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Targeting Video Ads For Local Businesses

local video ads.pngThe introduction of the YouTube Director For Business app has given a relatively easy to use tool to local businesses for the purpose of creating good quality video ads for themselves. Once the ads are created and uploaded to YouTube how can they be targeted in order to reach a local audience? Each business is unique in regard to their ideal audience. Even so Google has a wide range of targeting options to help any business put their video ad in front of their ideal potential customer.


I would like to take a look at each targeting option and illustrate a way that it can be used to target a local market. Remember that when you use 2 or more methods of targeting that all of the ones you use will be in play when Google picks someone to show your ad to.


 Recently my little Girl Vi started her own YouTube channel doing toy and game reviews as well as trips to events and such. I am currently running a little Adwords campaign to promote her channel and I made use of some of the available targeting methods in that campaign. 


Targeting Methods


Geography: Obviously this is an important part of targeting almost any type of campaign. Whether your users are in several countries or within several miles you ant to show your ads to the right people in the right places so set your geographic target to fit the area where your clients are in the real world even if that is in a one mile radius around your business.


For Vi's ads I targeted the US and Canada so they were not local but it is the market I want to reach. If you target widely it is often good to refine the targeting by adding more types of targeting.


Demographics: This lets you choose things like thee age, gender and parental status of your desired audience. This can be very useful for some businesses who cater to either men or women, parents or singles. 


In the case of Vi's channel I did not target by demographics because her audience is other children and this is not a demographic that exists because they access YouTube from other people's devices for the most part. They may be on the account of an older sibling, an aunt or uncle or a grandparent and so demographics did not seem useful for that campaign.


Interests: Interests can be very useful for some types of businesses. As the name implies it is all about the interests of the viewers gauged by past behavior. So your ads may appear to people with interests you select even if they are watching a video of a different type.

  • Affinity Audiences: People that are very interested in broad topics that are related to your business
  • Custom Affinity Audiences: Here you get to set a more precise definition of the type of interests you are looking for in prospective customers.
  • In Market Audiences: Kind of like search targeting. This audience is engaged in actively searching for or viewing items related to your business.


Video Remarketing: These lists are made up of people who have already interacted with your YouTube channel or watched your videos. So obviously they had some curiosity about you at some point. These can be great for reminding people that you exist or potentially very annoying if you show them to people too often.


Placements: Placements can be one of the easiest ways to get your video in front of people watching related videos. This is because you can target your videos to appear on those exact videos (assuming they are enabled for monitization). 

I have used this method of targeting to promote music videos to local audiences. If a band I was working with was touring I would run some ads for each town they were going to play in. I targeted by geography and age as appropriate and also targeted the websites of local radio stations. This way I was able to put the bands music videos in front of the right audience even in a local area.

I used this targeting method for Vi's videos too since she had some favorite toy and game review channels herself which are very high traffic channels.


Topics: This lets you target certain types of videos and channels on YouTube and websites within the Google Display Network outside of YouTube.I have used this in targeting for music videos. Pop music has its own category as does Metal and Alternative, etc so you can get some fine tuning with this type of targeting. You can couple Topics with Geography to reach the local segment of people who watch videos within the topic.


Keywords: This lets you target by keyword. I have never been much of a fan of keywords, especially when coupled with any other targeting method. However they could be useful I suppose for some businesses.


The key takeaway here is that Adwords has a variety of targeting methods for video that can be utilized to reach the right audience at the Moments That Matter to them. This is true whether the audience is global or a small local subset of the population. All that is required is a familiarity with your market and what they want.

about Michael Johnston

Formerly a freelance writer for many years, I started doing web promotion for myself and then for friends. Since I wrote a lot about indie music and film I did a lot of promoting for music and film videos as well as websites. Now I am he owner of a web development, SEO and online advertising agency that specializes in small businesses. I enjoy working with businesses to implement or improve their web presence. Each business is different as is the best solution to their online promotional needs.

Diane E
July 2016

Thanks for shedding some light on this subject.  I appreciate the information. Smiley Happy

Eric Gehler Badged Google Partner
August 2016

Nicely done @MikeJohnston