How to use video to advertise your business

Do you have corporate videos that you’d like to get more exposure? Would they or could they work as YouTube ads? If so, read my guide on how to use video to advertise your business.

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I was reading Libby’s insightful blog post yesterday, Corporate video and content marketing, and as I was also in the client meeting where the “video” topic came up, I thought I’d write about a way to use these videos – TrueView.

Google states that “almost half of the U.S. population, 47%, says that YouTube helps them when making a decision about something to buy at least once a month”, which shows that YouTube could be very influential when promoting a brand – if used in the right way.

How to setup a TrueView campaign

  1. Ensure that you have an AdWords account setup and that AdWords is linked to your YouTube account
  2. Create a ‘Video’ campaign in AdWords, and select your usual settings; location and language targeting, budget etc
  3. Then create an ad group by giving it a name and selecting a video (that will be hosted on YouTube) that you want to use as your ad and choose in-stream or in-display ad formats
  4. Choose how much you’d like to bid per view
  5. Select targeting; demographic and interests

There’s a video here if you’d like a walk through of the process:

Create a TrueView video campaign in AdWords

In-stream vs. in-display


In-stream ads play before, during or after videos on YouTube or the GDN. YouTube users can choose to skip your ad after the first five seconds, so ads that show here need to grab the person’s attention and put across the brand very quickly. These ads can get a lot of views and some may not be engaged views, so be careful here.

In-display ads appear in the:

  • YouTube search results
  • as overlay ads
  • related YouTube videos
  • across partner sites like the GDN

Instead of playing automatically like in-stream ads they direct people to your channel page or video’s watch page. The YouTube user has to click on the thumbnail to choose to watch the video so it’s best to have an enticing thumbnail and ad headline to encourage your target audience to view.

Best practices and how to optimise video ads
Just last week Google released new best practices for TrueView video advertising, an official guide for how to optimise video ads:

  • Set objectives
    • Think about the scenarios that your video ads might be shown and make sure your ad is fit for purpose. If your ad has been designed to build initial engagement and attract attention, and is also relatively short, then it could work for in-stream. But if your ad has been designed to encourage an action, ie. buying something / signing up to something, then choose in-display and choose a catchy headline and enticing thumbnail to make people click to view.
    • Think about attribution and don’t simply focus on last-click wins. Viewing your video ad might start a chain of events that then lead to a sale/sign up, so think about that when measuring the success of your campaign.
  • Create good ads
    • There are some detailed tips here, in short they are:
      • Make the first five seconds compelling:
        • Use close-up shots, something that users might recognise or vibrant colours
        • Consider featuring product demos, customer testimonials and real stories in your ad
        • Feature your logo on a product, so people recognise it, ensure that you set the right tone for your brand and be relevant
      • Think about the text you use and images, they should aim to increase CTRs:
        • For in-display ads you can create a custom image banner using colours and themes that follow your brand guidelines
        • For in-stream ads use companion banners to convey extra information and take users through to your site
      • Get your targeting right:
        • Use data you already have; such as remarketing lists and customer lists to target people that have already shown some interest in your brand
        • Build from remarketing lists with in-market audiences, these allow you to reach people who are actively researching what you offer
      • Track and tweak your campaign:
        • Check the audience retention of your videos to see which are keeping the viewers attention best
        • View your engagement metrics to see which one most people are showing interest in
        • See where your ads are being shown using the placement report, and see which are performing best, exclude the ones that are underperforming

And finally some online video insights from comScore

Just some things to consider when choosing video ads:

  • 48% of adults chose YouTube as their preferred provider, over the likes of Netflix and Facebook
  • Viewers are more likely to take action after seeing ads on short-form content to traditional content, like movies and tv shows
  • For videos uploaded by users, 74% of adults prefer YouTube, for videos uploaded by brands, companies, and institutions, 69% of adults prefer YouTube
  • Many of YouTube “super-users” are parents, live in a city, have a full time job and 49% are women

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