One of the biggest advantages of YouTube is that the sky is ultimately the limit in terms of demand. Billions of seconds of video are being consumed on this channel, so there are an abundance of opportunities for ad placement. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with options, therefore advertisers must be mindful to establish proper goals ahead of launch. Doing so will save money, help optimizations, and ultimately prove the effectiveness of the program.

We will be discussing common goals that should help drive strategy and the YouTube tactics that align with those goals. It is important to note that this article’s focus is only on pre-roll or in-stream videos.


Laptop with red screen and video play button sitting on desk next to coffee cup.

Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is the bread and butter of the YouTube world. As YouTube has evolved they have billed themselves as a cheaper and more efficient version of traditional television advertising. You are able to get your message out to a wide audience for an inexpensive amount per view, plus the creative tactics (and audiences available) are optimized to drive the message further and faster.

For brand awareness, there are two major creative types to leverage from Google in order to achieve cost-effective reach and frequency.

The first creative type is the traditional YouTube ad. Every time you use YouTube, you will undoubtedly come across this ad type. It is the foundation to any good YouTube flight and absolutely critical for driving brand awareness. Although Google does not set any guidelines on the video that you can advertise, there are several best practices to utilize.

For instance, thirty seconds is both the minimum length that your video needs to be as well as the maximum length that a video should be. Videos less than thirty seconds get dinged by Google and can skew your results. Videos longer than thirty seconds, in our experience across multiple verticals, tend to not perform as well in front of the consumer. Additionally, it is vital to assign a call-to-action for your video via the Google Ads platform. This is so that you can drive additional actions as well as brand awareness. Lastly, be aware of your cost-per-view; if you are price-conscious you may be able to get a CPV for less than five cents.

The second creative type is a newer release known as YouTube for Reach. As its name implies, this creative type is all about achieving maximum reach. This video type is shorter than the traditional YouTube ad as it is typically fifteen seconds long. Another advantage of Youtube for Reach is that it is bought on a CPM model (cost-per-thousand impressions), so it’s tailored for getting in front of as many consumers as possible. This creative type is geared towards directly competing with television advertising dollars, therefore Google provides metrics that help get a more holistic comparison between the two.

When looking at these two types of brand awareness it is important to take note of how they fit into the sales funnel.  In both types you will want to put your brand logo first followed by a simple message that defines who you are as a brand. However, TrueView for Reach functions best at a more generic, higher funnel level. The shorter length gives you less time to convey your full brand persona, so save the deeper messages for the traditional YouTube ad.



These video types tend to be the most effective in targeting consumers who are familiar with your brand. This is vital, as we are focused on getting these consumers to take an action. There are two major creative types to focus on here as well – Shoppable Cards & TrueView for Action.

The shoppable card creative type has been revolutionary within the YouTube marketing space. This creative type goes beyond just being engagement-oriented as it is also focused on driving revenue. In short, a Shoppable Card is an overlay on a video that brings in your PLA / Shopping Feed to showcase products (of your choosing) that are being shown in the video. This cuts out the friction point for a consumer between seeing a video and purchasing a product; using this method we have seen transactions and revenue flow for these video types. While brand awareness advertising has never had a direct revenue impact, this creative type shows both the advertiser (and the finance department) that a YouTube advertising campaign can be ROAS positive and ultimately pay for itself. It is important to note that you do need a Google Merchant Center account set up and a shopping feed uploaded to utilize this tactic. As for the video itself, the successful videos that we have tested generally showcase a wide variety of products and focus on how to utilize those products, and while the brand awareness video types are fifteen or thirty seconds long – length of video does not tarnish performance.

What if your business doesn’t sell products (you are focused on services or appointments) or you want to push another business priority that’s not transactionary? Google has you covered. When TrueView for Reach was released, Google also released TrueView for Action which is essentially an enhanced CTA that is focused on driving… well, actions. Utilizing a shorter video length of 15 seconds, TV4A lets you drive important business actions while keeping cost in line by paying per acquisition or action (a cost per action model.)  It is important to keep in mind that Google conversion tracking is required for this creative type so that Google can optimize towards high propensities to convert. When referring to the sales funnel, this form of video works best within the middle-bottom of the funnel. This method is great for driving newsletter or email sign ups, booking appointments, or helping advertise a form fill page through a platform that is efficient and continues to grow in scale.

As little as two years ago, there was a dearth of flexibility and creative types on the YouTube platform and this limited what goals could be achieved through the program. As the platform has continued to grow, Google realized that simple brand awareness would stymie advertiser growth, so they developed new ways to promote business. With the sheer volume and the multiple types of videos, it’s crucial to hone in on the goals that you want to achieve long before launching an advertising campaign. Being mindful of the two separate branches– brand awareness and engagement– is a great starting point in fully developing a strategy that will grow your business.



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Joe Madden is a Media Manager for Response Mine focuses on PPC and YouTube.  He strongly believes that YouTube is an oft-overlooked pillar of a digital media strategy that can drive real results for his clients.  Outside of work, Joe is typically traveling wherever he can, volunteering within the diabetes community, or playing soccer whenever he gets a chance.
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