Home Marketing The Dos and Don’ts of YouTube Ads

The Dos and Don’ts of YouTube Ads

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youtube imageTo continue the series of selling, like the YouTube and Facebook pieces I’ve written in weeks past, this time around we’re going to discuss the Dos and Don’ts of YouTube ads; whether it’s setting up an ad campaign on Google or the actual ad itself. YouTube is the behemoth video sharing/social media platform from Google where users can share stories, shows, and cat videos – loads of cat videos. Many businesses, mainly up-and-coming businesses, are utilizing video ads to be seen by millions of users on a daily basis. The best way to spread awareness of your brand is to advertise and advertise hard. Yet, there are [unwritten] rules to advertising on YouTube.

DO: Grab My Attention

Like I discussed in the YouTube article last week, you need to have a compelling ad. Treat an ad like a short film told in the form of ten, 15, 30, or 60 seconds. You only have a finite amount of time to get your point across and have it stick. Everyone has a favorite ad, what’s yours? Think about it for a short second. How did it begin? In the first five seconds of the commercial, was it engaging? Take a look at the commercial for AT&T.

In the first five seconds, the question and answer session between comedian Beck Bennett and the children intrigued many, which made these series of commercials wildly successful. If you an idea for an ad for your business, or even your personal YouTube channel, attack the idea of a catchy ad. If you decide to set up your ad with an option to skip after five seconds, make sure you grab my attention in three seconds before I decide to skip your ad.


DON’T: Use Cheap Tricks

With a YouTube commercial, capturing the viewer’s attention is crucial to racking up views and garnering new eyes. However, there is a wrong way to do it. One wrong way is to be completely annoying. If you don’t want me, and the millions of other YouTube users to completely hate your guts then you shouldn’t be annoying; that includes begging. There have been countless ads that cue before the intended video that exemplify this very thing. People with nothing to sell yell “Hey, don’t skip this ad,” at me when I log onto YouTube. I wouldn’t know if they had anything to sell if I stood around to watch the ad in its entirety.

A rare example of when begging works due to the context of the ad.


If I were to stay around and watch that ad, I probably would have been a customer of theirs. Begging is the wrong approach of putting your content out there. If you feel you product or service merits a beg or a “don’t skip this video” plea, then retool the product or service. Also, don’t use cheap tricks like aggressive marketing where you force the viewer to watch your 30 second ad where you plea why your service is the best. Think about it in this way: if a guy (or gal) gets down on their knees and begs you go out with them, you ditch them. The same goes for your ad.


DO: Don’t Just Rely on the Message

You have a great ad and a great service to back it up so you send it out. People are watching and loving your ad but where’s your CTA, or call to action? Where is that last ‘oomph’ for viewers to click on and discover the rest of your brand? It’s commonplace now to place clickable links at the very end of film trailers to send viewers to the films Facebook or Twitter page. They are instilling a message with the video itself and are phoning in that message with engagement. Lure the cat out with milk and give them a whole cow. If what your selling is fantastic than make sure you have the fans (customers) to prove that.


DON’T: Don’t Release A Bad Ad

It’s easier said than done but don’t release a bad ad. If the ad you made is terrible, or poorly made, then hold off on releasing it. There have been plenty of ads on YouTube that are just straight terrible that looked as though they were shot using a phone, in a kitchen, without lights, and children running in the background. Make sure that your ad looks as professional as possible. Hire a team if you have to. If the quality looks terrible then I will be skipping.


DO: Know Your Audience!

When you start a business, you need to know whom your audience is. If you create an energy bar and you say that the food is for everyone, it’s not. Everything has a niche market from soft drinks to foods, phones to cars, items (and most definitely) services are marketed toward a specific target audience. You won’t see Tampax Commercials on Nickelodeon or Barbie toy products on Lifetime. Those products/brands have a specific audience and they know where to place those ads. The very same needs to be done for YouTube ads.

After you created the ad and it’s been uploaded and it’s ready to distribute, you need to choose the target audience. Services like Google Analytics, Quantcast and more measure traffic on websites for gender, age, education, location, and even income and marital status. This is more than enough information to utilize in determining who your audience is.

When you claim that your audience is broad, like say, everyone, then you create a problem for yourself. By not marginalizing your target audience, you end up with less of an audience; you’ve become restricted by the budget you set in place. Ads are paid for with either clicks (mostly for text), watching 30 seconds or the full video, or every 1000 video. You create the campaign for everyone to see but you have a problem – you’re not reaching the people you want, or need. If you sell an energy drink for mothers in Colorado, then you can get really specific and target mothers in Colorado; you can get more specific if you like, it’s just based on your research and findings.


DON’T: Don’t Be Too Specific

Knowing your audience is fantastic and it shows that you know something or two about your customers. You can target straight to them without a hitch since you have the numbers staring at you right in the face. Yet becoming too specific in your targeting can become very hurtful. Let’s go back to that energy drink for mothers in Colorado. That’s quite specific enough on it’s own right, and quite good if I might add. However, if they target audience you want to target are single mothers, whom like tattoos, Radiohead, Swatch watches, and are Hispanic, whom live in Colorado, then you run the deep risk of not meeting any people. That reach is too specific to be a real person, mainly because I was naming things in my room to prove a point.


DO: Make a Great Headline

When you create a campaign on YouTube, namely Google, you have to write a compelling title and a two-line description for those in-display ads that appear at the right top corner of a video page. Like the ad itself, you need to entice me a great title if you want me to click on your video. This page gives you five tips on how to title a great video, which you can utilize on your ads.