How To Pitch YouTube Video Ads As A New PPC Initiative

By Amanda West-Bookwalter | @Amanda_WestBook | Senior Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

PPC Hero’s February series will be focused on arming you, the PPC account manager, with all the necessary ammunition to make a strong argument for adding new focus areas in your paid search campaigns to your client. That client can be your direct supervisor or executives if you’re managing in-house, or a client in the traditional sense if you’re working in an agency on several accounts. Kayla covered pitching CRO, Eric covered BingAds, and Jacob covered LinkedIn & Twitter earlier this week.

Video advertising is an advertising platform to enter cautiously, similar to Display advertising. There is a lot of advertising space and views to be had, and the key to success will be smart targeting and good creative on top of the always-necessary solid business model. So, it’s no surprise that it can be a tough one to get client or boss buy-in for.  I’m going to cover some pointers that can help equip you for this pitch, and hopefully make getting that buy-in a cakewalk!

How to know it’s a good idea to pitch video ads in the first place.

  • You have a product or service that could be interesting to a passive audience.

I’ve already compared video advertising with Display advertising, and I’ll do it again here. If you have a product that could be interesting to a more passive audience, both could be a good area to test advertising in. So if you happen to have already found success on Display, there’s a good chance you can find it with video advertising. However, if you’ve had a bad experience with Display, don’t let that hold you back from trying video ads!

For example, if you sell funky furniture: that could be really interesting to the right, targeted audience, and you can probably make some engaging creative. However, if you sell brake pads, it might be more difficult to engage the audience that would buy those. I’m not saying impossible, since there are tons of DIY car maintenance videos on YouTube for you to target, but it’s simply a less engaging product that will have less engaging creative and a smaller, niche audience.

  • You would like to build brand awareness.

Another thing to consider is your brand. Would you say you really have any brand awareness? Are you trying to build that brand awareness? Is there even really a brand to build awareness for? If you have a brand that you would like to build more awareness for, video ads can be a great place to start. You can get super cheap views and the audience targeting makes it pretty easy to get to your ideal customers. If you don’t have much of a brand to speak of, this could be a great time to bring up what that should be, and how to work on it. Video ads could be your launching point for that!

Provide the basic background for what it is and how it works.

Your client or boss may have no idea what video advertising is. You’ll want to cover the basics of what it is, where your ads will show, etc at the start of your pitch.

  • Go over the different ad types

You can find deets about ad types here. Briefly cover how each type works and the pros/cons of each. More importantly, tell them which you’ll use and why.

  • Talk about how pricing works

Cost-per-view could be scary, so make sure you approach it sensitively. Describe how a “watch” is 30 seconds or to the end of the video, whichever is shorter. And, unless you pick the non-skippable in-stream ad type,  people will only watch your video if they click on it or decide not to skip it.

 Pitching the investment in good creative.

If you don’t have videos you could use for video ads, or what you have is not up to par with what you’d like for video ads: you’ll also be tasked with pitching an investment in some new creative. That could be a hard sell if you’re already trying to sell them just on the mere idea of video advertising in the first place.

  • Sell the strategy and then make the ask.

Sell them on video advertising before you bring up the need for creative. If you’re able to get them into the idea of video advertising and win them over on your strategy, the investment in creative won’t be so bad. They’ll see it as something that needs to be done in order to accomplish the awesome video advertising strategy you came up with.

  • Present a variety of cost options.

Come up with several plans for making video ads that vary in cost. Your first goal should be to come up with the absolute cheapest solution that would still result in an ad you think could work.

This could really just be a creative idea with low production costs. Dollar Shave Club’s video is a great example. All of the budget was put into the shooting & editing, so it has superb quality, great shots, and fantastic editing without costs like hiring actors, location rentals, paying for graphics, etc. They spent $4,500—which may seem like a lot depending on your company, but they also have had 13,410,541 views to date and had their entire business launched by just that video.

A cheaper route could be to find a student or fresh graduate looking to add some real-world work to their reel at steep discounts.

You could present the totally animated route. Companies like Story Vision Video will make one of those popular white board animated videos, and they start at $695.

  • A great strategy is useless without good creative.

Make sure you really drive home how essential good creative is in video advertising. You could have the best strategy in the world, but people aren’t going to click, won’t watch, and won’t be interested in continuing to interact with your brand if you have terrible creative.  This video is going to represent your company and your products to lots of new site visitors. If it’s bad, then your whole company and all your services and products are bad, too.

Using smart targeting strategy to show how you’ll find value in a giant sea of cat videos.

There are tons of ways to strategically find your ideal customers online with video advertising.  Read this article from Google for the full deets from the Googs themselves, but I’m going to cover the ones I think are most important and how to pitch them.

  • Talk about your ideal customer demographics.

You can specify age and gender demographics for your targeting with video ads just like with Display ads. While we know the way Google sorts this out isn’t 100% accurate—if you’re dealing with a huge audience size, this can be a vital distinction to make in your targeting. For instance, if you’re selling an anti-wrinkle cream, you’re probably best off by targeting women at least over twenty-five. Including this in your pitch will show you’re focusing on how to reach your ideal customers without wasting budget.

  • Find Topics & Interests that are similar to your product/service.

Topics will target the page/video that your ad will be placed on, and Interests will target users that have shown through their online activity to be interested in whatever you pick. Picking a topic and interest that aligns closely with your product or service will ensure you’re showing ads to people who have shown an interest in and are on pages about similar products/services. Including this in your pitch will show your client or boss exactly how sophisticated the targeting can get. Top this with demographics targeting, and you’re really narrowing your reach to the right audience.

  • Develop a list of YouTube Search keywords to target.

Anytime someone is searching for something, there’s an increase in relevance. While YouTube Search may not be the same as Google Search, it’s still a search, and you should still consider how to target people based on their searches. For instance, the brake pads retailer I mentioned earlier should target keywords like “How to change brake pads”.

Think a little outside the box, too. If you’re in real estate, try targeting people looking at DIY home remodel videos—maybe they’d rather buy a new house once they see how hard that remodel will be! If you’re selling music recording equipment: target not only reviews and demos of similar products, but also stuff musicians will be into like beats, chord progression tutorials, etc.

Keep in mind what platform you’re targeting on, and what people are likely looking for. People are looking for reviews, demos, how-to’s, etc. Including this list in your pitch will show that YouTube has a way to target searches, something they’re used to, which can make your client or boss feel more at ease.

  • Outline how you’ll be structuring your campaigns.

How you structure your campaigns and how you layer or don’t layer your targeting methods will have a huge impact on performance. Keep in mind how your client or boss’s mind tends to work. Are they more likely to ask why you’re limiting  and missing out on chunks of an audience or ask why you’re reaching to far and spending so much money?

You can layer all of the targeting methods in any way you’d like. Consider your current conversion rates and the size of the audience you’ll potentially be targeting. If you have amazing conversion rates, you can probably expect decent ones on YouTube if you’re targeting isn’t totally crazy. If you have a niche market, you might cut off all your traffic by doing too much targeting layering. Perhaps you’d be best off by testing each targeting method separately. If you have a large audience, layering two or more of your targeting methods at a time will help narrow your focus and increase your quality. You can always come back and change this up after seeing results.

Having a specific outline of how you’ll structure your campaigns and targeting groups, conveying exactly why you’re doing it that way, and how that will affect the account will show you’re totally on top of your game, you’ve put in the research needed for this, and highlight how targeted and high quality video advertising can be!

General pointers on pitching initiatives.

  • Find case studies and examples.

You’ll see that even in pitching the idea of how to pitch video ads, I used some! Check out pages like this one out on the interwebs that gives you some case studies and examples to show your client/boss. Let them know lots of people are finding success here!

  • Project, predict, and show as much data as you can to back it up.

Use any tools you can to predict or project results, audience size, avg CPCs, etc.  There are resources like the YouTube Search Keyword Tool. Pick your CPVs and budgets you think you’ll need. The point is to give as best an estimate as you can of what they can expect the results to be, and provide as much reason and data as possible to back up those predictions.


There you have it! Hopefully this is enough to get you started and make you feel confident in pitching video ads to your client or boss. If you have any suggestions/questions, just use the comment box below!