5 Common YouTube Advertising Mistakes

If harnessed correctly, ads on the video network can become one of the top growth channels for your business.

learn more about Eric Siu

By Eric Siu

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Online video users are expected to double to 1.5 billion in 2016, according to Cisco.

I've lauded the effectiveness of YouTube advertising for growing your business in the past and how great it is for generating actual sales (not just branding). However, I'm still seeing far too many mistakes being made with the platform.

Related: Adult Butt Wipes and Razors by Mail: How Dollar Shave Club Takes on the Big Companies

If harnessed correctly, YouTube advertising can become one of the top growth channels for your business. If you've just started with it, this is the post for you. Here are five mistakes to avoid when running YouTube advertising.

1. Not taking advantage of YouTube advertising

Although it's becoming more popular, businesses are still shying away from YouTub advertising due to the higher barrier to entry of investing more dollars and a little more time.

That's your advantage right now.

In the early days of Google AdWords and Facebook advertising, the businesses who took advantage early enjoyed much lower costs and rules, ultimately resulting in more sales. For those of you that missed out on cashing in on the early days, you now have a shot at cashing in on the next big thing: YouTube.

2. Not using in-stream ads

In-stream ads are the skippable five-second ads that you see when watching a YouTube video, and they're by far the most effective ads you can run (if your goal is sales). If you're running branding exercises, you might want to look into the non-skippable ads that YouTube offers.

I've seen businesses complain about YouTube not being effective only to find out that they weren't using in-stream ads because they thought it was a waste of money. Test it out for yourself and see what the data tells you.

Related: As Online Video Explodes, a Look at 5 of the Industry's Biggest Trends (Infographic)

3. Not having a great video creative

The barrier to entry to YouTube ads is the video creative. You need to have a video that screams quality or else your viewers aren't going to trust the ad. Here are some tips for good video creatives:

  • Try to get a viewer to take an action within 30 seconds (so you won't be charged for the view!).
  • Get to the point quickly. Attention spans average around nine seconds now.
  • Tell a great story. Stories connect with people.

4. Not adding the right columns for analysis

The dashboard metrics that come with YouTube ads leave a lot more to be desired. But that doesn't mean you can't make it more insightful for your team! By simply clicking on "Columns" and adding in helpful metrics such as Lost Impression Share, View Rate and more, you'll be able to derive more meaning from the data.

5. Giving up too quickly

By far the biggest mistake I see with YouTube advertising is people tend to give up too easily. It does take a little longer to see results from the ads, so be patient. I see lots of startups saying they tried YouTube advertising with a $5,000 advertising budget and gave up. That's the wrong mindset.

If you're getting traction with your ads and see things moving in the right direction, then you might have something. Don't just give up because you burned through your $5,000 test budget.

After all, that budget was designed to help you "test" a new channel to see if it's viable, right? Isn't traction a sign of a potentially viable thing?

Related: 8 Tips to Help Marketers Conquer the YouTube Analytics Dashboard

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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