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How to Get Started with YouTube Advertising
The Agents of Change

It’s pretty common these days for businesses to use Facebook ads for business, but have you considered the power of YouTube ads? Everyone knows that video is a powerful way to capture your potential audience’s attention, and even more than Facebook, people turn to YouTube to find answers to problems they’re having. If you have answers to their problems, YouTube is a great place to find your target audience.

Take advantage of YouTube’s high traffic rate to leverage your business’s expertise by creating some creative and entertaining content for your target audience. And like Facebook, YouTube also offers advertisers some easy ways to find your ideal audience as well as tracking which video ads are working well, and how you can do it affordably.




Rich: After Google asked him to be a YouTube marketing ambassador, he quit his job a month before his first child was born to start Video Power Marketing, a video ad agency that has generated millions of dollars in trackable sales for their clients. Their unique way of advertising allows them to guarantee results – sales, leads, subscribers – directly related to their YouTube ad campaigns. I’m happy to have as a guest, Jake Larsen.

Jake: What’s up Rich, happy to be here.

Rich: I’m glad you’re here, it’s a very exciting topic, I’m definitely interested in this. Before we get to some of the questions on YouTube advertising, I have a question that came up as I was reading your bio. Google asked you to be a YouTube marketing ambassador, and you turned them down to start your own agency?

Jake: It’s through that ambassador program that opened my eyes to the power of YouTube ads. So at the time I was working with a company managing their channel and working with their marketing team. And we did such a good job of turning YouTube viewers into customers they asked us to be an ambassador and they introduced us to this new way of advertising, which was YouTube, in 2012.

And that’s when things started to click for me. Holy cow, we can guarantee views, we can see how long people are watching the video, if they’re clicking do they opt in, do they purchase, and no one was using this platform at the time. I thought, I can help a lot of people here quitting my job and starting Video Power Marketing as a result of that experience.

Rich: So why are you so bullish on YouTube ads?

Jake: Well because they work. You’ve got a huge audience, everyone is on YouTube, they’re all looking for how to learn how to do whatever. I looked up the other day how to catch a gopher in my backyard, so I went onto YouTube. It’s intent based. People are there to be entertained or to solve a problem. If you have a product or a business that solves problems, you can just create a simple one minute video or two minute video and get it in front of your exact audience, and you can track that whole sales process.

You can see how they’re engaging with that video, are they opting in, are they purchasing your products, and it kind of gives you some feedback as to how well your messaging is or how well your product is. And if you know what you’re doing, you can get a positive return on ad spend. So for every dollar you spend on ads, you can get $3-$5 in sales or whatever that ROI is. So in a way, your customers are funding your advertising expenses and it becomes an investment.

Rich: Alright. I’m sure a lot of businesses hear phrases like “vide ads” and they just think it’s too expensive, or too time consuming, or more work than the typical small business can handle. Are they right? And if not, what do you say to people like that?

Jake: It does take some time and it does take some money to figure out that combination of what’s the right audience, what’s the right message, what’s the right offer. But what’s really fun is when you find that combination and you can start to see those sales come in, you have this machine that can consistently generate you high quality leads and customers. So when you start to see those results come in I’m happy to spend money on ads because I now I’m going to get a return on them.

So it’s kind of a mindset switch in terms of thinking of advertising as an expense versus an investment. I know I’ll speak at several conferences and I’ll ask how many people are currently advertising on Facebook, and 95% of the hands go up. Then I’ll ask how many people are advertising on Facebook, and maybe 5% of the hands go up. I see that as an opportunity. There’s not many people advertising actively on YouTube, so the few people that enter there and put the time and effort and resources into learning that platform, they’re going to see the benefits.

Rich: So tell us a little about the different types of advertising that we can do on YouTube.

Jake: So there’s two main types of video ads on YouTube. And so when we take about YouTube ads we’re talking about true vie advertising, that’s what it’s called, and it all happens within the Google AdWords platform.

The first one is discovery ads. These are ads that show up on the right hand side in the suggested videos, so you’re paying to get that view and they watch the video right there on the YouTube channel. 

And then there’s another type of ad called the instream ad. These are the ones that you can skip after 5 seconds. These ones are my favorite ads because of the way it charges for a view. So when you’re running a YouTube instream ad, a view is if the viewer watches 30 seconds or half the ad, whichever comes first. So let’s say you have a 60 second video and somebody watches till 29 seconds and skips the ad, well as the advertiser you’re not paying for that because they didn’t hit that 30 second threshold. So it saves you money, and if the viewer is not interested in your ad they’ll skip it and that’s great for them because they’re not wasting their time and you’re not wasting your ad spend on a video that people aren’t interested in. So those are the main two types of ads.

Rich: Alright, so a couple questions on that. So you said these are “true view”? What did you mean by that?

Jake: True view is the name that Google has come up with on their advertising platform. So if you go into AdWords and you say you want to create a “true view” campaign, and that’s like a YouTube ad.

Rich: I see.

Jake: I really like the name because you’re getting a true view. So take TV for example, if you’re wasting money on TV ads, you don’t know if people are watching your ad or not. If I see a commercial come on, my attention goes straight to my phone or I’m in another room. As an advertiser you have no idea how effective your advertising is.

But with YouTube, because you know people are at least watching it for 30 seconds you’re getting a true view, you have people’s attention and that’s what’s valuable. That’s the value add in today’s advertising is the attention.

Rich: Alright, so true view is the advertising platform name, just like AdWords would be one or whatever the case is. And within this we have two different directions we can go in. One is these discovery ads. So I’m watching a video on “11 things I missed in the new Avengers movie”, and then up in the top right corner there could be an advertisement for anything. It could be related to the video I just watched or it could be because of who I am, Google knows, so if somebody out there wants to advertise about camping and get in front of me and they know I like camping, they can be one of those discovery ads which I then have to take an action and click on, and then I watch their video and they pay at that point. Correct? 

Jake: Exactly.

Rich: Ok. And then there’s the instream ads which seem to be what you’re most interested in. And that’s the commercials we can usually skip after 5 seconds when we want to get to that all the easter eggs I missed in the new Avengers movie-type video. And that ad, I’ve seen ones that I can skip after 5 seconds, and ones where I have to watch the entire ad. Do you recommend going with one over the other?

Jake: Yeah, I think you’ve got to go with the skippable ads. And the reason why is do you really want to force people to watch an ad that they’re not interested in, or see an ad that they’re not interested in. When you allow people to continue watching or skip it, you get a higher quality view, you get quality clicks, and those higher quality leads.

Rich: And I guess you’re not paying for every view either.

Jake: Yeah, if they skip it you’re not paying for it. So it’s a better quality view.

Rich: Alright, so I think you’ve already kind of answered this because I had a question of how do I actually get to the YouTube platform. But it sounds like it’s through Google AdWords and then there’s just the true view option once I get in there?

Jake: Yup. So you go into Google AdWords, you create a new campaign, and it will ask you what kind of campaign you want to create; a display campaign, a search campaign, or a video campaign. And you hit “video campaign” and it gives you all the options right there.

Rich: Ok. So once we’re in there, I know that one of the beautiful things about digital advertising is our ability to target our ideal customers. And I know Facebook has amazing tools – those may need to be rolled back depending on what happens at the Senate – but regardless, what kind of targeting opportunities do we have on YouTube?

Jake: There’s a lot, there’s some awesome tools. Some of my favorite ones right now if you’re just starting out. I recommend “placements”. So basically you can say I’m looking to target entrepreneurs and people that are looking to grow their business, I want to show my video on other YouTube channels that talk about entrepreneurship or growing a business. So you can place your video on other videos that your audience would be watching. Again, it’s a smaller target, a smaller volume, but it’s highly relevant to your audience, and that performs well.

One of my other favorite types of targeting right now is a “similar to” audience. This has been around on Facebook for a long time but not many people realize it’s available for YouTube as well. Let’s say you have a customer email list, you can upload that to AdWords and it creates a similar audience based on similar profiles and behaviors as your customers. And based on Google’s AI, we  think that these other people would be interested in purchasing from you. And it creates this similar to your customer email list.

If you’re just starting out I would recommend those two targeting options and going that route, I think that’s the quickest way to get great results.

Rich: Alright, so placements is more about choosing channels that target our ideal customer. And do we have to pick these out or does Google? Do I just say I’m looking to get in front of dog owners or small business owners – or whatever the case may be – and Google knows enough what those channels are about and will automatically do that, or do I have to go find those channels myself?

Jake: They give you two options. So you can do both, both ways work. I recommend kind of doing the research manually and seeing which channels have the most subscribers, that bigger audience and how relevant are they. And then I’ll just copy and paste that channel URL into the targeting section in the campaigns and go that way. 

Another option if you haven’t done that is you can type in keywords that are related to specific channels and YouTube’s auto feature will kind of come up with other channels that they think would be relevant based on those keywords that you typed in. 

Rich: And then the “similar to” seems more in line with Facebook where we’re targeting people based on similar demographics. So it’s more about targeting the people versus targeting the channels. Would you agree?

Jake: Yeah, I totally agree.

Rich: And I’ve heard something where I can actually hand pick certain videos that I want my video ad to be in front of. Is that something that’s also part of placements?

Jake: So that’s a placement target. And again, instead of targeting the whole YouTube channel, you’re targeting specific videos. And that works well, too. And I want to mention this, because this is brand new within the last month or two, but they have what they call “custom intent” audiences. So these are people who would be searching for something on Google; “how can I grow a business”, “how can I grow out my team”.  They’re specific keywords that people are searching on Google and then you can show an ad on YouTube based on what they’re searching for in Google. And that’s been pretty powerful, too.

Rich: So let me walk through that. So I’m online and I’m doing a Google search on how to catch  a gopher. Was it a gopher you were having problems with?

Jake: Yeah.

Rich: But I’m not at YouTube. But then maybe a day or two later I’m on YouTube and suddenly I start seeing ads because Google can track me from my Google search over to my YouTube, correct?

Jake: As long as you’re logged into the Google platform, it can draw that connection.

Rich: Interesting. Alright, that’s pretty cool, too. Alright, so now I know how I can kind of target my audience. By the way, there’s also I know in Facebook you can upload email lists and things like that, and then target people based on that. Is there any similar functionality within YouTube for that at this point?

Jake: Yeah, so that’s the “similar to” audience.

Rich: Ok.

Jake: Instead of calling it a “custom audience” it’s a “similar to” audience.

Rich: Alright, awesome. So we can definitely use the database of emails that we’ve been collecting since we started our business, because email is important. Excellent. 

So once we’ve done that another big piece, and I think one of the things that a lot of people that are listening are most concerned about, is the actual creative itself. Creating a video that’s going to get people to engage with our brand and to click through and get them to some sort of landing page. Do you do this for your customers and clients, is this something that you have some advice on the kind of videos that we should be creating that work well on YouTube?

Jake: For sure. I know with our clients we do both. Some clients already have videos created, and other times we need to help them produce that video. In terms of what that video should include, I kind of have a 5-step formula that I try and follow.

Rich: I love 5-step formulas. Hit me.

Jake: So step one is grabbing their attention. You have 5 seconds before somebody decides to skip that ad, and you want to make sure that you attract the ideal person. So let’s go with that entrepreneur one, let’s say you have a program that helps people build their business. You can say, “Hey, you’re seeing this ad because YouTube thinks you’re an entrepreneur. If you’re not, feel free to skip this ad”. So you can kind of get crafty like that and attract that right client. So that way if somebody is not an entrepreneur and they’re not looking to grow their business, they can skip it and you’re not wasting ad money. So grabbing their attention is the first step.

And then introducing the problem. Everyone has problems, they have challenges, and if you can address those challenges one of the hardest things about growing a business is finding your customers. And you can kind of just connect with your audience and relate with that to them. So introduce the problem.

And then the third step is what I call credibility or connection. This is where you’re answering the question what gives you the right to be advertising this, or what gives you the right to be making this video about this. So maybe you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve grown a business to 7-figures or whatever that is, that gives you credibility. They’re like, ok, this guy knows what he’s talking about. Or for me and my experience with the gophers, this guy is like, “I’ve caught over 300 gophers in the last 2 years”, so I’m like ok, this guy knows a thing or two about catching gophers.

Rich: Was this Bill Murray’s video? I’m just kind of curious.

Jake: Yeah, on Caddyshack?

Rich: Yeah.

Jake: Unfortunately it wasn’t. I think this was the guy that Bill Murray channeled into a character.

Rich: Excellent.

Jake: And then step four is the solution. What is the answer to the challenge or the problem that people are facing right now. So maybe it’s this is their program on how you can grow your business to 7 or 8-figures. You just answer what is the solution to what they’re going through. 

And then finally this is the most important part, it’s the call to action. And the whole purpose of this video is to invite people to take further action by clicking on the link in the video and going to your website. This is your offer. So maybe you have a webinar that dives into the whole training system, maybe you have an ebook that people can download, or maybe you want people to fill out an application, or a free consultation, or a free video course that expands upon that problem’s solution sequence.

A phrase I like to use in all our videos is, “Click the link in this video and download this guide”, or “Click the link in the video and get registered for this training”. I think people need to verbally hear what they should do, and also visually see what they need to do. So we’ll put a big button at the end of the video inviting people to take further action. 

Rich: This is such a basic question, but do they need to click on that button or so they just need to click anywhere within the video screen to take them to your landing page?

Jake: So back in the day in the first couple of years that YouTube ads launched, you could click anywhere in the screen and that worked. But then Google got rid of that feature, so now there’s only a couple places that people can click, and one os the call to action overlay. That appears in the bottom left corner of the video. They have YouTube cards that show up in the top right, it’s a small little “i” in the top right, and they have these end screens that show up in the last 20 seconds of the video that you can place anywhere in the screen. I would recommend starting off with a call to action overlay and the end screen, those two work really well.

Rich: Do those work on mobile? Because I know that the reason that they went from annotations to YouTube cards were because annotations didn’t show up on mobile devices.

Jake: Yup, that was for sure. All three of those call to actions work on mobile devices. That solved a huge problem with mobile. Within the last year mobile has performed really well in terms of lead generation with YouTube ads. 

Rich: So I have some experience working with both YouTube cards and annotations. And for those of you that don’t know, basically you take your video on YouTube and there’s some tools where you can do some overlays and some neat things like that. Is this similar to that Jake? Are we basically getting our video ad into a tool within YouTube where we can create that button after the fact?

Jake: Yeah. So we create most of the call to action buttons within AdWords. So in AdWords you go and you copy and paste your video URL and say this is the ad I want to show, and then it gives you where do you want to send people to, put your URL in there, and Google provides all the buttons for you.  

Rich: Now this may be silly but how much control do we have over where that button goes? Because I can envision creating a video where I’m pointing to something and then it turns out that when I look at the video that’s not actually where the button is.

Jake: Yup. So with the call to action overlay and the advertiser link, that’s always in the bottom left, you can’t control that. With an end screen, you can move it pretty much anywhere within the center of the video. How this relates to shooting your video in your script, you bring up a good point. You don’t want to be clicking somewhere on the screen and have the call to action be on the other side of the screen.

That’s why I recommend in your verbal call to action I just say, “Hey, click on the link in the video, download this”. But that way you’re not giving a specific direction. I mean, platforms are always changing, especially from annotations to cards to end screens, that’s always changing. So I just play it safe and say there’s a link somewhere in this video, click on it.

Rich: And the end screens, is that what you’re calling them, the 20 seconds towards the end?

Jake: Yeah. So the end screens only last for 20 seconds at the end of the video, and you can pretty much place them anywhere you like.

Rich: And are you creating that before you bring it into YouTube, or are those tools within an AdWords where you can create that end screen?

Jake: Yes, they’re only created on YouTube. So you can go to YouTube and you put your end screens there. And then when you build it on the ad, Google will give you additional call to actions that people can click on.

So for example with the end screen, that’s only available for the last 20 seconds. But when you add a call to action overlay or other advertiser links from the ad platform, those are available throughout the whole video. So those tend to get a higher click through rate than the end screens. 

Rich: Ok, sounds good. Any other suggestions? Like so we get them, we get them to click, they move onto the landing page, any general advice you have on the landing page, what we should prepare people for or what we should do on that landing page to help increase conversions? 

Jake: Yeah. So usually on your call to action let’s link that bridge from the YouTube ad to the landing page. The call to action, what does that offer, so maybe it’s a free consultation, it’s a free video series, video training. Then there’s also a huge benefit as to why they should be opting in, so maybe they get 60% off their next visit. Whatever that call to action is on the end screen, that should match the headline and the action on the landing page. So, “If you click on this link you get a free video series on how to grow your business to 7-figures”, they click on it, and then on that landing page that message should be congruent so the headline is, “Get the strategy on how we grew our business to 8-figures in 10 months”.

Just make sure that the headline matches the call to action. You want to make sure that the branding stays the same. If your colors are blue and white in the video, make sure the brand colors are the same on the landing page and that everything is congruent that way.

Rich: Alright, that’s some good advice. Jake, this has been fantastic and I’ve got a million ideas running through my head right now in terms of how to advertise both for flyte and for our clients, but certainly for our annual conference as well so I definitely want to test some of this stuff out. If people want to find out more about you and your agency online, where can we send them?

Jake: Go check out videopower.org. I’ve got a ton of free resources there, we’ve got some trainings, and you kinda just find out more about how this works and how you can blow it up.

Rich: Fantastic. Jake, thank you so much for your time today, I definitely appreciate it.

Jake: It’s great being here, thanks for having me.


Show Notes:

Jake Larsen is responsible for helping businesses launch YouTube ads that have generated millions of dollars in trackable sales. Check out his website for insightly and proven tips on how you can make video ads work for your business.

Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine. He knows a thing or two about helping businesses grow by reaching their ideal customers, and to prove that, he puts on a yearly conference to inspire small businesses to achieve big success. You can also head on over to Twitter to check him out, and he just added “author” to his resume with his brand new book!