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Google AdWords

5 Simple Steps to Get Your YouTube Ad Campaign Up and Running

6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In their book Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords, online advertising and Google AdWords experts Perry Marshall, Mike Rhodes and Bryan Todd offer information that will help you get more clicks from Google for less money, convert more visitors to buyers, and make your online business more effective than ever. In this edited excerpt, the authors take you through the five easy steps it takes to set up a YouTube ad campaign.

First things first: If you haven’t already done so, link your YouTube channel to your AdWords account. Instructions for that are here. From the “All online campaigns” page, click the red “+ Campaign” button, and choose the last option: “Online Video.” This is the AdWords for Video Tool which allows you to see more video and YouTube specific metrics, such as subscribers earned and how much of the video viewers watched.

You’ll begin by selecting the usual options—your daily budget, your preferred locations, how you want to target, etc. After that, you have five additional steps:

Step 1: Choose your bid type. The precise name for the bid type you want is “Maximum Cost Per View.” Here’s where you set the upper limit on how much you pay each time a person watches a portion of your video.

YouTube has a number of different advertising formats. You can either select one single bid that applies to all of them, or you can go the custom route and set a different bid for each format.

For your first campaign, start with in-display ads getting the highest priority at $0.10-0.40 CPV and set your in-stream bid to half that amount. You can optimize this later, once you’ve built up a useful amount of data about your clicks and views.

Step 2: Choose your target audience. Which group of YouTube users do you want to reach? You have three ways to slice up the network and zero in on your preferred audience:

1. Demographic. Choose from either gender and a variety of age ranges.

2. Topics. There are main topics, subtopics and sub subtopics. Google gives you roughly 2,000 options. If, for example, you’re a developer of antivirus software, you could go after the broadest possible group, folks interested in “computers and electronics.” But you’ll be better off going for the subtopic “computer security.” Even better, drill further down to “antivirus and malware.”

This means your ads will be showing on videos related to the topics you’ve cho­sen. So if you’re targeting the topic “computer security,” your ads will only run on videos Google determines are related to computer security (from the video tags, comments, titles, and metadata).

3. People interested in. This is a relatively new option. It’s Google’s attempt at creating targeted groups more like what TV advertisers are used to. These are also referred to as “affinity categories.” They target people with fairly specific interests such as do-it-yourselfers, fashionistas, news junkies, savvy parents, foodies and shutterbugs.

This means your ads might show on any video but are only targeted to indi­viduals whose browsing history matches the interest category you choose. So let’s say you’re a local baker targeting the interest category “foodies.” Even though someone may be watching a music video when your ad appears, that’s OK because earlier this viewer was on the Food Network reading recipes, so Google labeled them as a “foodie.”

4. Placements. You can target individual YouTube videos or YouTube Channels by adding the URL as a placement target.

5. Keywords. These apply only to videos on the entire network.

You can combine multiple targeting methods for a more specific, targeted audience. For example, you could target women ages 35 to 54 (demographics) who are dog lovers (interests) watching videos about dogs (topics). These targeting options allow you to get really specific and clear on your audience so you can create a more relevant video ad to compel them to take action.

Step 3: Target people who are searching for ... In addition to targeting YouTube users based on their interests and demographics, you can also target specific keywords people type into the YouTube search bar. Your ads only appear when those exact words or phrases get searched on.

Step 4: Create your ad. Pick a video from your linked YouTube channel, choose from the targeting groups you selected, then select your preferred ad format. You have two options:

1. In-stream videos are the video ads that play immediately before the video the user has chosen to watch. Sometimes after five seconds, the user has the option to click and skip.

This means you want the first five seconds of your video to grab the viewer. These five seconds play a role equivalent to the headline in Google text ads.

2. In-display ads are the video ads you see in the right-hand column on video pages and at the top of the results of a YouTube Search. When creating these ads, keep in mind, the video thumbnail and headline are all a viewer will see in order to entice them to click, so make sure you pick the most compelling combination.

Step 5: Select ad attributes. Ad attributes include things like the text of the ad (for in-display ads), the destination URL, the image thumbnail and the name of the ad. There are some more advanced ones, too:

  • Destination. Do you want the person who clicks on your in-display ad to be directed to a specific video or to your YouTube channel? If you haven’t taken the time to properly optimize your YouTube channel, go with the first option.
  • Companion banner. This is a 300 x 60 image that shows to the side of in-stream videos. It doesn’t cost you any extra, and it gives you additional branding space. Take advantage of it.

These steps are all you need to start your ads running.

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