Move Over Mobile, Hello Video by Casey Geiger | RNL + Converge

Move Over Mobile, Hello Video

For years, Google heralded the “year of mobile” without seeing results that supported that claim, until mobile traffic share surpassed desktop share for the first time in October of 2016, consequently changing the digital marketing landscape forever. A similar wave is fast approaching the digital advertising world, if not already crashing to the shore: video advertising. However, unlike with mobile, there’s been little communication from Google about the rise of video advertising on YouTube, despite that fact that YouTube has almost 2 billion users, making up a third of the entire internet, who watch over a billion hours of video daily — more than Facebook and Netflix combined. Only recently has Google started to tout its video advertising options as the “next big thing.” Many advertisers, wary of Google’s claims of the latest and greatest and overwhelmed with the expanse of existing targeting options, have not yet jumped onto the video advertising train.

I’m here to tell you that this is not a strategy of which you want to be a late adopter.

Read on to get answers to the most commonly asked questions surrounding YouTube advertising and to jumpstart your YouTube advertising career!

WHY should I advertise on YouTube?

Besides the user statistics outlined above, YouTube offers the ability to target that mass of users in an incredibly low cost and deeply engaging manner.

  • On average, interactions with video ads cost less than half of those with display ads, and about a tenth of what is costs for search ads.
  • As attention spans of users get shorter, it becomes harder to grab hold of and maintain user engagement. Video utilizes not only visual, but auditory elements to grab the users attention on a medium where they are already prepared to engage with content in that manner. Studies show that users that both see and hear an ad, experience 2.9x the brand consideration than they do for solely visual ads.


WHERE do these ads even show?

Advertising on the YouTube platform can be easily managed through Google Ads, by linking your YouTube channel with a Google Ads account. From there, depending on the ad format you select, your ad can show on:

  • before/during/after a playing video, the search results, alongside a playing video, or the mobile homepage
  • Video Partner Sites and Apps on the GDN: before/during/after embedded videos or as standalone videos on apps and mobile sites


WHO sees these ads?

If you’re targeting a specific audience (retargeting or prospecting), a user in that audience will view your ad when they view any video on YouTube or visit a page where there is a video where the ad can show.

If you’re utilizing contextual targeting, a user will view your ad when they are viewing content that matches the targeting criteria you’ve specified.

WHAT videos should I use for my ads?

This will obviously vary depending on your industry, your target audience, and other factors unique to your business and there’s no shortage of information available on how to create compelling videos for advertising purposes. I’ll leave video content tips to those experts, but I will share a few video advertising specific tips:

  • For in-stream ads (the most commonly used ad type), they should be at least 12 seconds and ideally no longer than 3 minutes. If the video is longer, you can still use it and even see strong results but keep in mind that YouTube advertising is designed for bite sized engagement, so the shorter the better.
  • Remember that users have the option to skip the ad after 5 seconds so put top priority content, such as your brand information, early in the video to take advantage of free brand awareness!
  • Play rates tend to drop off after 45 seconds
    so keep that in mind as you map out the content of your video. Keep important content as close to the beginning of the video as possible to maximize engagement.


WHEN do I evaluate results?

If you take nothing else away from this article, please remember that video campaigns experience significant latency, meaning that the majority of conversions will not populate on the day that the user viewed the ad. Conversions are attributed to video campaigns if a user watches at least 30 seconds of a video, then converts through organic or direct within thirty days. Through previous performance, we’ve found that the majority of conversions tend to roll in after 14 days, so we’d suggest that you allow 14 days between the data you’re evaluating and the date you’re evaluating data. At the low end, I’d allow at least a 7 day gap, and at the high end, you won’t need longer than a 30 day gap for all conversions to roll in.

I hope that you are now thoroughly convinced to integrate video advertising through Google Ads into your digital marketing mix, and that your biggest questions have been answered. If not, don’t hesitate to reach out with any additional questions — I’m happy to help!

Casey Geiger
Casey Geiger
June 27, 2019