Learn The Fundamentals of Youtube Ads for Managed Service Providers

Years ago, there was a time when the most innovative companies were moving budget from print and radio ads to invest in this new thing called “television.” The process of producing a commercial, brokering some airtime and then sitting around waiting for the phone to ring was a risky investment for small businesses to make and why most struggled to cash-in on the new medium.

Fast forward to today’s media and Youtube now has more upside than TV ever did. Small business can easily produce low budget videos and show them to the exact audience of their choosing with as little investment as they wish. So why are businesses, especially those in the Managed Services industry not going all in on Youtube?

From the feedback we have gotten, it appears that a lack of understanding of the platform and how it works is the primary means of hesitation. MSPs simply can’t invest the time to learn and there is a stigma that outsourcing comes with a heavy price tag. The best way to break down this wall and get providers invested is through education.

Understand ad types.

Youtube currently has two types of Ads; Discovery and Instream. Discovery Ads will show as a listing on Youtube Search, as well as on the side of videos as “recommended content.” You will be charged for these ads when the listing is clicked, whether your video is watched or not.

Instream ads will play your video before or after another video, giving the audience the opportunity to skip. You are only charged for these ads if you your video is watched beyond the skip, making them the ideal method if your campaign objective is to get more views. Both of these ad types have their pros and cons. I would recommend testing both in segmented campaigns and comparing the results after a few months to determine which is better suited for your objectives.

Manually choose placements.

One of the best ways to target your audience on Youtube is by handpicking the channels and videos that your ad shows on. For example, let’s say your content is “5 ways to prevent productivity loss for your Law Firm.” Showing this on the “Bloomberg Law” Youtube channel would be an ideal placement to ensure you are reaching a relevant audience of Attorneys.

Unfortunately, this feature will only work if the channel has selected to allow ads on their videos. Most companies that are not in the publishing business will turn this feature off because they do not want their competitors advertising on their content. Nevertheless, put yourself in your buyer’s shoes and search channels that they would find interest in. The right combination of ad placement and channel can be a home run for both you and the original content publisher.

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Try keyword targeting.

Much like their Search campaigns, Youtube also allows you to target specific keywords. This means that your content will show to individuals that have previously searched a keyword on Google or Youtube. While this seems like it would be a very powerful placement method, it has its downfalls. Without the right “match types” or “negative keywords” in place, keyword matching is not always accurate.

For example, when advertising our Managed Service Provider, we attempted numerous times to show up for queries that included the acronym “MSP.” Unfortunately for us, there is also a game called “Movie Star Planet” or “MSP” to its crazed 13 year old loyalists that use Youtube to post live recordings of their gameplay. It seemed to be impossible to bid on this term without accidentally showing up for the wrong content, no matter how many channels we blocked or negative keywords we entered. We eventually scrapped the term in favor of the longer tail versions that were having more success without the confusion.

Make the first 5 seconds count.

When you create a pre-roll ad on Youtube, you only have 5 seconds to capture your audience’s attention. After this point, they will have the ability to skip your ad and your opportunity will be lost. It is important to get right to the point and use the first 5 seconds to immediately relate to your audience. Tell them what value they will get out of watching the rest of the video and why they should click through.

Using our previous example of promoting content titled “5 ways to prevent productivity loss for your Law Firm” your first 5 seconds could say, “ Is your law firm losing productivity and missing deadlines, all because of frustrating IT problems?”. This “hook” will immediately resonate with your audience and grab their attention. Should they relate to this pain point, they are very likely to let the video play on to hear what comes next.

Retarget your viewers with more ads.

It’s important to always remember that ads, specifically Youtube Ads, are an interruption to someones intended action. While occasionally your ad might be compelling enough to send the viewer completely off-course, the majority of the time this will not be the case. That does not mean that it is not relevant to the viewer or that they are never going to be interested in your IT Company. It simply means that now was not the time.

Using Google’s Youtube retargeting audience will allow you to show more video ads, or banner ads to anyone who has viewed your videos. This way you can reinforce your call-to-action after the prospect moves on and hopefully catch them at a time when they are more receptive to learning more about you and what you have to offer. This turns your videos into collection points to build your audience instead of just a one time shot at earning a prospect’s attention.