White Papers

Why NOW is the Time to Start YouTube Advertising

Produced by Hanapin Marketing

 Current Landscape


YouTube’s viewers are increasingly shifting to mobile platforms.  As a result Google has been working on ways to build platforms that will permit advertisers to reach out to customers across screens in more efficient ways.  Google is now allowing users to use search data for YouTube targeting, which has turned the landscape of YouTube advertising upside down!


Prior to this announcement, advertisers only had the capacity to narrowly target within YouTube, utilizing demographic information and browsing behavior—without search history data.


Google hopes to be able to achieve seamless cross-screen targeting by utilizing data obtained from signed in profiles as well as users mobile activity.


Why YouTube?


YouTube is the second largest search engine and the third most frequented site on the Internet.  While search advertising is an extremely beneficial tool, a substantial amount of the average user’s Internet use is being ignored –79% of users’ time online is spent outside of Search.  Video advertising creates yet another avenue to reach your customers, because currently search is only accounting for 21% of active users time on the web.  YouTube has an infinite amount of content.  With 1 hour of content being uploaded every second and 4 billion videos being viewed every day, it is easy to see the huge opportunity for brand exposure.  Research suggests that video campaigns are significantly more effective:


  • 79% of consumers would rather watch a video to learn about a product, than read text on a page (Wyzowl)
  • Online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020 (CISCO)
  • 84% of consumers have been convinced to make a purchase after watching a brand’s video (Wyzowl)


Different from standard PPC


YouTube is different from your standard pay-per-click advertising platform.  The PPC industry is one that depends on being able to see a direct value –clients want to see a distinct value for their dollars, and advertisers want to see data that proves their efforts effectiveness.  However, YouTube can function as a bridge between the PPC world and the traditional nature of print and broadcast advertising.  While it can be difficult to see a direct correlation between a business’s improvement and a YouTube campaign’s success —besides logically attributing success when you see improvement during the course of the ad campaign –YouTube ads still provide tangible, measurable metrics that can help assess the effectiveness of your campaign.


AdWords allows you to see views, view rate, average cost per view, click through rate, channel engagement, and more.  Earning a view will show that someone viewed the video and went on to watch other videos on your channel.  Earning a subscriber will mean that someone subscribed to your page within 7 days of first seeing the video.  Additionally, AdWords allows you to see keyword search query data to perfect the message within your ads and save you money by properly adding negatives to your campaign.  Because this product is through Google, you can track bounce rate, new visitors, and pages per visit in Analytics.  You are also able to view the conversion path for the viewers of your YouTube ad (This can be done by looking at the Multi-Channel Funnels in Analytics under Conversions).


The YouTube platform allows you to connect with a unique audience that other platforms cannot reach to the same extent.  In the case of in-stream ads, advertisers are interacting with viewers who have their attention focused on their screen.  YouTube users are going to the site specifically to watch videos, meaning that most of them are going to have their sound cued up and have their attention fully set to the video.  The addition of being able to target based on their Google search history means that you will have an even more attentive and qualified audience.




For example, if someone was searching for Adidas shoes and then goes to watch a video on YouTube and sees an ad for Adidas pop up on their video, they are much more likely to be receptive to the content –and view the ad instead of “skipping” it.  The number of views your ad receives is crucial when it comes to YouTube advertising, because you are only charged for views and interactions.  This creates a landscape that other platforms are not able to offer –100% view-ability.  Because advertisers are only incurring cost on their views, it behooves them to create their video content accordingly.  You want to immediately set the stage to capture your target consumers and dis-engage viewers outside of your target audience so you do not get charged for a viewer who is unlikely to be a customer.


YouTube ads are also extremely cost effective in comparison to other PPC efforts and especially in regard to television campaigns.  Because YouTube ads are cheaper to run, advertisers have a chance to run a campaign on YouTube as a sort of “trial” to gauge how it is received before moving forward with a more expensive TV campaign.  This can provide direct feedback before committing to a large investment when moving the campaign across platforms to TV ads.


YouTube Search vs. YouTube Videos (what exactly is the difference?)


When deciding to run an ad campaign, you must choose what YouTube network you want to run it on; YouTube Search, or YouTube Videos.  It can be beneficial in certain circumstances to run different campaigns on the two networks to allow for better tracking of their success.  Also, these are two different strategies that will be reaching your audience through different avenues, so it can be helpful not to run the same one on both.


  • YouTube Search: Shows video ads on YouTube search results pages. You are only able to use video discovery ads.
  • YouTube Videos: Shows video ads through the YouTube homepage, watch, and channel pages.  You can use all forms of Trueview ads.


Because you only pay for a video ad when a user views it, Google refers to them as TrueView Ads.  You have a large amount of creative influence in deciding how, where, and when you are able to connect with your audience–as well as the amount of exposure.


[Call out box: As of March 2017, YouTube has temporarily paused its TrueView in-search services to work on implementing new brand safety measures.  These ads, which can appear in search results as a thumbnail ad, and can also show up in the “related videos” section on video watch pages are expected to once again be available at the end of Q2 2017.  It is possible that the names of YouTube services and TrueView formats might change after they are re-introduced at the end of Q2, but, the basic forms and functions of the ads should remain relatively the same.]




TrueView ads can currently be seen in 2 different formats; in-stream and video discovery (formerly known as in-display).


  • In-stream: Plays your ad before, during, or after a video.  The viewer is giving the option to skip after 5 seconds. However, no charge is made if they do not watch for 30 seconds –or the full length of the video.




  • Video discovery (In-display):  This option will promote your video on the YouTube search results, beside a video in the watch page section, on the YouTube mobile homepage, and on any video partners’ sites within the Display Network.






YouTube differs from traditional forms of advertising when you examine the environment where consumer reach occurs.  Over 50% of YouTube views occur on mobile –and that number is on the rise.  This means you are reaching consumers at every turn of their life –in the house, on the way to work, in bed before they fall asleep, while they are out with their friends, even in the restroom.  YouTube ads have an ability to constantly interact with consumers in a way that no other platform can.  Their reach is unparalleled, and if used correctly, can be a key component to your campaign’s success.  Through AdWords, you can specify where you want to engage with your viewers.  By adjusting the bids on ‘devices’, you can make your ads show up more on mobile, compared to tablets or computers, or any other combination of the three that best suits your needs.  This is an advanced targeting strategy that allows you to capitalize on the expanded reach the YouTube ad platform gives you.




As everyone in the advertising industry acknowledges, not all audiences are the same.  Some might be more receptive to an ad in the morning, while some may be more inclined to engage at night.  The same may be said for the time of year.  The advanced settings section allows you to capitalize on times you feel your audience will be more active.  Advertisers are able to set start and finish dates for their campaign and select times of day that they want the ad to run.




The advanced settings option gives advertisers the ability to set daily limits.  This helps ensure that a customer is not getting over-exposed to multiple views of the same ad in a given viewing session.


Another method TrueView ads have for influencing their audiences exposure is within the ‘Budgets’ section.  When setting up your budget, you can chose between two delivery methods.  You can use the standard method, which shows ads evenly throughout the day, or the accelerated method that shows ads as quickly as possible.  The latter can be beneficial if you want to pair the ad with a news event or other happenings.


Closing Thoughts


YouTube is one of the top ad platforms and its reach and capabilities are multiplying constantly.  In the modern, fast paced, mobile market we are living in, it is no longer a question of whether or not you should include YouTube video campaigns into your online ad strategy, but rather a question of what kinds of approaches you should use within your YouTube strategy.  The reach is too large to ignore, the cost is too reasonable to pass up on, and the tracking abilities are growing exponentially.


This piece barely grazed the surface of all the capacities YouTube advertising is capable of.  However, it has presented an overview of how and why it is a crucial component to be implemented into your strategy.  YouTube ads are becoming, more and more, an integral part of all ad campaigns. If you do not begin utilizing their tools, you put your brand at risk of falling behind the wave.  Innovative and forward-thinking brands who use this unique advertising vehicle will begin to become more recognizable to the endless number of YouTube users they connect with.