It's surprising how many advertisers today dismiss YouTube as simply a brand building tool. Fact is, YouTube ads do convert, oftentimes very cost-effectively. Whether you have an e-commerce site seeking additional sales or a lead gen model, YouTube advertising should definitely factor into your marketing mix.
YouTube offers a range of video advertising options, with the best ones for conversions being TrueView In-Search and In-Display Video ads (together formerly falling under the YouTube Promoted Videos name).
When done right, TrueView In-Search and In-Display videos can offer a competitive CPA and high return on ad spend. However, while the set-up might seem fairly straightforward, there are some tricks that can be easily implemented to dramatically increase your success.
Below are five super simple tips to help you get the most from your YouTube advertising campaigns.
1. Picking the Right Video
Video length plays a big part in the success of your campaign. The best advice is to leave the 30 second videos for YouTube InStream ads. In our tests we’ve seen longer videos work best for TrueView In-Search and In-Display Video ads.
Videos 2-3 minutes and longer have the advantage of really engaging viewers which helps spur them on to take action. Don't worry about being too long, a video that is over 20 minutes long can succeed! Test different lengths and keep an eye on YouTube Insight stats to track the drop off times to ensure you have maximum attention when it matters most.
2. Optimizing Your Channel Page
Once you have your video uploaded, it's time to tackle your channel page. Use this space to provide more information about your brand, share links to your key landing pages or social media sites, and post related videos.
Don't be afraid to toot your own horn a little here. Just make sure it is compelling and interesting for your audience. The whole “what’s in it for me” thinking is especially important on YouTube, where attention spans are shorter.
Now, for the job of improving conversion rates, the single most valuable piece of real estate on your channel page is the Clickable Channel Banner. Not many people realize how effective this can be; even digital marketing-savvy brands like Zappos don't take advantage of it.
Harness this space to upload a banner that has clear calls to action, which will drive up clicks to your site (and conversions) without having to spend a single cent more! Even if viewers aren't fully engaging with your video, this banner can serve as a free ad to increase the chances of a conversion.
Here are the specs from YouTube:
Here are some examples of effective channel banners:
Note how Rosetta Stone has done a good job of incorporating calls to action as well as social media in theirs:
3. Selecting the Right Keywords
YouTube is higher up in the sales funnel, so gearing keywords related to the discovery stage works best. When setting up your ad groups be sure to go with broader keywords and shorter keyword phrases.
The good thing here is the average CPVs (Cost-Per-View) are usually cheaper than average CPCs on search so these keywords won't be prohibitively expensive on YouTube.
Use the YouTube keyword tool to get additional suggestions for keywords rather than relying on the AdWords keyword tool or only copying keywords from your existing search campaigns. Take keywords that have proven to work well and mix in additional keywords suggested by the keyword tool.
4. Creating Effective Ads
When creating your video ad, there are two key features that make a tremendous difference to both your click through rate and your conversion rate.
First, to improve click-through rate, test the different video thumbnail image choices that AdWords provides when setting up your ad. One seemingly small change could yield extra clicks from the exact same ad copy.
Next, to make a big impact on your conversion rate, select the option to have your video play on your channel page instead of the watch page. This will allow your channel banner call to action as well as the authority-building content to show up each time the ad is clicked, increasing your chances of a conversion.
5. Leveraging Annotations Effectively
Annotations are a great way to add commentary or highlight information at any point in the video. The design is flexible, and you can control where they appear and when they appear and disappear.
For the purpose of conversion rate optimization, there are two great ways to use annotations.
- Showcase a call to action with a link to your site at key points during the video. While the default setting allows for links to be clickable only to other links within YouTube, having a simple URL to an external site can still be effective. Use a vanity URL such as www.(sitename).com/sale to help make it easily memorable. Google also offers the option to make these external links clickable (External Annotations), however you would need to work with your Google rep to set it up, and there is often a minimum spend required to qualify for this.
- Drive clicks to related videos during the last few seconds of your video. Since these videos are all on YouTube, the links will automatically be clickable and are a great way to keep people engaged to learn more about you and your offer. Simply make your video run 15 seconds longer with just a white background and then layer on the annotations via YouTube in a compelling design. They're easy to edit on the fly should you want to switch out the videos.
Here's an example:
Bonus Tip! Building Trust through Community Management
To see an added boost in conversions, building trust is important. YouTube’s community thrives on comments and input from viewers and responding to them serves to enhance the authority and trustworthiness of your brand.
Respond in a timely manner to questions and comments and see how that spurs on increased engagement and clicks to your site. It doesn't have to be very time consuming, you can set aside 20 minutes each day for YouTube community management and still be effective.