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How to Effectively Advertise on YouTube as a Brand Marketer

Aaron Puckett

It's no secret that one of content marketing's most successful formats is video. Through 2018, it was reported that 80 percent of web users watch YouTube videos. This engagement with online video has grown YouTube to become the second-largest search engine. Taking a look at the Forrester's study on younger demographics, YouTube has the highest usage rate (more than 95 percent) for youth online, ages 12-17. So, now that we know our audience is on this platform, where does advertising on the YouTube platform fit in?

Let's take a look at different ad formats, as well as targeting capabilities, that should be considered to run an effective campaign on YouTube.

Ad Options

PreRoll Video Ads

The most common utilization of video advertising on the YouTube platform is the video ad format. These videos precede the selected video. There are skippable and non-skippable options, with the skippable allowing as many as 60 seconds of video content, while the non-skippable are restricted to 15 seconds.


In-Search Ads

Since YouTube is a search engine, visitors come to the platform readily expecting to conduct searches for video content. Similar to search ads on the Google, Yahoo or Bing search engines, YouTube offers top-of-page placement on paid advertisements of videos.


Discovery Ads

The discovery ad format displays on the right side, or the "up next" section, while the selected video plays. This can display as a banner-style ad (see below) or a less obvious format (like the in-search ad) that appears to be an additional video in the "next up" section. These ads can utilize contextual awareness of the user to provide the most relevant content to the appropriate audience.



Ad Targeting

Define Objective

Based on what you are trying to accomplish with your video campaign, YouTube will utilize its algorithmic intelligence to deliver the ad in the most cost-effective or outcome-driven way. The identification of the ads objective will influence the bidding strategy YouTube implements, affecting the required budget.

Identify Your Audience

To most effectively use your ad campaign's budget on YouTube, it is extremely beneficial to let the platform know who you are attempting to reach with your video content. Demographics such as gender, age, parental status and household income can narrow down your audience by general characteristics. Interest/detailed demographics help to further identify interests and more specific characteristics within these specified audiences. These vary from in-market and affinity audiences (actively "shopping" online for or frequently researching), to detailed audiences (specific lifecycle characteristics), to website visitors (people who have visited your website or specific pages of your site).

Create and Distribute the Right Content

The outlined formats and targeting capabilities of the YouTube platform illustrate just how powerful and effective this network can be for achieving campaign results. However, the efforts will be fruitless without the appropriate content. Make sure that the video message aligns with your objectives and audiences you've defined. If you are reaching multiple audiences, consider utilizing slight variations that speak to the audiences individually.

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