Arpit is a Digital Media Director at Vovia. When he isn't helping manage the Vovia India Team, you will find him in the mountains, dancing and watching cricket...not necessarily at the same time.

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YouTube Ads – What you Need to Know

YouTube growth over the past few years has been steady to say the least. As of 2021, YouTube stats suggest there are approximately 1.86 billion YouTube users worldwide, up from 1.47 billion in 2017 (Statista, 2021). Not only do YouTube Ads offer a highly visual ad experience with proven reach into Gen Z demographics, but it has also shown extremely efficient media results when well optimized with strong creative.

YouTube app on phone screen

What are the benefits of YouTube Ads?

YouTube advertising presents a fantastic opportunity for marketers. There are many benefits to advertising with YouTube, including: 

YouTube advertising can be targeted to your specific audience

We can target audiences based on their specific browsing habits and behaviours, including Google and YouTube search patterns, specific YouTube channels, or even related categories. Layering audiences that have watched a set % of a video and giving them more intent or purchase advertising is another way to get the most out of this segmentation and is particularly valuable for remarketing. In fact, we can also target folks that view our videos on the Google Display Network (GDN) or Discovery for deeply targeted remarketing strategies.

YouTube advertising allows you to connect with your audience through meaningful creative

When it comes to advertising on YouTube, creativity and quality of creative is critical. Beyond that, more functional elements such as the video length, message/branding placements, and unique selling propositions must all be considered in order to keep your audience engaged throughout the video to help you stay top of mind as a brand.

YouTube advertising metrics are measurable for all ad types

The following metrics can be measured directly:

  1. CPV (Cost Per View) or CPCV (Cost Per Completed View)
  2. Percentage of people who have watched a video (25%, 50% , 75% and 100% )
  3. Media metrics – Impressions, Cost Per Click, and Average CPC

Beyond these direct measurements, it’s always good to keep eyes on things like Organic/Direct traffic to your site, and branded search queries as this will be an indicator and proxy of the awareness working for you and your company. 

YouTube advertising delivers timely results

Once the campaigns are running, YouTube can help you gain video views immediately. However, we must keep in mind that the best way to achieve results in terms of brand awareness is to have a long enough run and large enough budget to ensure that we get fruitful results in terms of brand scale up via search or direct. We can help you with these bits if you’re not sure where to start!

YouTube Ads Formats and Opportunities

Lead Generation or Reach: Skippable In-Stream Ads

Sales, leads, traffic, product and brand consideration, as well as brand awareness and reach are all included in YouTube TrueView format. The ideal aim is established based on the ad formats or bid strategy.

  • If your goal is to drive website traffic and conversions, you should consider using TrueView for Action and an automated bidding strategy.
  • TrueView for Reach is a great option as well if you have a product that appeals to a broad audience and you want to raise brand or product awareness en masse. This format offers you the option to switch from CPV bidding (cost per view) to CPM bidding (cost per 1,000 impressions), and your ad must be between 6 and 30 seconds long.

Brand Consideration: YouTube Discovery Ads

Discovery ads are excellent for building product and brand awareness because when a viewer clicks on your ad, they will be directed to your YouTube channel, where they may watch the video linked with it. You pay per click, but a click to watch the video counts as a view with Discovery as well. While you can add CTA overlays to the video itself, YouTube Discovery ads are great for enticing visitors to watch the video and helping learn about your product instead in a more visual and experiential way, as opposed to going straight to the website.

Message/Brand Reinforcement: YouTube Bumper Ads

Clients who want to hype up a product launch, promotion, or reinforce a message from a longer TrueView ad should consider YouTube Bumper Ads. You can also use ad sequencing to tell a more involved brand story by stringing together many bumper ads as moving audiences through the sequence. Bumpers are the shortest form of YouTube video ad, lasting only six seconds but due to this length, they are not skippable.

Brand Awareness and Brand Building: Premium Non-Skippable Ads & Mastheads

Non-skippable ads are essentially YouTube’s version of broadcast TV commercials and are typically reserved for larger advertisers ready to spend large budgets in order to raise brand and product awareness. Non-skippable ads can run before, during, or after the video, and are excellent for grabbing the attention of viewers as a captive audience. Google shows these 15 to 20-second ads when they think people are most likely to watch them, and you buy/pay for these per thousand views.

The YouTube ‘Masthead’ is designed for clients who desire maximum brand exposure to the general public, as well as a premium placement on the YouTube homepage. Brands utilize these to raise brand recognition and gain the benefit of increasing brand searches over a short period of time. They can also leverage audience data from this placement/number of views to remarket to individuals who saw the ad during the masthead campaign for future offers or over the season.

Getting the Most Out of YouTube

There are various ways to optimize YouTube campaigns if the view rate is low. Advertisers can change their targeting or bidding strategies, narrow the market with custom audiences or first-party data, and more. Sometimes it’s also important to be really objective and critical with your creative. Does this video speak to my market? Is it compelling? Is my message clear and concise? Sometimes tweaking the video creative, or even altering the video duration makes a world of difference. 

Bumper Ads and shorter duration video ads’ important metrics for success include brand search growth or awareness impact more than video view, view rate, or video completions.

Measure the Success of YouTube Ads

YouTube Advertising helps you track plenty of advertising metrics to measure if your campaign was successful or not in terms of targeting and creativity.

Direct metrics like View Rate, Video Completion Rate, Video Views are the primary metrics offered in the platform for awareness campaigns. We also like to calculate the views and completed views against the media spend to arrive at a cost/view or cost/completed view result.  If you are running True View for Action, you will also have access to CTR and Conversion metrics. 

An important aspect that is often overlooked when running awareness campaigns, is the trend or change in search volume for your brand on Google. Strategically sound awareness campaigns should drive increased brand interest, which essentially should result in more search volume for your brand over time. Another great proxy to keep eyes on are your organic and direct traffic sources in your website analytics as those often see good lift when running strong awareness campaigns as well. 

YouTube Famous

In Summary, YouTube is a highly efficient and effective channel for video advertising with a variety of different options and strategies available to marketers. We have seen great success using this channel for a variety of clients in many different verticals and will continue to leverage this channel for the foreseeable future.

What is your favourite YouTube campaign, format, or strategy? Contact our team if you are looking for help picking the right solution for your business.