The Case for YouTube Advertising

By Jeff Baum | @jeffbaum71 | Associate Director of Services at Hanapin Marketing

About a month ago, I attended a YouTube summit at Google’s NYC headquarters. At this event, 175 top advertisers assembled with their respective AdWords teams to discuss the success they’ve had with YouTube and the challenges they face.


The consensus amongst the participants was that advertising on YouTube is critical to the conversion path. Advertising on YouTube plays a key role in a marketplace that’s become more social and diffuse. Now that conversion paths are growing and taking place across multiple platforms and devices, the ability to get your brand in front of your market through video is not longer a luxury, but a requirement.


Today we’re going to discuss some reasons why we need to convince our stakeholders that YouTube is an important link in the digital advertising chain and how to best measure its success.


Brand Lift


YouTube provides an enormous opportunity to gain brand exposure. We’re currently in an on-demand generation where television consumption is down and digital consumption is rising. Google has conducted numerous studies that have proven brand searches increase as a result of consistently advertising through the use of YouTube.


Today’s customers take a fragmented route to conversion. In the past, when a paid search customer was in the market for a product, they conducted a search on their engine of choice, clicked an ad, and then converted. Today’s customer will conduct multiple searches, visit relevant sites that further explains the product they are searching, discuss it on social media, and finally engage with their brand of choice by watching videos. All of these stops along the way has the potential to grow the strength of a brand, so long as they’re advertising in the mediums their customers are using.




YouTube is a key cog in the remarketing wheel. Video remarketing offers the opportunity to reach customers who have interacted with your brand by viewing your videos. Telling a story through YouTube videos can arm potential customers with further information that supports and justifies a potential buying decision.


So what are some of the key benefits of video remarketing? Let’s check ‘em out.


  • Drive more business by creating audience lists based on interest in your brand by the YouTube videos they’ve consumed.
  • YouTube provides the ability to quickly reach an enormous audience. It’s not uncommon for videos to garner thousands of views in a very short time frame, making it the quickest way to build a remarketing list.
  • Pricing is similar to standard AdWords, where you only play if a video is viewed. Right now, view costs are also very cheap. For instance, a client of mine received over 71K views on their videos at a cost of only $0.16 per view. That’s a ton of exposure at a cheap cost.


The ability to remarket through YouTube allows you to use this channel to positively influence revenue while also building your brand and strengthening your overall PPC program.


Story Telling


Brand strength and credibility is increased when you can use video to tell a strong story. When I was growing up back in the ‘80’s (Yes, I really am that old) there was a series of commercials for a beer called Lowenbrau that was sold in the United States at the time. Lowenbrau created all of their commercials in the form of a story centered on friends gathering together in various settings to enjoy each other’s company and Lowenbrau beer. The end result of these commercials was a tremendous buzz around the brand and strong sales in the US throughout the 1970’s and ‘80’s.


How does this concept of story telling translate to YouTube? The answer is easily. When creating your YouTube videos, do the following:


  • Make your ads fun and engaging. Due to the viral nature of YouTube, fun and engaging videos have the chance to go viral and help you achieve a lot of brand exposure.
  • Tell your story sequentially. Create a set of videos that take your customers down the path to conversion and have each video be a story that’s reflective of where they are in their buying cycle.
  • Be sure to communicate your call to action in the first 5 seconds as opposed to the end of a video. Today’s customers do not have a long attention span and may not watch an entire video so make sure to convey your most important point as soon as possible.
  • “How to” is the most popular category of YouTube video. If your brand warrants it, include a series of videos around this category. You’ll most likely drive a ton of traffic to them.




When I was at the YouTube conference, the other big consensus amongst participants was how difficult it is to measure the success of a YouTube campaign and what metrics actually make sense to measure. Although YouTube can help your direct response efforts through video remarketing, your videos will most likely not directly result in a sale. YouTube success should not be assessed on a pass/fail basis. There will be areas of your campaign that will be more successful than others. Take what works and expand on it and leave the rest.


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Sample of YouTube metrics in the AdWords interface


It’s also not advisable to measure YouTube on a last click basis. YouTube can be an integral piece of the conversion link. To measure on a last click basis cuts YouTube off at its knees and doesn’t allow it to perform to its maximum. Instead, analyze your conversion funnel and get a great understanding of how YouTube is influencing conversions. If YouTube is generating assisted conversions or assisted clicks and impressions, there is a value in that and is more than enough justification to keep your YouTube program running.


Final Thoughts


Customers prefer to consume video to reading text on a web page. Therefore, it’s essential to advertise on YouTube. Not tapping into this channel leaves enormous opportunity on the table and excludes a huge audience from enjoying the benefits of your brand. If you want to stay relevant as a business and continue to grow in the digital marketing space, start thinking about how you can use YouTube to make your marketing and especially your PPC work better for you.