Issue #20

How to advertise on Youtube: Creating your first Youtube ad campaign

Video Advertising
13 min read

With so many social media and marketing platforms available, it can be difficult to decide where to put your advertising dollars.

Do you create a sponsored ad on Facebook for your newest course offering, a vertical infographic to capture your audience’s attention on Pinterest, or do you test the waters with a Snapchat filter for your next in-person event?

While all of these could be great options for your business, you may be overlooking one of the most powerful online platforms. Have you ever wondered how to advertise on YouTube?
how to advertise on Youtube

The benefits of creating a YouTube ad campaign

Think about your own browsing habits.

How many times have you searched for something on Google, only to find a collection of YouTube video tutorials that give you more information than a blog post ever could?

You may have visited YouTube a few times already this week, or even a few times today.

People keep coming back to YouTube because they know it’s a reliable source for educational information and entertainment. YouTube has incredible advertising potential for businesses in virtually any industry, but is it worth investing in for your business?

Here are a few benefits to find out if it is the right move for you.

Online traffic driven from YouTube has continued to increase

youtube traffic increasing

Don’t believe us? Cisco has predicted that 80% of all online traffic will come from video-based content by 2021. Since YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world (paired with Google as the biggest), much of the video traffic will be driven by YouTube alone.

There’s no better time to start creating video content to market and advertise your brand.

YouTube already has a built-in audience

If you just started your business or are relatively new to online marketing, YouTube will be a great place to start testing your messaging and offerings. They already have 1.3 billion visitors on their platform each day, so you’re bound to find your target market on their platform.

By utilizing YouTube ad campaigns, you don’t have to wait until you reach a few thousand subscribers to see a positive ROI from your marketing efforts. Instead, you can start converting visitors through engaging video advertisements on YouTube right away.

You’ll have a wealth of ad targeting options on YouTube

Even though YouTube has billions of active users, it doesn’t mean that every one of them will fit your ideal client or customer description.Ad targeting options with Youtube Ads

The YouTube ads platform (run inside Google Ads) allows you to create an ad targeting campaign where you can define your specific audience by their demographics (like gender, age, and location) and psychographics. It can even tap into your target audience’s common interests and browsing habits.

YouTube ads are only as successful as your audience targeting. That’s why it’s important to define who you want to target, what your goals are, and what content visitors want to see before they decide to learn more or buy from you.

An in-depth look into YouTube ad formats

Instead of giving yourself a facepalm because you didn’t think about advertising on YouTube sooner, let’s talk about what you can do now that you’re ready to get started. Your first place to start is in understanding which of the YouTube ad formats will fit the content you want to create.

TrueView ads

TrueView ads are the most popular and standard type of YouTube ad. They are beneficial for the advertiser because you only pay when a user watches or interacts with your ad (like clicking on a call-to-action within the video). Advertisers only pay when a user watches for a full 30 seconds or until the end of the video plays.

There are two main types of TrueView ads:

Discovery Ads:

How to advertising on Youtube- types of ads-discovery-ad

  • This ad type often shows up on the homepage or search results page for a specific search query within YouTube. They can even show up as a related video on any watch page, but will always be shown with a yellow box icon that says “Ad” next to the brand name.
  • It will show up like any other result with a photo thumbnail, video title, and small summary of what visitors will find by clicking on the video.
  • When a user clicks on the ad, YouTube will open a new dedicated watch page and place a companion ad on the right side to accompany the call-to-action of the advertisement.

In-Stream Ads:

How to advertising on Youtube- types of ads-in-stream-ad

  • This is the most common YouTube advertising type you’ll see. In-stream ads play before a desired video can be viewed, meaning it catches the attention of your user right away.
  • These ads usually are short in length and users can elect to skip the video after five seconds.
  • As the advertiser, you can have a call-to-action in the video that users can click on to track your conversions.

Pre roll adverts:

One of the downsides to TrueView ads is that users can skip the ad in attempt to view their desired video more quickly. Pre roll adverts, however, can’t be skipped but usually play midway through the YouTube video or at the very end. They also are done on a pay-per-click (PPC) model so you only pay for clicks on your call-to-action.

Many times you’ll see these pre-roll video advertisements in YouTube videos that are over ten minutes in length. As a user, you can tell when a pre-roll video will appear depending on the amount of yellow marks in the time duration bar below the video.

Sometimes pre-roll advertisements play before a video can be viewed, but this is rare since TrueView ads are usually prioritized in this spot. Pre-roll ads are usually 15 to 20 seconds long, meaning advertisers have more time to capture their audience’s attention.

Because pre-roll ads are non-skippable, they can be seen as somewhat intrusive and annoying to users. Some may close their window completely which could affect your analytics. Tread with caution and make sure you are telling an interesting story!

Bumper ads

How to advertising on Youtube- types of ads-bumper-ad

Like pre-roll ads, bumper ads are non-skippable and advertisers pay on a per click basis. Bumper ads are six seconds long and require innovation because you only have a short time to catch the user’s attention.

You probably won’t be able to tell a whole story in six seconds, but you can still use them as a complement to other advertising.

Remember when Vine was a thing? Even though the platform has since dissolved, we can learn a lot about how these six second video creators captured an educational or entertaining story in a short amount of time. Selling yourself is six seconds isn’t easy but it presents an interesting challenge for advertisers of all sizes.

Bumper ads are usually used in partnership with longer pre-roll advertising to increase brand awareness and remind users of the advertiser’s core call-to-action. When both advertising types work well together, you can increase conversions and brand awareness at the same time.

Overlay ads

How to advertising on Youtube- types of ads-overlay-ad

All of the YouTube ad types we’ve covered so far take a user’s attention away from their desired video, but overlay ads are displayed on top of the content they’re already watching. They can show up as faded text boxes or banner image ads that appear on the bottom of a creator’s video.

Even though these ads don’t interrupt how quickly a user can view their video of choice, it’s still seen as annoying when banners cover parts of the video screen or distract users from the content itself.

To make the ads more eye-catching, try to optimize the copy on your banners so it is engaging.

Pro tip: Think of it like this: to be successful, your overlay ad must be more interesting to click on than continuing to watch their video. Keep an eye on your analytics and see what performs best.

Display ads

How to advertising on Youtube- types of ads-display-ad

If you aren’t interested in creating video content but still want to advertise on YouTube, no problem! You can use display ads which are commonly seen on sidebars of YouTube watch pages and search result pages.

These work similarly to Google display ads so all you need to get started is an eye-catching graphic and an advertising budget.

Sponsored cards

These advertisements show up as a small call-to-action button in the bottom corners of YouTube videos. They almost go unnoticed which is a part of their charm. They can be highly effective because the user sees them as unobtrusive so they only capture the attention of people who are really interested.

Sponsored cards will only open if they are directly clicked on so your audience will only see your image advertisement if they want to learn more.

3 types of YouTube ad campaigns

Now that you understand the different types of YouTube ad formats, your brain may already be racing to the next step: brainstorming and creating your advertisement.

Before you leap into ideation mode, we want to introduce the main types of YouTube ads that advertisers use today and which are the most effective.

types of youtube ad campaigns- storytellingStorytelling

With most marketing strategies, storytelling will often be your best performing type of advertisement. It puts the visitor in the shoes of real people (or actors who portray real people) who are struggling with similar problems and appeals to their pain points.

Your story can be broad and talk to a mass group of people who suffer from something that specifically leads to the solution you offer, or it can highlight one person’s story and how your business or product has changed their life. We usually consider this a case study in traditional marketing, but you can frame it like a story through your video advertisement.

types of youtube ad campaigns- talking headsTalking heads

Talking heads is an advertisement type you’ll frequently see on YouTube. This can be great for businesses who don’t have a large budget and would rather create a video in a simple studio rather than invest in full production.

In this advertisement type, you’ll usually see one person on screen that addresses the audience and appeals to their emotions by understanding their struggle. Then they proceed to talk about the solution and point you in the direction of the call-to-action.

Some advertisers are ditching studio quality videos for these talking head ad types and choosing to record their videos vlog-style. This is often because they want to appeal to the audience on YouTube that is used to that filming style and so it blends in with the content they’re already seeing.

It’s a smart way to test the waters with your video advertising in a way that is very DIY-friendly.

types of youtube ad campaigns- product showcaseProduct showcase

This kind of YouTube ad type is a great fit for product-based businesses who need to explain their product further so their audience can grasp the value of it. It could also be a fit for businesses who know that showing how to utilize the product with an accompanying tutorial is the best way to sell it.

Pro tip: Product showcases can be a tricky type of advertising because it can feel a little bit like an infomercial if you’re not careful. Try to tone down your delivery (so you don’t come off as the ShamWow guy) and appeal to how the product can be utilized in the everyday lifestyle of your target audience member.

If you do want to show a product tutorial, our recommendation would be to show step one of utilizing your product and link to a dedicated landing page to learn more. That way you don’t overwhelm your audience with all of the steps at once.

How to advertising on Youtube best practices

As you start planning your YouTube ad content, there are a few things to keep in mind. You may be thinking about what video equipment you need or how to edit your videos effectively, but none of those steps matter if you don’t create ads from a strategic foundation. Before you jump in, remember these tips.

How to Advertise on Youtube
Be concise

No YouTube user wants to watch an advertisement that is too long. Be strategic about the length of your video and how much time you really need to make your message clear.

If you are having trouble getting your video to be shorter than 20 seconds, you may want to look into making a viral-type video for other social media platforms and putting ad dollars behind that.

For advertisements, concise videos around 10-15 seconds will always perform best because you are able to communicate the value of what you provide to your audience without taking too much time away from the video they want to view next.

Be creative

This seems like a no brainer but it’s important to add into the mix. You can be inspired by YouTube ads other companies are creating, but your job is to create something fresh and exciting. If your ad functions like someone else’s ad, it will be easy for visitors to tune it out.

Taking a creative approach to your YouTube advertising might mean testing a few different ad types before you find the right one. Keep an eye on your analytics so you’re aware of what is performing well and assess what isn’t working. The numbers will show you what needs to change!

Create a strong call-to-action

You could create a really engaging story and display it well through each frame, but if your YouTube ad doesn’t have a good call-to-action (CTA), then your ad won’t perform as well as it could. A simple tweak to your CTA could make all the difference.

If you are struggling with your CTA, think about what key action you want users to take that would make the advertisement a success. Is it signing up for your email list, contacting you through a form on your website, or purchasing your offering from a landing page? This will heavily influence your desired CTA.

When thinking about the messaging of your CTA, remember to keep it concise (because you only have so much room on text ads) and make sure it matches the messaging of your video. If it doesn’t feel cohesive, people won’t be interested and you’ll hurt your authority as a brand. Make sure every aspect of your video advertisement is created in unity.

Are you excited to test out YouTube ad campaigns?

Now that you know how to advertise on Youtube, which Youtube ad formats do you think you’ll try out first? And how will you use them to bring more viewers into your brand story?

Kayla Hollatz

Kayla Hollatz is a copywriter and content creator for creative entrepreneurs who want their words to connect and convert. Few things make her happier than ghostwriting for clients in her studio, aka her four-season porch with a lake view. She can frequently be found fighting Minnesota winters with a mug of hot chocolate in hand.

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