Make Your Video Ads More Engaging on YouTube

This is a guest post by Joe Martinez, Director of Paid Media and Community for Granular.

There’s been a lot of updates in the video world so far in 2018, but I want to step back and take a look at some of the basic features in YouTube. I still consider YouTube as one of the most underutilized tools in digital marketing, and I still see marketers not even using all the features YouTube has given us for years.

Let me show you three easy ways you can make your video ads more engaging.

Call-to-Action Overlays

The easiest engagement element you can add to any of your YouTube videos is call-to-action overlays. CTA overlays give video advertisers the opportunity to drive traffic to your website. Here’s an example of the overlay during a TrueView in-stream ad.

You can set this up either in AdWords or the YouTube interface. But this is a PPC blog, so I’m only going to show you he AdWords route. In your video campaigns, head over to the “Videos” tab. You’ll get a list of all the videos in your campaign with the option to edit the CTA.

The main elements of the CTA overlay are pretty simple. We get a 25-character headline, a 25-character display URL, the final URL, and an option to add a 74×74 logo of your brand (not pictured in the example above).

I always recommend having a soft CTA for your overlays. Think of the user experience. Most likely they are being introduced to your brand for the first time. Avoid the hard “buy now” message. Give users a reason to want to learn more about your brand. You can only add one CTA to your videos at a time. Create a calendar to test different CTAs to see if one has a bigger impact and drives more traffic.

Companion Banners

This accompanying ad is also available for just in-stream ads and is also an optional add-on. Advertisers have the option to attach an additional 300×60 image which will show next to a video after your in-stream ad is done being played. Images can be jpg, png, or gif if you really want to try and capture users’ attention. Here’s an example of a companion banner next to an ad from Purple Mattress.

I bet you’re thinking, “Wait a second, Joe. You said the banner was an image.”

Yes, I did.

“Well, then why are there other video clips alongside the in-stream ad instead of an image?” Nice catch clever reader. If you don’t have a 300×60 asset you want to use, you can have AdWords choose some video recommendations as your companion banner.

Now everyone can have a companion banner if they choose. This option not only is great for people without assets but also for the marketer who wants to expand the reach of their videos and boost their earned metrics. If you want more video views or want to grow the engagement on your YouTube channel, have AdWords auto-generate your companion banner for you.

Shopping Cards

I recently crashed the eCommerce session at SMX Advanced to talk about setting up and tracking a full TrueView for Shopping strategy. In the presentation, I showed attendees how to properly showcase products on their YouTube in-stream ads. Here’s an example of an ad I recently saw for and the products that showed up alongside the video ad.

Yes, we can attach our Merchant Center product feeds to our videos, but it’s more than that. We have the options to select all products (I don’t always recommend this), to manually select up to 10 products (only 6 will show at a time), or to select products by the custom labels we utilize in our feeds. To really have an effective TrueView for Shopping campaign, you have to understand the audience, then create the video for that audience before deciding on what products to show.

Products are selected at the campaign level, and remember I said you can only choose up to 10 products per campaign. This campaign setting will impact what videos you’ll want to create, who you want to reach, and how many campaigns you’ll want to create to reach all those users. Yes, it takes some extra leg work, but worth it if you can promote your products or even get direct revenue from your YouTube campaigns.

Final Point

All of the features I showed you are available in AdWords when creating a video campaign. Take the extra effort to add these elements to your campaigns to boost view rates and even site traffic. You’re going to be surprised how quick it is to set up some of these features. Now go back to your video campaigns and keep your users engaged!

About the Author:

Joe Martinez is the Director of Paid Media and Community for Granular in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is also the current and founding President of MKEsearch. His focus on marketing psychology and user experience help his clients achieve record growths and lifetime customers. While he is hands-on in all aspects of PPC, his true passions lie in Display, Remarketing, and YouTube. He has written for PPC Hero, SEMrush, Leadpages, Optmyzr, and AdStage. He has hosted webinars for SEMrush, Unbounce, and Bing Ads. He has also spoken at SMX, HeroConf, Confluence Conference, The Summit on Content Marketing and more. In 2017, he was named a Top 25 Influential PPC Expert by PPC Hero.