In the middle of March, Google announced they would be extending custom intent audiences to YouTube and also launched TrueView ads with more prominent calls to action. This is a potential big win for anyone currently advertising or thinking of advertising on YouTube.

In my experience, it has always been a bit more difficult to drive action with YouTube for a variety of reasons. This new type of targeting allows you to cut through the 1.5 billion monthly active users and get your message in front of the customer when they’re looking to convert.

It appears to be rolling out slowly because I have yet to have it populate in many of my accounts but it’s something I’m really looking forward to testing out. It’s also an additional feature of the new interface to help nudge the switch.

What Are Custom Intent Audiences?

At its most basic, these audiences allow one to target users based on their Google searches. You can add keywords related to your product/service and websites that prospects would be visiting. From there, you can get your message out in front of prospects and tell your story in a much more engaging way using YouTube.

If you’re running this type of targeting on the Display Network, you should be familiar with the ins and outs as they appear to be very similar. Google has announced two different audience types: auto-created and custom built. Auto-created is made by Google and is based off their machine-learning as your account is analyzed. The other is created by you using popular search terms and websites your target market would be using while researching. The setup is very similar to custom affinity audiences if you have created those in the past.

Custom Intent Audience in the Adwords Interface

In essence, these are very powerful targeting options that take the intent behind Google searches and allow targeting on YouTube of those same people.

Ideas for Utilizing Custom Intent Audiences

By targeting specific searches (or ideas), this opens up very similar opportunities to targeted messaging that one could do when writing ad copy for specific keywords. Gone are the days of using YouTube to target broad audiences with a brand message.

With that comes a shift in how we approach YouTube and the creative we’re displaying to prospects. We need to make the shift from branding to more tailored content like one would utilize to drive organic traffic. While there is still room for basic branding, custom intent targeting can really open up the opportunity to use long-form content and educate your prospect. Build that goodwill between your prospect and your company. Sell them on your brand without actually selling them.

The couple examples I have come from one of my favorite hobbies, home brewing. It’s a pretty research heavy hobby with a lot of different toys to buy which makes this type of targeting really interesting. These ideas could likely be used across eComm and LeadGen with some slight tweaking to your business and specific points in the funnel.

New Customers

Rarely do people jump into a new hobby without a bit of research or minor experience. Hone in on some of those very basic research terms and popular websites one would be checking out while doing their preliminary research. Getting the basics in front of them and building that goodwill could become invaluable when they’re looking to make the investment and buy equipment.

Here is an example of an audience that is full of exploratory search terms and websites that someone new to the hobby may check out.

Custom Intent Audience for Very Basic Research Phase Keywords

This would be a great opportunity to run a longer video that dives into the basics of the hobby. Rather than selling why someone should buy from you, you take the time to educate them and build a connection.

Users Looking for Specific Products

Especially useful for eComm clients, one could try testing audiences targeted towards specific product segments. This more specific targeting is really where intent becomes powerful. You’ll be able to target users before they’re performing the actual searches to purchase something. The strategy is similar but here you can provide very specific types of content geared toward exactly what they’re looking to invest in.

Kegging is an investment people normally make after they’ve gotten their feet wet. Kegs, kegerators, taps, there is a lot that can go into this equipment purchase; even more if someone decides to DIY everything themselves. These are sales that can run from a couple hundred to close to $1,000 depending on how big a leap one wants to take.

More Detailed, Product Specific Custom Intent Audience

Once again, by utilizing this intent based targeting we can get some very informational videos in front of users. Show them step by step guides to building their own kegerator or a guide on how to keg & carbonate their beer. Make yourself a thought leader in the space but target users as they’re looking to make a purchase.

Target Your Top Keywords

If you’re interested in getting one of these audiences up and running quickly, simply adding some of your top performing keywords and top competitors is a great way to get things going.

This could be especially useful on high average CPC terms with YouTube generally being much more inexpensive. Maybe toss those users who watched your video into a remarketing list and layer that on your search campaigns or create a separate category in display to target those users again.

Final Thoughts

With this new type of targeting being rolled out to YouTube, it really opens the door when thinking about content creation and how it can overlap with paid search. It’s no secret that people are consuming more video content across the internet and this gives marketers a unique opportunity to pair that with intent.

In PPC, we have a lot of data at our disposal. Being able to match traffic with potential sales volume (or lead volume) can really help guide your content creation team to make the most impactful videos for your business and help grow your brand.

Targeting on YouTube is transforming a lot. Become the gold-standard in your niche by building out a large content library and use it to its full effect with these intent-based targeting tactics.