Performance Ads on YouTube: How NordVPN used Video to Drive 13K+ Conversions, 5X Cheaper than Search Campaigns

About NordVPN
Protects online security with Virtual Private Network
Provides VPN around the world and across devices
Founded in 2012
Goals
Test YouTube’s effectiveness in several markets
Drive conversions and increase brand presence and awareness
Approach
Customised video training with YouTube
Strong focus on specific KPIs
Align campaign spend with business goals
Results
13K+ conversions in 30 days
On average 5-7 times lower Cost Per Acquisition
Significant lift in ad recall, consideration and brand awareness resulting in a further boost in branded Search traffic

YouTube is where the world goes to watch video. And with more than a billion worldwide viewers, there are more opportunities to reach more people in the moments that matter most.

NordVPN was concerned with the effectiveness of video when it came to online conversions, but after working with Google, the company launched a highly successful YouTube campaign that delivered more conversions and pushed down the Cost Per Acquisition.

As one of the most trusted VPN service providers, NordVPN delivers secure Internet connections to over four million people around the world. The growing public interest in online security means that the company has significant market potential.

In a bid to reach new users, the company was relying heavily on Search, focusing on high value markets including USA, Australia, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, and Scandinavia.

Despite video’s increasing popularity, NordVPN had concerns with the alignment of ad spend and concrete business goals. Like many brands, the company had had bad experiences with video campaigns and were under the impression that video could only build brand awareness and measure reach—falling short of the hard conversions they wanted.

Trackable conversions has transformed video into a more effective tool for marketers. It’s that simple.

After an initial short meeting with Google to discuss a range of products, NordVPN’s Chief Marketing Officer, Marty P. Kamden, and its Paid Media team were invited to attend a special YouTube training session.

During the session the team explored how YouTube could help them take advantage of performance video ads, reach more users, and secure more customers. The session’s biggest challenge was to show NordVPN that video advertising had changed and that tracking ROI was now possible.

Today’s YouTube videos allow for more user interaction than ever before. New video formats like TrueView for action allow marketers to not only target potential customers with interactive content like sign ups and polls, but also measure performance across devices. Trackable conversions has transformed video into a more effective tool for marketers. It’s that simple.

TwG CEE -Nord VPN_1600x879_v2a.png
YouTube doesn’t just entertain, it educates.

It’s thanks to these new video formats and the fact that more people are using the platform to research topics that 100% more conversions have been tracked on YouTube in the past 12 months than the previous 12 months.

YouTube doesn’t just entertain, it educates. People go to YouTube to learn. And with users researching issues like Internet privacy by actively searching for topics like “what is a VPN?”, YouTube was an ideal platform for NordVPN to run ads.

The Google team worked alongside NordVPN and managed to showcase the benefits of performance ads and how the team could easily adapt existing TV ads to quickly roll out effective campaigns on YouTube.

Just two weeks after the customised training session, NordVPN began running video ads on YouTube in five markets, including Nordics and Canada.

In 30 days the campaigns delivered 13,000 conversions that were on average 5-7 times cheaper

The results speak for themselves. In 30 days the campaigns delivered more than 13,000 conversions that were on average 5-7 times cheaper than their target Cost Per Acquisition in Search and Display ads. Alongside the trackable conversions, the campaigns delivered a significant lift in ad recall and brand awareness in the target markets.

The campaigns’ success also transformed NordVPN’s team. The company hired a full time video curator who is responsible for the content on their YouTube Channel, while a member of their PPC team was appointed to focus on YouTube advertising. “We were skeptical about video at first, but finding ways to measure the results has changed everything. Now it’s an integral part of our digital marketing portfolio,” said Kamden.

Video advertising has changed. It’s no longer just about brand awareness and reach. It has become an effective and easy-to-use tool for performance campaigns.

The lesson learned is that although some performance marketers can be initially skeptical of using video for customer conversion—hearts, minds and budgets can be changed by sitting down, and showing them how video advertising has evolved.

“We were skeptical about video at first, but finding ways to measure the results has changed everything. Now it’s an integral part of our digital marketing portfolio.”
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