In the past 5 years, YouTube Ads have quickly become one of the top acquisition channels for startups and established brands. YouTube in 2022 claimed 2.6 billion monthly users and forecasted 3.1 billion users by end of 2023, and over 120 million daily active users.
Recognized brands ranging from rapid growth SaaS to established E-commerce brands such as Vans, Samsung, DesignPickel, Evolve Artist and others frequently use YouTube Ads to leverage their customer acquisition.
The question that everyone asks, is which are the YouTube advertising best practices and simply, how do I create campaigns that will actually convert and provide sustainable ROI so that I can lean into a platform and reap the benefits long-term?
Here are Yugo Media we specialize in YouTube Ads and Video Marketing and could definitely help you out if considering Video and Paid Media. We pride ourselves in developing sustainable video marketing campaigns that provide scalable ROAS (return on ad spend).
Here is a case study, if you are interested in learning how we generated +250% ROAS with YouTube Ads. (check out why sustainability and scalability go hand-in-hand)
Now let's get down to the article, you want to learn some of the best practices for YouTube and video marketing. Let’s take a look at YouTube Advertising as a platform and look at what truly makes campaigns convert.
YouTube Advertising as a channel
On most channels, it’s relatively straightforward to develop an ad creative. But with YouTube Advertising, there are a few nuances you should know along with some specific technicalities that are unique to this customer acquisition channel.
Some of the questions I get asked when discussing YouTube Ads as a go-to customer acquisition channel are:
- Do I need to create organic content along with paid YouTube Ads?
- How long should my YouTube Ad be?
- What type of content should my Ad be?
- How much should I spend on the Ad creation?
- What type of campaigns should I run?
This article is here to help you answer these questions and show you some of the best YouTube Ads best practices so your campaigns can convert. I’ll cover the basic details of YouTube Advertising, and producing ad creatives, including the length limits. Then, I’ll walk through several examples, some that we’ve produced in-house at Yugo Media for our partners, to help outline why and how they work on YouTube.
YouTube Ads vs YouTube Organic Content
The question we get asked on a daily basis, will paid ads help expose my organic content, or do I need to post organic content if I am running paid ads?
There are multiple degrees of separation between Paid YouTube Ads and Organic YouTube Content but at the same time, they have something very much in common. And to understand which channel you wish to use comes down to your core marketing strategy: am I committed to creating video content for my brand, and do I want to create emotional connections between my brand and the audience?
There are a few scenarios we need to analyze:
Will Running YouTube Ads Improve my Channel SEO?
Let's imagine you are choosing YouTube as an advertising channel for your business and you currently use the platform for your organic video content. By using paid ads for your videos, you do get more visibility to your channel but it won’t be a direct impact on your subscribers, organic impressions, clicks and CTR.
The myth to bust is that Paid YouTube Ads won’t automatically improve the visibility of your channel and organic content.
Your channel SEO or visibility will be determined by multiple factors, not just your paid exposure:
- Consistency of content
- Channel maturity
- Multiple formats: shorts, long form and short form
- Audience size (impression inventory)
- Type of content
- Quantity of content
Paid Ads will contribute to getting more eyes on your brand, channel and content. This will lead to more subscribers and potentially more engagement. But expecting that Paid YouTube Ads will improve your SEO on their own, is a misconception. It won't.
By committing to creating organic content, running your paid campaigns and building your channel you will have the perfect ingredients to establish your brand on the platform.
YouTube will reward you with visibility, which will lead to engagement, and engagement should lead to revenue opportunities.
One of the foundational values of posting organic content on YouTube and running Ads is the ability to cross-pollinate your first-party data and build killer remarketing audiences based of your subscribers, and engagement of your organic content.
Can I Just Run Paid YouTube Ads and Not Create Organic Content
The short answer is yes. Of course this can be done and successfully use YouTube as a platform to springboard your business to the next level.
But there are a few caveats.
YouTube Ads has multiple targeting methods. One of those methods is engaging with people who have already engaged with your content, subscribers or similar audiences to your subscribers. This exceptionally powerful tactic can help you leverage your existing impression inventory for a fraction of the cost compared to building an audience or targeting strategy from scratch.
The second moving part is about the purpose of YouTube. YouTube is a video platform that builds communities around content creators, topics and areas of interest. If you are running Paid Ads, it makes sense to consider developing content organically to benefit that compound growth of organic content.
Organic content may take longer to rank, and get visible, but once it's online it's evergreen. This isn’t like Instagram, where you post something, it drops down to the bottom of the feed and boom, it's gone. YouTube is a search engine, which means people have specific search intent when they type a query. If your organic content can rank for search terms that are important for your businesses you can put your content in front of the right person and at the right time.
How Long Should My YouTube Ads Be and Should I use Subtitles?
YouTube Ads can vary in length depending on the piece of content you are creating and what the purpose of your creative is. But Ad videos that are 60-180 seconds long tend to perform better than long format content that generally increases your Cost-per-view (CPV).
YouTube Ads are 90% of the time, short-form content, which people only see for 15-20 seconds before they take an action. Considering these are instream Ads or buffer Ads the creative doesn’t need to be too long to cover a CTA (call to action) and provide context to establish perceived value.
Using Subtitles For YouTube Ads
Subtitles for organic content are a great way to increase click-through rates (CTR) and reach people who may be viewing the content with limited audio capabilities. In the case of an instream Ad we haven’t seen any considerable improvement to the CTR (click-through rate) using Subtitles, that being said it they have distracted the viewer from the CTA or contents of the video. Ultimately choosing whether you use subtitles or not is going to depend on the type of video asset, the creative and the CTA.
Audio For YouTube Ads
Audio for YouTube Ads is tremendously important. Ads that have crystal clear audio, sound effects and great production achieved better results.
We recommend using a condenser microphone or dedicated pick-up for videos that are filmed with someone speaking at the same time.
Background music and audio effects are also a great way to enhance the experience of an Ad and develop a unique impact at certain points during the creative piece.
Resolution Frame For YouTube Ads
When filming a video for YouTube Ads, getting for FPS (frame per second) right is critical. We recommend filming the creative in landscape (if on a smartphone) and 24 frames per second.
This will provide more consistency once you start editing and transitioning between different pieces and sets.
What Type Of Content Should My Video Ad Be?
Choosing the right type of creative for your video ad is crucial and understanding what role it plays in your funnel will help you determine the type of asset you need.
Content types that work well for video ads can be in-person videos, where an actor is recorded and controls the narrative. Animations are where you can recreate and tell stories with branded assets that are created fictitiously. One of the advantages of animations is that you don’t have so much dependency on the actor producing content.
Other content pieces can be collections of multiple sets and scenarios. This works well for when you need to show multiple angles of the narrative and develop a broader perspective of the content.
Examples of Ads:
Animation Ad for brand awareness:
In-person recorded Ad for lead generation
Collection Ad for remarketing
Now that we have identified some of the different types of content that will help you develop a solid YouTube Advertising strategy, you will need to consider the length of your videos.
Short-Form YouTube Ads
Short-form videos for YouTube Ads work best for lead generation and conversion-focused campaigns. These Ads work best with in-person videos that are direct and with a clear call to action.
These types of Ads are between 30 and 120 seconds. The ideal length is 45-90 seconds.
Long-Form YouTube Ads
Long-form videos for YouTube Ads work tremendously for remarketing and brand awareness. These types of videos can be animations, collections and in-person. The video creative can be as long as 5 minutes. When you have a specific story to tell and a narrative to share these campaigns work well to solidify your brand awareness and are great for retargeting to a warmed-up audience.
How to place CTA’S?
When it comes to placing your call to action (CTA’s) we recommend placing them in of the three (3) different locations during the video Ad:
- Right at the beginning, ideally, 10-15 seconds into the video
- Sandwiched In the middle, ideally 30 seconds into the video
- Cliffhanger, wrap up your Ad with CTA, this will work well if you have created enough tension and build-up during your video.
Wherever you choose to place your CTA it's important that you consider the goal of your campaign and align your CTA accordingly.
How much to spend on Ad creatives?
Planning, designing and producing videos for a great video marketing ad strategy can sum u. We recommend getting in touch with a trusted digital partner (Such as Yugo Media) to forecast, plan and cost ad creatives. This will allow your business to cost in your marketing investment and predict your ROI from your video marketing efforts.
Video creatives have a wide cost range as it largely is depending on what the ad is for and the length of content, but videos could cost anywhere starting at $500 up to $5,000 and sometimes even more.
Here are 3 elements that will directly
Production Set-Up Costs?
If you are thinking of producing the video ads yourself here is a list of recommended equipment that we suggest to people starting out and looking to get started.
Video marketing production costs can be between $1000 and $2000 depending on the equipment you want to use.
Here is our recommended list of equipment to get started:
- Greenscreen: get yourself a screen to allow more flexibility with animations, effects and post-production creativity. We recommend the El Gato brand, you can find a link here to view on Amazon the El Gato greenscreens.
- Camera: if you are thinking of purchasing a camera for your video production, and not using your phone, our weapon of choice would have to be the Sony ZV1. It's light, has great audio, a flip-forward screen and it's compact. Here is the Amazon link.
- Audio: if you are not going to use your camera or mobile phone audio system you can purchase a label mic for recording the audio separately. The recommended mic type would be an omnidirectional wireless mic. These are reasonably cheap and easy to set up connecting them to the Bluetooth of your device. Here is the Amazon link.
- Gimble: if you are recording from your mobile device make sure to use a gimble to improve the stability of your phone. Here is the Amazon link.
How Should I Set Campaign Budgets?
When setting your campaign budgets it's very important to bear in mind the bidding strategy, the campaign type (lead gen, retargeting, conversion-focused, brand awareness, etc) and your campaign goals. This will help determine what budget will work best for your campaigns and set the right expectations for your campaigns.
We recommend starting with a small budget that can be committed to the campaigns and then as you see results increase proportionally over time until you achieve your goals.
Here at Yugo Media, we start clients who are new to paid media, on $3,000 - $5,000 per month to initially test and validate conclusions.
How Much To Spend on Campaign Management?
Campaign management costs for your video marketing and YouTube Ads will vary depending on:
- The number of assets needed for the campaigns
- The amount of post-production and effects needed per video
- The length of the videos
- The number of tactics for the campaigns
Costs on a month-to-month can be anywhere between $2,000 to $7,000.
What Types Of YouTube Ad Campaigns Convert
After years of creating content for ourselves, our clients and our partners, we put together the following 10 points that we consider have attributed to higher converting video Ads that work. This list may contain some points that you recognize, and others that you don’t. Either way we have put together this list based on our data, experience on the ground and considering the ROI of every individual asset.
10 ways to improve the conversion rate of your video Ads
- Tangible takeaways: focus on establishing clear takeaways from the video
- Start and finish with CTA’s: maximize the first few seconds of your video and the end of your ad.
- Focus on engagement: use animations and rollover effects
- Show authority: validate your statements by showing data or third-party confirmations
- Retain: establish an efficient flow for your Ad that connects with your audience, avoid “uhms” and “aars”
- Frames: record your Ads in the landscape if the destination is YouTube and make sure your camera is set to 24FPS minimum for high-end equipment you can use 60FPS.
- Make eye contact: use your videos to establish emotional connections, make eye contact and keep yourself centred within the frame.
- No background noise: background noise is a total no-no. Record in a quiet place or suppress/edit the background sound after to avoid any distracting background noises.
- Subtitles and captions: use subtitles or captions if you referring to complex acronyms or data. If you provide subtitles or captions it's more likely that the user will retain the contents of the video for a longer period of time,
- Focus on branding: consistent branding has proven to achieve better metrics over light or loose branding. We recommend using similar backdrops, the same attire, background music and branded animation effects.
YouTube Advertising is complex and there are multiple moving parts to achieving success and being able to put together a solid campaign. Here are some of our best recommendations for making your YouTube Advertising as smooth as possible. If you are considering a digital partner for your video and advertising efforts, don’t hold back from reaching out to us here at Yugo Media.