YouTube Ads: The New Advertising El Dorado
Do you know what the second largest search engine is? I’ll give you a second to Ask Jeeves for the answer to that little bit of trivia.
YouTube. The second largest search engine after Google, YouTube is the de facto leader in online video — and its reach, accessibility, and insights offer unique opportunities and, therefore, can attract more advertisers. With YouTube campaigns, Adwords advertisers can easily manage and display their ads, increasing their reach and gaining more insights than ever regarding audience behaviour. According to recent research, more than half of the 18-to-49 year old demographic YouTube viewers said that they have watched the Google-owned video platform on their TV, contributing to the over 1 billion hours of YouTube viewing that occurs — in a single day! YouTube’s supremacy has turned it into a modern gold rush, attracting more and more greedy advertisers looking to capitalize. But beyond its strong growth, YouTube ads have many advantages over conventional TV commercials.
On television, an advertisement targets a certain audience according to the time and the program featured. The target is presumed, and an impact is estimated. Did you ever wonder why they were called “soap operas”? Well, they were essentially paid for by the cleaning companies who targeted the housewives during the afternoon; and during breaks in the program, commercials for all of the latest cleaning products inundated the viewers. And that worked well at the time, but demographics have shifted drastically and that sort of targeting is imprecise at best, and completely outdated at worst. With digital video advertising, targeting is much more focused. Advertisers can decide to target people on multiple criteria, such as demographics, interests, and queries. Not to mention the ability to exclude targets.
YouTube launched TrueView half a decade ago. This new YouTube advertising format allowed users to choose whether they wanted to see the ad or not to see it, thanks to the “skip ad” button. The advertiser, whose ad was in question, only paid when the user viewed the ad, not per click as with traditional pay-per-click advertising. Another advantage for advertisers, which would force them to optimize their ads, was that a high rate of viewing would result in reduced costs per viewer. Initially, this project didn’t thrill a wide range of advertisers, for a reason that seemed obvious before the benefits of TrueView were apparent: why would a viewer choose, deliberately, to watch an ad if they didn’t have to? But TrueView proved its detractors wrong, and showed that by targeting, in the most fair and direct way, that advertisers could achieve stronger results. With the average viewing time increasing, having a 30 second ad could increase product awareness and increase subsequent organic traffic.
In considering the type of content you wish to advertise, the industry typically focuses on three distinct philosophies, or types of content:
- Hero Content: This is the specific content most familiar to marketers. The content is meant to be inspiring, and rich in meaning. It is usually promoted over a short period of time, and is meant to excite its targeted demographic about a product or event.
- Hub Content: This content is meant to raise brand awareness in certain circles, increasing your brand’s visibility and reach, and inciting excitement in a target audience. The content is more traditional and engaging, e.g. a brand’s story, or interviews with “real customers”.
- Help Content: Customers are constantly looking for information regarding a product, or issues surrounding a product. So pieces of media such as explanatory videos, product reviews, and step-by-step guides, would all fall under the umbrella of help content.
So, What’s On the Menu?
The first few seconds of your YouTube ads are absolutely crucial. That’s when you must hook your target. Depending on your video’s means and objectives, it is possible to utilize all three formats. The three most common YouTube ad formats, in no particular order, are:
- In-Stream videos: This format places your video before, during, or after another video on YouTube. Viewers will see a minimum of 5 seconds of a video, which is why that initial hook is so important. If you haven’t piqued their attention in the first 5 seconds, they will surely click the “skip ad” button.
- In-Search: In-Search advertising aims to show your videos at the top of YouTube’s search results page, based on the keyword searched.
- In-Display: This format displays a banner next to or on the video being viewed, directing to your video. This is especially useful for generating traffic to your website when advertising a special offer or promotion.
Once your campaign is launched, you will benefit from valuable data about both your message and target, based on the types of users who click, interact, and even convert, on your site. These are the types of insights that advertisers dream of, helping to narrow down targeting and both reach and crush your marketing goals. This information will benefit your other communication channels, help you narrow down audience lists specific to YouTube, and aid in the planning and implementation of a remarketing strategy — building off of what you know works.
Much like El Dorado was thought to be a place of immense opportunity, YouTube offers far more tools, and precise targeting, than traditional TV advertising. So while your more traditional advertising avenues will help you find those golden leads downstream, it never hurts to move to upstream a bit and see how something like YouTube advertising will pan out — especially if your downstream leads are starting to dry up. Not to mention, it can be layered into your existing online advertising efforts via your AdWords account. And if you don’t already have an AdWords account, well, we think it’s high time we had that conversation.