YouTube Advertising for Small Business

Since Google introduced pay-per-click (PPC) ads, the price of each click as steadily increased. I bet you didn’t know you could pay less than 10 cents for a click in its early days. Now, the same is true with Google’s TrueView Video ads (YouTube video ads). Yep – it’s the wild wild west out there, with cost-per-views at lower than $0.15, because so many people have yet to try it out and many others don’t even know it exists. But with the prominence of online video across all target audiences, you don’t want to be one of these people.

Those that do know about the power of online video, argue about what really constitutes a view. With such chaos out there in terms of ad units and video content,  advertisers have no clue what is being counted as a view for their campaign – it could be just that someone loaded a page with your video on it – that not only makes reporting a nightmare, but it also has you second-guessing online video to begin with.

But there’s a HUGE need to engage with users with video:

  • Over 1 billion unique users visit YouTube every month.
  • 500 years worth of YouTube video is watched every day on Facebook
  • Over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter each minute.

It’s clear that brands can’t afford not to engage with users using this format, especially when 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual.

And we haven’t even considered video’s impact on search.With the awareness you can achieve with online video ads, search inevitably increases and as search increases, the more likely someone is to engage with your video. The two types of campaigns can work harmoniously to increase brand recall and drive traffic to your website.

So what are brands to do? Travel into the wild wild west of online video ads on their own, hoping & praying that their videos are served the impressions they paid for? Doesn’t sound appealing.

Enter Google TrueView Video ads, controlled by your Google Adwords interface.

With YouTube’s ads your views are guaranteed – you only pay for “true views.” This means you’re only charged for a view when a user has watched at least 30 seconds of your video and you pay zilch if that user clicks through to your landing page after viewing your content. In fact, YouTube video ads are proven to drive 20% increase in traffic to a company’s landing page and a 5% increase in search for that business (Google Insights).

So to get started here is some information about the different TrueView video ad formats and YouTube’s targeting capabilities.

There are four different types of TrueView Ads:

  • TrueView In-Search: Viewers see your ad above or net to YouTube’s search results when they search for content related to your video. In my experience, users are looking for pretty specific videos – so unless you’re dead on with the search keywords and video, it’s going to cost a little more and not be as successful as In-Stream video ads.

  • TrueView In-Display: Viewers can click the display ad to watch the video in the ad or a YouTube Channel Page.


  • TrueView In-Stream (cheapest CPV’s): Ad plays and viewers can skip after 5 seconds. If you want to drive traffic to a landing page, use this format. You’re able to create call-to-action overlays on your ad that prompt users to click through to your site – something you can’t do with any of the other formats.

  • TrueView In-Slate: Before a video plays, viewers choose to watch one of three ads, or to see regular commercial breaks during the video. This one isn’t so prevalent anymore, as videos are shorter & shorter.

YouTube Targeting Capabilities

With online video ads there are additional targeting considerations according to the different ad formats. Aside from geography, age and demographics, TrueView video ads can be targeted to people based on the types of content they watch or the types of content they’re searching. Below are the different categories:

  • Categories – These are categories to target users who are on a page or viewing a video about a specific topic (e.g. Cooking & Recipes, Soups & Stews, etc.).
  • Topics – These are categories to target users interested in specific topics, even when they may be visiting pages or watching videos about other topics (e.g. Cooking Enthusiasts, Savvy Parents, Foodies, etc.).
  • Placements –  These are specific YouTube videos and/or channels on which to place your video ads (e.g. How to Make Shrimp Scampi, What’s for Dinner Thursday, etc.).
  • Search Keywords – This targeting works much like regular PPC, when a user searches a word or video that’s in your Keyword List, your video ad is shown as a sponsored result.

Once you set up your campaign, all you have to do is sit back and watch… literally.


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