily leveraged YouTube in-streams ads to gain brand awareness at a low cost.

Because we’ve optimized our YouTube ads for brand awareness metrics, like lowest cost per view, we knew that if we measured cost per sign up with a short click-through and view-through conversion attribution window, YouTube ads would look to be underperforming as rarely will a viewer click through on a brand awareness ad and sign up, especially when introducing the brand to new users for the first time. 

Brand awareness ads are playing a top of the funnel, educational, and nurturing role in the customer journey. With this in mind, to measure their true impact, we determined a click-through conversion window of 1 week and a view-through conversion window of 2 weeks from awareness YouTube ad view to sign up was a fair measure of the campaign’s success.

This means that if someone views our ad and then signs up for a free trial within 2 weeks, the video ad last viewed will be credited for the conversion. Or, if someone views our ad and then clicks to the site and converts within 1 week, the last ad clicked will be credited for the conversion. Now, we can determine if these video ads played a role in influencing free trial sign ups beyond a simple last non-direct click conversion like the standard measurement within Google Analytics.

In a situation similar to this, you may elect to use view-through conversions in your total conversion calculations when determining the role your ads have played in the customer journey.

Why thinking long-term yields the greatest returns

In this blog post, we’ve talked a lot about ROI and managing your PPC accounts to an accountable ROI target. Ensuring you are understanding the true impact of your PPC campaigns and conversion tracking will set you up for long term success and more informed decision making.

While a high return is generally the key goal for your PPC efforts as a whole, optimizing for the right conversion and understanding how your campaigns play a role in the customer journey will help you get there..

From plug-in equations to determine your ROI to higher level strategy focused on customer retention, PPC is a powerful and important digital marketing tool. 

Empowered with data, you can learn how to yield the highest PPC ROI for your campaigns.

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.

Why We Love Google Discovery Ads: Cheap CPCs and High Quality Traffic

Google Ads has a plethora of strengths when compared to other advertising platforms. The ability to target users as they are searching for specific keywords with Search campaigns is the most obvious and, oftentimes, most effective. Expansive audience creation tools and a massive display network on Google helps brands stay top of mind across millions of websites. And YouTube continues to accelerate its growth and become an ever more attractive option for advertisers who want to tell stories with motion and sound, and reach audiences on one of the world’s biggest platforms. But for all of these strengths, Google Ads has historically lacked a truly visually appealing, ‘social media-like’ option for its advertisers, falling short in its quest to compete with other advertising platforms such as Facebook Ads. That is, until Google Discovery Ads arrived.

What are Discovery Ads?

Made available worldwide in May 2020 but a few months earlier in the US, Discovery Ads are a new campaign type and ad placement option within Google Ads that enables advertisers to place image ads on some of the top placements online, including Gmail, Google’s Discover Feed, and, perhaps best of all, the YouTube Mobile Homepage. 

Taking aim at social media advertising platforms, Discovery Ads consist of large image assets, headlines, and short description text that take users to a destination URL, or can open into a lead form similar to Facebook Lead Ads. Additionally, Discovery Ads also feature a carousel ad type options.  

Unlike the Google Display Network’s clunky, invasive, and oftentimes easily ignored, Discovery Ads give advertisers the ability to tell stories with visually engaging assets and better image placements. 

Is it clear that Google is aiming for social media advertisers?

Benefits of Discovery Ads

In our testing (more on this below), Discovery Ads have been proven to be a cost-effective branding solution on an advertising platform that has historically lacked good branding options (unless you have stellar video creative). 

All three of the placements available in Discovery Ads have one thing in common – they are owned by Google. This means that there are advanced audience creation and targeting options available, including Custom Intent audiences created using recent searches on Google, that are not available in other campaign types.

While it’s still possible to create custom audiences for other campaign types like Display, only campaign types with placements entirely on Google-owned properties, such as Discovery and YouTube campaigns, have the availability to create Custom Intent audiences that are built using the exact search terms recently searched on Google. On other campaign types, the search terms used to build the custom audience will be referenced as interests or purchase intentions, instead of the actual search term. 

For this reason alone, Discovery Ads have a massive benefit over traditional display ads on Google, particularly when it comes to prospecting. Instead of visually prospecting by targeting affinity groups, interests, and website placements, we can create our own very targeted custom audiences that we know have been recently searching for our targeted terms on Google. 

In addition to these awesome audience targeting options, Discovery Ads give advertisers without video assets the opportunity to advertise on YouTube – one of the most sought after placements in online advertising. More specifically, as mentioned above, Discovery Ads offer placements on the YouTube Mobile homepage, an ideal spot for reaching your ideal audience for branding or retargeting campaigns.

How we use Discovery Ads at Tuff

At Tuff, we’ve been testing Discovery Ads throughout 2020 for a variety of our partners and have implemented these campaigns at both the prospecting and retargeting level. Below is one example of recent PPC strategies that Discovery campaigns have featured largely in. You can find another example in our article about YouTube Advertising in 2020.

Using Custom Search Term Audiences To Reach New Users

In early September, we had the opportunity to help online vintage watch auction startup, Dial + Bezel, officially launch their website and brand. With the launch of the website came the launch of all of the marketing strategies.

As a brand new company without any revenue, we knew we had to be cost conscious when it came to targeting and acquiring high quality traffic to the site. 

Initial search campaign tests showed high CPCs over $3.25, and although bounce rate and pages/session for these new users wasn’t bad, the traffic simply did not have the conversion rates we needed to justify the CPC. 

With these early results in mind, we went back to the drawing board and posited that leveraging Custom Audiences created by search terms that we knew our target audience would be searching would be an effective way of reaching more of our target audience for a lot less. This proved to be the case.

To start, we performed extensive keyword research with SEMrush to identify more search terms that we could leverage to build our Custom Audiences. We were able to identify three key ‘themes’ of high volume search terms that we segmented to create three Custom Audiences. 

Early results were very positive and we saw on-site performance that was on par with, or better than, the search campaigns we had previously run. Even better – the CPC of the Discovery campaign was less than 10% of the Search campaign, meaning we can get 10x the traffic for the same cost AND the traffic converted. 

What You Can Expect from Discovery Ads

In short, if done properly, you can expect to receive cheap CPCs and high quality traffic.

Since we have begun running Discovery campaigns at Tuff for a variety of partners and industries this year, we have seen a very healthy $0.27 average CPC vs. $0.61 average CPC for Display ads. When compared to Search ads, the discrepancy is even larger. 

However, although CPCs are cheap (for now), we have also seen traffic that performs better than the other image options currently available on Google Ads. For example, when split-testing the same retargeting audiences with Display and Discovery campaigns for our partner, QuietKat, over the past three months, Discovery campaigns have continued to outperform Display in all key on-site metrics such as transaction rate, bounce rate, pages/session, time on site, and more. 

Conclusion

Many of Tuff’s partners are successfully advertising with Discovery Ads in 2020. Ready to give Discovery ads a go with our PPC team?

team working on google ads

How Much Do Google Ads Cost?

team working on google ads

Whether you work in eCommerce or simply market your business online, you’ve likely heard of cost-per-click (CPC) advertising. CPC advertising generally occurs within first-tier search engines like Google. If a viewer clicks on a Google ad, it redirects them to the advertiser’s website. Each time this happens, the advertiser pays the publisher some amount of money. The relevant question here, of course, is how much do Google Ads cost?

With CPC advertising, advertisers will typically place bids on keyword phrases relevant to their target audience. When a potential customer searches for this keyword phrase, search results will display the advertisement. Among the first-tier search engines that offer CPC advertising, Google reigns supreme. This makes sense, as the search giant controls nearly 90% of its market share and has around four billion users.

This degree of market reach is both astounding and unequaled across other online advertising venues like Facebook or Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Advertising). Google Ads’ dominance is such that, for many small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs), it represents the only online forum in which they advertise. In fact, of the 65 percent of SMBs that invest in CPC advertising, the vast majority utilize Google Ads. Since it can make up a majority of your online advertising, how much Google Ads cost becomes an important consideration.

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. You may read online that Google Ads average between $1 and $2 per click. For SMBs, this can come out to $9,000 to $10,000 a month. That’s not chump change for anyone, much less a small business. 

If you wonder why so many businesses fork over that kind of cash, consider this: Google Ads offers an average return of $8 to every $1 spent on advertising. That’s a lot of “averages,” however, and it doesn’t tell the whole story. To learn the truth of Google Ads’ cost, and how this investment works, requires a little more digging.

Google Ads’ Cost Across Campaigns

As stated above, how much Google Ads cost depends on your targeted keywords. If you want to target a keyword like “insurance,” for example, get ready to lay out some cash. As the most expensive keyword, “insurance” has cost as much as $54.91 per click. Keyword bidding aside, the type of campaign you choose determines the way in which your charges accrue. 

Your Google ads cost will accrue differently based on which of the six types of campaigns you pursue. These campaigns include search ads, display ads, discovery ads, Gmail ads, shopping ads, and YouTube ads. The type of cost associated with each appears in the table below.

 

Campaign TypeCost Options
SearchCPC
DisplayCPC, Viewable CPM (cost per mille or cost per 1,000 viewable impressions)
DiscoveryCPC
GmailCPC (charged for clicks to open the email message. Clicks from opened message to website are not charged)
ShoppingCPC
YouTubeCPV for video discovery ads and instream ads, CPM for bumper ads and instream ads

 

Google Search Ads

The most basic of Google Ads, search ads display within Google search results. If you perform a search, you will typically see at the top of the page sponsored links marked as ads. Search ads are CPC and have the benefit of display in the same spot searchers look for information. The shared format of these ads and standard search results helps ensure users see them. The familiar look also encourages more clicks.

Google Display Ads

Google has a network across various industries that appeal to a wide range of audiences. These websites have opted into Google Ads to display advertising across the Google Display Network. Website owners receive payment per click or impression. 

For advertisers, Google display ads put content directly in front of audiences while they visit a website of interest. Display ads typically take the form of images that draw the eye away from a site’s written content. Display ads determine price through CPC or viewable cost per mille (CPM). CPM measures cost through viewable impressions. Viewable impressions occur simply as the ad appears, and do not require a click. For CPM advertising, Google Ads cost a set amount per 1,000 impressions.

Discovery Ads

CPC determines the cost of one of Google’s newest types of advertising, Discovery ads. These are native ads that appear across multiple Google feeds. Visually compelling and designed for mobile devices, these ads rely on the “power of intent.” This means that Google uses information derived from a customer’s site visits, video viewing, map searches, and more to determine the content of the advertising.

Highly targeted marketing like this has an obvious benefit in that it should automatically appeal to customers’ tastes. At the time of its launch, Google announced that Discovery ads would reach a global audience of 800 million users.

Gmail Ads

These interactive ads appear in the Social and/or Promotions tabs of a Gmail user’s inbox. If clicked, the ad can expand to contain videos, images, or embedded forms. They can also contain a traditional written ad, or direct the user to the advertiser’s website. Gmail Google Ads’ cost depends on CPC.

It’s important to note that, for the purposes of this expense, CPC occurs when the ad message is clicked and expanded. If the customer expands the message but neglects to do anything else, costs will still accrue.

Shopping Ads

These types of ads allow you to promote individual products or lines, rather than a brand as a whole. Like other types of Google Ads, these appear on search engine results when a customer searches for a product or service. 

For example, if you were to search for “running shoes,” you might see a detailed ad on the right side of your screen for Nikes. Shopping ads can include prices, photos, and customer ratings. As with other types of search ads, these Google Ads run a set CPC.

YouTube Ads

YouTube video ads open up a vast marketplace for advertisers engaged with Google Ads. In fact, YouTube represents the third-most visited website in the world, behind only Facebook and Google. There exist many types of YouTube ads, most of which appear either before or during viewable content. 

The cost of YouTube ads depends on which type of ad you run. Video discovery ads are cost-per-view (CPV), while bumper ads are CPM. Instream ads that run while the viewer engages with a video can be either CPV or CPM.

Google Ads’ Cost in Your Industry

You might assume that since you know the average CPC of Google Ads, along with the method for measuring cost, you’re ready to build a budget. In reality, this is not the case. As illustrated in the example of “insurance” mentioned above, Google Ads cost vastly more or less across different industries.

Below, you can see a table that compares the CPC of Google Ads across various industries. This chart contains some surprises. For example, keywords related to pharmaceuticals, a massive industry in the United States, come in near the bottom. Online education, on the other hand, which many people consider a niche market, ranks near the top.

It’s even common that Google Ads cost widely different amounts within the same industry. For example, in the fashion industry, “activewear” and other exercise-related terms appear near the top in terms of cost. In this case, you can tie the difference to societal factors. In the wake of Covid-19, personal fitness saw a boom, as it gave consumers an excuse to leave their homes for a walk or run. 

This provides an important lesson: when the time comes to estimate the cost of your Google Ad campaign, you’ll need to consider a wide array of factors.

How to Estimate the Cost of Your Google Ads Campaign

To better understand how much a campaign or specific keyword will cost, you can employ Google Ads’ Keyword Planner. It’s important to understand that Google Ads’ cost is determined through ad auctions. As the advertiser, you set the maximum CPC you will pay. This bid then gets compared to the bids of other advertisers who targeted the same keyword. The higher your bid, the better your ads’ placement in the campaign type of your choosing.

Before you start bidding on keywords, you will want to use the Keyword Planner tool to help outline your Google Ads cost. This tool allows you to search for specific keywords and see their historical cost, along with cost forecasts. Below, you can see sample search results for keyword planning for electric bike manufacturer and Tuff client, QuietKat

As you can see, one of the most expensive keywords, “specialized electric bike” is also the most general. At the opposite end of the spectrum, “extreme fat tire hunting electric bikes,” a highly specific term, comes in at around half the price.

Google’s Keyword Planner essentially reveals the industry benchmarks for your targeted keywords. Remember, if you want better placement in search results, you will need to bid higher than the benchmark provided in the average CPC. Keyword Planner also estimates the number of clicks and impressions your ad will receive on a daily basis. Between this and your CPC bid, you can easily derive an estimate for the cost of your campaign.

Once you define your targeted keywords and get an idea of their cost, you can create a daily or monthly budget for your Google Ads campaign. These budgets represent the maximum amount of money you will pay for a campaign across the chosen time period. This ability to control your ad spend makes advertising on Google a safe bet for your budget. Once you set your maximum bid and budget for Google Ads, you’ll suffer no surprises from unexpectedly high bills.

Quality Matters

Quality represents one final factor of Google Ads’ cost. In fact, the quality score ranks alongside your maximum bid as one of the most important factors that influence your AdRank, or the placement of your ads.

Google determines your quality score based on the relevance and quality of your advertising. More clicks on an ad will give you a higher overall Quality Score. Curious about how to raise this all-important score? 

There’s really no secret to it. If you create compelling ads with relevant keywords that deliver what the searcher expects, you’ll do just fine. The quality of your landing page will also affect your Quality Score, so make sure your website offers a compelling experience for its visitors. 

The Cost of Google Ads: It’s All Up to You

As you can see, many factors can influence Google Ads’ cost. Some of these come from clear-cut choices, such as the type of campaign you run and your maximum bid at an ad auction. Other things, such as industry competition, are outside of your control. 

Though you can’t control the cost of popular keywords, you can absolutely plan a campaign around creative phrases that precisely target your market. All it takes is a little research, some time on Keyword Planner, and a daily or monthly budget that reflects your means and goals. Put work into these, and you’ll start seeing those 8-to-1 returns before you know it.

Thalamus Case Study

From Qualified Traffic to Booked Demos: How We Helped Thalamus Increase Sales 3x

Thalamus Case Study
When it comes to driving demos, it’s rare that a business can rely exclusively on one channel to generate all their leads. A demo, unlike a website click or impression, is a commitment from a potential customer, and to get them to take that step, it’s a bit of an ask.

That’s why, more often than not, you’ve got to figure out the right mix of channels and touchpoints to get quality traffic to your site the first time, the second time, the third time, and then convert. It’s a funnel.

You’ve got to remind them, often and at the right times, about who you are and what makes your product valuable for them. Then, if done well, after a few site visits, they’ll agree to a demo. From there, your sales team can come in and close the deal and the rest is history.

When it comes to booking demos, there are steps. It’s a journey. You’ve got to match your marketing to this path and nurture them down the funnel.

In this post, we’re going to look at how we tackled this for Thalamus and grew their bookings consistently month over month with LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, and Bing.

Meet Thalamus

Thalamus is the premier GME interview management platform that connects residency and fellowship applicants and programs. They are a small, 20 person team, based in Nashville and distributed throughout the US. We started working with them in March 2020 with the primary goal of testing out new paid channels to help increase bookings.

“Tuff is amazing. For about 11 years, I’ve always been involved with or owned some element of a brand’s marketing efforts. I’ve been given teams that already existed or tasked with finding the right partner. Tuff is honest the first time someone/s REALLY nailed it. I mean completely nailed it! They understood us quickly. They report in weekly and the reports make sense to me. :) They have awesome ideas and follow through. I feel completely at ease that they are in charge of that critical part of the our SaaS business. They truly know everything there is and give amazing advice, direction, and take action constantly on our behalf.” – Kristi Anderson, Head of Sales, Thalamus (View our reviews on Google and YouTube)

Before we get into the process and details of our partnership, here’s a look at the last couple of months from Google Analytics. This is a 150% increase YoY in booked demos.

Results from Google Analytics

Before we get into the details….it’s worth noting that the interview process, due to the state of the word, had to shift virtual overnight. Thalamus was in the best position to help them with the transition so natural demand was at an all-time high.

Now, let’s talk about the details!

Step 1: Select channels based on targeting and cost

Since Thalamus hadn’t experimented on any channels we knew we would need to start lean, test out each channel, kill anything that didn’t work quickly, and then scale up what worked.

In order to determine the channels and tactics we wanted to test first, we started with their target audience.

For Thalamus, it looks something like this:

Residency coordinators or program directors at academic medical centers and hospital systems throughout the US & Canada.

Using what we knew about the target audience, as well as our experience running campaigns on almost every major channel, we selected these three channels to start:

LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn advertising has behavior-based targeting and we knew we could get in front of people with very specific job titles. LinkedIn advertising, unlike the other channels, allows you to get very niche with professionals and industries. While expensive, testing here was a no brainer.

Facebook Ads
While we couldn’t target specific job descriptions on Facebook, we knew we could use this platform for cheap retargeting. We put a small percentage of the budget here to capture eyeball
Google

Google Ads
With Google, we wanted as many high-intent searches as possible. For Thalamus, there is a bit of seasonality so we needed to pull historical CPCs and impressions to get started. At first, we kept the keywords tight to ensure the traffic would stay healthy, and overtime we’re able to expand. We relied on a mix of competitor keywords, brand terms, and search terms to make this work.

Increase in search volume and search impressions

We are continuing to see an increase in Search volume and Search impressions

Bing Ads
We didn’t start out with Bing (I wish we had) but added it once we saw such good results on Google. We were able to duplicate our strategy, make small tweaks, and scale bookings with an added lift from Bing.

Bing advertising isn’t right for every industry or company but it’s less crowded (and cheaper in most cases) than Google. This helped us cover more ground and capture additional high-intent terms for Thalamus.

Step 2: Develop highly-target messaging with social proof

Now, we can’t really take credit for this but getting the copy and content right with ads, especially social ads, is really important. Our writer, Elle, dug into the target audience and helped pull out very specific trust-indicators and product features we know would stand out.

 

While Thalamus had never run paid campaigns, they’ve been the leader in the industry for years. We leaned hard on this experience to build as much trust with our cold audience as possible.

Step 3: Measure the results and get better

Once we aligned with Thalamus on their key objective from the paid campaigns – getting more demos booked from their website – we knew that everything we did from a measurement and optimization perspective needed to be shaped around this sole KPI.

Perhaps the most important aspect of setting yourself up for success is being able to accurately measure the results and trust the data you are receiving. Optimizing your website or campaigns based on inaccurate data may be just as bad, and in some cases even worse, than not attempting to optimize your performance at all.

With this in mind, we worked closely with Thalamus to ensure the tracking of the demo request submission form was accurate. We used this goal, along with other on-site performance metrics, as the baseline for analyzing the value of the paid traffic arriving from our paid campaigns. We also reported on leads coming from paid channels by timestamp. The Thalamus team could then score the relevancy of the form fill submissions and subsequent contact to help us determine the true value of the leads we were receiving.

Cost per demo results

With this baseline KPI driving our measurement, it naturally also drove our campaign optimizations, and we continuously reviewed our campaigns, ended campaigns, and launched new campaigns across platforms to identify the best sources of traffic. Intent-driven Search campaigns on Google and Bing were optimized by reviewing the converting keywords and search terms. For social, campaigns were optimized by reviewing the converting ad copy, audiences, and image assets. With continuous measurement and optimization, we have been able to see a steady MoM decrease of cost per lead.

Data on eCommerce with YouTube ads.

4 Reasons You Should Be Using Microsoft Ads For Your Business

Data on eCommerce with YouTube ads.

Microsoft Ads, formerly known as Bing Ads, is the often overlooked PPC platform that many marketers and businesses treat as a lower-budget extension of their existing campaigns that are running on Google Ads.

But as Microsoft Advertising Partners and veterans of the platform, we know the value that Microsoft Ads can bring, especially in certain industries.

In fact, when recently split-testing the exact same campaign and keywords across Microsoft Ads and Google Ads, we found more value from Microsoft Ads in multiple KPIs.

You can see this for yourself in the KPI table below:

This platform-based split test experiment was done alongside our partner, CITI Program. Essentially, we wanted to know which search network would provide higher quality traffic for CITI Program’s target market of research organizations searching for research-specific training courses.

Although Google eked out higher pages/session, Microsoft Ads had a lower bounce rate and much higher conversion rate. 

Had we run this search campaign solely on Google, we may have paused, thinking that perhaps Search isn’t the right channel. Or, had we not split tested Google against Microsoft Ads, we may have never known that there was better performance to be had on the latter platform.

Now that you’re convinced Microsoft Ads is worth a try for your business, let’s take a look at a few of the benefits and efficiencies we’ve found in our recent experiments.

Enjoy Lower CPCs & Scale

“But who even uses Bing search?”

That’s one of the most common rebuttals when discussing advertising on Microsoft Ads, and I admit, I’ve fallen to this misconception before.

But in reality, Bing search accounts for 6.4 billion monthly PC searches and 36.9% of PC market share in the US. 

Source: Microsoft Ads

Simply put, if you’re not advertising on Microsoft Ads, you are missing out on a whole lot of traffic.

And, the fact that there are less advertisers on Microsoft Ads than on Google Ads, means less competition, which also means lower CPCs.

So, you could be also missing out on cheaper search traffic.

There are anecdotes all over the internet of companies and agencies who have achieved lower CPCs on Microsoft Ads than on Google Ads when testing the same keywords, but we have multiple first-person examples where this has proven to be true.

In the scenarios below, we’ve been split testing the same campaigns and keywords with the same budget splits across Microsoft Ads and Google Ads during the same dates. In both cases, CPC is lower on Microsoft. 

With more than enough search volume available and comparably low CPCs, experimenting with Microsoft Ads can help you identify opportunities to introduce your business via Search to a new audience that has the same high intent, but in many cases, costs a lot less to get to your site. 

Access Premium Placements With Audience Ads

Although Microsoft Ads doesn’t have a traditional display network in the same vein as the Google Ads Display Network, Microsoft Ads does boast access to some top quality native ad placements, many of which are currently in beta, or ‘pilot’, for Microsoft Ads.

One such available pilot is the Audience ads pilot, which provides access to premium placements on msn.com, the Outlook inbox, and the Microsoft Edge browser.

It’s only been a short couple of weeks since we began our testing with Audience ads in Microsoft Ads, but so far, the results have been promising. I’ve also been enjoying the flexibility and appearance of the ads, which are automatically cropped to fit a variety of responsive placements.

Even better, Audience ads feature expansive job and industry specific targeting options ala fellow Microsoft product, LinkedIn. This makes Audience ads an excellent choice for B2B businesses looking to reach their targeted audience.

With these placement and targeting options available, we’ve been able to scale our prospecting efforts for Vision33, a B2B partner, by reaching their targeted industries and buyer job titles through Audience ads and maximizing clicks and impressions in a way that simply wasn’t possible through Search ads alone.

We’ve also seen early success in our retargeting efforts through Audience ads – a previous pain point of running campaigns on Microsoft ads.

Compared to our RLSA Search campaigns that are set up to target the same audience of previous site visitors, Audience ads have provided greater impressions and much lower CPCs, with a $0.47 average, compared to $5.12 via Search ads.

Same retargeting audience, but a huge difference in the cost to get them back to Vision33’s website. I’ll mark that as an early win for Audience ads!

Snag More Desktop Searches

You may have missed it earlier, but the chart linked earlier from Microsoft mentions that the Microsoft Search Network accounts for 36.9% of all PC aka desktop searches.

Here it is again, so we don’t forget.

In a world where mobile traffic is ever-increasing, it can be easy to overlook desktop traffic as we continue to optimize campaigns, landing pages, and entire websites for a “mobile-first” world.

But in some cases, like that of our B2B partner, Vision33, desktop traffic is still incredibly important.

In fact, when analyzing Vision33’s primary conversion (form fills) from January – June 2020, I noticed that desktop traffic converts much higher, across every single channel, than mobile traffic on the Vision33 website.

In fact, in some instances, desktop converts at a rate more than double that of mobile and/or tablet.

Knowing what we know about form fill conversion rates and desktop performance on Vision33’s website, coupled with what we know about Microsoft Search Network’s search market share of 36.9%, it’s clear to see why Microsoft Ads is working well for this B2B business.

Every business has different performance on its website, so “mobile-first” may not always be the best approach. If your business is converting higher on desktop than other devices, it’s time to increase that traffic by increasing your search volume through Microsoft Ads. 

Save Time By Importing from Google Ads

If you like saving time automating things as much as I do, Microsoft Ads makes this easy by allowing and even encouraging you to import your ads from Google Ads.

If you’ve already begun running ads on Google Ads and have a campaign structure set up that you’re comfortable with, it is incredibly easy to import these campaigns into Microsoft Ads and even set the import on a schedule. 

With this in mind, split testing Microsoft Ads vs. Google Ads, or even adding additional campaigns to your overall PPC mix becomes a lot easier. And, let’s face it, building campaigns in Google is still a much cleaner and more familiar process (sorry, Microsoft). 

The import feature has allowed us to experiment with the Microsoft Ads channel fast, while making sure we are still serving top quality campaigns and ads, leaving more time for optimizations and data analysis.

Note: If you’re ready to test Microsoft Ads for your business and decide to import your existing campaigns from Google Ads, be sure to double-check the fine details, like device bid adjustments, time and days of week, audiences, etc.

Conclusion

Although Microsoft Ads may not be the first choice for businesses when deciding where to allocate their PPC funds, it certainly deserves a closer look, and preferably an experiment or three, to decide if it’s right for you and your business goals. 

Certain industries thrive on the platform, and the lower CPCs make it incredibly enticing for those who are running out of room to scale their core search campaigns on Google, or are looking to increase high intent traffic for a lower cost through search campaigns.

If you’re ready to give Microsoft Ads a try, reach out to Tuff today.

A man using social listening tools on his computer.

How To Create Your Own Automated Social Listening Tool

A man using social listening tools on his computer.

As marketers, it’s often easy, and comfortable, to remain focused solely on internal data. “Are we increasing conversion rates?” “How long is an average user session?” “Are we acquiring new users from the right channels?”

While internal data is extremely important, we must also utilize outside data to maintain awareness of specific trends in our industry and what we’re marketing. Although we can create or continuously iterate a brand and its products based on our internal data, we can only attempt to shape the public’s perception and opinion, and we may yet be missing unique opportunities. 

This is why it’s imperative to keep your ears open to the public to understand where your industry is headed, and how your product or service is being perceived in this journey.

Jorn Lyseggen, founder and CEO of Meltwater – a SaaS company that develops and markets media monitoring and business intelligence software – recognized this shift earlier than most. Jorn has coined the use of outside data to shape internal decisions as “Outside Insight.”

“Outside Insight shifts the focus from internal data and what you are doing to external data and what your industry is doing, allowing you to benchmark against competition and discover new threats and opportunities in real time.”

In recent years, this surveillance of public opinion, or industry and brand monitoring, has taken on a new life due to the prevalence of social media, carving a niche for what is known as “social listening” – a new breed of industry and brand monitoring that focuses exclusively on what users are saying on social media. 

No longer do companies need to rely on surveys from a select group of people. Today, we can actively monitor what the public is saying about our brand or industry. Even better, we can see what’s really being said about our brand or industry in real-time.

Creating Your Own Automated Social Listening Tool

Manually searching for brand mentions on every social media channel is a time-consuming task, especially for a social media manager who has campaigns to launch.

While there already exists a plethora of social listening and brand monitoring tools on the market, there is another simple, cost-effective way to create your very own, automated social listening tool in-house using one of my favorite marketing tools available, Zapier.

Most social listening tools work by scraping social media sites like Twitter and Reddit for mentions of your brand and/or keywords, and then importing these tweets or posts into a dashboard for you with various filtering options at your disposal.

With Zapier as our scraper and Google Sheets as our dashboard, we can do this too! 

Although not as fancy as a full-fledged SaaS, Zapier’s Google Sheets integration gives the average marketer super powers.

If you’re ready to save time on your social listening, follow along to these steps or watch the Loom video below:

https://www.loom.com/share/30aa96908bad4e30af42a676ffcf9581

 

Step 1: The Set Up

Create a free Zapier account if you do not have one. You will also need a Twitter account and a Gmail account to use for Google Sheets.

Set up a new Google Sheet with the following as headers in Row 1:

  • text
  • Screen_name
  • url

Once logged into Zapier, select Make a Zap.

Step 2: Twitter Scrape

Choose Twitter as your app and Search Mention as your event in Step 1 of your Zap. 

Monitoring search terms in Twitter

After selecting to continue, link your Twitter account to Zapier and enter the search term you want to monitor. For example, if you are Manchester United Football Club, you can choose to monitor your branded keyword “manchester united.” 

If tracking keywords with more than one word, be sure to put the keyword in quotation marks.

Test the trigger to confirm the data is being collected and continue. When viewing this data, you will fields for text, screen_name, and url, just like we set up in our new Google Sheet earlier. 

There is also a ton of other data that you can collect. If you are interested in any of the other available data fields, simply add a new column to Row 1 of your Google Sheet with the name of the data field.

Step 3: Google Sheets Input

Choose Google Sheets as your app and Create Spreadsheet Row as your event in Step 2 of your Zap. 

After you continue, you’ll want to link your Google Drive and Google Sheet, and Google Sheet tab that you will be exporting the data to with Zapier. 

Once linked, you will see the fields text, screen_name, and url. Now, you can click within each field and map the Twitter data we collected earlier to the column in Row 1 of your Google Sheet.

Step 4: Finishing Up

That’s it – you’re done. All that’s left to do now is the test the Zap in the final step, check to make sure your Google Sheet was populated correctly, and turn the Zap ‘On.’

You’re now set to collect every tweet that mentions your chosen keyword. 

Repeat these steps with Reddit, and you can collect post text and more information from Reddit whenever a post is made that includes your chosen keyword.

Conclusion

With a tool like Zapier, it’s easier than ever to keep your pulse on what’s being said about your brand and industry in real-time. This basic setup is powerful, yet only scratches the surface on what types of outside data can be collected and how it can be analyzed. Coupled with existing internal data, you can use this information – and the outside insight available from other tools like Google Trends – to understand how the public is engaging with your brand and industry.

YouTube on a mobile phone.

YouTube Advertising in 2020: Example Ad Campaigns From Tuff Clients

YouTube on a mobile phone.

Incredible reach, narrow audience targeting, and the chance to show your product in all its glory through video. It’s no wonder advertising on YouTube grew 36% in 2019 and is now a $15 billion – or nearly 10% – slice of Alphabet’s (Google’s parent company) revenue. The YouTube ad stats are, to say the least, very impressive. 

Now, in 2020, with most of the world stuck at home and glued to their devices, 39.4% of social media users in the US alone believe they will use YouTube significantly more than usual and 24.3% slightly more than usual, according to a March 2020 survey by Izea

In other words, over 60% of US social media users plan on using YouTube more now that they’re confined at home.

At Tuff, we’ve known the value of a comprehensive YouTube ad strategy for years. We’re also willing to bet that YouTube viewership will continue to grow throughout 2020, even as lockdowns are lifted and we’re no longer confined to home.

That’s why we recommend YouTube ads to a variety of our partners, especially those with a story to tell, brand awareness goals, or a product that impresses in use. 

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the YouTube campaigns we have run so far in 2020 alongside our partners.

Creating Top of Funnel Awareness For QuietKat

QuietKat is a maker of premium, electric fat tire bikes. From the beginning of our partnership, we knew that the more we could show the product in use via quality video assets, the more brand awareness and interest in the products we could generate. 

We also knew that the likelihood of someone buying a $3,000 – $6,000 electric bike after watching a video ad on YouTube was low – even if the bikes are as rad as a QuietKat. 

Instead of attempting to focus on lower funnel conversions, our strategy so far has involved incorporating YouTube at the top of our full-funnel approach, focused on achieving the lowest Cost Per View (CPV), while continuously testing new audiences and video creative. 

An example of a YouTube ad.

The Campaign Structure

Equipped with 4 high-quality videos produced by the QuietKat team, we launched 4 campaigns, each with one video asset, running as skippable in-stream ads. 

Within each campaign, we have multiple ad groups with different targets. For example, one ad group will contain a list of topics to target, while the other contains a list of audiences to target. Running these ad groups side-by-side, we can quickly learn which audiences or topics are performing the best and optimize our campaigns to show for the best performing audiences or topics.

Within each of these ad groups, there are multiple ads which have been designed to split test multiple CTAs on the same video that the campaign is structured on. We want to know, is there a call-to-action that users are more likely to embrace when presented with a video ad? Is ‘Shop Now’ too strong of an ask for this expensive of a product? Most likely. But what about ‘Explore QuietKat’? 

Altogether, we tested 40 different ad variations of targeting and copy. With all of these variables being tested over the course of a few weeks, we quickly found our winning video asset, as well as our winning target audience. Spoiler alert – topic targeting outperformed audience targeting for our main KPI – Cost Per View – with an awesome $0.02 CPV.

Why is Cost Per View so important for this YouTube ad strategy?

As mentioned earlier, our goal for this YouTube ad strategy is to increase brand awareness for QuietKat electric fat-tire bikes. By optimizing for the lowest CPV in our target audiences, we are able to reach the most users within our budget. However, with YouTube at the top of our full-funnel strategy, we knew that one touchpoint for these users is not enough. We didn’t simply want to show them a video and never interact with them again. That’s where the next steps of our funnel come in.

One of the most underutilized sources for creating retargeting audiences is YouTube. When most people dream up retargeting audiences, they usually only think about creating audiences based on the users who have already visited their site. 

For sites that don’t get a lot of traffic, your audience sizes are limited. For sites that get most of their traffic through paid ads, the cost per visitor is high, and therefore it is expensive to create large retargeting audiences. 

But, with YouTube ads, you can create a large retargeting audience for cheap, by creating an audience of users who have viewed your YouTube ad. 

For example – with $900 spent, we were able to create a retargeting audience of 20,000 targeted users who had watched one of our YouTube ads – or $0.045 per user. Not a bad cost to add a user to a retargeting list that you know has already seen your product in action.

Important note: bumper ads and non-skippable instream ads are not eligible for adding users to retargeting lists, so be sure to use an ad type like skippable instream ads if you want to use this tactic.

With Cost Per View optimization as part of your YouTube ad strategy, you open a new world of retargeting possibilities – one that allows you to add fresh users to your retargeting audiences at a much lower cost than normal. 

WatchBox – TrueView for Action

What about using YouTube to acquire traffic that is further down the funnel, or in other words, closer to taking the desired action aka converting? That’s the question we looked to answer for Tuff partner, WatchBox, when we created a Trueview for Action YouTube ad strategy.

Example of a YouTube ad for eCommerce.

With a fully fleshed out search and display strategy already producing positive results, we wanted to expand WatchBox’s footprint on YouTube and acquire highly targeted users who we knew were looking for the products that WatchBox had to offer.

While topic and audience targeting can get us close and cast a wide net, we wanted to target users that we knew we were actively searching for the products we had to offer because they were already indicating their intent.

In order to achieve this, we created a Custom Intent audience created around targeted keywords, rather than audience attributes. 

Thanks to WatchBox’s extensive search campaign history, we were able to pull over 12 months worth of search data to identify the keywords and search terms that were converting best on the WatchBox site.

We took the top 50 keywords identified in this audit and used these keywords to build our Custom Intent audience.

Optimizing YouTube Campaigns for On-Site Performance

With the goal of getting engaged users to the WatchBox site in mind, we opted to use this Custom Intent audience in a Trueview for Action campaign.

YouTube’s Trueview for Action campaigns are designed to drive leads and conversions by adding CTAs, headline text overlays, and an end screen to the video ad. These additional elements on the YouTube ad provide multiple opportunities for user engagement and result in a much larger percentage of visitors clicking from a YouTube ad to your site when compared against ad types optimized for brand awareness.

With a $10,000 budget and armed with multiple 15 second and 30-second video ad variations, we launched and began to collect results.

As initial results came in, we noticed that the on-site performance according to bounce rate, time on site, and pages/session was just about equal across the 15 second and 30-second ad variations. However, the 30-second ad variation was converting at a 21% higher conversion rate.

With this information and on-site conversions in mind, we paused the 15-second ad variations and left our 30-second video ad variations running to complete the campaign. 

Looking at the results of this YouTube campaign against the results of our ongoing Search and Display campaigns, we noticed some clear areas of success for this YouTube strategy.

Key metrics from this campaign include a Bounce Rate of 31.35% with pages per session of 4.51. In comparison, the overall campaign average during the same time period was a Bounce Rate of 63.73% and pages per session of 2.60. 

Additionally, this YouTube campaign outperformed the overall campaign average in conversion rate by 33.33%! 

By leveraging a YouTube ad format designed to drive clicks and conversions, along with a hyper-targeted audience created by search terms, we were able to drive high quality traffic to the WatchBox site through a new platform.

How We Advertise on YouTube Without Video Assets

What about our partners who don’t have the luxury of access to top quality video content production? 

Although video content is definitely preferred, there are still ways to get ad placements on YouTube, even without having video assets.

The most familiar way to accomplish this is to target YouTube placements in display retargeting campaigns. Oftentimes, and especially when using dynamic or responsive ads, youtube.com will appear as a top placement for display campaigns. And although you can target specific YouTube channels and YouTube videos in this campaign type, you are limited to normal display ad assets and are missing out on premium YouTube homepage placements. 

This is where the ‘Discovery’ ad type has come into use for Tuff partner, Renogy.

Example of a YouTube retargeting ad.

We knew that Renogy could benefit from a premium placement on the YouTube homepage (Discovery campaigns also include placements on Gmail and Google Discover feeds), and we also knew that focusing on this placement could help drive transactions on their site, especially when used to target lower-funnel retargeting audiences, such as Abandoned Cart audiences.

We set up a Discovery campaign split testing static image ads with carousel ads – an ad type only available for Discovery campaigns.

Within the first 2 weeks of launch, the Discovery campaign began returning a 4x ROAS when used for retargeting – compared to a 2.5x ROAS for dynamic retargeting campaign targeting the exact same audiences.

Conclusion

With near-unlimited reach, low advertising costs, and the ability to reach very specific audiences, YouTube is one of the top networks savvy brands are leveraging.

Many of Tuff’s partners are successfully advertising on YouTube in 2020. Ready to give YouTube ads a go with our YouTube ads agency team?