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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.

tuff-growth-marketing

YouTube SEO: 12 Ways to Optimize YouTube Videos

SEO for youtube search results.

YouTube is many things. It’s a place to share your creativity with the world. A platform for aspiring artists to garner fame. A source of unlimited entertainment. It also happens to be the second-largest search engine in the world, behind its parent company – Google. 

Luckily for us, a lot of SEO best practices for ranking in Google also apply to ranking in YouTube. Additionally, a well-optimized YouTube video may also appear in Google search results so it’s important to follow the YouTube SEO best practices. If you’re unfamiliar with SEO or YouTube best practices, it may be best to hire a YouTube Ads agency to manage all of your YouTube marketing needs.

Curious to find out more on YouTube SEO? Read on for our top optimization tips.

1. Rename your video file to include a target keyword.

If you’re familiar with the SEO best practices for images, then this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The same way that naming images for SEO will improve your search engine rankings and website traffic, naming your YouTube videos will have the same effect in YouTube search results. It’s another way to tell YouTube’s algorithms what this video is about so that they can display it accordingly.

2. Naturally Insert your keyword in the title of the video.

Although you may have a target keyword in mind that you want to rank for, it’s important that it matches when a viewer will be searching on YouTube. Research conducted by Backlinko found that videos with an exact keyword match in the title have only a slight advantage over those that don’t.

I’ve mentioned targeting keywords a bit but exactly how do you conduct keyword research for YouTube? YouTube keyword research has a whole new set of keyword research tools. There are a few to choose from but I recommend VidIQ to find new keywords, tags, and categories for your YT video. 

Example of keywords in a title of a YouTube video.

3. SEO-Optimize your video description.

YouTube uses your video description to understand what the video is about. A well-optimized description can boost your video’s rankings in YouTube search and Suggested Video. According to SearchEngineJournal, “More than 70% of YouTube watch time comes from mobile devices, so you need a mobile-first strategy for suggested videos.”

If you do choose to write a longer description, keep in mind that YouTube only displays the first two or three lines of text — that amounts to about 100 characters

4. Transcribe your video and include the transcription in the description.

This is another best practice that comes from Google SEO. Transcribing the video and including it in the description allows you to add a lot more indexable content to your YouTube video page. This way you can be discovered for a lot more content than was originally included in the description. The best part is that YouTube automatically transcribes all videos, you just need to edit it and include it in the description.

An example of transcribing a video for YouTube SEO.

5. Tag your video with SEO-optimized relevant tags.

YouTube’s official Creator Academy suggests including tags to let viewers know what your video is about. Just like normal SEO, you’re not just informing your viewers — you’re also informing YouTube itself.

Don’t use irrelevant tags because you think you’ll get more views – Google might penalize you for that.

According to VidIQ, “58% of viewers arrive at your videos because of YouTube Search and Related Videos. We’ll help you increase your library of tags by 10x in less than 10 minutes, and discover content opportunities you’re missing out on.”

6. Categorize your video.

After you upload your video, you can categorize it under “Advanced settings.” Choosing a category is another way to group your video with similar content on YouTube so it ends up in other playlists and gains exposure to more viewers who identify with your audience. If you’re a musical artist, this is similar to adding a genre to your music with the hopes that Spotify will include it in a genre-specific playlist. You don’t want a country song to appear on a hip hop playlist so it’s important that you categorize your video correctly. 

Look at some of the top creators within the category. Research what they’re known for and see what they do well and how you can replicate their success and make it your own. Figure out if your video fits into this category before categorizing it.

Try to look for patterns between audiences to discover new categories and content ideas. 

Also, make sure that your video production quality is on par with some of the other videos in the category. If you accidentally

7. Promote your video.

A lot of the YouTube ranking factors depend on how much engagement your video is receiving. YouTube algorithms take into account how many comments your video has, how many views your video has, how many upvotes it has, and how many views it has. By sending your video out to friends on Facebook or an email list, this will help speed up the process and show YouTube that people are interested in your video. 

8. Upload a custom thumbnail.

The Creator Academy reports that “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails,” recommending the use of images that are 1280×720 pixels — representing a 16:9 ratio — that are saved as 2MB or smaller .jpg, .gif, .bmp, or .png files. If you follow those parameters, it can help to ensure that your thumbnail appears with equally high quality across multiple viewing platforms.

Choose a great thumbnail that teases a great scene from the video and makes people want to click on it.

Custom thumbnail example for YouTube SEO.

9. Use an SRT File to add subtitles & closed captions.

Subtitles and closed captions can improve YouTube search visibility and improve the user experience by highlighting important keywords. The more visually appealing the video is, the more likely it is to be organically shared with friends, thus improving your YouTube rank.

To add subtitles or closed captions to your video, you need to upload a text transcript or subtitles file. I recommend reading the Creator Academy caption guidelines if this is your first time doing so.

10. Add Cards and End Screens to increase your YouTube channel’s viewership.

Cards

When you’re watching a YouTube video, have you ever seen a small white, circular icon with an “i” in the center appear in the corner of your video? Or a translucent bar of text asking you to subscribe? Those are Cards, which Creator Academy describes as “preformatted notifications that appear on desktop and mobile which you can set up to promote your brand and other videos on your channel.”

You can add up to five cards to a single video, and there are six types:

  • Channel cards send viewers to another channel
  • Donation cards to encourage fundraising on behalf of a U.S. nonprofit
  • Fan cards to ask viewers to help support you
  • Link cards, which send viewers to external sites
  • Poll cards allow viewers to vote on a response
  • Video/playlist cards link to other YouTube videos and playlists.

End Screens

End screens display information similar to cards, but they only appear at the end of video. They’re usually a bit more visual and take up the whole screen. If a user watches your whole video, this may be a good time to ask them to subscribe to your YouTube channel to check out more of your videos. This is your chance to persuade viewers why they should go and watch another video in your series.

11. Create playlists

If you have a lot of videos then it’s best to split them up into different playlists to make it easier for your viewers to find them. If you have a lot of videos, then I recommend developing a series of videos that are organically connected so that YouTube will use one of those videos in the Suggested Videos when someone is watching another one of the videos in the series.

Example of a playlist on YouTube.

12. Great content

This one is a no-brainer so I saved it for the end. It’s also a bit discouraging to click on a post about how to optimize your content only to have it say “create amazing content that people want to share”. Duh. So why did I include it at all? Because content is king now more than ever. Similar to an article or a song, you need to create a compelling intro that will keep your viewers interested.

 

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your videos, SEO, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to help you supercharge your YouTube SEO efforts.

Data on eCommerce with YouTube ads.

Effective YouTube Ads For Ecommerce

Data on eCommerce with YouTube ads.

Youtube viewers watch on average 5 billion videos every single day. 

From discovering new music to learning a new skill or brushing up on your trivia knowledge, Youtube has a channel or selection of videos for just about everything. 

With so many topics and consistent, focused views by consumers, Youtube is one of the best platforms for eCommerce marketing experts to put their budget behind to increase revenue and grow. 

While the captive audience you are able to get in front of should be one motivator for investing in an eCommerce Youtube Advertising plan, you should also be happy to know the overall cost-effectiveness compared to other platforms:

  • Average CPV: $0.10 – $0.30, but can be as low as $0.02
  • Average view-rate: 31.9%
  • Average view CTR: 0.514%

For early stage startups and eCommerce brands of all sizes, Youtube is a low cost, low barrier platform to begin advertising your brand, product, or seasonal offer on.
All you need to start making your Youtube Ads Work is a Google Ads Account, strong video creatives, and a testing budget. 

At Tuff, we recommend starting with 5 – 8% of projected revenue for new channel optimization. 

Through strategic testing you can start to explore who your audience is on Youtube, what creative ads resonate best with viewers, and how your brand can grow. 

Youtube eCommerce advertising gives you the ability to scale when you find winning audiences and ads (trust us you’re not going to tap out of available audiences anytime soon).

Building your eCommerce Youtube audience 

The best way we’ve found to profitable audience building for your eCommerce Youtube ads is through leaning on Youtube’s (Google) algorithm to help you through the selection process. 

“One of the really powerful things that I love about Youtube ads is how great the audiences are,” says Jeromy Sonne, Managing Director at Moonshine Marketing. “In-market and custom search intent audiences are incredible because you can target people that are literally searching for your product, but with more visual ads on Youtube.“

One way people tend to think of audiences in YouTube advertising is through the lens of individual channels or specific videos. While this can work in some circumstances, the more efficient approach for eCommerce Youtube audience building is to select specific topics, custom search intent audiences, or in-market audiences that align with your product or brand. 

Youtube audience targeting.

These types of targeting options will show your ads to a much larger set of viewers than individual channel targeting will do. Based on your findings, you can narrow your selection down by channel after you have found a few winning audiences. 

Different types of Youtube Ads for each stage of the funnel

When it comes to developing your eCommerce YouTube Ads Funnel, it’s important to understand how each ad type within Youtube works and where you can find the best results at each stage of the funnel with those ads. 

Top of the funnel

For top of the funnel prospecting, we highly recommend using Trueview Instream and Bumper ads for their cost-effectiveness. However for some brands, Pre-Roll ads might also be a smart choice.

Here’s the difference between the three Youtube ad types:

  1. Trueview Instream: In-stream ads play before or during another video from a YouTube partner. Viewers see five seconds of your video and then have the choice to keep watching or skip it. You pay when a viewer watches for at least 30 seconds or to the end of the video (whichever is shorter) or clicks on a card or other elements of your in-stream creative.
  2. Bumper: These ads are only six seconds each and play before a video.  While they’re not great for telling the full story of your brand, they work great for retargeting to remind people about your product or present them with an offer to entice them to return to their abandoned cart or the product page.
  3. Pre-Roll: Some in-stream ads are non-skippable and can play before or after the main video. These are called Preroll ads, and they can be 15 to 20 seconds in duration.

Example of non-skippable YouTube ad.

For both Trueview Instream and Bumper for effective eCommerce Youtube Advertising, your video creative will need to be methodically designed to showcase and explain your product quickly within the first 5 seconds, then present secondary benefits, social proof, and/or media testimonials for the remainder of the run time. 

Morgan Hennessey, a Search Marketing Manager at Electric Enjin recommends that you, “Keep YouTube ads short, sweet, and engaging… In the first five seconds make sure that at least your brand name and product are showcased.” 

With these Top of the Funnel campaigns, you are not looking for direct clicks to your website (or if you are, change up your strategy). 

Rather you want your creative to leave a great impression on the viewer and drive them to search your eCommerce brand or product later on with quality search terms they can recall. 

Middle Of The Funnel

Within the middle of your eCommerce Youtube Funnel, you’ll want to retarget viewers and website visitors who take specific actions that set them apart from non-qualified leads. 

We recommend testing Trueview Instream and Bumper again in the middle of the funnel as well as another one: Trueview Video Discovery.

  • Trueview Video Discovery: Video discovery ads appear in the right-hand column with other YouTube videos, in YouTube search pages, or on websites on the Google Display Network that match your target audience. You pay when a viewer clicks to watch your video.

The trueview discovery ad type on YouTube.

Video Discovery can really help you to qualify leads as it works more like a display ad and requires the leader to go out of their way to watch it. You will need a catchy or relatable title to make this ad work the best. 

Bottom Of The Funnel

At the bottom of the funnel, we recommend testing the above types of ads. In addition, one type to also try are called Midroll video ads:

  • Midroll video ads: There are also non-skippable ads that appear in the middle of a YouTube video that’s 10 minutes or longer in length.

They can help to pick customers back up who have seemingly fallen out and remind them of your brand. A strong offer creative will be most likely to work in this ad spot. 

If you want more info on YouTube Advertising based on how successful certain campaigns have been for clients, schedule a free growth marketing strategy session with our team today. We’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business to help you build a video strategy mapped to your goals.

iPhone scrolling on YouTube.

How to Make YouTube Ads Work For Your Startup

iPhone scrolling on YouTube.

Advertising doesn’t work unless people see it. This obvious piece of analysis guides all aspects of marketing, and explains everything from the cost of ads (those Super Bowl commercials don’t come cheap) to their overall impact. Thankfully, you don’t have to take out a full-page ad in the New York Times to get broad exposure. YouTube advertising has evolved along with the company’s transition into a media megalith, and now offers opportunities for established businesses and startups alike to reach practically any audience. 

As the world’s second-largest search engine, YouTube can not only spark interest in your startup, but also push traffic to your website. Whether your work is B2C or B2B, YouTube advertising can and will provide an engaging avenue to connect with your target audience. Best of all, you can build and nurture an established channel to maintain direct contact with your consumers, and thereby establish the all-important trust you need for startup growth. Before we get into all that, though, let’s consider some statistics.

YouTube by the Numbers

Many people have the impression that YouTube only matters to young people. This simply is not true. Regardless of your target audience, YouTube offers an encompassing platform to reach practically any demographic. Consider the following info YouTube ad stats, with some of our favorites highlighted below: 

In the years since this study, YouTube’s growth has only continued to accelerate. Overall, 73 percent of all adults in the U.S. now utilize YouTube in some fashion. Think about that for a moment. YouTube advertising exists on a platform that reaches almost three-quarters of the population. When you consider that the highest rated television broadcast of all time, the final episode of M*A*S*H, reached only 60 percent of people who owned a television, YouTube’s pervasiveness becomes mind-boggling. No other piece of media, not a television show, billboard, or newspaper ad in the world can approach YouTube’s level of influence.

An additional myth persists that YouTube users are primarily young men. In reality, women are just as likely to utilize the platform as men. As for education level and household makeup,  YouTube users are more likely than non-users to have both a college degree and children. What does this all mean? It shows that, whether your target audience is twenty-something men, 35-year-old women, retired couples, young families, or anyone else, YouTube advertising offers a clear line of communication.

Get in on the Action

Hopefully, these statistics have showcased the value of YouTube advertising for early-stage companies. Numbers aside, you still need a clear strategy to get started. Of course, your ultimate goal is to create a brilliant ad that resonates with your audience and leads them to your website. Before visiting your website, however, many of those target audience members will want to see what other videos you have available. To get the most out of YouTube advertising, make sure you have first developed a channel that offers relevant, compelling content. 

Everyone wants a viral video. The problem is, without an established channel, a viral video acts like a one-hit wonder. It might bring you some notoriety, but it won’t help your brand over the long term. Think of it this way: would you rather your brand be the Rolling Stones, or Vanilla Ice? One of these has an established record of hits over many years, with each new hit driving renewed attention to a back catalog of other hits. The other made a big splash, then disappeared entirely. For sustainable YouTube advertising over the long term, in which you develop an audience alongside your brand, you don’t just need a viral video. You need the strong foundation of an established channel. Here are some of our favorite YouTube ad examples for inspiration. 

How to Build Your YouTube Advertising Channel

The way you build a channel is through the regular education of your audience on issues and topics that matter to them. If you are consistent in the production and quality of your efforts, you will develop the asset that all brands want: an audience you can count on for future growth. Your goal with a YouTube channel is not to generate loads of traffic, but rather to establish a loyal audience. The value of an audience is the creation of a brand relationship. For example, Volvo did an excellent job establishing an audience on its YouTube channel. When a particular video starring Jean-Claude Van Damme went viral, they were able to capitalize on the infrastructure of their established channel. 

To establish a brand, you want to create content that both educates and entertains your audience. To lure viewers back again and again, your content must have utility. For example, BigCommerce, which is an open SaaS e-commerce platform, did an excellent job with this. The company utilizes its YouTube advertising channel to host educational videos in a series branded as BigCommerce University. Some of the videos address valuable topics not directly related to BigCommerce, such as tutorials on keyword research and SEO

Another way to build your channel is to use consistent themes and characters. Nasty Gal, an online fashion retailer, created a series of behind-the-scenes videos that show how its team functions, and gives viewers the opportunity to watch photo shoots and other activities. The result? Almost 12,000 subscribers and 2 million YouTube views. 

Lastly, you want to bolster education with some key elements of entertainment. These could include everything from a short narrative, to a celebrity appearance, how-to video, or provocative elements that spike viewer interest. Also, when it comes to celebrities, you don’t need Taylor Swift. So-called micro-celebrities have generated notoriety not through movies or the music industry, but through Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. In addition to availability, these micro-celebrities will already have their own platform to share your content.

To summarize, keep in mind the following rules for the establishment of a successful YouTube advertising channel:

  • Page views are less important than subscribers.
  • Educate your viewer on things that matter to them.
  • Use consistent characters and themes.
  • Spike interest through entertainment.

Find Your Target Audience

Of course, YouTube advertising won’t do much unless you gain exposure to the right people. There are many ways to accomplish this, and the implementation of more than one strategy will aid your overall effort. 

First of all, you want to make sure that any ads you create appear on videos similar to your own content. Choose topics that fit your niche, and try to get as specific as possible. One beneficial tool is Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords). This helps with your search engine marketing on Google, but can also be linked to your YouTube advertising channel. If you use Google Ads, you can take advantage of topic categories to place your ad within a similar video. Google Ads also lets you target specific YouTube videos. If you do this, however, make sure that the videos you choose have enough traffic to serve your advertising goals.

In addition to these, YouTube offers three options for advertisers to target new customers:

  • Retargeting
  • Affinity Audiences
  • Life Events

Retargeting

Retargeting can mean one of two things. One the one hand, it means you incentivize the return of someone who visited your site but did not convert. When you retarget to this audience through YouTube advertising, they see an ad meant only for them. This ad reminds them about your startup and attempts to bring them back, sometime with an exclusive offer or coupon.

Retargeting can also occur through YouTube when you market to people who viewed your videos. When you retarget a group of people, you have to make sure that you match the message to that particular market. For specific information on how to retarget with YouTube, you can find detailed instructions here

If you use Google Ads, there are many different ways you can reach an audience with a display ad. For example, you can use not only YouTube, but also Gmail, search listings, and Display Network. This last venue is a group comprised of more than 2 million websites, apps, and videos that will run your ads. Display Network has an incredibly broad influence, and reaches more than 90 percent of internet users. 

Retargeting YouTube ad audiences.

Affinity Targeting

Affinity targeting presents another way to aim your ads at the right people. With this, you define exactly who you want to reach. When you factor in a consumer’s most recent and ongoing interests, you can rest assured that your message will reach the right people. YouTube allows you to create custom affinity options for your ideal audience. To define who this is, you will want to use:

  • Keywords that reflect personal interests
  • Where people live, or types of places that interest them
  • Apps they may use

Affinity targeting can accomplish a great deal for certain types of startup marketing efforts. For example, if you are currently engaged with the establishment of your brand, have real-time content you want people to see, and need to increase market reach with incremental conversions, affinity targeting can work wonders.

Life Events

One final YouTube advertising strategy involves the use of Life Events. This option allows you to target specific consumers as they achieve a personal milestone or experience an important life event. If done correctly, the ad you create can trigger a strong emotion. This type of reaction from a viewer can forge an intense personal bond between them and your brand. Life Events you can target include:

  • The creation of a business
  • Colege graduation
  • Changing a job
  • Marriage
  • Moving to a new city
  • Buying a home
  • Retirement

Youtube ad targeting options.

Let’s Get Creative

Once you’ve done all this preparatory work, you can finally get to the creative aspect of your YouTube advertising: choosing which particular type of ad to run. To make the most of your ad, you need to gain the familiarity necessary to develop your chosen format in a dynamic, engaging way.

Example of a YouTube ad.

The main types of YouTube advertising you can run include:

TrueView In-Stream: These ads play before a video. As a marketing tool, they offer a pathway to your website. However, your audience can choose to skip the ad. In-stream YouTube advertising tends to work better in retargeting campaigns, and can result in more subscribers to your channel.

TrueView Discovery: These show up on the right-hand area of the video viewer, on search result pages, and as thumbnails on a person’s homepage within YouTube. The best time to use Discovery YouTube advertising is for traditional search campaigns, prospecting efforts, and retargeting.

Bumper Ads: These short ads come in at less than six seconds. They appear prior to a video, and can create an instantaneously strong impression. Bumper ads are an excellent tool to employ during a retargeting campaign.

When you market your startup through YouTube advertising, it’s important to remember that you’ve entered into an ongoing process. With the analytics provided through tools like Google Ads, you can monitor and continually refine your campaigns. Though marketing a new company in the jungle that’s the internet can feel intimidating, you’ve got a massive platform in YouTube. If you employ the right tools, you will capture the audience you need for long-term success.

Youtube ad platform.

How YouTube Ads Work + 5 YouTube Ad Campaign Examples

YouTube ad example from NBA.

Admit it: we kind of take YouTube for granted. The website that began as a simple nexus for amateur video has become a media titan, to the extent that many people don’t appreciate its enormous influence. Believe it or not, YouTube is the third-most visited site in the world, behind only Facebook and Google. Each and every month, people consume 6 billion hours of video on YouTube. To have such an enormous audience on a single platform is rare, and it makes sense that YouTube ads have become a preferred marketing technique for many businesses.

When it comes to advertising, YouTube provides clear benefits that have made it immensely popular. Consider the following YouTube Ad stats in 2020: 

Clearly, YouTube has a massive reach. It is a unique hybrid of social media site and search engine, and draws in viewers for a host of reasons. As a search engine, YouTube ranks behind only Google, as users use it to find info on everything from World War II, to how to unclog a toilet.

In terms of interaction, YouTube is the third-largest social media network. If you accept Forbes’ claim that all internet users want either information or social interaction, YouTube manages to provide both. Its reach is so encompassing, it actually engages more people between the ages of 18 and 49 than either broadcast or cable TV.  Think about that for a moment, and consider the benefits of advertising on a platform that reaches the widest possible audience. 

How to Advertise on YouTube

Like any advertising tool, the way to garner the most benefits from YouTube ads hinges on your strategy. Aalap Shah is the founded of 1o8, a Chicago-based digital marketing agency. 

“What I find most useful is to treat YouTube ads as you would normal out-of-home ads on TV,” says Shah. “You have a shorter format, a compelling hook at the start, and you use all the targeting features (including banners and re-marketing) to make the ad pop and become memorable.”

Not all YouTube ad campaigns are created equal, and each should grow from a clearly established marketing strategy. For example, before you can create effective YouTube ads, you must identify your target audience. If you want to reach different demographics, you will need to design specialized content for each. Among the top 100 advertisers who utilize YouTube, 56 of them have more than 10 channels, with each targeted on a specific sector. 

To identify a target audience, create distinctions between factors like age, gender, location, level of education, and occupation. For example, let’s say you want to promote weight loss tips. If you search YouTube simply for weight loss, you’ll receive over 175 million results. That’s an ocean of competition, and your carefully crafted advertising will sink without a trace. If you search for “weight loss tips for women”, you suddenly narrow down the results to 23.8 million. If you further refine your search, you might end up with something like “weight loss tips for women over 60”. This brings the number of results down to a relatively lean 871,000. 

This search process is one among many ways you can identify an audience through YouTube. You can also:

  • Survey your present customers
  • Divide the market according to income or education to identify profitable groups
  • Imagine the customer most likely to purchase your product or services
  • Research the volume of specialized keywords (low volume is best, as there is less competition)

Pick the Right YouTube Ads

Once you’ve identified your target audience, you need to settle on which types of YouTube ad campaigns to run. You’ll also want to keep in mind the key difference between advertising on YouTube versus Facebook or Google. With YouTube, you only pay for an ad view if one of two things happens: a viewer passes the 30-second mark, or they watch the whole thing. 

YouTube offers six types of ads for you to choose from.

  1. Non-Skippable Video Ads: A viewer must watch these before they can access a YouTube video. Non-skippable YouTube ads can appear during, before, or after the primary video. Since the viewer has no choice but to watch the ad, you wind up paying every time it appears. Generally speaking, these types of ads are for companies with larger budgets.
  2. Skippable Video Ads: These ads allow the viewer to skip them after 5 seconds. Like non-skippable ads, they can appear before, after, or during the primary video. With these, you will only get charged if a viewer chooses to watch for at least 30 seconds. 
  3. Display Ads: These YouTube ads are placed to the right of the feature video. Display ads can appear anywhere on YouTube, with the exception of the homepage. Ideally, your ad will entice a click from the viewer, at which point you get charged for the advertising.
  4. Overlay Ads: These transparent ads appear on the bottom of videos watched on laptops or desktop computers. They will not appear on mobile devices, and the viewer can close the ad at any time. In reality, these ads tend to generate mis-clicks, in which a viewer attempts to close the ad, but accidentally clicks through to the advertiser’s video.
  5. Midroll Ads: These ads only appear in videos longer than 15 minutes. The ads appear intermittently throughout, in the same manner as commercials on television. Viewers have no choice but to watch them to continue their video. 
  6. Sponsored Cards: These showcase content relevant to the primary video, such as featured products. The viewer sees a teaser for the card, and then can click an icon in the top right corner to browse the sponsored cards.

Know Your Competition

Advertising on YouTube has a major element of competition. In order to make your efforts successful, you must familiarize yourself with your competitors. Locate a competing company’s channel or channels, and watch their YouTube ads yourself. Ask yourself how effective they are, and make note of successful tactics. 

To understand a competitor’s broader YouTube strategy, you can create a spreadsheet that tracks their ads. The spreadsheet can have columns for the company’s name, a screenshot of the video, the product or service offered, the number of views, and the ad’s headline. With this information, you can identify not only the most successful ads, but also the elements that drive them.

YouTube Ads in Practice: Five Successful Campaigns

If you want to be the best, you have to study the best. A consideration of other campaigns is indispensable for someone who wants their own YouTube ads to succeed. Each of the five companies considered below achieved a great deal of success through their efforts on YouTube. Click through to the videos, then read our analysis of how they work.

GoPro

YouTube ad example from GoPro

GoPro became a household name thanks to videos of the camera’s use in extreme sports. The above ad is completely different, however. Instead of the first-person view of a mountain biker flying down a trail, or a skydiver hurling themselves from a plane, it features a firefighter saving a kitten. The overall feel is sweet and cuddly, rather than action-packed and dangerous. You might wonder why GoPro would create marketing materials at odds with their image. Simply put: it makes them appealing to a wider audience. 

When you make your own YouTube ads, don’t shy away from pushing the boundaries of your image. If you vary your format and topics, you can find different ways to showcase your brand’s theme to appeal to a larger audience.

Skullcandy

YouTube ad example from Skullcandy.

Skullcandy is not messing around when it comes to YouTube ads. You’ll notice that they maintain a consistent voice, and do a good job of targeting sports demographics like skateboarders, surfers, and snowboarders. They accomplish this through high-energy videos that appeal to young people. Skullcandy also has a variety of content, from customer reviews and product demonstrations, to a concert series and podcast.

Skullcandy’s YouTube ads foster a sense of community among its customers. If you can do the same, you will develop long-term customers that have a sense of loyalty to your brand.

Artifact Uprising

YouTube ad example from Artifact Uprising.

Artifact Uprising helps customers put together custom photo books, cards, and albums, and also prints photos. The nature of their product encourages sentimentality and emotional connection, characteristics which the company highlights in its YouTube ads. 

Regardless of your type of industry, you can use this approach to forge an emotional connection with customers. Learn how people use your services or products to enhance their lives, and share these stories in your ads. 

Code.org

YouTube ad example from Code.org

This non-profit promotes greater access to computer science instruction in schools. The ad serves as an example of influencer marketing, in which recognizable people create a bond with the viewer through the product. As Bill Gates describes his humble beginnings, the message is clear: if you help Code.org with its mission, more people can succeed like he did.

If you work in an intimidating field like computer science, influencer marketing can humanize your message. Put a face to your company that viewers can either recognize or sympathize with, and you can lower the barrier of entry to your services.

Sun Bum

YouTube ad example from Sun Bum.

Sun Bum has clearly fostered a laid-back, chilled out aesthetic. Its YouTube ads not only highlight the company’s hair care products, sunscreen, and lip balm, but also contain engaging content that has fostered a fanbase. Through multiple videos a week, the company covers a broad range of topics that includes everything from office life vignettes to dyeing tutorials. They also have a channel devoted to musical performances. This allows them to link their brand to appealing musicians as a way to connect with customers. 

One of the best things you can do through an advertisement is cultivate a community of similarly-minded people. If you produce engaging content, these people will actively help your marketing efforts through sharing and discussing your ads.

YouTube offers a platform to place your ads before millions of people. If you can target your audience, settle on an ad type, and create compelling content, you can count on enhanced business. Of course, ads on YouTube require work, as you must keep your content fresh. If done correctly, however, the money and time you put into YouTube ads can represent the best investment you’ll ever make. 

 

YouTube Advertising

28 YouTube Ad Stats to Get You Started Today

YouTube Advertising

Not sure if YouTube Advertising is the right advertising channel for you?

With video content on the rise, YouTube has seen record-breaking numbers that prove the power behind this marketing channel. But is there a reasonably high ROI in it for your brand? Is it worth the investment to create a video ad and start running it?

To find out, it’s important to have a clear picture of who is using YouTube, and what kind of content they’re consuming. The YouTube ad statistics provide powerful insights into the might of this platform, and will clue you in on how you can use it to grow your brand in 2020.

Who Uses YouTube?

How wide is the swath of users on YouTube? To find out, we pulled some statistics on the users. The numbers here may surprise you.

More Adults Use YouTube Than Facebook

Seventy-three percent of American adults use YouTube, topping Facebook users by 4%, and nearly doubling Instagram’s adult user base.

YouTube Isn’t Just for Young People

A surprising number of older adults and seniors consume video content on YouTube:

  • 71% of people ages 26-35
  • 67% of people ages 36-45
  • 66% of people ages 46-55
  • 58% of people ages 56 and older
YouTube Ad Stats by age.

Source: Statista

YouTube Is the Most Popular Platform In America

Topping Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, and, well, everything, YouTube has more users than any other platform in the US.

Most Men Use YouTube

Seventy-eight percent of American men watch video content on YouTube.

Women Use YouTube Slightly Less Than Men

The numbers are still strong, though. Sixty-eight percent of adult American women consume content on YouTube.

Most Young Adults Use YouTube

A whopping 81% of Americans ages 15-25 years old watch videos on YouTube.

YouTube Reaches More Americans Than Every Cable TV Network Combined

For American consumers ages 18-49 years old, YouTube widely outpaces cable TV for video content consumption.

Americans Use YouTube More Than Anyone Else In the World

Fifteen percent of YouTube’s traffic comes from America, with India landing in second place at 8.1%, and Japan coming in third, at 4.6%.

Most of YouTube’s Popular Content Isn’t In English

Interestingly, despite the US making up the majority of YouTube users, only 33% of the content from some of the most popular channels on YouTube is in English.

What People Watch on YouTube

The types of content that most viewers on YouTube consume might surprise you. These data points prove a powerful concept in marketing: that content informs the earliest phases of the buyer decision process.

The YouTube Algorithm Influences 70% of What People Watch

This is a crazy one. As it turns out, most of what people watch on YouTube is heavily influenced by YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. In a Pew study, 81% of people said they watched things recommended by YouTube.

YouTube usage stats.

Source: Pew Research Center

Most Popular Videos Come from the Same Small Percentage of Creators

According to Pew Research, 79% of views on YouTube are on just 10% of the channels, suggesting that most of the popular content on YouTube is created by a very small portion of channels.

Viewers Don’t Care About Famous Actors

Data straight from YouTube shows that the relevance of content to a viewer’s interest is 3x more influential than content featuring celebrities. The moral of the story? You don’t have to pay a famous actor or influencer to get the views.

Influencer Content Dominates the Beauty Sector

About 60% of views of beauty content on YouTube are on influencer content, while 39% goes to brand content, and just 1% to publishers.

Relevant Content Performs Better Than Swanky Content

Here’s the really great news: production values aren’t the end all be all for YouTube viewers. It turns out, interesting content is on average 1.6 times more important than production values to viewers.

More People Than Ever Use YouTube for Product Research

Between 2017 and 2018, views for product review content doubled, implying users being a purchase decision with product research on YouTube.

Most Shoppers Use YouTube at the Beginning of Their Shopping Process

The data supports YouTube’s use as a consumer product research tool. Eighty percent of users say they use YouTube’s product content early in the buying process.

Viewer Engagement Has Increased by 70% On YouTube

This means that viewers are no longer just quietly watching — they’re connecting with creators, commenting on their content, and engaging.

Most Viewers Watch YouTube On Mobile Devices

As is the case for most web traffic, YouTube users on average spend 70% or more of their viewing time using the platform on a mobile device.

Streaming Onto TVs is YouTube’s Fastest Growing Screen Segment

Smart TVs, Roku players, and similar devices now make up over 250 million hours of watch time per day on YouTube. Watching YouTube from a TV screen has increased by over 39% in the last year alone.

YouTube Is Second Only to Netflix for Video Streaming

For Americans ages 18-34 years old, YouTube is the most popular video streaming platform with ads, and is second only to Netflix in video streaming as a whole.

How Ads Are Performing On YouTube

How buyers consume content ultimately impacts what kinds of advertising they respond to. Predictions indicate that by 2022, 82% of global internet traffic will come from video streaming and downloads.

Increasing Video Consumption is Driving YouTube Ads Revenue

With YouTube on track this year to make a record-breaking $5.5 billion in net revenue from advertising alone, the case for YouTube ads has never been stronger.

Growth Compounds Growth On YouTube

According to YouTube, channels that make $10,000 or more per year grow 50% year over year.

Google Preferred Ads On YouTube Increase Purchase Intent By 53%

YouTube’s role as a product research platform may have something to do with this. YouTube reports that their premium ad offering, which targets the top 5% of channels on the platform, is dramatically effective at producing buyers.

They Also Improve Ad Recall By 112%

Even more dramatic is the impact these ads have on ad recall for YouTube advertisers. YouTube’s Google Preferred ad campaigns improve ad recall for views by as much as 112%.

YouTube Is the Third-Best Influencer Marketing Platform

Tailing behind Instagram and Instagram stories, YouTube as an influencer marketing platform will be a force to be reckoned with in 2020.

Most Shoppers Have Discovered a Brand Through YouTube

In a powerful study, Think With Google reported that 90% of shoppers surveyed said they had discovered a new brand through YouTube.

YouTube Ad stats from Google.

Marketers Say YouTube Is the Most Effective Video Advertising Platform

Most marketers will tell you that YouTube is the most effective advertising platform, with a staggering 78.8% of them saying it trumps even Facebook.

Viewer’s Prefer TrueView Ads Over In-Stream

Eight out of 10 YouTube viewers say they prefer skippable TrueView ads over ads that interrupt their streaming.

YouTube Ad Statistics to Fuel Your Strategy

YouTube advertising is a powerful way to engage new buyers with your brand. If your company isn’t getting in front of buyers on this platform, it’s time to start now.

As video consumption data points continue to indicate large-scale growth in video consumption, it’s going to be up to brands to get out there and be seen.

Is your team ready?

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?