How to Run a YouTube Ad – and Best Practices for Creating the Content!

Video marketing is having a moment…a moment that’s going on three years. Video content was the fastest growing method of advertisement in 2012 according to the strategic marketing agency, Insivia. And it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down. This is likely due to the unrivaled success associated with visual ads. Insivia’s research goes on to suggest that viewers are proven to retain over 95 percent of the information expressed through a video, while they may only absorb around 10 percent through reading. So how do you use this marketing tactic to your benefit? You can certainly create awesome content for your social media pages and blog. But another great way to get your brand in front of an even more receptive audience is to run a YouTube ad. Here’s how:

Ads most often appear before YouTube videos. The viewer has the option to continue watching the ad or skip it after a few mandatory seconds of viewing. By using Google AdWords in combination with your campaign, you can take advantage of this technique and ensure your ad appears before content that’s relevant to your target audience.

While a poorly-run campaign can prove to be annoying in the eyes of viewers, leading to lots of skips, a good campaign will provide information, interest or entertainment to viewers, leading to potential interaction and increasing your traffic.

How to Run a YouTube Ad

If you already have your video ready to upload, the process of setting up a YouTube ad is fairly simple. First, you’ll need to upload the video to your YouTube account, then log into your Google AdWords account and create a new Online Video Campaign.

You’ll be given a number of options, such as delivery, networks, language and ad scheduling, all of which are easy to select through the provided form.

Once the basics are set, the quality and value of your advertisement may depend on your targeting options. You’ll be able to select your demographic groups based on their age, gender, location, language, previously viewed videos, interests, keywords or previous visits to your website, along with video placements on YouTube and Google’s Display Network. Then choose the categories users within your demographic are likely to view.

You’ll also need to sync your YouTube account to AdSense, as you will also be paid any due revenue through your AdSense account. This also opens up a broader range of analytical data, allowing you to keep track of your campaign.

Finally, ensure your ads are enabled for monetization. After uploading the video, select the “Monetization” tab (located on the upload page) and check the “Monetize my Video” box.

Select your format and press save changes. Your video will be reviewed by YouTube staff who may require further information regarding commercial licensing.

The “Monetize my Video” box can also be checked through the video itself. Open the video’s page, then click the “Edit” or “$” button. The check box will appear, selected, save changes and you’re all set.

How to Create a Great YouTube Ad

Just because you’ve checked off boxes in Google AdWords, doesn’t mean that your ad will appeal to your demographic – that’s all in the content. Your goal should be to create a video that makes it clear who you’re marketing to and what you’re trying to market. And if it isn’t engaging, there’s nothing to prevent viewers from clicking ‘Skip Ad’ as soon as the mandatory five seconds are up.

Keep in mind though that if a viewer skips your ad, you won’t be charged for the ad. These are known as Cost Per View (CPV) ads, where the advertiser pays a fee determined by the number of views. A view is counted when a user watches an ad for 30 seconds or 50 percent of the ad – whichever comes first.

You might be thinking that your business doesn’t have the budget or skills necessary to create quality video ads. But there are a number of easily accessible tools that can help you create video that looks professional enough to compete with the pros.

There are online production tools such as Animoto, GoAnimate and PowToon that allow users to create simple yet attractive videos without the need for expensive or complicated software. Prices range from free (although these may feature the site’s branding) to monthly subscriptions totaling a couple of hundred dollars each year.

You can also work with a digital advertising agency that has a video capabilities to create a very professional and clean ad. Often agencies like this will be able to manage your video advertising as well, taking the whole thing virtually off your plate.

No matter which method you choose, keep these three things in mind for optimum effectiveness:

  • Keeping it short. About a minute is good. That will allow you to get the basics across without losing the viewer’s attention. Remember, even if they enjoy your content, they’re still waiting to start the video they originally intended to watch.
  • Don’t make it feel too much like a commercial. Try to keep the user engaged by providing light entertainment as you outline the benefits of your service. Remain innovative and get creative with your ideas. Viewers will be grateful to see something different and be more likely to keep watching as a result.
  • Finally, you may want to combine your video with a 300 x 60 banner image to boost the likelihood of your web traffic increasing from the ad.

Video advertising continues to be an effective part of online marketing, so there’s no reason not to get started straight away and promote your business to the one billion users who visit YouTube each day.

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