You know all about the marketing power of online video generally. You know how video content is currently estimated to account for more than 50% of all data transfer across the Internet, how live video sharing platforms are cropping up like weeds, how video content is now the consumer-preferred media across all demographics in virtually all subjects and for virtually all purposes.
And you know online video is here in a big way. But did you know, it’s about to get a whole lot bigger?
YouTube, of course, has long been the undisputed king of online video. Again, the statistics are so well known they hardly bear repeating: YouTube is the second biggest search engine by search volume after Google, three minutes of video are uploaded to the site every second, over one billion unique users around the globe are active YouTube users…
It’s kind of a big deal.
Many businesses and marketers have seen the growth in online video and the gargantuan size of the YouTube platform and determined that their best best was jumping in the ring, producing their own video content in an attempt to knock out the competition. It’s not a bad strategy, especially if you can create some really original, compelling videos for a highly-targeted audience. But even then you’re at the mercy of your competitors and your often-fickle YouTube viewers, and consistently producing high-quality videos is harder—and more resource-intensive—than it looks.
Amazingly, many businesses get so wrapped up in the potential of producing their own video content that they lose sight of one of the best ways to take advantage of YouTube’s immense content and viewer load: YouTube ads.
Text-based ads that pop-up during YouTube videos are cheap, but only minimally effective. Where you really want focus are on video ads that pre-roll before the primary content each YouTube visitor is after. Carefully targeted and constructed YouTube pre-roll ads can generate TONS of qualified traffic to any business, and can deliver higher conversion rates than many other channels and tactics. And just how can you be sure you’re doing them right? Keep reading!
1. Generating (Almost) Free Leads
The first step in securing massive growth from YouTube ads is understanding the cost-per-view or CPV model of ad pricing the platform uses. Typical CPV rates range from $0.02 to $0.28 depending on the demographics and keywords you’re targeting—each time your ad plays, the appropriate amount is deducted from your AdWords account until you reach your daily or campaign limit. You pay the same whether a viewer clicks or not; a view is a view is a view.
But here’s the thing: YouTube gives viewers the chance to skip your ad after five second, and only counts it as a view if the viewer watches more than 30 seconds of your pre-roll (which can be as long as you want it, within reason). If the viewer leaves the video before then—even if it’s because they clicked on your ad and were taken to your site—you don’t pay for the ad view.
If you can get someone to click a link on your pre-roll video ad before 30 seconds are up, you just earned yourself a targeted, qualified, already-interested lead for free! Well, free in that you didn’t have to pay for that specific lead; you’re paying for the campaign overall, to be fair, but it’s still a pretty sweet deal.
Of course, you need to make sure you include a clickable link early on in your ad for this trick to work. You also need an ad that convinces the right users to click as soon as possible, which brings us to Tip #2.
2. Video Ads That Work With YouTube’s Rules
Some advertisers get bothered by the rules, and we love it—that means they’re more likely to get frustrated and screw up, which makes it all the easier for savvier marketers to swoop in and capture attention. Instead of bemoaning the fact that YouTube allows users to skip ahead to content after five seconds of most pre-roll ads, take advantage of it.
Find a way that is guaranteed to capture their attention the second your ad starts playing. Even if they don’t click over to your site, and even if they do skip ahead to the video they wanted, they’ll remember your brand the next time you pop up.
After you capture their attention initially, you still only have a short time to gain your viewer’s trust. The way you do that is the same as it is with all other marketing: you deliver value, With YouTube ads, you need to deliver that value quickly, confidently, and with a fair amount of entertainment value to boot. Get goofy, be outlandish, don’t brag about your Lamborghinis… Know your audience before you make your ad, and make sure it delivers information they need in a credible yet approachable fashion.
Engage them. Respect the fact that your ad is keeping them from the content they clicked on, and work with that fact rather than against it. Give them the entertainment they were looking for and the info they weren’t but needed anyway, and you’ll leap over that trust barrier like it wasn’t even there.
3. Understanding Your YouTube Ad’s Place in Your Funnel
You might be surprised how quickly viewers leap from a well-timed, well-constructed YouTube ad straight to a conversion, but you can’t count on even the best ads to do the job of an entire sales funnel. To really take advantage of YouTube’s advertising power, make sure you have a well-built system in place for taking initial clicks and turning them into ongoing sales.
In other words, have a solid landing page that transitions straight from your YouTube ad, with the same look, feel, and information that got them to click in the first place. Follow up any sale or email opt-in (or both!) with a Thank You page, and be sure to put any non-converts into a remarketing list for display ads and—you guessed it—more YouTube ads.
It’s the circle of life, and YouTube is a great place to witness the miracle.