September 4th, 2012

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Optimizing Your Adwords for Video Campaigns

If you have the means to produce video content, Adwords for Video could be a viable advertising outlet, whether it’s for driving traffic or for branding. Just to throw some stats at you, YouTube has about 4 billion views per day and it reaches about 800 million unique users with about 100 million social actions taken each month. That’s a lot of reach.

Adwords for Video has 4 different types of advertising methods.

TrueView In-Stream – A skippable long-form video content that is shown as a pre-roll to other video content

TrueView In-Slate – An ad that allows users to select from several options and is a non-skippable pre-roll to other video content

TrueView In-Search – An ad that allows you to show your ad on the search screen of YouTube

TrueView In-Display – An ad that will be shown in the Google Display Network (GDN)

Creative Best Practices: Short Term

Test Different Videos

One important thing when advertising is to always look for better ways to increase views. Adwords for Video can be set to optimize for which video performs the best. For instance, you can run 4 ads/videos simultaneous and Adwords for Video will automatically optimize which one performs the best.

Test Different Text and Thumbnails

In-Display and In-Search ads are made up of a combination of a thumbnail image and text. One of the ways to optimize is to test different text and different thumbnails. For thumbnails, don’t automatically use the default generated thumbnail. Several thumbnails are generated when a video is uploaded, either pick which looks the best or upload your own. The key is to think about how users interact with YouTube vs. Google. It’s different, so don’t use the same ads for both.

Implement Overlays/Annotations

Annotations appear in the video as a pop-up hyperlink with whatever text you want to use. Annotations can be used to either click through to your website or to a brand channel, allowing you to sell the benefits of your channel or your website with deeper interaction (by linking to more videos, calling for interaction, prizes, etc…)

Creative Best Practices: Long Term


In-Stream is made for the web. It allows users/customers to choose a relevant ad, by allowing them to skip. This also allows advertisers to pay only for engaged users as a view only counts when a user watches the video to completion or past 30 seconds (whichever comes first). It essentially rewards good creative ads.

Strong Call-to-Action

Use the ad to direct your viewers (either via annotations or the ad itself). You can direct viewers to click to the website, subscribe to a channel, visit your channel, watch more videos, like/share/add-to-favorites, or even comment on the video.

Get into Content Quickly

If users have the ability to skip or abandon the task, you want to be sure to get into the content early. When creating a video ad, the ad should not start with a focus on the brand, instead start with a focus on a hook that will keep the user past the 5 second mark.

Additional Resources

YouTube has a lot of resources to help an advertiser or creator out when it comes to video content and ads.


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