Knowing what you want to achieve is an important first step for any successful YouTube marketing strategy, and it’s no different when it comes to launching an advertising campaign. Whether you want to increase a video’s view count or drive viewers to off YouTube pages, having a clear objective at the outset will help you determine where, and how, to position your ads.
Pairing the right ad placements with your specific objective is the most fundamental way to make sure you’re getting the most value out of your marketing budget. Here’s a brief guide that lays out which ad formats to use for some of the most common KPIs on YouTube.
Objective: Increasing a video’s view count
Currently, there are three different kinds of TrueView ads to consider when looking to increase the view count for a specific video – “In-Stream,” “In-Search” and “In-Display.” (Note: starting later in Q2 of 2014, YouTube is combining the “In-Search” and “In-Display” formats under one name and calling the combination “In-Display”). All three types are able to increment the view count of a video when run as an ad, assuming the viewer stays around long enough based on the type of placement. Here are the distinctions to know:
1) TrueView In-Stream
These ads run as skippable pre-rolls before a given video. The view increment occurs when a user watches the ad for at least 30 seconds. If the user hits the “Skip Ad” button, or bounces off the page, no view will be registered.
2) TrueView In-Search
These ads will appear as promoted suggested videos in the search results page. Once a user clicks on the video link, the view will increment as soon as that video begins.
3) TrueView In-Display
These ads appear as promoted suggested videos in the related videos column. Like “In-Search,” the view increment is counted after a user has clicked on the video link and the video beings to play.
Bonus Objective: Build an audience on your channel
The TrueView ads can also help build an audience on your channel. If a user sees your content as a TrueView ad, they are more likely to visit your channel and watch additional content, garnering you “earned views” as a result of your “paid views.” Furthermore, if a user really enjoys your content, they will occasionally subscribe to your channel.
Objective: Driving conversions and visits to off YouTube pages
In addition to promoting content on YouTube channels, many publishers are increasing investment in YouTube as a promotional vehicle to introduce audiences to content that lives off of YouTube — setting aside promotional budgets to launch new shows, in much the same way as traditional TV debuts new shows. Here are the ads best used to drive those conversions:
1) Non-Skippable 15 second pre-rolls
These ads run before a given video with no skip option. They do not increment view counts on a video, but they have proven to be very “clicky” placements that can drive conversions – ticket sales, signups for a service, etc., and visits to an off YouTube domain. Many advertisers port 30 second TV ads straight to YouTube – just because a video is longer doesn’t mean that it is necessarily better, depending on your objective. For a direct response / conversion objective, we’ve found that 15 second spots consistently outperform 30 second ones.
2) 480×70 in video overlays (+300×250 companions)
These ads are specific to YouTube only and appear on the lower third of a video. They can support a 300×250 companion banner on the right side of the page as well. These ads are relatively inexpensive to run and can be especially effective when used against remarketing lists. As of now, overlays are limited to laptop/PC inventory only.
3) 300×250 display banners
These ads appear on the right side of the watch page, as seen in Ellen screenshot above. Most online marketers will have this unit created already, so they’re fine to use if it’s the only available creative. However, 480x70s are far more effective and can run the 300×250 alongside it for no additional cost. 300×250 banners are also limited to laptop/PC inventory only.
4) GDN Text Links
These ads appear throughout the Google Display Network (GDN) as contextual placements to complement a search. These ads are usually able to run at a low price point but don’t often drive conversions at scale.
So, before you charge headfirst into your first marketing campaign on YouTube, consider what your goals are and build your creative accordingly. Deciding where to focus your efforts becomes that much clearer, leading to more valuable results.
Get future posts delivered to your inbox