YouTube is a big business. There are over a billion people — that’s almost a third of all internet users — watching hundreds of millions of hours of YouTube videos every day.
Clearly, YouTube’s TrueView ad platform presents a massive opportunity for marketers and brands. Campaigns in TrueView are set up and managed using AdWords, which makes it versatile in terms of targeting settings and ad formats. Not to mention, ads are less intrusive from a viewer's perspective. The benefits of using TrueView as an ad platform are abundant.
The two main options for running campaigns are in-stream ads (usually linking to your website and offering additional calls-to-action), which are shown before or during a video, and in-display ads (usually linking to a video) targeting keywords, which appear in the search results or in the side panel next to videos.
There are multiple advantages of running TrueView ads as part of your inbound marketing strategy, including:
1) YouTube advertising is young and low cost
The relatively low cost of advertising on YouTube, in its infancy stage, means you can test out the flexible campaign settings and targeting options at your liberty. In contrast, when TrueView ads become more expensive in the future, advertisers will spend more money on experiments that fall flat. Get on board early, so you can learn the ropes before the market becomes saturated.
2) It’s pretty native
Native advertising is a growing trend right now, and TrueView ads have the potential to appear very naturally on the YouTube platform. After all, people came to the website to watch videos.
In-display ads in particular, which can appear as suggested videos or search results, sit comfortably beside YouTube’s non-ad content.
In-stream ads, on the other hand, can be more intrusive, so they should be well-targeted and engaging to encourage viewers to watch them rather than skip.
3) For the most part, you’ll only pay for engaged viewers
The viewer has the option to skip your in-stream ads after five seconds, but you only pay when a whole clip or 30 seconds of the clip is viewed — whichever is shortest — or when a viewer engages with your video, if that interaction comes first.
Likewise with in-display ads, you pay for clicks rather than impressions. As a result, you will usually only pay for those viewers who are interested in your message.
4) Earned conversions are free
A viewer doesn’t need to watch the full video or click an ad in order to convert. In the days following an impression, they may decide to visit your website and later convert of their own accord.
Make a strong first impression with your ad and your messaging will stick, whether they continue watching to the end or not.
Ads shown to users which weren’t viewed or clicked on, but later convert, are earned views. These conversions aren’t charged for, so enjoy the free marketing!
5) Targeting can be very granular
Using your AdWords account, it’s possible to target certain types of user (based on demographic categories like age group and gender), as well as categories of video and specific channels, so your ad gets shown only to the types of people likely to engage and convert.
You can also target specific keywords to help you reach relevant audiences, and combine keywords with other targeting settings to zoom in on smaller subsets of YouTube users. For example, you might choose to target females aged between 18 and 24 who search for "bedroom makeover".
6) Ads can be highly contextual
It’s possible to advertise new and different content within your own videos which cover a specific topic. This could mean advertising short form content like a snippet of or an intro to a webinar and giving viewers the option to click a call-to-action to view the full video. This way, you’re benefiting from the opportunity to advertise a relevant video to viewers who are already engaged with the topic.
7) There are multiple ad formats
TrueView is a very flexible platform when it comes to ad formats. For example, it’s possible to show banner ads as an overlay on videos, as well as showing banner ads next to videos as part of a Display Network campaign.
For both in-stream ads and your longer videos, there are options to add cards (clickable overlays which point viewers to more video content, playlists or offers), CTAs and links to your website within the video display. This encourages viewers to continue engaging with your content and discover more about your brand and content.
8) Push whatever content you want
A new webinar, your latest eBook, tutorials, some client testimonials or a product launch... the list is endless as to what you can promote via both in-stream and in-display ads. As long as you have the resources to make a video or presentation, you’re ready to go.
9) Run remarketing campaigns
TrueView ads offer the same targeting that’s available on Google’s Display Network or their remarketing platform; they allow you to push new content and messaging to new and relevant audiences via their internet history, as well as people already affiliated with your brand, to encourage them to revisit, reengage and convert.
You can export your AdWords email list, so as long as your contacts are signed into YouTube, they will be shown specific ads depending on your settings. For improved relevance, segment your remarketing list into buyer persona and buyer’s journey stage, to make sure the right people are getting hit with the right messaging at the right time.
By linking your YouTube account to your AdWords account, you can even create remarketing lists based on the videos people have watched. This can be used to create a funnel where each ad in a sequence helps to push your viewers through the buyer's journey.
TrueView Makes Sense for Inbound Marketers
There are so many reasons why inbound marketers should use TrueView to get their brand and messaging in front of YouTube's viewer base. Whether it's the cost efficiency, versatility, engagement levels or non-intrusiveness of TrueView ads that initially draws you in, you're bound to find more benefits once you explore the platform in more detail.
As with many things (and marketing tools are no exception), you've got to try it to love it. For a helping hand, download our best practices eBook.
Originally published Feb 24, 2016 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017