YouTube is a great platform for building strong consideration and product branding. And thanks to Video action campaigns you can connect those amazing stories with a compelling, digital call-to-action.
Video action campaigns represent a transition from TrueView for action campaigns, the video ad format built from the ground up to drive conversions.
With help of video action campaigns, PPC advertisers will have a powerful tool to promote their video content that clearly drives conversion but not just spends budget on views.
Using machine learning and real-time bidding systems, the YouTube video action campaign automatically finds and delivers your ads to an audience that is most likely to take action using call-to-action overlays, companion banners, or end cards along with an assurance that you won’t be charged until someone actually takes your desired action.
Video action campaigns drive 20% more conversions per dollar compared to TrueView for action, according to Google internal data, so the change may increase efficiency for advertisers.
Research shows that by 2024, business spending on video ads will increase by 41.9%. This means video advertisements can yield a high ROI.
Video action campaigns are a mix of skippable in-stream video ads and in-feed ads that let you include a custom call-to-action. You can use these campaigns to drive actions like bookings or application completions on your website or even to reach audiences with your apps.
Features of Video Action Campaigns
|Call to Action||Write a compelling CTA using ten characters or less|
|Headline||Captivate customers’ attention using a fifteen-character (or less) headline. This feature is only available for in-stream ad format that users can skip.|
|Longer Headline||For an in-feed video ad format, you can write a long headline using ninety characters (or less)|
|Description||Add a creative description using seventy characters|
|Ad customization (optional)||You can include site link extensions, lead form extensions, and product feeds from Merchant Center to ads that can be skipped. |
You can also change ad appearance to suit your needs. However, ad customization is exclusive to each campaign.
Video Action Campaigns – Placements And Inventory
Video action ads can run on YouTube’s home feed, the watch page, the watch next feed, and Google video partners.
Video Action Campaigns Ad Formats
Video action campaigns use the skippable in-stream and video discovery ad formats, where ads can use a call-to-action (CTA), headline (both short and long), and a description in the creative.
Video discovery ads (left) and skippable in-stream ads (right)
You can turn your YouTube video ads into virtual storefronts by incorporating a product feed under the ad. This allows your customers to explore your products below the video ad.
Video Action Campaigns Quick Navigation:
- Step 1. Link your YouTube channel to the Ads account
- Step 2. Create Video Action Campaign
- Step 3. General Setting: Bidding, Budget, Locations, Languages
- Step 4. Create your ad group: Select ad group type and
- Step 5. Create your video ads
- Step 6. Key Performance Metrics To Track And Analyze Your YouTube Video Action Campaign
- Step 7. YouTube Video Action Campaigns Best Practices
1. Link your YouTube channel to the Ads account
Firstly, link your YouTube channel to the Ads account.
Basically, this is not obligatory and you can run YouTube advertising without this step. It is needed in order to create remarketing audiences based on people who interacted with your video ad.
Linking a YouTube channel to a Google Ads account allows the linked Google Ads account to run ads based on interactions with your channel’s videos. The linked Google Ads account can be granted permissions to access video ads’ organic view metrics, show ads to people who visit and interact with your channel, and get insights about how people interact with your channel after viewing your ads.
When you link a YouTube channel to a Google Ads account, the YouTube channel owner can choose to make the following features available to your linked Google Ads account:
- View counts: View organic (non-paid) metrics for your videos.
- Remarketing: Create remarketing lists based on viewers’ past interactions on linked channels.
- Engagement: View earned actions metrics from video ads from linked channels.
How to link your YouTube channel to the Google Ads account
1.0. Navigate to TOOLS & SETTING menu Linked accounts NEW CAMPAIGN
2.0. Click DETAILS on YouTube section ADD CHANNELpaste the URL from YouTube or search for a channel by entering its name
2. Create Video Action Campaign
2.0. Navigate to Campaigns section ＋ create NEW CAMPAIGN
2.1. Select the goal that would make this campaign successful to you
- Website traffic
2.2. Select conversion goals ➜ Choose conversion for your campaign
Learn more about Google Ads Conversion Tracking Set Up Complete Guide
2.3. Select a campaign type
3. General Setting: Bidding, Budget, Locations, Languages
3.0. Give your campaign a name ➜ Select the bid strategy
With the Video Action Campaigns, you can only use the following bidding options:
3.1. Budgets and dates ➜ Enter budget type and amount
Your budget settings affect how quickly we can optimize your campaign for conversions.
For campaigns using Target CPA bidding, it’s recommended to set a budget that’s at least 15 times your target CPA. Use the chart below to understand how long it takes to optimize your campaign depending on the current budget.
|Budget setting||Optimization time|
|More than 15 times your target CPA||7 to 8 days|
|10 to 15 times your target CPA||2 weeks|
|5 to 10 times your target CPA||3 weeks|
3.2. Networks ➜ Select where you want your ads to appear
Video campaigns that drive conversions now show ads across multiple networks to expand where you can reach potential customers. All available networks are checked by default.
3.3. Locations ➜ Select locations to target
3.4. Languages ➜ Select the languages based on the user’s language settings and the language of the site
3.5. Inventory type ➜ Select an inventory type to show your ads on the content that’s right for your brand
Inventory types provide an extra layer of control over the content your Video ads show by letting you opt-out of groups of sensitive content that don’t align with your brand or the message of your campaign.
3.6. Excluded types and labels ➜ Opt-out from showing your ads on content that doesn’t fit your brand
3.7. Ad extensions ➜ Select and create campaign-level site link extensions
Get up to 24% more conversions by adding sitelink extensions
To add more links to your ads, you can create sitelink extensions. Sitelink extensions take people to specific pages on your site (for example, a specific product or store hours). When someone clicks or taps on your links, they go directly to what they want to know or buy.
3.8. Devices ➜ Set specific targeting for devices
3.9. Frequency capping ➜ Limit how many times that ads in this campaign can show to the same user
3.9.1. Ad schedule ➜ To limit when your ads can run, set an ad schedule
4. Create your ad group: Select ad group type and Target Audience
To run your campaign, you must create an ad group with targeting selections and at least one ad.
4.0. Ad group type ➜ Select an ad group type ➜ Give your Ad group a name
4.1. Targeting ➜ Define your Audiences, Demographic, or Narrow your reach with Keywords, Topics, or Placements
NOTE: Adding too many targeting options or restrictions may limit your campaign’s reach.
4.2. Demographics ➜ Select your demographic targeting
With demographic targeting, you can reach people who are likely to be in the demographic groups that you choose, including age, gender, parental status, or household income.
4.3. Audiences ➜ Select audiences to define who should see your ads. You can create new audiences in Audience Manager
Select one of the audience types to define who should see your ads:
The image below may help you choose the best audience type for your campaign goal.
❗ I would suggest picking one audience type per ad group for accuracy and an easier optimization process. You may also skip the audience targeting and proceed to the next steps if you wish to target just specific placements (i.e. websites/apps/app categories/youtube channels/youtube videos)
Data from your audience sources may be used to improve the bidding and targeting of your audience campaigns.
If you’re looking to target an Audience similar to that which has installed specific apps, check our article about Installed App Category Targeting
4.4. Optimized targeting
Optimized targeting helps you get more conversions within your budget. Google may find people beyond your targeting signals.
This means, when selecting this option Google will show your ads to audiences and in placement beyond your targeting and it may lead to a worse performance sometimes,
PRO TIP: Leave the Optimized targeting option unchecked if you’d like to target only specific placements without expansion of your reach
If you’d like to target only specific placements, such as specific YouTube channels or videos, it’s important to uncheck the Optimized targeting option.
Otherwise, Google will ignore your specific placements for targeting and your ads will be shown on different placements as well.
4.5. Content ➜ Narrow your reach with Keywords, Topics, or Placements
Narrow your reach with:
- Keywords (Keyword targeting lets you choose words or phrases related to your products or services. The keywords you choose help show your ads on relevant websites, apps, and videos);
- Topics (Topics are based on broad industries or interests, such as agriculture or music.);
- or Placements.
4.5.1. Keywords ➜ Choose terms related to your products or services to target relevant content
Keyword targeting lets you choose words or phrases related to your products or services to help show your video ads on relevant YouTube videos, YouTube channels, or websites that your audience is interested in.
Pro Tip: For YouTube Video Ads, keep your keyword list small, around 5-20 very related keywords and phrases that are highly relevant to your ad content.
4.5.2. Topics ➜ Select topics to show ads on content about specific subjects
Topic targeting is a simple way to place your ads on many web pages, apps, and videos about a certain subject.
Topics are based on broad industries or interests, such as agriculture or music. For example, by targeting the “Autos & Vehicles” topic, your ad may appear on websites, apps, or YouTube videos with content about cars or other automotive themes.
4.5.3. Placements ➜ Select your placement targeting
For Video campaigns: When you add Display Network placements, your ad may still run in eligible locations on YouTube. And when you add YouTube placements, your ad may still run in eligible locations on the Display Network.
Target channels, videos, apps, websites, or placements within websites. For example, you can target an entire high-traffic blog or just the homepage of a popular news site. Placements can include:
- YouTube channels
- YouTube videos
- Websites on the Google Display Network
- Apps on the Google Display Network
When you add Google Display Network placements, your ad may still run in all eligible locations on YouTube. And when you add YouTube placements, your ad may still run in all eligible locations across the Google Display Network.
Keep in mind: If you have “Video partners on the Display Network” selected under “Networks” and you add Google Display Network placements only, your ads may still show on YouTube.
5. Create your video ads
If your video isn’t hosted on YouTube, go to YouTube to upload your video. Then paste the URL from YouTube to create your video ad.
Complete the fields all necessary information:
- Paste the URL to the offer page you want to promote
- Add Call-to-action
- Add Headline
- Add Long headline
- Add Description
- Choose the auto-generated channel banner or upload an image for your ad thumbnail
- Ad name
6. Key Performance Metrics To Track And Analyze
The most responsible part of a successful campaign is tracking, analyzing and optimizing your it in order to get the best ROAS possible.
Key metrics to track:
|Impressions||How many users was your video served to|
|Views||How many users watched your video for at least 30 seconds|
|View rate||What percentage of users who were shown the ad actually viewed it|
|Cost Per Click (CPC)||How much have you spent per click from the ad|
|Cost Per View (CPV)||How much have you spent for each 30+ second view|
|Actions/Conversions||How many users have visited your website, subscribed to your YouTube channel, liked the video, made a purchase|
So, what should you be aiming for?
Here are some YouTube KPI averages to use as a benchmark
|Average view rate||31.9%|
|Average CPV||$0.30 for In-Display Ads, $0.10 for In-Search Ads|
|Average view CTR||0.514%|
But these metrics are presented just to guide you on how your YouTube advertising costs should correlate in comparing to your marketing goals, audience targeting, and your ad video creatives.
7. YouTube Video Ads Best Practices
7.1. Exclude Kids/Children Topics
I found it very useful to exclude children/kids-related topics if it doesn’t represent your target audience. It works pretty well especially for new campaigns, that haven’t been optimized yet.
Navigate to campaign’s Content section ➜ choose Exclusions ➜ select Topics
Below you can find a complete list of kids/children-related topics for adding to exclusion:
- Baby Safety
- Baby Strollers & Transport
- Baby & Toddler Toys
- Baby Feeding
- Babies & Toddlers
- Baby & Pet Names
- Baby Care & Hygiene
- Children’s Clothing
- Children’s Literature
- Kids’ Bikes
- Early Childhood Education
- Child Care
- Pregnancy & Maternity
- Family-Oriented Games & Activities
7.2. Optimize For The Best Performing Devices
When running display campaigns, it’s important to check which devices perform the best for your business and to set bids accordingly or to exclude the worse performing ones.
Specific targeting for devices on Google display network:
- Mobile phones
- Windows Phone
- TV screens
Analyzing devices from the screenshot below we can make a conclusion either to decrease bid for mobile devices, or to increase Desktop bidding as it performs much better.
7.3. Optimize The Demographic Performance
Some of your campaign’s audience demographics might work better or worse. It’s worth checking and analyzing what’s your target audience’s ideal age and excluding the worse performing.
For example, there are some demographic categories (e.g., “unknown”) and ages (e.g., “25-34”, “65+”) that can become costly after launch.
Navigate to the campaign’s Audience section ➜ click Demographics
Exclude bad performing categories of ages
In my case I would exclude the following age categories:
- 18-24 (I exclude this category by default)
7.4. Exclude bad performing placements
The main optimization process around YouTube video ads goes around checking, analyzing, and excluding bad performing placements (YouTube channels/videos) and bidding higher on good performing placements.
Navigate to campaign’s Placements ➜ click Where ads showed
Select bad performing placements ➜ click Edit ➜ Exclude from ad group or Exclude from campaign
Criteria to exclude placements from your campaign:
- Placements don’t convert at all, or cost per conversion (CPC or CPCon) is too high and exceeds your target cost per acquisition (CPA);
- The placement’s click-through rate (CTR) is too low, and it spends most of your budget without incoming conversions from it.
Learn more about Google Video Ads campaigns
P.S. I hope this article was helpful to you. If you have any questions, suggestions, or you’d like to share something related to the topic, please drop a line in the comment section below.