How to Create the Best YouTube Advertising Strategy

Now that we know what all our YouTube advertising options are, it’s time to create a video advertising strategy that is optimized as well as user friendly. Which option is right for your account, and how can you tell if it will go over well with your audience? Let’s take a look at four examples to learn how to create the best YouTube advertising strategy based on audience, budget, and reach.

Promoted Videos


This first example is an In-Search or Promoted Video ad from Princess Cruises. If you’re looking to target your audience in a more traditional way, these ads are for you. What easier way to target your audience than to bid on the keywords your audience is searching for?

Promoted video is also pretty cheap too, but the tracking gets a little muddled because you can’t see exactly where you’re spending your money. It’s more of a brand gamble here since conversion tracking is nearly impossible with just a video view, which will be the primary (if not the only) action your customers take.

This ad appeared in the first position when the query ‘travel ideas’ was entered. Not everyone in your audience is going to know that they can click on the video (or the free text overlay that you can have over your own video ad), but they have been conditioned to click on banners. It’s for this reason that YouTube includes a complimentary banner ad above the video area as your ad airs. You can measure clicks and conversions from here and also be assured that the people you want to see your ad are still seeing it. Notice that Princess has taken advantage of their complimentary text overlay, but there was no accompanying free banner here.

Also, this is definitely relatable content for the audience since they searched for a travel subject, and there’s a great call to action in the text overlay. The only thing to change here would be to add the banner ad above for users that won’t inherently know to click the video or the overlay.

If you want to gain exposure with your specific audience’s search terms, then this is definitely the first step. Your audience can be as specific as your keyword set.

Homepage Redzone Ad


For the big spenders, our next example is the YouTube Homepage Redzone ad. Here you can optimize the user experience to suit the needs of everyone in your audience scope, from the 60-something internet newbie to the teenage pro.

If you’ve got $300,000 to blow in a day (and this is the discount rate!) and you’re an international brand, by all means try out YouTube Homepage Redzone. You’ll want to include interactive elements here like clips or games, all of which are highly customizable on YouTube, but also be sure to make your brand obvious even when the user doesn’t engage. This way you’ll ensure that everyone within your audience easily understands your brand or call to action.

Coverage for “Avatar” is pretty solid here, and the ad is clickable, engaging the viewer actively. The more action the better, though, so if a game or drop-down was included, it might help.

Still, it’s bright and eye-catching, and since this blockbuster had quite a large audience, it’s got a clear branding initiative to accompany it. You can’t miss it, and you know what it is right away.

If you’re a larger, global brand like this, odds are you’ve got a fairly sizeable audience. YouTube’s Homepage Redzone is right for audiences on the international level.

In-Stream Ads


Our third example is an interesting compromise between branding and conversion: In-stream or Pre-roll campaigns. You’re still targeting your audience by the topic of the video they’re about to watch.

In-stream will probably get you the most bang for your buck and will combine brand exposure with conversion tactics. Because it’s so focused, In-stream is money well spent on refined and targeted users. In a case study using all three of the less expensive YouTube advertising options, In-Stream had the most conversions in the specific demographic while spending the least amount of money (sometimes as little as $8 a day).

Nationwide is doing a great job making this ad relatable with a well-known younger celebrity to match the young demographic of the majority of the audience watching this music video (We Are Young, by fun.). In another case study, a client whose target was a minority audience responded well to a video ad in which there was the same minority actors. This worked out well because the client built the ad strategy around their unique audience. This ad may not be as niche as some markets, but the exposure is on a larger scale, so the audience will probably be large as well.

Still, targeting for this could backfire since insurance audiences tend to be a little older than this particular market. It’s a gamble, and we’ll have to see if it pays off for Nationwide.

Again, longer is better, so aim for a 60 second spot over a 15 or 30 second one.

Text Overlay Ads


The final example is a Text Overlay (standalone) ad, and, you guessed it, it’s for Google AdWords. This popped up over a Singapore travel video, which is odd since it’s not really demographically targeted at all. However, Google AdWords is probably looking for a wider audience, and perhaps travelers are their next market target.

It’s tough to tell here, but Text Overlay ads are a pretty low-risk operation and it’s easy to see where your money is going since it’s strictly PPC and not branding. Whether you’re trying out a new market or trying out YouTube for the first time, this is definitely the place to experiment.

Here you can let the content you choose to target find your specific audience for you. Since text ads over videos are relatively new, users have not been conditioned to click on them quite yet. Sure, more savvy consumers will know that this is what they are supposed to do, and click out to your landing page, but some may see this only as a passive popup making this partially an exercise in branding.

Don’t be discouraged if you’re not seeing the clicks you want; the people you want to see your ad are will definitely still see it..

How to Reach People Without Overspending?

Take some time to answer the question: Who is your audience? Make it relatable to make it count. Create a formula for your ad placement, and learn how your content comes across to optimize it.

Lean toward the specific, and if you’re not getting traffic there, then you can branch into the more general. Drill down deep.

With a winning video, a good understanding of your audience, and the right placement, you’ll never lose out with YouTube advertising.

Related reading

Eight tips to getting your videos ranked on YouTube in 2019
youtube and child safety: is the service doing enough?
mobile search and video in 2019: how visible are you?