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Ultimate Guide: The Do’s and Don’ts of Running Convincing Youtube Ads

November 23, 2022

Any seasoned sales or marketing individual knows that YouTube is one of the best online advertising platforms. Being the world’s second most popular website that draws 2 billion visitors each month, allocating an ad budget for YouTube is a no-brainer for many businesses.



However, as with any marketing, you should follow a specific strategy to produce the best results, especially if you’re playing in the B2B market where competition is fierce. You’ll have to learn the fundamentals of creating convincing YouTube video ads for them to pay off in terms of ROI.



In this guide, we’ll show you the dos and don’ts of running ad campaigns on YouTube—so your business can take advantage of this powerful tool.



Let’s dive in.



The Dos of Running YouTube Ads


If you want to reach a huge audience, YouTube can help you do it as it’s the second most popular website in the world. First, let’s review some general tips and best practices for running a YouTube ad campaign. Remember, your goal is to create effective ads while not being too intrusive or disruptive to the user experience.



Determine Your Campaign Goals


What are your goals for this campaign? The YouTube ad formats and content you choose will highly depend on your marketing objectives. 



Here are a few marketing goals for you to consider:


  • Generate leads
  • Increase sales
  • Improve website traffic
  • Maximize brand awareness and reach
  • Expand product and brand consideration


Of course, you can choose more than a few of these objectives, but be clear on your end goals before you start creating ads. Once you know what you want to achieve, you can create ad content (and place them in the appropriate YouTube sections) that is more likely to help you meet those objectives.



Identify Your Target Audience


Before creating your campaign, you must also identify your target audience. Your solution or offering might be “great for everyone”, but you can’t realistically target every person in the world. That’s a waste of time, money, and effort. 



So, ask the following questions:


  • Who are you trying to reach with your campaign? Dictate their age, gender, household income, and parental status. YouTube can also provide life-stage details like new business owners, tech startup entrepreneurs, aspiring homeowners, college students, and more.
  • What interests do they have? Use keywords to target individuals based on their past online behavior (like their search topics), so you know who’s looking for, say, a marketing automation tool or an easy way to build a new website.
  • Where are they located? Knowing their location helps you fine-tune your ad delivery so you’re not wasting impressions on people who can’t take your offer. For example, if you’re a U.S.-based company selling to other businesses, you only want to target people in the U.S.
  • What language do they speak? This is critical for international companies or those targeting non-native English speakers. You don’t want to run an English-language ad in a country where almost no one speaks English.


With this information, you can create thorough buyer personas. Only after that can you create ads specifically tailored to your market that will likely resonate with them—even if you only have a few seconds to convince them on YouTube.



Create a Compelling Campaign Message


Your ad should have a clear, concise message that speaks to your target audience. What are you trying to promote? Why should they care? What’s in it for them? Your ad copy and visuals should work together to deliver a campaign message that is clear, interesting, and will resonate with your target audience.



For example, some brands use emotional and heart-tugging storytelling to get their message across. Coca-Cola did this with their “Happiness Machine” ad that gave out free drinks to university students. 



You can also do this in the form of a customer testimonial or a before-and-after video, as Grammarly does regularly in its YouTube ads. After all, YouTube viewers are on the platform to hear stories—you’ll do yourself a favor by capitalizing on that.



Brand Early But Meaningfully


Next up, be strategic about how, when, and where you place your brand, so it doesn’t come across as pushy. For example, YouTube said that top-of-funnel ads work on their platform when the branding shows up in the first five seconds and throughout the ad content, while ads for audiences further down the funnel might want to place branding in the latter part of their ad to increase watch times and convince viewers more.



Say you’re doing a skippable ad. You want to put your logo at the beginning of the video so people will see it even if they decide to skip ahead. But if you’re doing a non-skippable ad, put your logo at the end so people will see it after they’ve watched the whole thing—and have understood the value of your solution.



Use Proven Ad Templates


Creating an ad from scratch can be daunting and time-consuming, especially if you’re not experienced. That’s why we recommend that you use YouTube ad templates



They will give you a head start by providing you with a pre-designed layout that you can then customize to match your brand identity. Not only will this save you precious time, but it’ll also help ensure that your ad is high quality and professional.



Naturally, there are different types of ad templates available, so choose the one that fits your objectives. 



For example, for B2B solutions, use an explainer video template to showcase the unique features and benefits of your offer. But for a physical product, an animation or whiteboard video template might be more appropriate to grab people’s attention and communicate your message.



Define Your Campaign Parameters


Before you can go live, YouTube will require you to select the following campaign parameters:


  • Your bid strategy: Do you want conversions, impressions, or clicks?
  • Your ad rotation: Optimize for clicks or impressions?
  • Your budget: Either by day or the total amount
  • Your schedule: The dates when your campaign will run
  • Your targets: Do you want to show the ads worldwide or in specific countries?
  • Your placements: Discovery only (YouTube search results), entire platform (YouTube search results, channel pages, videos, and homepage), or YouTube Display Network (non-YouTube affiliate websites and others)


If you’re looking for website traffic, then choose the entire platform as your preferred ad placement and optimize for clicks. On the other hand, if you’re more focused on brand awareness, then opt for discovery only and impressions.



Publish According to YouTube Ad Specs


YouTube has strict ad specifications that you need to adhere to. The last thing you want is for your ad to be rejected because it doesn’t meet YouTube’s standards.


  • Skippable and non-skippable ads: Upload them as regular YouTube videos, so stick to the usual file size, ad dimensions, and ad image sizes like you would with any video upload.
  • Discovery ads: These must conform to specific file formats (AVI, ASF, Windows Media, MP4, Quicktime, or MPEG), video codecs (H.264, MPEG-2, or MPEG-4), audio codecs (AAC-LC or MP3), aspect ratios (16:9 or 4:3), frame rate (30 FPS), and file size (no more than 1 GB).


You also have to stay within YouTube video ad length guidelines:


  • Skippable ads: 12 seconds to 3 minutes (for YouTube Kids, it’s 60 seconds maximum)
  • Non-skippable ads: 15 seconds (for EMEA, Mexico, India, Malaysia, and Singapore, it’s 20)
  • Bumper ads: 6 seconds


Not only will your ad be rejected if you don’t comply, but you’ll also have to redo everything again and drain your resources to fix things up.



The Don’ts of Running YouTube Ads


Now that we’ve gone over what you should do when running YouTube ads, let’s touch on what you shouldn’t do. You don’t want to make an ad that goes viral for the wrong reasons, getting more negative press than positive press.



Here are 4 common mistakes advertisers make that you want to avoid:



#1 – Not Optimizing for Clicks or Views


When creating your ad, you need to have a clear idea of what your goals and objectives are. Are you trying to increase brand awareness? Get more people to watch your videos? Drive traffic to your website? Whatever it is, ensure that your ad is optimized for that specific goal. 



#2 – Not Targeting the Right Audience


It’s important that you target the right audience with your ads so that you don’t waste your time and money reaching people who are not interested in what you’re selling. To do this, you need to segment your audience based on factors like age, gender, location, interests, and behaviors.

GoDaddy made this mistake when its CEO, Bob Parsons, shared a video of him going on an elephant hunt. It wasn’t technically an ad, but the video cost them plenty of customers who cared about animal rights.



#3 – Not Thinking of the Customer First


Keep your target customer in mind when creating your campaign. What are their needs and wants? What are their pain points? How can you solve their problem? Yes, it’s tempting to only think of your business’s bottom line profits. But you’ll never hit your sales targets if you’re not thinking of the customer first.



Your ad should be focused on the customer and not on your product or service. It should show them how you can help them and make their life better. Only after you’ve done that should you mention your solution—you want to create a win-win situation where everybody will come out successful.



Hyundai made this mistake with an ad featuring a man attempting suicide, but his car’s technology prevents him from doing so. By trivializing a serious matter, they alienated their customers and completely missed the mark. 



#4 – Not Tracking Your Results


Last but not least, don’t forget to track your results so that you can see what’s working and what’s not. This will help you optimize your ads for better results in the future. To track your results, you need to set up conversion tracking in Google Analytics. This will allow you to see how many people are taking the desired action after seeing your ad.



You can also use A/B testing to test different versions of your ad and see which one performs better. For example, you can test different images, headlines, or call-to-action buttons to see which ones get more people to click on your ad.



Drive Leads Through the Funnel with Convincing YouTube Ads


YouTube is a great platform to advertise on if you’re looking to reach a large audience with your marketing message. However, as with any other form of advertising, there are certain things you should do and certain things you shouldn’t do if you want to be successful.



By following the tips in this article, you’ll be well on your way to running a successful YouTube ad campaign that will help you achieve your business goals. And if you avoid the common mistakes we’ve listed here, then you’ll be even better off.



At ScaleUpSales our team can help, from building a sales funnel to creating viral content and guiding you on each social media platform, our team has the expertise and insider knowledge to scale your business beyond your imagination.



Give us a call today to get started.