This past Tuesday, I attended the SMX West Conference’s “YouTube Ads for Fun and Profit” session where the speakers shared entertaining examples and marketing insights on how to effectively reach YouTube viewers with the multitude of advertising opportunities, and some tips for how to maximize performance of YouTube ad campaigns for any budget level.

Panelists for SMX’s YouTube Ads for Fun and Profit event were:

  • Moderator: Chris Sherman, Executive Editor, Search Engine Land
  • Q&A Moderator: Manny Rivas, Online Marketing Account Manager, aimClear
  • Speaker: Marty Weintraub, President, aimClear
  • Speaker: John Weyand, Managing Director, iProspect New York, iProspect/Range Online Media

Why advertise on YouTube?

Overall, you’re overlooking a huge potential source of traffic and revenue if you’re not exploring the multitude of ad formats YouTube offers. Here’s some explanations from the panelists, along with industry data showing just why that’s the case:

Audience Size

YouTube is either the second or third largest search engine in the world these days; and is 2nd to only Google in the total number of unique searches. YouTube has a total audience that’s more than double the prime-time audience of all three major U.S. broadcast networks combined.

Time spent

Moderator Chris Sherman starts off with an interesting report from Morgan Stanley Research on Internet Trends: the top Websites people are spending their time at. #1 is Facebook; and #2 is YouTube with 10% of their total time.

Purchase intent

John Weyand, Managing Director of iProspect’s New York Office (iProspect/Range Online Media), reported that according to a GFK study, after seeing one YouTube ad, the viewer’s tendency to buy a product increased 40%. “This is twice as much as TV.” Said John.

Low pricing for value

YouTube advertising has a much lower CPM than comparative text online advertising, as well all traditional media.

Ease of use

John also says that it’s very easy to setup and maintain Promoted Videos YouTube campaigns, He demonstrated to the audience the simple steps: Choose existing video on your own YouTube channel from “My Account > Video and Playlists,” then clicking on that video’s drop-down menu and selecting “Promote” to get started.

Google Adwords integration

You can use your existing Adwords account to place text, image and click-to-play (CTP) video ads that can show up in YouTube pages and videos.

Diverse campaign formats scaled to budget

YouTube ads allow for campaigns of any budget with Sponsored Videos, as well as with other formats for larger budget spends, including: homepage roadblocks, branded channels and contests.

YouTube Ad Placements

John presented all the examples YouTube offers for advertising opportunities, which I’ve organized by budget levels:

Every budget

Small and mid-range budget

  • Companion Ads with in-video overlay
  • InStream Ads (pre-roll)
  • Video Ad (Click-to-play)

Large budget (Estimated $200K-up)

  • Masthead unit (24 hours on YouTube Homepage)
  • Custom brand channels

iProspect’s YouTube Ads Study: Nice, but where’s the disclosure?

John reported an unidentified client case study on their YouTube ad campaign of Promoted Videos + call-to-action overlay, and compared that with the client’s branded paid search traffic from Google and all other campaigns

  • Video Views – YouTube generated 3/4ths of their client’s video views over all other types of advertising.
  • Click-thrus – YouTube video(s) generated a 3% click-thru rate to the client’s website. (Below is iProspect’s presentation slide, but not the actual client.)
  • Conversions – YouTube video(s) had a (post-click?) conversion rate of 7.6%, compared to a 1.3% conversion rate for their branded paid search campaign on Google. “This is real sales, not just branding.” Said John.

While these appear to be impressive numbers, I have to question of any data without some transparency on whom the actual clients are, along with 3rd party verification of their shared performance data. I understand that client confidentiality agreements may prohibit this, but you would think that a company as large as iProspect would be inclined to produce at least one client case study where we actually know who that is.

YouTube Ad Campaign Tips

John shared these tips for planning out and running a successful YouTube ad campaign:

  • How-to videos are popular on YouTube, and especially feasible for tight budgets.
  • Do multiple videos for any individual campaign, and test the performances of those videos against each other with the data from YouTube Insights

Conclusion: YouTube Advertising Is the Sleeper Opportunity

With so much untapped inventory in YouTube’s Sponsored Videos, along with low CPMs and ease of setup, marketers should definitely start with researching targeted keywords for placement of YouTube videos as advertisements. Also check out the openings with your own competitors on YouTube and their keyword search results, including trademarked terms. (It’s legit!) Adding Sponsored videos + overlay ads to take people to your own website, will allow you to be an early adopter to the budding YouTube Ad marketer before your competitors know what hit them.

Want more information on YouTube Ads for fun and profit?

Check out YouTube’s Advertising Programs page and the advertise YouTube channel, where you can learn the basics to advertising on YouTube, plus more in-depth information on their advertising programs.