How to drive awareness and engagement with a YouTube ads strategy

Did you know that YouTube has over two billion monthly deeply engaged viewers? Imagine how many people you could reach if you leverage the right tools!

YouTube allows businesses of all sizes to increase brand awareness and drive engagement with a wide array of advertising options and sophisticated targeting. Here’s what you need to know…

Know your ABC(D)s!

Advice straight from from YouTube itself: you really need to know your ABCD if you want creative that gets results. When creating your video ad, you need to…

  • Attract – Hook your audience and get them to tune in 

  • Brand – Help consumers see and hear your brand 

  • Connect – Make them think or feel something about your brand 

  • Direct – Get them to take action and reinforce your message

These guidelines are a great rule of thumb for any type of video, but are especially important with ads, where viewers may opt to skip if you don’t engage them quickly. If you want to know more, YouTube has a more detailed playbook about each of the ABCDs – download the playbook here.

YouTube ABCD

Plan for mobile-first

With 70% of global watch time occurring on mobile devices, it’s vital you consider how your ad would read on a mobile. That means vibrancy, brightness, clear logos and close-ups will all be important in making sure your brand and messaging reads clearly, no matter the screen sizes.

Don’t let audio be an afterthought

Since 95% of videos are played with sound on, audio is just as important as your visuals for capturing your audience’s attention. If you have a sound trademark or ‘audio logo’ (think Intel Inside, or the McDonald’s ‘ba da ba ba baaa!’) now is the time to use it to reinforce your brand!

Similarly, a quality voiceover can make a big difference. Audibly mentioning the brand within five seconds can aid in ad recall, helping potential customers remember your brand as they move further down the funnel. Similarly, having a person speak directly to camera instantly catches their attention and is far more impactful than a simple voiceover.

Ultimately, your audio’s goal is to reinforce what’s happening on screen, as well as being reflective of your brand.

Establish your goals

It’s really important you have a clear vision of what your goal for YouTube advertising is, as it’ll not just affect your messaging, but the ad formats too.

So if you want to inspire action, you should keep the video and script focused on the product/service you offer. If you’re running a brand awareness campaign, engage the viewer by telling a story and leveraging all the tools available to you to make you brand memorable – whether that’s tone of voice, colour, logo, sound, voiceover, animation or otherwise.

For awareness, Bumper ads and In-stream ads (skippable and non-skippable) reach as many people as possible and are usually targeted based on detailed demographics, affinity or custom audiences.

Bumper ads give you 6 seconds to deliver your message, with your audience watching the ad in its entirety. Skippable in-stream ads can be skipped after 5 seconds, but can run to 30 seconds if the viewer is engaged. Non-skippable in-stream ads allow you to share your story with your audience, giving you an opportunity to showcase your brand, product or service for up to 15 seconds.

Meanwhile, for engagement and action, Video action campaigns are all aboutachieving as many conversions as possible on and off YouTube. These ads are skippable, and although it's open-length, it’s recommended to be between 15-30 seconds.

Narrow down your audience

Targeting the right audiences with the right message is key to any campaign, whether you’re focused on awareness, engagement, or both.

If you’re targeting people with the goal of awareness, you should focus on detailed demographics, affinity, or custom audiences. Keeping the audience broad maximises the potential to achiever wider spread brand awareness.

If you are targeting people with the goal of engagement, you should focus on custom audiences, similar audiences, customer match and remarketing. These audiences tend to show high intent, or be already familiar with your product, and the reason they haven't bought yet could be pricing, availability or timing. You can determine how these audiences are segmented by analysing the customer journey on your site.

Give it time

We always keep an eye on our video campaigns when they’re pushed live, but don’t expect magic overnight! Give the campaign time to bed in before you look to change CTAs or creative. After a time, look for signs where you may need to make small changes. If people aren’t skipping your ad, but don’t click through, chances are your creative is engaging but your CTA could be weak. Or you may just need to make some audience tweaks.

Even with automation tools, online advertising is still a bit of a science. If you need some help, get in touch with us today!

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