by Harrison Cox on May 30, 2018 | Design, Writing and Video Social Media Ads

Have you jumped onboard with YouTube advertising yet? If not, it's probably time you did!


We are amidst a great shift in the way people consume content. More than half of 18-49 year- olds are classified as light viewers of television or do not watch it at all, but over 90% of these people watch YouTube.[1]


Video searches accounted for 67% of all internet traffic in 2016 & that number is set to hit 80% of all search traffic by 2021.[2] So as a brand it is now more crucial than ever to leverage video content to advertise where the public are focusing their attention.


So, how do you stand out among the ever-saturated video advertising space? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with these tips to mastering YouTube advertising!


YoutTube icon


So, What IS YouTube Advertising?


 There are six types of ads that you can run on YouTube:

  • Skippable ads (TrueView ads)
  • Non-Skippable ads
  • Bumper ads
  • Overlay ads
  • Display ads
  • Sponsored cards


We’ll focus on the first three types that specifically utilise video to communicate a particular message, rather than display, overlay or card ads that primarily use written copy to convert the audience. Let’s jump right in!


Producing Top TrueView Ads

TrueView ads can be skipped after 5 seconds – so you’ve got to hook your audience immediately for them to be effective! These ads are great if you are balling on a budget, as you’ll only be charged when your audience watches at least 30s of the ad or clicks to take action. That also means that your budget is directed towards people that actually care about your brand.


TrueView & bumper video diagram


A great way to increase the likelihood of people watching your ad until completion & taking action is to target specific search queries or even channels that are highly relevant to the ad itself. For example, if you are in the video game industry, placing an in-stream TrueView ad before prominent gaming channel videos can deliver quality traffic to your brand.


Similarly, you can place a discovery TrueView ad in the YouTube search results by targeting related search queries. For example, if you are selling a vegan cookbook, you could target the phrase, “cheap vegan recipes,” and have your TrueView ad appear in the search results for that query.


TrueView ad formats also give you the ability to experiment with different content pieces. Want to find out if a 2-minute ad is more effective than the 30 second version? Interested to see if you can drive some extra traffic to an awesome video by placing the whole thing in discovery? Well with this ad format you can! Get creative & experiment with different content types & audience targeting to see how audiences best respond to your messaging. The risk is low so why not even get crazy with a video that is slightly different to your normal branded content?


Creating Gnarly Non-Skippable Ads

If you’ve just searched for the latest 10 minutes of dank memes compilation, the last thing you want to see is an ad that delays your daily hit of dankness. These non-skippable ads are possibly the most maligned thing on all of YouTube – but if executed effectively, they can have some great results for your business.


In order for your ad to be eligible for the non-skippable format, it must be between 15-20 seconds in length, as YouTube officially removed 30-second unskippable ads from the platform. These ads are highly effective for telling a short story or even showcasing a customer testimonial, as you know the audience must watch the entire ad.


Once again, the first 5 seconds are crucial for capturing the attention of your viewer. These ads are paid for on a CPM basis, so it is pointless to throw money at individuals who don’t care for the message you’re putting out there. A top tip for striking a chord at the very start of your ad is to lead with the benefit you are offering to your customer, and then spending the remaining 15 odd seconds detailing how that benefit is achieved with your product or service. Another way to tackle ad openings is to prioritise high energy visuals, sound, dialogue or effects during the first 5 seconds to capture attention before explaining your offer or imparting your brand message for the remainder of the video.


Finally when reviewing your non-skippable ad content, make sure you ask yourself, would I be more annoyed or intrigued if this ad was shown before my fave dank meme compilation video? If the answer is the latter then you are on to a winner!


How to Make a Banging Bumper Ad

Bumper ads are super short non-skippable ads that will play before a video, or even in the middle of a video that is longer than 10 minutes. Their short length makes them perfect for mobile viewers & they can often act as a great compliment to your longer TrueView or non-skippable ads.


YouTube ad icon


Of all the available ad formats, these are deceptively hard to master. Telling a meaningful story or getting your brand message to resonate in just six seconds is tougher than it sounds. If you are looking for some inspiration, YouTube curates a top bumper ads leaderboard with some of the best ads from big name brands.


If you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, would you capture it or just let it slip…


These immortal words from Eminem should ring loud and clear when you are designing bumper ads. You have just one shot to connect with your audience. Focus on ONE key message or benefit, you won’t have enough time to tell your entire story. You also want to create that sense of intrigue with these ads – really entice the audience to click through to discover what your brand is all about. Create a genuine sense of excitement with a short, clear message that has the audience hooked & wanting to know more.


When it comes to bumper ads, sometimes less is more. Try not to get bogged down in overlay text, elaborate animations or wacky transitions. Only include the essential info or visuals as each second is precious.


Now that you’ve had a rundown of the major three video advertising types on YouTube – let’s take a look at how to get the most out of your targeting options.


Top-Tier Targeting Strategies

You’ve got a great ad, but you want to make sure it is viewed by the people who will care about it most. These tips will turn you into a true Marketing Marksman – honing in on your target audiences with incredible accuracy.


buyer personas


Custom Affinity Audiences:

Affinity audiences allow you to target more specific groups that are relative to your brand. For example, instead of targeting a broad category like “Sports,” you could target “football fans” if you were looking to sell a pair of football boots.

Pre-set affinity audience options are available and are constructed by Google using the following:

  • Interests entered as keyword phrases
  • Locations & places that people are interested in
  • Apps that individuals use that are connected to Google

Additionally, you can build your own custom affinity audience by entering specific URLs, channel names & search queries of your own! So it doesn’t matter how niche your product or service is, you can get it in front of whatever audiences you like. Find out what content your target audience is consuming. Who are the prominent competitors or personalities they are likely to follow on YouTube? Once you have this info, you can create your own affinity audiences with this data in mind and you’ll see a massive jump in ad engagement.


In-Market Audiences:

If you are looking to turn your audience into converting customers, then this type of targeting is for you. In-Market audiences allow you to reach out to customers during the moments when they are considering purchasing a product or service similar to yours.


These audiences are grouped into industry verticals like retail, tech & travel. This allows your ad to show up when a similar product or service is searched for on YouTube. “How to” videos & tutorials have exploded on YouTube in the past 5 years in particular, with over 74% of generation X heading to YouTube to solve a specific problem. In-market audiences provide your ad with the opportunity to answer people’s questions & potentially solve their problems.


So next time you see an ad for a home handyman service when you search for “how to change a lightbulb,” know that it was no accident.


youtube icon on ipad


Universal App Campaigns (UAC)

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try out Google’s newest targeting toy? You’ll need an app to promote if you want to play around with this targeting option.


Universal App Campaigns allow advertisers to find relevant audiences across all of Google’s inventory. These campaigns use machine learning to make the smartest targeting choices for each ad, analysing over 300 million potential signal combinations to show your ad at the best possible time.


First, you’ll select the platform your app runs on and input all essential info about it. Now comes the fun part. You get to input 4 independent text copy versions and up to a whopping 20 videos, pictures or HTML5 creative assets! Google will automatically sift through these combinations to create the version of your ads that people respond to the most. Video assets will run on YouTube as TrueView ads, with the variations of copy coming in for the assist when your video appears in YouTube search or the related video column. These ads can be tricky to navigate, so make sure you check out the setting up process and bid adjustments nuances for Universal App Campaigns.


Now you have the toolkit to head out into the YouTube advertising space and build yourself an array of successful campaigns! Only thing left is to get cracking on producing your killer ads!


Struggling to deliver results with your YouTube ads? Contact us today for an obligation FREE consultation and we'll show you how we can help!


[1] Google commissioned Nielsen custom fusion study. Desktop, mobile and TV fusion. TV measurement of television distribution sources and total minutes watched. Reach among persons 18-49. Light TV viewers represent the bottom tercile of total TV watchers based on total minutes viewed. October 2017.

[2] Cisco. VNI Global Fixed & Mobile Internet Traffic Forecasts (2016)

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