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Three steps for driving performance with YouTube

By Matthew Hill

Precis Digital


The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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March 5, 2020 | 5 min read

It’s easy to assume that YouTube can only be used as a marketing channel like traditional TV - for awareness driving activity with a goal to reach as many impressions as possible within your budget. However with the tools Google provides and the right set-up it is also possible to maximise your use of YouTube as a performance driving channel to complement your other performance activity.

YouTube law

Precis Digital on how marketeers can make the most of YouTube.

At Precis we’ve worked on fine tuning YouTube advertising to ensure we meet even the strictest of goals in terms of cost per acquisition or return on investment. Below we share some of the learnings we’ve found.

Take advantage of YouTube’s advanced audience tools

Whether the focus is driving app installs, website conversions or even offline actions the first step regardless of the desired outcome is to acutely understand your audience and how you can best reach them on YouTube.

Coupled with your own understanding of who your customer is, YouTube offers a number of targeting methods to aid you in reaching your audience:

  • Affinity and Custom Affinity audiences
  • In-Market audiences
  • Custom Intent audiences
  • Customer match lists
  • Targeted placements

So where do you begin?

We’ve found that a good place to start if you already have established performing activities in other channels is to adapt those into Custom Intent audiences first and expand out as your budget and volume allows. Custom Intent audiences allow you to serve ads to people who are actively searching for product or services on Google already, giving you a very strong audience of people who are interested in your product or service as a foundation to build from.

For this, you will need a list of the phrases or search terms best associated with what your ideal customers search when they are actively looking to buy. These terms could include your brand name, similar brands, the type of product/service you offer and more. If you already have high-performing paid search keywords these are a good place to start.

After embarking with your Custom Intent journey you may wish to also bolster with some of the other audience types; making use of the Reach Planner can significantly assist with estimating the size of the audience to evaluate whether it would make sense when it comes to driving performance.

Utilising TrueView for Action

More than 40% of people buy products that they find on YouTube and the best way to ensure you are tapping into this market is by making sure your ad is loaded with clear call to actions and a strong hook to pull the viewer to the next step.

TrueView for Action is a format on YouTube designed to do exactly that, unlike other YouTube ad formats it allows your ad to show a clear CTA button, a banner and an end card reiterating your offer. This is particularly important when it comes to driving performance as it compels your viewer with a clear method to click-through and, as the name suggests, to take action immediately.

It doesn’t take long to create a TrueView for Action ad, all you need is a great performance driving creative (see below) and a fitting, compelling call to action.

Performance driving creative

Your final, and arguably most important, step would be to ensure your creative is as focused on driving performance as possible. But how do you do that exactly? There are numerous methods which this article alone couldn’t possibly cover without becoming an essay but we’ve boiled them down to a handful of key tips:

  • Short and snappy - your key message and brand should be present in the first 3-5 seconds!
  • Engaging visuals and equally engaging sound - messaging should be clear both in sound and on screen in an exciting format, consider creative quick-cuts!
  • Be incredibly clear and direct with what you want your user to do - no need to waffle, if you want to drive performance be upfront with the offer

Finally Google has found that ads that were rated higher than average for “relevant to me” see attention rates triple, so where possible test different creatives for different audiences – for example if you decide to target a sub-audience of sport lovers then consider showing visuals which relate to this audience.

Experiment further and take your performance to the moon!

Using these tips as your foundation you will be well on your path to finding whether you can optimize better, from targeting your placements to specific channels or videos, to perhaps measuring your incrementality using tools such as Brand Lift from Google. Where your future takes you with your performing YouTube campaigns only time will tell, but the key reminder is to always be testing

Matthew Hill, senior digital specialist at Precis Digital


Content by The Drum Network member:

Precis Digital

Precis is a data-driven digital marketing agency specialising in Digital Marketing, Measurement, and Data Science.

Precis was founded in 2012 by former Google...

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