How to run an effective Youtube video ad campaign (and why you should)
Facebook is the go-to social network for social advertisers, and the site has certainly proved it’s value in returning good results and awareness for brands. Youtube is a less obvious choice for many marketers, yet it’s an excellent platform for running social video ads and can prove to be cost-effective while delivering real business results. Many businesses of course, will be put off by Youtube as they may not have the necessary video assets to fully capitalise on this, but Youtube’s promoted video option is something that brands should focus on and you don’t necessarily need to invest in full-scale video production, if you have a clear strategy in place to make the content work for you.
To provide some context on how Youtube advertising can work, the video below shows the impressive figures behind Youtube homepage takeovers. While this is a much more significant advertising undertaking for brands than a standard promoted video campaign, the figures show how engaged audiences are on Youtube. Google and Compete recently ran a report into the effectiveness of Facebook ads, with some surprising results. Given that the ad report was commissioned by Google, these findings are of course skewed towards the positive, but they are useful nonetheless. They found that users that had seen an ad on the Youtube homepage were 4 times more likely to visit that advertiser’s site, watch their video on Youtube, or run a brand search :
The findings above show the value in a homepage takeover and while this isn’t a viable option for smaller advertisers, Youtube’s self-managed ad tools can be an effective way to run ads online cost-effectively. As Youtube uses the Google ads interface to run promoted video ads, it’s easy to manage and optimise your ad spend, but how should you structure your ad campaign to get the best results?
Run shareable content
Whereas with Facebook ads for example, where you just want to get people through to your branded space to become a fan, Youtube ads require a different strategy. In Facebook, the end goal is a new fan, but with Youtube, the end goal is views. And while you can run your ad campaign to get in front of one set of eyeballs, the real value comes in when you turn that one set of eyeballs into many more, by creating something that people want to share. Sharing is the ultimate conversion to look for in Youtube ads. Running a promoted video with an enticing title that catches the user by surprise is going to work a lot harder for you than a standard branded ad. Don’t look to a Youtube ad as something that you should do ‘just because’ , but look at is a place to promote genuinely engaging and entertaining branded content. This will get you the best results and the most positive brand perception.
Include a call to action
While your Youtube ad campaign may start on Youtube, this may not be the place that you want the user to end up. Including a strong call to action on your promoted video will increase the likelihood that your users will cross over to another social platform or click through to your website. You should consider the context in which someone is viewing your ad here. At this point they have only spent a few seconds or minutes with your brand, so they are unlikely to be persuaded by an overtly ‘salesy’ message or call to action. If you focus on the content however, you can hope to encourage a click through or conversion, for example directing them to subscribe to your channel or visit your site for more free tips etc.. A call to action is the same methodology that you would apply to other ads, but this is often forgotten with Youtube ads.
Youtube provide you with a simple tool to embed a call to action directly within your video. At any point within a Youtube video, you can use annotations which can link through either to another Youtube video, or to a subscription screen for your channel. This makes the call to action part of the video viewing process and could drive better results than simply including a url on the end screen. Check out our handy video below to find out how to add annotations to your Youtube video :
Increase your bids
In May this year, Youtube changed their advertising model from a cost per click basis, to a cost per view model. So whereas previously you could pay for a click without someone viewing the video, now you only pay when someone actually starts to view the video. With this in mind, you should consider increasing the bids on your promoted videos, as the conversion here is potentially more valuable than a click. It requires a slightly different understanding than standard clicks on Adwords, as you’re paying for an increased level of engagement. You could therefore see a much more significant return by increasing your bids and generating more views.
Run a variety of ads
You have customisation options for promoted videos that you should be taking advantage of, as you would with Facebook or Google ads. When running a promoted video campaign, regardless of your budget you should have at least 5 different ads set up within each campaign. Change just one aspect between each ad, for example the image used or the description so you can properly assess which ad is performing best for you and further optimise the campaign. You don’t have long to catch people’s attention on Youtube search, so make sure you test different engaging titles, videos and descriptions that will appeal to your audience.
Developing a strong keyword-bidding strategy is essential to an effective promoted video campaign. This runs in the same way as Google Adwords, whereby you will bid on the keywords that apply to your content. But when deciding on the keywords to bid on in Youtube, you should think more about the experience of the viewer. Whereas in Google you are likely to be searching for a very direct piece of content or website, with Youtube this is less so. While the user may have a very specific topic in mind, the searches are also likely to be a lot wider, looking for a range of content such as ‘video recipes’ ‘live music’ etc.. With this in mind, you should expand your keyword list to take in the associated topics that viewers may be interested in. This should also reflect the viewing experience in Youtube. As well as finding content that’s necessary, you also want to find content that’s entertaining and shareable. So although you might bid on keywords that are outside of the direct target, these could still drive valuable views and click throughs.