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Using AdWords for research -- I'm clueless and have tons of questions

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi! Recently the director of my organization asked me to explore using YouTube in-stream ads for research purposes and I'm not quite sure what the best way to go about it is.

My goal is to
* target specific videos and channels using managed placements
* record as much information as possible about the exposure (view duration, if they skipped, if the window was in focus, what video it was shown in front of, etc)
* see what actions the user takes after watching the in-stream ad

I feel moderately confident in executing a video campaign, but I'm not sure how much of this is possible. I know how to use managed placements, but it seems that you can't use placements independently of the demographics and audience targeting (meaning I want to set up an ad group that *only* runs on the targeted YouTube channels, not anywhere else).

It also appears that there's no way to run an ad without a display URL. Ideally I wouldn't have any sort of call to action... just play the video and that's it. But the campaign managers says display url and final url are required.

Beyond that, I don't know the best way to track behavior during and after the exposure. There's no conversion I want to record; I just want to see what happens and sort through all the data later. Google Analytics can really only track activity outside of the YouTube website proper, right? Ideally I'd like to see what a user searched for before seeing the ad, how long they watched the ad for, what video played after the ad, how long they watched *that* video for, if they left a comment on the targeted video, if they subscribed to the channel for the targeted video, etc. Is any of this possible? It seems tricky because I have no reason to use URL tracking parameters, since I'm not trying to get anyone to click... I just want to observe.

Thanks for any help anyone can give. I've used AdWords for marketing purposes but this is my first attempt at gaining academic insight from a campaign.

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Using AdWords for research -- I'm clueless and have tons of questions

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi @Zachary R you can certainly target only a managed placement (in your case these would be specific YouTube video URLs, I imagine) without any other targeting so I'm not sure where you're seeing a need for specific demographic targeting as well.  If you simply want to reach "everyone", just make sure all the demographic boxes are checked...


In terms of URLs, you must have somewhere for the user to go when they click the Ad - that's the whole point of AdWords, the Ads attract clicks that lead customers to your website; an Ad without a destination (or display) URL is pointless.  I suppose in theory there's no need for a destination if you're simply aiming at branding or awareness but it's just the way AdWords works, you'll need an online destination for clicks.  Of course having a destination from clicks also answers your other problem - what users do after they see the video.  You can't track them if they go somewhere out of your control, but if you give them a destination you can see what they do on the site you choose.  


If you can't use an existing company site, why not create a new one purely for research purposes?  You could have a survey to complete or other options (do make sure you read the AdWords Policy on information gathering - ).



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Using AdWords for research -- I'm clueless and have tons of questions

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks for the response.


The way the targeting was laid out on the new ad group page I thought that demographics, interests, keywords, placements, etc were all different buckets of viewers. Good to know that all those settings work in tandem. Thanks! 


In terms of what users do after they see the video -- I'm talking specifically about what they do on YouTube after watching the ad. If they clicked on the ad and went to another destination that would result in them not watching the video the ad was in front of, which is an important part of the control for the experiment. For example, let's say I want to target a specific youtube video with two video ads. The video ads are the same except for a small difference. Then I want to see if that difference affected audience retention on the targeted video, or subscription status for the channel. Does that make sense?