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YouTube Ads: Getting Started

Video marketing has quickly become the centerpiece of digital marketing. It’s the most engaging content form online, and shrinking production costs have lowered the barrier of entry. Businesses of all sizes can incorporate video marketing into their overall strategy. But video content can be shoehorned into landing pages or remote pages on company websites.

Marketers stand to reap huge benefits from placing ads on video-specific platforms like YouTube. It’s the second most trafficked website in the world behind its parent company, Google, and it’s only growing. YouTube is making a concerted effort to make its platform hospitable to advertisers.

The fact that YouTube is owned by Google makes it an incredibly attractive platform for advertisers. It’s directly integrated with Google AdWords—the industry standard for digital advertising—but each click is much cheaper than Google Search ads, so you’re able to cast a wide net for cheap on YouTube. YouTube also uses Google search data to develop its expansive and precise targeting tools. It allows you to target based on existing affinity categories, such as News, Technology, and Travel, or you can create your custom affinity categories using keywords.

Getting started With YouTube ads

To get started with YouTube advertising, you should familiarize yourself with the different formats that are available to advertisers. Most people will be familiar with in-stream ads, which play before—and are often related to—the content of the main video. In-stream ads can vary in length. They can be as short as twelve seconds or as long as six minutes; anything above twenty seconds will have to be a skippable ad. YouTube also gives opportunities to advertisers to place ads during long videos, not just before they play. Discovery Ads are similar to sponsored search ads on Google. When users input a search, your video will appear above the organic results, and in the “related videos” section on certain videos. Lastly, bumper ads are quick, non-skippable videos. Since they have to be six seconds or less, bumper ads can’t be the “big rock” of your video campaign, however, they make a great addition to a larger campaign.

Tips & Tricks

Youtube’s native ad platform is all-inclusive: you can create a campaign, choose your format, and determine budget limits, placement, targeting options, and scheduling. However, as is the case with most digital advertising platforms, with a wealth of options available, success depends on your use of these tools.

A successful YouTube campaign begins with you clearly defining your goal: do you want to boost views, engagement, conversions, or build your brand? By clearly defining your goal, you’ll be able to choose metrics to track, so that you can recognize what’s working and what’s not.

Several details can make-or-break a campaign. For instance, a custom thumbnail for your video that sums up the content of the video while still enticing viewers to click can help net views for your discovery ad. Another lesser-known feature of YouTube ads is the YouTube card, a small expandable window that you can use to advertise other videos, link to an external landing page, or drive purchases. Lastly, a YouTube end slate—a buffer that appears at the end of your videos with opportunities to engage further or check out other content—can net further viewership and gives your video a professional finish.

Putting it all together

YouTube is where viewers go to see great content from all different kinds of creators—brands, influencers, and regular people. Therefore, the YouTube audience is a highly receptive one. It would be a shame to invest in the production of a video, or a video series and to only make it available on your site. In a sense, by producing the video, you’ve already done the heavy lifting. By circulating your video using YouTube ads, you’ll be able to multiply your viewership exponentially for a very low cost compared to other digital marketing platforms, while identifying audiences you may not even know you had.

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