YouTube Ads 2024: Your Comprehensive Guide to New Format and Setup

If you’re reading this, you’re likely interested in new ad methods or considering YouTube ads as a potential opportunity. With social media ad returns decreasing and Google Ads costs rising, it’s logical to explore new channels. YouTube ads, known for their effectiveness as part of Google’s vast search engine network, face questions about their ROI and evolving strategies in 2024. Let’s delve into these topics.

What kind of businesses use YouTube ads?

This is a common question I encounter. During quarterly reviews, clients often ask: “Is YouTube advertising right for me? What’s the cost? How long should the video be? Should it be uploaded to YouTube? What kind of video should I make?” I’m confident that YouTube ads can attract new customers at the lowest cost in the Top Funnel, thereby building a larger target audience. Moreover, they perform well in generating leads and in e-commerce.

Searching randomly on YouTube, I’ve identified three distinct types of YouTube ad clients:

Brand Awareness

Big brands often use YouTube to promote brand or product videos, aiming to increase brand visibility. For example, the advertising effectiveness of Samsung’s new flagship phone, the S24 Ultra, is measured by views or exposure.

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eCommerce 

E-commerce platforms also use YouTube to sell products, with conversion rates or ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) as their performance metrics.

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Lead Generation

Using YouTube ads for lead generation has become a popular strategy in recent years. 

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Top 3 Benefits of YouTube Ads

1. Pay Only for “True and Serious” Views

YouTube’s billing model primarily uses Cost Per View (CPV), where a view is counted and billed only if it exceeds 30 seconds, known as True View. This means you only pay for viewers who watch your ad seriously, usually indicating a genuine interest in your content.

2. Low Cost Per View

Contrary to the belief that YouTube ads are mostly for big companies with high costs, the reality is different. The cost for a 30-second view is about HK$0.2 to HK$0.3. With a budget of HK$20,000, you could get around 100,000 views. Assuming a 25% view rate, this translates to roughly 400,000 impressions, making the cost per view quite affordable.

3. Target the Right Audience

If you’ve clearly identified your customer group, you can accurately target them with YouTube ads. How do you find your target customers? In the latest targeting settings, you can direct your YouTube ads to the following audiences:

  • Website Visitors
  • YouTube Viewer List
  • In-Market、Affinity、Life event Audience
  • Custom segments like those who’ve searched for specific keywords, visited certain websites, or used specific apps

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Now we have various targeting options for deploying YouTube ads, whether to attract new audiences or re-engage old customers. You can precisely deliver different types of videos to your target audience for accurate impact.

Youtube Ad Format

1. Skippable In-Stream Ads

You’re likely familiar with these if you frequently watch YouTube. 

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The red section represents the Skippable In-Stream Ad, where viewers can choose to skip after 5 seconds. Advertisers pay after the ad plays for 30 seconds, or upon full view if it’s shorter than 30 seconds.

The blue area is the Call-to-Action button, leading viewers to a Landing Page.

The green area is the Companion Banner, which stays on screen even after the ad ends.

Usage: Mainly for brand awareness, but also effective for website traffic, sales, or lead generation.

Video Length: No strict limit, ideally 30 seconds to 1 minute, with key messages in the first 15 seconds to capture attention.

2. Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads

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These ads come without a skip button, requiring viewers to watch the entire ad.

Usage: Suited for CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions) bidding, aiming at brand awareness.

Video Length: 15 to 30 seconds.

Less popular due to lack of flexibility and potential negative impact on viewer sentiment.

3. Bumper Ads

Short, 6-second ads that can’t be skipped, charged by CPM.

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Usage: Great for enhancing brand recall and increasing impressions. YouTube claims they positively impact brand lifting.

Video Length: 6 seconds, concise and designed to quickly grab attention.

4. In-feed Video Ads

These replace the previous video discovery ads, appearing alongside YouTube videos or on the YouTube page.

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Usage: Boosts brand awareness, cost-per-click billing, similar to native ads on YouTube.

5. YouTube Masthead

Appears on the homepage of desktop YouTube, purchased through a Google sales representative with a minimum spending requirement.

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Usage: Ideal for making a strong, impactful presence.

Steps to Set Up a YouTube Video Ad

Create a Video Campaign

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In the Google Ads Campaign interface, click the blue “+” to select “New Campaign.”

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Choose “Awareness and consideration” for the Objective, then select “Video”. If your goal is sales/leads/website traffic, you can still choose a Video campaign, focusing on optimizing clicks or conversions. CPV may be higher, but CPC or CPA could perform better.

Choose the Subtype for the Video Campaign

After selecting a Video Campaign, four Subtypes will appear, predefined by Google Ads. Choosing a specific Subtype will automatically set the ad’s placement and type.

Video views

A good choice if the main goal is to obtain views, usually with lower CPV.

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Video reach

Offers three promotional methods: Efficient reach, Non-skippable reach, and Target frequency, each with different ad formats and reach strategies. 

From experience working with Google, Efficient reach is recommended for top-of-the-sales-funnel strategies, effectively reaching a large audience cost-efficiently.youtubeads13

Ad Sequence

Ad Sequence allows for the display of narrative ads in a custom order. For example, if the audience skips the first ad, subsequent ads can target that segment of the audience.

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As an illustration, in the first step (Step 1), the initial video ad is shown. If the audience opts to skip this ad, then in the second step (Step 2), you can target the ads to those who skipped the first one. Conversely, if the audience watches the first ad for more than 30 seconds, the second step’s ad targets these viewers. This method adjusts the ad sequence based on audience interaction. Note that to use this feature, your YouTube channel must be linked to your Google Ads account.

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Audio Ad

Appears primarily on audio-focused platforms like YouTube Music. Google states that these ads are effective for enhancing brand recall. Although our team hasn’t tried this ad format, we welcome everyone to share their experiences and insights.

Video Campaign Settings

Taking Video View as an example, you need to start by naming the campaign. For attracting new audiences, name it as “Prospecting – [Video Ad Name]” for clear identification of the campaign’s goal and content. This naming helps in managing and analyzing different ad campaigns.

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In terms of bidding strategy, choosing the Video View Subtype automatically sets it to Target CPV (Cost Per View), where you can set the maximum cost for each TrueView ad. The suggested CPV is around HK$0.3. For the budget, you can opt for a daily budget or a total campaign budget. Additionally, set the start and end dates for the campaign to manage ad display timing and cost control.

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For Network selection, YouTube is mandatory, allowing your ads to be shown in-stream on YouTube videos, in YouTube search results, or on the YouTube homepage. You can also choose video partners from the Google Display Network (GDN), like Daily Motion, to display your ads. For In-Stream ads, ensure YouTube is selected and consider choosing GDN’s Video Partner for wider coverage.

Language and location should match your target audience to ensure precise ad targeting and effective reach.

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Below the ad settings, you have the option to add related videos, up to two, which will be shown only on mobile devices in YouTube. If there are suitable videos on your YouTube channel, consider adding them as related videos to enhance engagement and interaction with your content, boosting the overall effectiveness of your campaign.

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In the Multi-format ads section, when enabled, your video ad appears not only as in-stream but also as in-feed video ads and YouTube Shorts ads, aiming to maximize views. If your key performance indicator (KPI) is to increase video views, it’s highly recommended to select this option. This will help your ad gain wider exposure across different YouTube formats and sections, achieving higher viewership.

Video Ad Group Settings

It’s crucial to give the Ad Group a clear name to facilitate later management and analysis. It’s recommended to include the Targeting method in the Ad Group’s name for a quick understanding of its positioning strategy and target audience.

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For Targeting settings, the process is straightforward. For example, in a Kick Ads video ad campaign targeting audiences interested in Google Ads or digital marketing, especially marketing managers or business owners, use Audience segments for specific targeting. Select “audience segment,” then specify categories like “digital marketing service.”

To broaden reach and find a wider new audience, enable the “Audience Expansion” option in Google Ads. This can bring your ad to more potential new customers, improving the overall effectiveness and reach of your campaign.

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If the existing affinity or in-market targeting options don’t meet your needs, create a new custom segment. This allows for more precise targeting of audiences based on specific behaviours or interests.

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For Placement settings, you can choose to display your ads on specific YouTube channels or videos. This precise control ensures your ads are shown in locations most relevant to your brand or product, enhancing ad performance. In the settings interface, you can search and select specific YouTube Channels or Videos for ad display, offering targeted marketing to reach the most appropriate audience.

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YouTube Video Ads Remarketing

Kick Ads often recommends that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) consider using Video Ads for Remarketing. But how should they go about it?

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YouTube Video Ads Remarketing allows small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to re-engage visitors who have already visited their website. To implement this strategy, first set up an Audience List in Google Ads, targeting, for example, people who have visited your site. Then, in the Audiences option, select “Remarketing and similar audiences” and choose the predefined Audience List, such as “Website Visitor.” This enables you to show YouTube ads to visitors who have already shown interest in your brand or products, facilitating remarketing. This approach helps to increase brand recognition and conversion rates as it targets an audience already familiar with your brand. To gain a deeper understanding of remarketing principles and benefits, I recommend reading our article <<GDN REMARKETING廣告教學| 設定、原理及好處>>

Video Ad Settings

The next step involves setting the timing for your video ad. First, upload your video to YouTube. Once the upload is complete, you will receive a link to the video. Then, paste this link in Google Ads and set the video as your ad. This way, your video will be displayed as a YouTube ad, serving your promotional goals.

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After locating the video, proceed to set the Landing Page, Headline, and Description. The Landing Page is the webpage viewers are directed to after clicking the ad, the Headline is the ad title, and the Description provides details about the ad. Incorporate a Call to Action button to guide viewers, and upload a Companion Banner in desktop ads to enhance brand visibility. With these steps completed, your YouTube ad setup is finalized.

How to improve YouTube Ads?

Like other advertising forms, YouTube ads can be optimized through targeting and video content enhancements. Here, we will share some methods to make your YouTube ads more effective:

Refine Targeting

Since YouTube video ads and GDN or Remarketing GDN have similar targeting methods, you can target ads to audiences based on different video themes, YouTube channels, YouTube search keywords, and viewer interests. To understand the specific settings and optimization methods, you can refer to 《The Complete Guide to the Google Display Network (GDN)》as the strategies and principles for these two types of ads are the same! For small and medium-sized enterprises, a major use of YouTube ads is for remarketing. This means that when people visit your website but do not make a purchase, they will see your ads on YouTube. The details and settings for remarketing are the same as for GDN. You can refer to《GDN REMARKETING廣告教學| 設定、原理及好處》

Optimizing Video Content

In addition to targeting the right audience, the content of the video itself is a critical element that needs optimization. Even with precise targeting, a video lacking in appeal and substance will struggle to be effective. Here are three key elements to enhance the impact of your video ad

Mention the Company Name and Unique Selling Point within the First Five Seconds

Most YouTube ads are skippable In-stream video ads, meaning viewers can choose to skip after watching for five seconds. Hence, the first five seconds are crucial for capturing the viewer’s attention! Many videos make the most of these seconds to quickly present the brand name or key message, ensuring it sticks with the audience.

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An example of this is from Omio, a European travel booking company, whose ads prominently feature Omio’s main service within the first five seconds, highlighting their offering of optimal travel ticket options.

15 – 50 Seconds Duration is More Suitable

When recommending YouTube ads to clients, questions about the ideal video length often arise. A 2016 study by Google found that short ads (15 seconds) had higher brand recall, while longer ads (up to 2 minutes) were more likely to change viewers’ attitudes towards the brand and improve their favorability. However, it’s worth questioning whether these findings still apply in 2024.

It’s suggested to refer to the article by strikesocial, “Optimizing Video Length for YouTube Ads For High-Performing Campaigns” As shown in the diagram, different industries have varying optimal lengths for YouTube ads. Most industries have shortened their video ads to a range of 0 to 15 seconds or 16 to 30 seconds. However, sectors like Business & Finance, Entertainment, Science & Tech, and Travel still require slightly longer videos, between 31 to 60 seconds, to adequately explain their products.

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In today’s fast-paced society, the demand for speed is ever-increasing, and maintaining viewer attention through lengthy videos can be challenging. Therefore, it’s generally appropriate to keep YouTube ad videos around 15 to 30 seconds in length. Additionally, it’s crucial to remember the first point: mention the company name and key information within the first 5 seconds of the video.

Keep Post-Production Simple, Opt for Straightforward Short Videos

You have probably seen the ads for Agoda and GoDaddy, right?

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If you’ve watched the advertisements from Agoda and GoDaddy, you’ll notice a commonality: both use ultra-short formats and convey directly how their product can be of service. For example, “Plan your travel with Agoda” or “Find your perfect domain with GoDaddy.” They even skip the voiceover narration, focusing instead on being simple, direct, and goal-oriented. This simplicity and directness might well represent the primary direction for video advertising in 2024!

YouTube Ads as a Successful Case for E-commerce to Acquire New Customers

Whenever clients ask us how to expand their new customer base to boost sales, we consistently recommend using YouTube ads to broaden the top of the sales funnel. The benefits of this approach are clear: lower cost per view, wider reach, and the ability to target potential customers more cost-effectively through Google Ads’ audience settings.

Firstly, remember to link your YouTube Channel with your Google Ads account.

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Remember to create a YouTube User List in Audience Manager afterwards.

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The first two steps are completed, now let’s anticipate the impact of YouTube ads! They swiftly build your YouTube user list, fueling your sales funnel with warm leads. Here’s a client case study: a retailer with both physical and online stores faced stagnant e-commerce sales. After launching their first Video Reach ad in early June, they saw a significant performance boost. See the data in the image below.

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Comparing June and July data, we found total spending almost doubled, mainly due to increased investment in Video Reach ads. Although conversion rates and values rose, the return on investment (ROAS) initially dropped to -4%, showing no profitability. However, by persisting for two more months, new customer purchases increased, conversion values improved, and eventually, ROAS turned positive. This success highlighted the power of YouTube ads in acquiring new customers at the top of the sales funnel.

Just a reminder, if you’re looking to expand your customer base using YouTube ads, make sure to include your established YouTube Viewer List in your target audience. This way, you can effectively target customers who have viewed YouTube ads.

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YouTube Ads as a Successful Case for Lead Generation

Apart from e-commerce, we plan to further improve the effectiveness of YouTube ads. We hope to collect customers’ email addresses through YouTube ads. Will this process be easy? Here is a case study from Kick Ads for your reference.

Lead Generation Process

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In the entire process of generating potential leads, we categorize them into two types. One type is the E-Book Opt-In leads, which means you only need to provide your name and email address; the other type is leads who have scheduled a free consultation, meaning you have filled out a form that includes your company information, marketing budget, and objectives. We used YouTube ads to prospect and target a new audience to download this e-book, and the results exceeded our expectations.

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YouTube Ad vs Facebook Ad

We previously thought that YouTube ads were mainly for brand promotion, and that Facebook ads were the effective channel for acquiring potential leads. In this E-Book experiment, we used YouTube ads as the first step in generating potential leads and ran them alongside Facebook ads to explore the differences between the two. Here are the results of the experiment.

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During the first Month, we obtained 363 contacts through Facebook ads, with each potential lead costing HK$7.65; YouTube ads, on the other hand, resulted in 29 contacts, with each potential lead costing HK$20.69. This result proves that YouTube ads can also be an effective channel for acquiring potential leads!

Are there any low-cost methods for shooting videos?

Many people recognize the benefits of YouTube ads but might find video production challenging. Although there are some video-making tools on the market that even offer ready-made templates for direct editing, these tools usually require a fee. The good news is, Google has launched YouTube Video Builder, a free tool that allows everyone to easily create YouTube ad videos.

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At the beginning, you can choose a template for the video.

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Next, you just need to upload your logo and brand colors, and upload images and text according to different scenes. After choosing the right font and music, you can create a video that is unique to you in just 10 minutes

The above is the core strategy for YouTube video ads, aimed at enhancing understanding of the operation and setup steps of YouTube ads. I hope this helps you effectively use YouTube to increase brand visibility and customer acquisition, thereby improving your return on investment. As digital marketing evolves, continuous learning and adjusting strategies is key to success.

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