How to spice up your TrueView audience strategy on YouTube

Columnist Anna Shirley provides tips for enhancing your YouTube video ads using some new (and not-so-new) AdWords features.

A 2016 study by comScore showed that adults are 30 percent more likely to choose online video over TV when given a choice of where to watch video content. Many of us have been running TrueView campaigns on YouTube from within AdWords for a while, but how many of the newer or updated features are you taking advantage of?

First, let’s take a step back in time and remember what TrueView was like back in the day:

  • There was a separate interface for TrueView campaigns.
  • Reporting options were pretty limited and very clunky to use.
  • Optimization was limited, with very few bid modifiers or testing options available.
  • As well as limited optimization, there weren’t many decent targeting options.

Luckily, things have improved a lot since then, and we can now have much simpler, more goal-oriented campaigns sitting alongside our existing AdWords activity (Search, Shopping, Display and App Promotion campaigns). Thanks to this integration, we benefit from much easier and more extensive campaign reporting and many more options when it comes to optimization and targeting. What a relief!

As I mentioned at the start, we should be taking advantage of the new and updated features that YouTube has to offer. Below I’ve detailed some of the features that you could use to add a bit of extra spice to your TrueView campaigns in AdWords and ensure you are capitalizing on the extremely relevant and engaged audiences available.

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA)

YouTube lists are now compatible with Search, meaning you can layer these over your existing campaigns or break these out into RLSA-only if you’re adjusting the messaging or keywords used. You can now use the following lists:

  • Visited your YouTube channel
  • Liked a video from your channel
  • Subscribed to your channel
  • Commented on a video from your channel
  • Shared a video from your channel

I feel like a lot of us managing Search campaigns have been waiting patiently for this feature for a while now. If you are running YouTube activity, make sure you start to build appropriate audience lists to target those that have engaged with your brand on YouTube.

For retail advertisers, this could mean bidding up for searchers of a particular keyword category if they have viewed a related video ad. As they have already engaged with similar content, they are much more likely to convert, so you should be bidding more aggressively for them!

Customer Match

Make sure you are targeting your most valuable customers via Customer Match audiences through YouTube. If you aren’t already aware, Customer Match allows advertisers to upload lists of email addresses to target across Search, Display and Video campaigns.

For a fashion retailer, we saw a view-through conversion rate 20 percent higher than the campaign average when up-weighting bids to a Customer Match list of anyone who has signed up to their weekly email newsletter. This would also be a simple way to reactivate dormant customers who hadn’t purchased recently, especially if you have a new product range to promote.

Similar users to Customer Match

If you’re already using Customer Match lists, great! However, don’t forget about the additional users available through Similar Audiences.

Uploading Customer Match lists of “high value customers” or “frequency purchasers” and then targeting lookalike audiences built from these will allow you to reach a new audience base — but one that is already much more qualified and of higher value.

Sequential remarketing

Sequential remarketing adds an extra layer of sophistication and storytelling to your remarketing strategy, with users being funneled through different ad content toward the ultimate campaign goal (i.e., a purchase or signup). As users become increasingly engaged, we can tailor the type of ad that they see to tell a particular story or brand message.

At Merkle | Periscopix, we used a sequential strategy for a beauty brand with great results. We set up our first video focusing on a wider brand awareness goal, targeting new/relevant audiences with an introductory brand/product video. Viewers of the first video were funneled into viewing a more product-focused ad that explained the origins of the new product. Finally, viewers of the second stage product-led ad were shown a tutorial ad as the last stage in their purchase journey.

As you would expect, the pool of users in each list got smaller as we went along, but view rates and video engagement continued to improve. For the first brand-focused video, we saw a 29 percent view rate, but this skyrocketed to 48 percent for our final tutorial video!

Just a word of warning: Make sure you set this up correctly by collecting users in remarketing lists that have viewed each video in each of the stages, then targeting these users with the correct ad. You may need to use the “Exclusions” functionality within AdWords if you are running multiple sequential campaigns and need to ensure the right users see the right video.

TrueView for action

In Q3 2016, Google released TrueView for action, a new ad format for YouTube. Advertisers can add a tailored call-to-action button during and after their video. This is currently still in beta but should be rolled out globally soon.

TrueView for action example, from the Google AdWords Blog

This is a great way to add something else eye-catching to your video and to reach an already engaged audience. It’s really simple to set up, so I’d love to see this being used across a larger number of video ads over the coming months.

It would especially suit advertisers with a longer lead time (e.g., commercial property rental) to allow video viewers the opportunity to discover more about the company and services offered. You could also use this format to drive viewers along a specific customer journey, encouraging them on site to register for more information or even book an appointment!

Combine this with the last sequential remarketing video in your campaign to really ensure you’re driving users through to that end goal.

A brief summary

Let’s quickly run through what I’ve covered today:

  1. Start using your TrueView audiences as RLSA.
  2. Don’t forget about Customer Match audiences…
  3. …or similar audiences to your Customer Match lists.
  4. Add an extra layer of sophistication via sequential remarketing.
  5. Overlay new CTA buttons, especially when using sequential videos to drive users down a clear path.

By turning your focus to some new and innovative ways to segment out your potential TrueView audiences, you can ensure your video ads are hitting the most relevant and engaged viewership.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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