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As fall approaches, media planning season for the coming year is in full swing. Kate Stanford, director of YouTube Advertiser Marketing, shares four research-backed tips to help you make the most of your online video plan.

It's that time again. Love it or hate it, media planning season is here. As you begin conversations about the right marketing mix, online video is sure to play an integral role. More than half of U.S. agency and marketing professionals plan to increase their ad spend on desktop and mobile video next year.1

Mobile devices are driving a lot of this growth. As people watch virtually anywhere, anytime, and on any screen, brands have more opportunities than ever before to reach audiences on platforms like YouTube. So how can you effectively harness these opportunities and drive efficiency for your client or brand? Read on for four simple tips to guide your media planning process. 

1. Be mobile-minded

Despite its small screen, mobile helps brands build deeper personal connections and can deliver huge results. Our research found that viewers who watched an ad twice on mobile had a significant lift of 23% in unaided brand awareness and 47% in unaided ad recall on average.2

Media Planning Tips Online Video Advertising Inline 2 01

Recent analysis has also shown that mobile ads can help to significantly increase the reach of your campaign. For TrueView campaigns running on desktop and mobile simultaneously, on average 41% of the reach came from mobile only.3

The takeaway? Mobile ads can deliver profound impact. So now, more than ever, treat mobile video as an essential part of your media plan.

2. Optimize for your audience goals

TrueView helps you find audiences by giving viewers a choice in whether to view your ad, allowing you to reach the people who are most interested in hearing from your brand. And this pays off. On average, we've seen that viewers who completed at least one TrueView ad are 23X more likely to visit or subscribe to a brand channel, watch more by that brand, or share the brand video.4

For advertisers looking to reach audiences interested in specific content genres, we've found that content popularity and engagement levels matter. Our analysis of more than 5,500 Brand Lift studies showed that ads running against more engaging content had a higher potential for brand lift. Specifically, ads that played before videos with higher Preference Scores—i.e., a Google algorithm that ranks channels based on popularity and the passion of their fans—drove a higher lift in ad recall and brand awareness.5 In other words, brand lift increased with increasing Preference Score.

Lift in ad recall and brand awareness increases with increasing Preference Score

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  • Brand Lift

  • Confidence Interval

Google Preferred aggregates these channels into lineups, giving brands easy access to some of YouTube's most popular channels and their passionate fans. It also delivers significant extra reach to your TrueView campaigns; when we look at advertisers with similar levels of spending on Google Preferred and TrueView, we saw that the incremental reach added by Google Preferred over TrueView was 72% on average.6 To maximize brand impact on YouTube, use Google Preferred and TrueView together.

3. Add affinity targeting to demographic targeting

Connecting with the right audience at scale is essential to any media plan. While demographic targeting is an effective starting point, adding affinity targeting allows you to reach even more qualified, engaged audiences, based on their lifestyle, interests, and needs. It can also improve campaign performance.

We recently studied whether ads on mobile devices served with demographic and affinity targeting performed differently than when the same ads were served on mobile using demographic targeting alone. We found the following:

  • Higher levels of baseline brand awareness—i.e., ads served with demographic and affinity targeting reached people who were more aware of the brand.
  • Increased view-through rates—i.e., the number of times your video has been viewed, divided by the number of impressions you served. The people reached were more likely to be interested in watching the ad, rather than skipping it.
  • 5% higher relative lift in ad recall versus when the the same ads were served using demographic targeting alone.7 

YouTube offers more than 80 unique affinity audiences—such as Foodies and Do-It-Yourselfers—based on lifestyle and interests. Consider pairing this solution with your demographic parameters to optimize your online video advertising campaigns. 

4. Plan YouTube alongside TV

Finally, great video ads are only as powerful as their distribution plan. Deliver them across the platforms that will help maximize audience impact.

Third-party research has shown video campaigns that combine YouTube and TV placements can drive better brand results. Skippable ad formats saw significantly higher ad recall and brand awareness from one paid view on YouTube and one exposure on TV than from two exposures on TV.8 We also found that advertisers on prime time broadcast TV in the U.S. could have reached 56% more 18- to 49-year-olds by also advertising on YouTube.9 In other words, YouTube and TV can work powerfully together. Plan them alongside one another for optimal impact.

Hopefully these simple tips help make the hard work of planning season a little easier. For more planning resources on topics like consumer insights and trends, explore other planning tools from Google.