Millions of users visit YouTube for information and entertainment every day. In December 2014, Google conducted a study that discovered a unique audience of more than 102 million viewers watched at least one video per month, equating to more than 654 million hours of video watching; meaning the average person is watching roughly 6 hours and 23 minutes of YouTube videos each month. With more than 20 billion videos being watched in a given month, it makes sense to leverage YouTube as a means of reaching consumers.
So how do we go about doing this exactly? Well for starters, we need to figure out what we’re trying to accomplish. YouTube can be a great way to build brand awareness. In essence, YouTube videos are taking over as the most watched media in the US, while traditional media buys (such as commercials) are losing traction. This makes YouTube a great candidate to reach a viewer in the same ways a commercial on TV would, with the huge benefit of being able to highly tailor the desired demographic targeting. With beauty products for instance, we can advertise a product exclusively to women who have shown interest in hair and beauty products. While YouTube can generated leads and sales, it’s most effective to locate and educate your desired audience with a rich video learning experience. If direct response is the goal and there is a limited budget, we’ll want to hyper-target our audience using a variety of in-market segments, affinity audiences, interests, demographics, and potentially retargeting.
So once we’ve established the goals, we’ll need to understand how the YouTube Ad Network functions. YouTube serves two types of ads: In-Stream ads and In-Display ads. In-Stream ads act as a “pre-roll” and they are shown before a user-selected video is played. These are usually skippable after 5 seconds, but if the video we’re advertising is 15 seconds or less, YouTube will sometimes make that un-skippable media. These ads work as a true CPV (cost per view) model, meaning that we’ll only get charged when a user watches our video for 30 seconds or until the entire video is watched (which ever event occurs first).
In-Stream Ad Example:
In-Display ads appear as a thumbnail ad with supplementing text in the search results page on YouTube or in the right-rail when we are watching a video. With these ads, we’ll only pay when someone clicks on the ad to watch the video or visit our YouTube channel. It’s important to distinguish that banner ads ARE NOT set up with YouTube advertising. That can be achieved using the Google Display Network, which feeds into YouTube’s network as a placement.
In-Display Ad Example:
In-Search Ad Example:
Now that we have a basic understanding of what YouTube can accomplish and we’ve identified some of its limitations, we can now strategize and launch some campaigns with realist goals/expectations. If your brand has had difficulty increasing its exposure and you are looking for a new way to reach audiences, YouTube advertising may just be the thing you need.