Why YouTube Video Advertising Needs To Be Part of Your Strategy

Why YouTube Video Advertising Needs To Be Part of Your Strategy

Published by Spinutech on March 8, 2016

TV has changed and it has changed several times. As a child of the 80’s I clearly remember when we got our first VCR as a family. It was a huge deal, you could tape a show even when you weren’t home! This in a small way changed the way people watched TV. Then we move into the late 90’s and TiVo came along. Did you know TiVo was introduced in 1999 at the CES? TiVo and DVR’s dramatically changed the game. As a viewer we could now fast forward through commercials. Man, that was and still is really cool.

Let’s jump to 2005 when YouTube came along.

We all were enamored with really stupid cat videos (I will say the videos with cats and cucumbers are really entertaining). In 2007 YouTube introduced its first advertisement opportunities, primarily banner overlays, into the videos. Today you will commonly see both banners and the beautiful pre-roll ads (technically called TrueView).

Let’s look at a few stats that I find very interesting:

  • From a recent AdWeek study 18% of the total US population has never signed up for Cable (source)
  • Forrester predicts over half of U.S. viewers under 32 will not subscribe to a paid TV service by 2025 (source)
  • The Washington Post found our time in front of the TV declined last year. 
  • 18-49 year-old’s time on YouTube jumped 44% according to Nielsen’s Google-commissioned analysis and most was due to an increase in mobile views (source)
  • YouTube searches related to “how-to” were up 70% year over year per Google
  • Brands that paired TrueView with Tv in their media plans saw a 23% increase in Ad recall, an 18% increase in brand awareness and a 13% bump in consideration per Google
  • 1 in 3 millennials say they’ve purchased a product as a result of watching a how-to video per Google.

So what does all of this mean?

The findings mentioned above are pretty powerful and insightful. It’s clear to me that the benefits and likely ROI on adding in an online video component to your marketing mix will likely prove to be well worth it. Simply put, this is where the eyeballs are going and depending on your needs this could be one more great marketing tool.

How TrueView Ads Work

YouTube defines it like this. Video ads appear before other videos on YouTube, beside playing videos and in search results.

TrueView Instream Video Example


TrueView video ads run on YouTube and throughout the web via the GDN (Google Display Network). YouTube has more than 1 billion users, Google’s Display Network reaches over 90% of web users worldwide through over 2 million sites according to Comscore. When you use targeting with your TrueView video ads on YouTube and the Google Display Network, you can create opportunities to advertise to your existing and potential consumers at moments that matter. There is a wide variety of targeting options available. You can target based on demographic groups, interests, placements and remarketing lists. You can also reach specific or niche audiences based on who they are, where they are, what they're interested in and what content they're viewing.

What do video ads cost? With YouTube you are in complete control of your daily budget. You are only charged when a user engages with your ad. If a user skips the ad your account will not be charged. That is a really great thing! You can still have your messaging seen but not pay for it. If your goal is purely a branding objective then this works great.

Make sure your videos are front-loaded with branding. This way if a user skips your ad they will still have seen your branding.

What about measuring the results of your ads? Youtube has some great built-in metrics available. You will also also want to make sure the ads are tied into your Google Analytics account for full conversion tracking. YouTube’s platform will also allow you to run multiple ad variations to test which version/s are performing best.

There can be several goals that you’d like to achieve with video ads. Branding is a simple one and the most common. You can also drive traffic to your site, physical location or your YouTube channel.

YouTube's Interest Targeting

When you take advantage of the built-in interest targeting you can see some great results. There are several targeting options for video ads.

Here they are with a brief description:

Demographic groups

You can choose age, gender and parental status of your potential audience you would like to target.


You have the ability to pick from several categories to help you reach interested individuals aligned with the same interest. This can happen even when the user may be visiting other pages about different topics.

Affinity audiences

This allows you to create brand awareness and aid in consideration with your TrueView video ads. This is done by getting in front of individuals who already have strong interest with relevant topics.

Custom affinity audiences

By using custom affinity audience you are able to create an audience that is tailored to your brand in comparison to a broader audience (affinity audiences similar to traditional TV). Think of it this way, with just an affinity audience you can target Sports Fans. If you own a running shoe store you would much rather reach “Avid Marathon Runners”.  With custom affinity audiences, the shoe company can define this audience by:

Using free form interests entered as keywordsand/or using URLs as a proxy for interest bundles.

If you enter URLs you can enter URLs of sites that you know marathon runners would visit. You want to target sites that cover marathon topics. This isn’t targeting the site specifically but rather building the type of content you would expect your desired user to consume. This allows you to reach people who browse that type of content.

In-market audiences

You can select from this type of audience to find potential customers that are researching products or services and likely considering buying said product or service you offer.

Video remarketing

Similar to display remarketing (banner ad remarketing) this allows you to target a user based on their past interactions with your videos, TrueVeiw ads and YouTube channel. You should also make sure your YouTube account is linked to your AdWords account to allow for the creation of custom lists automatically.


This allows you to target specific channels, sites and placements within them. Here is the breakdown:

  • Channels (YouTube Partner Channels)
  • Videos (YouTube Videos)
  • Sites (Display Network - includes YouTube.com as a publisher site)


With topics you are able to show your video ads based on specific topics on YouTube and the Google Display Network. This allows you to target a wide range of videos, channels and websites related to your topic. An example would be if you are targeting the topic of “Automotive” then your video ad would show on YouTube to users watching videos about cars.


This allows you to show your video ads based on words or phrases (keywords) related to a YouTube video, channel or website that your audience is interested in. This is dependent on your video ad format.

What's next?

We’ve covered quite a bit here, don’t be intimidated. This is a very powerful medium and if used to its full extent should produce some great results. If you aren’t already using video ads we would encourage you to give it strong consideration.

Have questions, intimidated, not sure if this is for your brand or not? Hey, that’s what we’re here for! As a Certified Premier Google Partner we are required to keep up on topics like this.

Good Luck!