Large YouTube Campaigns - Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail | DMA

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Large YouTube Campaigns - Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail


Even for some of the most experienced Account Managers, managing campaigns on YouTube rather than a standard Search campaign can sometimes seem like a step into the unknown. However, once you work out what CPV is and stop mourning the loss of your Dimensions tab, handling a single-video YouTube campaign can actually prove fairly straightforward – only one budget and set of metrics to worry about and optimise. But how should you go about tackling when a client wants a YouTube campaign covering 5, 10 or even 20 videos? In this blog, I will run you through what you need to do to prepare for a large YouTube campaign and what to expect when the activity actually kicks off.

Step 1: Determine the Client's Goals

When a client approaches us wanting to launch some YouTube activity, the first question we ask them is what they want to achieve from the project. If the answer is reach, increasing hits on YouTube videos and brand awareness, then campaigns that solely use prospecting are your friend. This means targeting new users based on a range of different targeting methods, such as Topic Targeting or In-Market Segments (more on this later). On the contrary, if the main goals are financially motivated such as revenue and ROI, then remarketing campaigns certainly need to be in the mix too. Remarketing is the only way via YouTube that you can truly guarantee that you will be targeting people who both know your brand and are interested in your brand – you can try to go as granular as you want with prospecting campaigns, and this can certainly produce some good results, but remarketing campaigns will nearly always perform better when measuring direct response metrics.

However, this is painting a picture that all clients will either fall on the side of wanting to achieve reach or wanting to achieve revenue – what if they want both? Not a problem, let’s just separate each video into separate prospecting and remarketing campaigns.

Step 2: Learn the Difference Between In-Stream and In-Display

The other key decision to make at the head of any YouTube activity is whether you want to show your ads on an In-Stream or In-Display basis (or both). Before you melt down and ditch the blog completely, these are actually incredibly simple to explain – In-Stream are the videos you see before a YouTube video (which you can skip after 5 seconds), and In-Display are ads that appear anywhere else on a YouTube page i.e. the side or as part of a search result. The advertiser is only charged after someone has watched 30 seconds of the video (not bad eh?) if the ad is In-Stream, and is charged on a thumbnail-click basis for In-Display. As with prospecting and remarketing, the option is there to do both, but that will mean the prospect of 4 campaigns for each video, and if you’re running a 20 video campaign, that’s 80 different budgets to keep an eye on. For this reason, we would recommend choosing one or the other for most YouTube activity, and we tend to see the best results from In-Stream, as watching 30 seconds of a skippable ad is generally a more reliable signal of purchasing intent than clicking on a thumbnail. This is not a rule of thumb though, so why not try both and see what works for you?

Step 3: Get Yourself Organised

I bet you’re thinking, ‘right, I’ve decided who I’m targeting and whether to run In-Stream or In-Display, let’s get this show on the road and start getting some views!’ As the title of this blog suggests, this would be a truly disastrous idea with any large YouTube campaign. There is nothing quite like coming in on a Monday Morning and trying to figure out how much budget you’ve spent of which video, why a video is running when its deal finished 3 days ago and wondering why your client has sent you some nasty emails. A few hours of preparation can avoid all of these issues, and to do this, Google Docs can be your best friend and security blanket.

Before you dive in, just take bit of time to create a Google Doc like this one. Despite seeming very complicated (and being my pride and joy), it’s actually really simple and incredibly useful to cross-check your AdWords account with. Simply set out your total budget for each video (this might require dividing your total budget by no. of videos) and then divide this by a prospecting/remarketing split if you are planning to use both – a 70/30 split is usually advisable at first as prospecting is naturally much more broad than remarketing and you want to get maximum data before cutting down on targeting methods. Following this, decide when you want your videos to be running – this is not as simple as ‘okay, they have a deal running for the entirety of January so let’s just run it for the whole thing!’ This is a common mistake with YouTube campaigns – not only will this stretch your daily budget very thin across 31 days, but it also has the very real possibility of alienating potential customers. We all have our own adverts that make us want to punch the television (laptop) every time we see them – would you want that to be your company? It is very important to avoid ad fatigue and make sure the maximum number of customers are engaged with your ad as possible, so make sure you run your videos in intermittent periods so that your customers are not bombarded by your client’s company. Another key point to remember here is to set impression caps: even if you are careful and only have 2 videos running on a single day, but you have no impression cap, then your videos will still be all over people like a cheap suit. Set an impression cap of 3 a day to avoid your client becoming the most hated company in the UK. Finally, divide your total number of days per video by your Split Budget and bravo – you have a daily budget for every campaign in your account! That wasn’t too hard was it? Now, every morning that you come into the office, you can cross check which campaigns are meant to be running and ensure that their daily budgets are spot on instead of being confused, scared and craving coffee.

Step 4: Decide Who To Target

o you’re right on track, you have decided why you are running YouTube and you are achieving levels of organisation that would have seemed superhuman to your 18-year old self. But who exactly do I target? Let’s start with prospecting. The real key here is a fine balance between targeting enough, but not too many people. In terms of which targeting methods to use, all of them have their benefits. In-market segments are probably the most exciting method as it is a list full of people actively considering making a purchase, and if you are Toys R Us, ‘Nursery’ or even ‘Diaper & Baby Hygiene Products’ (gross) is bound to be full of people who are likely to be interested in Toys too, but just remember that because this targeting method is so precise, your audience list and thus volume could be fairly disappointing. On the contrary, Affinity Audiences contains categories such as ‘Shopaholics’, ‘Foodies’ and ‘Fashionistas’, which might just contain the entirety of the online world. Finding a fine balance is key with prospecting (and this includes Custom Affinity categories and Contextual Keyword Targeting too) – target too many groups or keywords, and you will blow your budget before 9am. Target too few and you won’t have anywhere near enough data to optimise your campaigns when you reach the final stretch. This echoes true with bids too – despite YouTube being an incredibly cheap way to market on a person-by-person basis, don’t expect to set your prospecting bids at 1p CPV and see the impressions and views roll in. Be realistic, but don’t be profligate – set your ad group level bids at 4p CPV to start with and see how that goes for you.

What about remarketing? Should I just have one ad group with everyone who has visited my client’s site in the last 180 days? The keys to success here are trial and error and staggered bids. Get creative with your remarketing lists. If you are promoting a deal (such as buy one get one free on a specific product), why not re-market to people who have viewed those product pages in the 30 days before the deal starts? The limits are endless, but one of our favourites at Periscopix is what we call Abandoned Basket lists – lists that target people who have had items in their baskets but have not completed a purchase.

Why not have 5 different lists of Basket Abandoners, from 3 days staggered up to 30 days? This is where staggered bids come in. If you have a variety of ad groups, try to picture them in your mind in terms of granularity and who is more likely to purchase, and ensure you bid more for those people, and reduce bids gradually until you reach your least granular remarketing list, such as everyone who has visited the website in the last 180 days. Don’t be afraid to try new targeting methods as your campaign progresses too; there is no harm in trialling new audiences and seeing what works – do not feel pressured to stick to your original targeting plans. Unlike prospecting, remarketing is much less likely to blow your budget before you know it, so be creative, vary your audience durations and get aggressive.

Step 5: Make Your Ads Stand Out

Great! Check your budgets and bids and you are just about ready to go. You just need to add some final bells and whistles in order for your YouTube ads to stand out above the rest.

With YouTube videos, you get the chance to include a 25-character call-to-action along with a tiny 60x60 image (seen in the bottom left of the video), as well as the chance to include Dynamic Shoppable ads, which allow the user the chance to shop different products within the ad – you can even filter these based on the products you want to show with any specific video, just improving the amount of control you have over your ads. In addition, you will also need to include a companion banner (see below), which you would be able to see in the screengrab above the related videos if the person in question had not been enjoying a 90’s cheesy pop playlist.

Step 6: Ready To Go!

You are all set! Just a few final tips:

- Automated rules are your friends. You are going to be stopping and starting campaigns like nobody’s business, so make use of these, or you will find yourself waking up in a cold sweat at midnight realising that you’ve overspent.

- Don’t panic if you overspend in the first few days. This is natural as you are trying to figure out your dominant/successful targeting methods. Think about ways that you can reduce spend whilst still accruing views – limit prospecting view caps to 1 or 2 a week and analyse device/time data and make relevant bid adjustments.

- Stick to your schedule. This will make everything a lot easier, and you don’t want to be checking AdWords to see if one of your 38 campaigns was actually running two Wednesdays ago.

- Get someone else to double check everything! It is so easy to forget your CTAs, companion banner or even use the wrong video when you are managing such a sheer quantity of campaigns, so just be diligent and make sure everything is a-ok before you hit the green button.

- Finally, have fun. It’s a wild ride taking care of a colossal amount of YouTube activity and something not many people get the chance to do, so enjoy it, savour it and rise to the occasion!

To view this blog written by Daniel Stevenson on Periscopix's website, please click here.

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