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It's Not Too Late to Be an Early Adopter of YouTube Ads Choose who sees your ad and what they are watching at the time.

By Mark Daoust

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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"Early adopter" and "YouTube ads" -- words you may not expect to find in the same sentence right now.

Even though YouTube advertising has been around for years, only 9 percent of small businesses have jumped on board to take advantage of the platform. Meanwhile, changes that have been put in place over the last year now make advertising on YouTube more affordable and more powerful than ever.

Related: YouTube Stars Brooklyn and Bailey Started Appearing in Videos at Age 9. Now, They Have Close to 5.5 Million Subscribers.

One thing that makes an online business attractive to investors is a diversified advertising and customer acquisition strategy. Within reason, the more platforms from which a business is drawing paying customers, the better. More revenue sources create more stability and less risk in general.

For buyers looking for a growth opportunity, especially in the product-based ecommerce space, a company with strong revenues that hasn't tapped into YouTube yet can be gold.

For both buyers and sellers, when it comes to YouTube advertising, these are the things to know:

  • YouTube has an enormous and engaged audience.
  • There's still a barrier to entry (creating video is more involved than a search ad).
  • From a CPA standpoint, it's still very affordable.
  • The audience targeting capabilities are incredible.

Why Advertising on YouTube is Better than Ever.

The advanced targeting features.

New integrations with Google search have recently brought the audience-targeting power of Google Adwords (now Google Ads) to YouTube, where a global audience watches 1 billion hours of video a day. More than half of those viewers are watching on mobile, so it can't exactly be described as a captive audience, but it's a highly-engaged audience.

YouTube has become a major go-to platform for product searches, so consumers come there looking for information to help with purchase decisions. Product reviews, unboxing videos and product comparisons are popular.

When you create an ad on YouTube, you get to choose who sees it, as well as what type of content they're watching at the time. You can target audiences based on what they're searching on Google, how they've interacted with your business in the past, as well as their interests and demographics.

Related: How This One Audience Behavior Dramatically Affects Your Digital Marketing

You'll also choose whether viewers see your ad in-stream or as a stand-alone suggested video, and whether they must watch your ad to the end before continuing with their viewing or can skip it. Non-skippable (or pre-roll) ads are 15-20 seconds long, while skippable ads may be skipped after 5 seconds and can be anywhere from 12 seconds to 6 minutes long. Either way, you have a short window of time to grab the viewer's attention.

The ability to pay for conversions rather than views.

YouTube advertising is still an affordable option. Views cost an average of $0.06 per click there versus $1 - $2 per click on Google search. With YouTube's TrueView ads, viewers must watch at least 30 seconds of your ad for you to pay for the view.

But CPV (Cost Per View) is not the only bidding strategy on the platform. With the new TrueView for Action option, you can bid on a target CPA. This option uses tracking codes for your website or shopping cart and allows you to pay for actual conversions rather than views. Low risk, highly targeted advertising. Wwhat more could any business ask for?

The engaged viewers.

As I mentioned before, YouTube has become a product search engine. The platform now has more than a billion users each month and an average-mobile-session duration of around 40 minutes. When we spoke to Brett Curry of OMG Commerce on the Quiet Light Podcast recently, he pointed out that viewers are there to learn and do, not just watch. That viewer intent makes your video ads the perfect place to solve potential customers' problems and direct them to your products.

According to Curry, to really take advantage of the platform, use the "cards" feature, which makes your ads more interactive and places CTAs on screen, and follow this general format:

  • Hook the viewers at the beginning.
  • Lead with the strongest benefit and show don't tell.
  • Include social proof.
  • Include language that eliminates risk and objections.
  • Don't expect viewers to act. Tell them what to do by ending on a strong CTA.

Related: Online Ads Are Terrible. Here's How to Fix Them.

Curry has seen companies from across industries have great success with YouTube ads. He believes that while the platform was once the right place for brand awareness, the climate has shifted somewhat. Companies will have the best chance for success with more straightforward direct-response videos now. According to Google, brands using TrueView see views of previously existing content increase by up to 500 percent after running video ads. It's an important top-of-funnel strategy.

Overall, YouTube offers less competitive real estate than other social platforms without the high price tag. The idea of creating video ads can be intimidating, but the pay-off for those willing to jump in is likely to be big.

Mark Daoust

Founder, Quiet Light Brokerage

Mark Daoust’s passion for creating sales agreements that benefit both sides of the table led him to create Quiet Light Brokerage in 2007. Guided by the bedrock values of honesty, integrity and transparency, Daoust built Quiet Light to help sellers of internet businesses. His own business recently was selected as the #1 brokerage for buying and selling websites valued at over $1 million. Quiet Light and Daoust are headquartered in Minnesota, where Mark sometimes gets to run home to help his wife teach a quick class to his four children.

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