In every marketing campaign, the word can take on a different meaning.
But to every affiliate marketer and every business, results are usually what matter most. And in an expanding media landscape, proving results can feel overwhelming and complex, particularly when it comes to online video.
In a world where people can watch what they want, on any device, whenever they can squeeze it in, capturing attention is hard.
So turning that attention into results must be even harder, right? Not so. But succeeding in the new attention economy will require you to adapt your plans.
YouTube campaigns are developed and geared toward delivering outcomes. Whether you’re looking to drive awareness, consideration, conversions, or full funnel success, YouTube helps you deliver more relevant, personalized experiences when your audience is most ready to watch, and drives impact and results across the entire customer journey.
As a starting point, here are three things know to be true in today’s media landscape.
Not all screen time is equal
Today, based on Nielsen’s data, more than half of 18 to 49 year olds in the U.S. are either light viewers of TV or do not subscribe to TV, but over 90% of them watch YouTube.
When it comes to video viewing, research supports what we intuitively know to be true: when people are in a “lean-forward” viewing mode, they’re 1.5X more likely to pay attention than when they’re in “leanback” mode.
And they’re 1.8X more likely to be in lean-forward mode when watching online video compared to TV.
YouTube viewers aren’t just passively watching; they’re actively engaged
Despite the buzz around shrinking attention spans, people can—and do— still pay attention. In fact, a new analysis of consumer behavior found that 81% of video viewing sessions capture people’s attention.
On YouTube, viewing sessions aren’t passive. Viewers are actively engaged with a creator, or something they want to learn, discover. or share. These “lean-forward” moments are opportunities for your brand. According to Ipsos, people are three times more likely to pay attention to online video ads versus TV ads.
To capture people’s attention, you need to be relevant
For today’s consumer, the meaning of “relevance” has changed. It’s no longer enough to simply know your audience.
To break through, you need to know what people are looking for and in what context. Research finds that relevant video ads get three times the attention of an average video ad.
So understanding your audience’s intent and being able to respond to that intent is becoming table stakes. The right message, creative, and ad format are key to capturing their attention.
Over the next few years, we expect the power of online video to enable more than half of humanity to learn, share, innovate, and participate.
By 2020, video is estimated to be 82% of consumer web traffic. So in a world of seemingly infinite choice and scarcity of attention, video remains the world’s favorite pastime, and it’s still growing.
With more than 1.8 billion logged-in users each month, YouTube is at the heart of this boom, and a proven place for reaching a massive audience and driving upper marketing funnel metrics across verticals.
If increasing brand awareness and ad recall are KPIs for your campaign, here are three tips to follow.
Pull consumers in with sight and sound
People expect sight and sound when it comes to online video, and research shows that 2.4X more attention is paid to ads when shown on platforms with full sight, sound, and motion.
So plan to invest in formats that deliver high viewability and audibility.
Ninety-five percent of YouTube ads are audible,10 and 95% are viewable (compared to 66% on the rest of the web and apps).
Be relevant by focusing on their preferences, not just demographics
Relevance wins the battle for attention. To make your ads more relevant, move beyond demographic targeting to focus on consumers’ intent signals, available through YouTube’s Advanced Audiences.
Campaigns that use Google’s intent signals for targeting on mobile have 50% higher brand awareness lift than those using demographic targeting alone.
Online video is a critical resource for consumers in search of information and advice before making a buying decision.
For example, we’ve seen that nearly one in two car buyers turn to YouTube for information before their purchase, and nine in ten millennials say they watch videos for home care tips and ideas.
It’s no surprise, then, that advertisers looking to influence consumers and get them to consider their brands have driven impact on YouTube.
A recent Think With Google research article shows that seven in ten Google Preferred campaigns had a lift in consideration, and six in ten TrueView campaigns had a lift in consideration. We’ve also seen this impact translate into a return on investment.
Looking across the Nielsen MPA studies we’ve run to date, we see that over 70% of YouTube campaigns drove a significant lift in offline sales.
If your campaign goals include delivering results in the middle of the customer journey, here are guidelines to keep in mind.
Be contextually relevant by planning around the specific content your audience is already watching
Ad content that is aligned to the video content it runs against can drive higher consideration lift versus generic creative.
To improve the relevance of your ads and help increase brand consideration, develop ads that are tailored to the content your audience is interested in—for instance, categories such as music, recipes, or workouts.
Build personalized experiences across a planned sequence of content
Moving potential customers down the purchase funnel demands more than a single hero asset. Beyond optimizing your ad frequency for media weighting, coordinate your message across a sequence of ads, based on how a user interacts with them—be it an impression, skip, or view—to give a more relevant and timely ad experience.
Here are four video ad sequences seen to be particularly effective:
Leverage the power of YouTube influencers
With engaged audiences in the millions and passionate fans hungry for content, YouTube creators are already an established channel for brands looking to run ads.
They have also proven to be effective at helping audiences better understand your brand, your values, and your products.
Our research has shown that brand integrations with YouTube creators drive lifts in brand familiarity, brand affinity, and purchase intent among both U.S. and U.K. audiences.
Historically, video was rarely considered an acquisition tool.
The only way someone could “act” on a video was to watch it, and marketers could only optimize for reach (with TV) or views (with online video).
Tracking hard ROI back to video? Nearly impossible.
But these days, new ad formats like TrueView for action have made video a powerful channel for driving online conversions. Thanks to this new technology, we’re better able to measure actual impact.
The takeaway? Performance video should be a part of your marketing toolbox.
Here are three guiding principles for driving results with direct-response YouTube ads.
Tailor your creative to inspire action
Since the ad’s first five seconds are not skippable, you have 100% of users paying attention.
To hook your target audience:• Front load your offer: Pull them in with a relevant message.• Brand authentically: Show your product, not just your logo.• Have a clear call to action: Make the desired action easy to see and understand.
Deliver your message to an interested audience.
Set your ads up for success by ensuring they’re delivered to users who will find the offer relevant.
Using YouTube’s Advanced Audience targeting, you can reach people who have recently searched for your brand (Custom Intent), who are looking to buy (In-market), who are entering a key life milestone (Life events), and who have engaged with your brand before (Remarketing).
Make taking action simple & easy
It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s critically important to make it immediately clear to your viewers what to do if they like your offer.
For example, if your desired action is clicks, consider “Sign up,” “Book now,” or “Learn more.”
If lead generation is your goal, consider “Register,” or “Get quote.”