The key to success on YouTube is not only to produce great, relevant videos, but also to make sure your target audience sees them. In this section, we'll guide you through cost-effective strategies to help you get the most out of paid and earned video views and ensure effective promotion of your content on YouTube.
Please Note: All the strategies outlined here require you to pay for your own advertising. To get started with paid promotion, contact your Google sales representative.
Ignite Earned Media With Paid Media
Given the abundance of videos on the web, it's risky to assume that your content will be organically discovered by a large audience. It is key to design a solid plan to promote your content and ensure it's viewed by your target audience.
Virality plays a key role in building your audience on YouTube, but unless you already have millions of subscribers, you'll need to seed your content when it launches. Indeed, when they don't have an existing subscriber base or engaged social following, many brands use paid advertising on YouTube to ignite sharing and accelerate audience building.
The YouTube platform allows you to optimize your investment in paid media by activating the virtuous circle that links Owned Media (your video content), Paid Media (paid video advertising) and Earned Media ("free" views obtained when people share the video ads).
One major benefit of advertising on YouTube? Earned impact.
It is not uncommon to see campaigns generate at least one earned view as a result of every two paid views. And we know the YouTube audience isn't shy about sharing brand content: Three in four YouTube users agree that "If there is a brand I love, I tend to tell everyone about it."
Indeed hundreds of campaigns get more than two earned views per paid view.
Optimize Your Video for Paid Promotion
Before you start paying to promote your videos, make sure they're well-optimized for online advertising. Here are some tips for creating compelling video ads that take advantage of the online ecosystem.
- Make the first five seconds count. After this the user can skip your ad. Convince them to stay!
- Keep it short. Shoot for 30-60 seconds.
- Show viewers what you're all about. Include clips of your content and make the ad in the same style as the content on your channel.
- Use calls to action. Tell users exactly what you want them to do after watching your ad: subscribe, engage or watch more.
- Give users time to take action. The last ten seconds or more of your video should give users time to click. Create a static call to action in an end-card.
- Give your video ad a real title. Ad titles are visible to the user, so don't call it an ad. Use this space to double-down on your call to action and name it something like subscribe to my channel.
- Upload a compelling thumbnail. Use clear, interesting and creative thumbnails to entice users to click on your video ad.
- The images selected to represent your videos or playlists on the site.
Choose the Right Promotion for Each Content Type
Intent-based vehicles for help content
Help content answers main search queries related to your brand or category. Promote this content with always-on campaigns that make sure users see your ad when searching. TrueView in-display is especially well-adapted to help content.
In-display ads are a tailored, "hand raiser" format in which the advertiser accurately answers the very question a potential customer is asking.
Targeted ads for hub content
Hub content is regular, scheduled content that gives users a reason to return to your channel on a regular basis. Promote this content using in-stream ads targeted to the audience potentially most interested in your content.
If your hub content deals with specific subjects, select topic targeting or interest targeting for your ads. You can also use video remarketing to target users who've already shown interest in your content, such as viewing or liking your previous videos.
You can use TrueView in-stream ads or reserved in-stream ads. Both run before a video, but when you reserve in-stream ads, you can choose whether or not you want users to be able to skip your ad. In this case, you pay ahead of time per impression (rather than per "chosen" view).
Orchestrate a multi-channel campaign for hero content
When you need to drive a high volume of traffic to a one-of-a- kind hero event, you may want to complement your targeted TrueView promotion effort with reservation-based ads.
Reservation-based ads are a good fit for brands that need a guaranteed number of impressions within a specific time frame. The following formats allow you to reach a large audience and pay up front.
Leverage mastheads and mobile
The YouTube masthead is the dominant spot on the YouTube homepage and can be booked for 24 hours. It is a very powerful way to announce a hero event and reach a massive national audience. The cross-screen masthead runs on both YouTube desktop and mobile.
If you want to drive a specific audience to an event, consider combining video remarketing with TrueView. For example, if you want to target women who have previously engaged with your content to drive them to a fashion week event, use TrueView ads targeting women who have watched your videos or visited your website.
Turn Viewers Into Subscribers
Are you generating lots of views but not a lot of subscriptions? Turn these one-off viewers into long-term channel fans. Our internal data show that when subscribers view your content, they watch for twice as long as users who watch your content but are not subscribed to your channel.
- Create a remarketing list of all users who have viewed a channel video.
- Create another list of all users who have subscribed to your channel.
- Combine these lists in a "custom combination" that targets all viewers who have viewed a video but are not yet subscribers.
Create a channel trailer in which you remind your viewers why they watched your videos in the first place, and include a very clear call to action to subscribe. Promote this trailer as a TrueView in-stream ad.
To drive subscriptions with your in-stream ad, use this as your destination url: www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_ user=[insert your channel here].
Measure Your Results
Measuring with AdWords for video
To unlock key campaign performance metrics in Adwords for video, link your Adwords and YouTube accounts. Then, in AdWords for video, enable the "audience" columns to see the number of:
- Earned views. The number of videos a user watched after having seen your ad.
- Follow-on subscribers. The number of users who subscribed after having seen your video ad.
Other success metrics are available in Adwords for video, including conversion, reach, frequency and website clicks.
Measuring with YouTube Analytics
- Implement a solid, targeted promotional plan to accelerate your audience building. Ignite earned media by leveraging paid media.
- Use the TrueView ad format to put your content in front of the most interested audience. You will only pay when someone watches your video.
- Target your ads broadly at first. Narrow your reach (using custom combinations) after you've gathered data about who's watching you.
- Optimize your video for paid promotion using our tips.
- Turn viewers into subscribers to maximize your channel's watch time.
- Measure your success! Gather data in YouTube Analytics and AdWords for video.