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Video Campaign Basics

Video advertising has made a lasting impression on television and in the online world. In this article, we’ll be discussing video ads on YouTube and the Google Display Network.




Why you should consider running  a video campaign?


If you’re just focussing on search traffic, you’re probably solving yesterday’s problems. Apart from using search engines, customers browse a variety of articles every day, and watch videos based on their interests, ages, and other factors.


YouTube has over one billion users across the globe, which is nearly a third of the internet population. People spend hours on the site for entertainment or because they want to learn something new. As digital marketers and business owners, we should be considering YouTube as a place to reach our customers and establish our brands.


Video ads can bring great results for campaigns focused on brand awareness and influencing consideration, letting you target potential customers at the very top of the purchasing funnel.


Let’s talk about the fundamentals of a Video campaign.

Ad Formats:


YouTube offers two main ad formats, in-stream and in-display, collectively called TrueView ads.


In-stream ads are served before a video begins. Viewers have the option to skip these ads after 5 seconds of playback, and you only pay for the ad if a viewer watches 30 seconds of the ad (or the entire ad if it’s shorter than 30 seconds) or engages with your video.


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In-display ads can show in a variety of other places and formats, including as suggested videos, video overlays, and on partner websites. In-display ads can also show on YouTube search results--and when you consider that YouTube is the second-largest search engine, you can see why this format is so popular.


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YouTube Targeting:


YouTube offers multiple targeting methods similar to the targeting available for the Google Display Network. Here’s a brief overview:


Topics: There are countless videos on YouTube, and of course, each falls under a particular category such as cooking, arts & literature, and so on. With topic targeting, you can choose a category of videos that are relevant to your customers and advertise on those.


Affinity: Target users based on what they’re interested in. In-stream ads set up with affinity targeting work well for branding campaigns, for example.


In-Market: This targeting focuses on viewers who are more actively looking to purchase products or services. Combining in-stream ads with in-market targeting is my favorite way to get a positive ROI from video ads.


Placements: Target specific YouTube videos or channels. If there are already popular videos in your industry, this targeting can help you reach those potential customers in one place.


Keywords: You’re probably familiar with this type of targeting already! Keywords are available as a targeting method for Video Campaigns, but just for the in-display ad format. In-stream ads do not show up on search results and hence cannot use keywords.


That’s it for our brief introduction to video ads and YouTube advertising! Here are a few important resources where you can learn more:


about Sumanth Sridhar

Digital marketing professional with immense love for Google's advertising products and keen interest in eCommerce.

Alexey C Rising Star
April 2016

@Sumanth Sridhar very nice article, I feel that I need to add video campaigns in more accounts after reading it. 

Which targeting method from listed above you consider to be most effective one based on your previous experience? My favorite is Video Remarketing which gave good resutls for several projects.

Sumanth Sridhar Rising Star
April 2016

Thanks, Alexey C!


Video remarketing is certainly a great feature and one of my favorites too. Specially the ability to use it in GDN and vice versa is awesome.


I've seen good results with In-market & placement targeting for In-stream ads. I'll write about targeting methods and other optimizations in my next article which would include remarketing as well.



Samvidha S
April 2016

Hi Sumanth, 


Excellent write up Smiley Happy Thanks! 


Quick question: If I had 30% budget for brand awareness, and 50% budget for lead generation. Then, which of these ad formats would you suggest work for each of these goals better?

Also, what targeting mix would you suggest someone use to fulfill teach of these? 


Thanks in advance. 

Sumanth Sridhar Rising Star
April 2016

Thanks, Samvidha S!


For lead generation, In-Market is the first option I'd suggest. Further I'd suggest layering targeting methods to be more specific. For instance, topics + affinity could result in a list of placements which are more specific. Then I'd suggest having individual ad groups for placements and remarketing. If applicable, layering demo over these methods would be handy for bid adjustments - again more specific.


For branding, I'd recommend using individual ad groups for broader targeting methods like topics, affinity and placements including channel pages.


On a general note, I'd suggest having two thirds of spend for In-Stream and the remaining for In-Display.


Hope that helps, feel free to write back!