4 Mistakes You're Probably Making With YouTube Advertising There are actually plenty of great traffic- and conversion-generating opportunities to be found on the popular video service. The problem is you.

By Eric Siu

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Stop me if this sounds familiar: You hear everybody talking about how great an opportunity YouTube advertising is. After all, this video-sharing website claims that more than 4 billion videos are viewed each day. That actually bigger than Facebook's reach (and growing).

So you set up your own in-stream ads, and nothing happens. Your YouTube analytics show a crazy high number of "skips" -- meaning that the people who saw your ad chose to skip it -- and you're not getting any positive results. You cut your campaigns and curse everyone who told you that getting into YouTube advertising was a good idea in the first place.

But here's the thing. It's not YouTube advertising that's the problem. There are actually plenty of great traffic- and conversion-generating opportunities to be found on the popular video service. The problem is you and the mistakes that you made.


Image credit: Gideon Shalwick

Related: How YouTube Sensation Casey Neistat Succeeded in Making Ads for People Who Hate Ads

Recently, I had the chance to chat with Gideon Shalwick, founder of Veeroll, a software program that helps you create YouTube video ads that actually work. Here are the four most common mistakes he sees new users making:

1. You aren't targeting your ad insertions well.

All those "skips" I mentioned earlier? According to Shalwick, those are coming from videos that aren't well targeted to the audience that is viewing them. If you've ever had to skip through an uninteresting YouTube ad yourself, you'll immediately understand how and why this happens. If the ad being displayed doesn't interest you, you're going to click "skip" to get to the content you actually want to see.

YouTube offers a wealth of targeting opportunities, so don't be afraid to experiment with different demographics and filters. Remember, you can always adjust your targeting later if your initial selections prove ineffective. Your YouTube analytics will give you all the data needed to determine whether your current targeting options are working.

And if you get it right? According to Shalwick, you could see click-through rates (CTRs) as high as 200 percent.

2. Your messaging is off.

Another major mistake Shalwick frequently sees is in the content of the messages being displayed. The important thing is not just to target the right people -- you have to hit them with the right message as well if you want to earn their attention.

Ultimately, YouTube advertising is a form of interruption messaging. That is, you're interrupting viewers and taking them away from what they are doing in the hopes of getting them to watch your ad. Given that attention spans are extremely short and "banner blindness" is very prevalent online, you've only got a few seconds for your ad to convey your intended message in an effective way.

Again, your YouTube statistics will help you define the message that's right for your ads. A high number of skips, low CTR and quick drop-off times are all indications that the message you've chosen for your ad isn't resonating with your targeted viewers. Go back to the drawing board and try something new to improve your performance.

Related: 3 Simple Tips to Boost Your SEO on YouTube

3. You're setting your budget too low.

Overall, YouTube is an incredibly cost-effective way to reach target customers. Even so, setting your ad budget too low on a daily or per-view basis means that your ad won't be seen by the people with whom you're trying to connect.

How low is too low? Well, that's going to vary by industry, but Shalwick says that Veeroll's default bids are set at $20 per day and 20 cents per view. Those in popular industries may need to raise these figures to increase their odds of being seen.

"If you're in a competitive niche, you might need to raise your budget to 50 cents to $1 per view," Shalwick says. "It doesn't necessarily mean you'll end up paying that much per view, but it will at least get you in the bidding game."

4. You're ignoring potentially lucrative display options.

Finally, while I've always been a big proponent of in-stream ads, Shalwick claims that several Veeroll advertisers are seeing good results from in-display ads as well.

In fact, there are two key benefits of in-display ads that you need to know about. First, they're significantly easier to get up and running, which can be helpful for new YouTube advertisers. But another major perk is that they aren't required to redirect to Adwords-compliant landing pages like in-stream ads. If you're looking to drive YouTube traffic back to a video on your YouTube channel, in-display ads can get it done.

Shalwick offers a number of other great tips on YouTube advertising, which you can see in the full interview below:

But I also want to hear from you. What mistakes have you made (or seen others making) when it comes to YouTube advertising? Share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment below.

Wavy Line
Eric Siu

CEO, Single Grain. Founder, Growth Everywhere.

Eric Siu is the CEO of digital marketing agency Single Grain. Single Grain has worked with companies such as Amazon, Uber and Salesforce to help them acquire more customers. He also hosts two podcasts: Marketing School with Neil Patel and Growth Everywhere, an entrepreneurial podcast where he dissects growth levers that help businesses scale. 


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