Optimising Your Youtube Ads

Digitell - Youtube social network homepage on a monitor screen.

YouTube receives approximately 2 billion views worldwide every day. At any one moment, hundreds of millions of users are engaged with the platform. It is no longer a medium that is relegated to a single demographic, but rather is a medium that is used by everyone.

Noticing this, advertisers have monetized YouTube at every possible opportunity, generating billions of dollars in ad revenue each year. With such a lucrative and popular platform at their disposal, efforts have been made to extract every possible ad optimisation out of the technology. With this in mind, here are a few tips to make your YouTube ads more profitable.

Using Retargeting

With the development of online marketing, many traditional advertising techniques were jettisoned, as they couldn’t survive in this new digital ecosystem. Advertising techniques that had become industry mainstays in other mediums didn’t last in the transition into this digital one. Fortunately, this provided the opportunity for new forms of marketing that were designed with the Internet in mind. One such form is retargeting.

Retargeting is a type of online advertising in which consumers are identified and marketed to based on their previous Internet actions. Generally, this works by a user visiting your website, at which point a cookie is dropped anonymously into their browser. Later, when these users are visiting other web pages, they will be served ads related to your product. It is an extraordinarily effective means of advertising as it focuses your efforts towards those who possess awareness (and likely some interest) in your product.

With most retargeting, advertisers are limited to a few characters or a single image ad. YouTube offers you many more options. Most YouTube retargeting occurs in the form of video, allowing you potentially minutes to demonstrate your product. You are given even greater degrees of freedom than a TV ad, as you have more time to deliver your message, and you can link to anything you wish.

Matching Function To Ad Type

YouTube video ads do not come in one form, but rather can be divided into three distinct categories. First are TrueView ads – these are ads that you only pay for when someone chooses to view the entirety of your video. As such, you are not charged for impressions or video starts. These ads usually appear as related videos in a side bar (known as display ads) or play before you watch a video (known as in-stream ads). These types of ads tend to be longer, running anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes.

Next are Pre-roll ads. These are either skippable or unskippable ads that play at the start of the video a user has selected. Unlike Trueview ads, Pre-roll ads don’t require you to view the ad in its entirety, but require the user to actually click on the ad for any cost to be incurred to the advertiser.

Finally are Bumper ads. These are 6-second unskippable ads that only play at the start of videos. Advertisers are required to pay for these ads each time they appear.

The important thing to recognise is that you can’t take the same approach to each ad category. Each ad type has particular strengths and weaknesses, and it’s critical that you exploit them in a considered and tailored way.

In Trueview ads, you have the most latitude in terms of ad length. As such, you must use these ads to go deeper into what your product does, and the benefits of using it. For Pre-roll ads – due to the restricted timeframe and the fact that these ads never exist in isolation (they are always coupled with another video), it’s important to construct them around the CTAs. You don’t want to be using the ad to go in-depth on your product, but rather to use the foreshortened time limit to implore the viewer to click on the CTA. Finally, for bumper ads, you only have 6 seconds to work with. As such, you want to use these ads to focus on one feature of your product. For instance, if you’re advertising a new smartphone, you would use bumper ads to focus on how many megapixels the camera has, but not mention any other feature. Bumper ads are great for complementing larger advertising campaigns, but are not meant to exist on their own.

Channel & Video-Based Placements

Channel and video-based placements are used for zeroing in on potentially interested audiences. It’s not dissimilar to Facebook’s interest-based targeted marketing – you place your ads in channels and videos that have audiences who are likely to care about what you’re selling, and in turn get more conversions.

As an example, the fan base for MMA is overwhelmingly male. As such, the men’s shaving company Dollar Shave Club has advertised on MMA channels and videos in order to maximise their exposure to the right customers. This limits the ad being displayed to audiences outside the targeted demographic, and thus limits the amount of wasted ad money.

The Necessity Of Change

At this moment in time, refusing to advertise on YouTube would be as big of a marketing blunder as refusing to advertise on TV. It has become such a pillar of entertainment and information for so many people, that the opportunity cost for focusing on traditional means of advertising alone is simply too great. If YouTube’s trends in growth continue, the importance of advertising on the platform will only become greater, and the importance of knowing how to advertise will be greater still.


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