An Insider’s Look at Brand Advertising on YouTube

These days, more and more brands are incorporating YouTube into their online advertising and marketing strategies. But if you’re new to advertising on YouTube, it can be tough figuring out how it works and where to get started. We spoke with Michael Lanz, Industry Director, Social & Information at Google, and Jane Barrett, Director of Marketing and Communications at Zoosk, to glean some insight into the benefits of brand advertising on YouTube, as well as some tips on how to get started.

The Benefits of YouTube Over Traditional Advertising

Lanz explains that, “Video has long been an essential part of brand building because it enables businesses to connect with consumers using the power of sight, sound, and motion.  These qualities help brands tell richer stories that can often be more dynamic than static text or images alone.”

Barrett tells me that this is one of the biggest benefits that Zoosk has seen in their use of YouTube for advertising–the opportunity to build “brand persona” in a way that just isn’t possible through text or banner ads.  The company launched their ‘Heart Friend’ campaign in December 2012 as an alternative to expensive television ads and she explains that, “with the video campaign, we wanted to portray the Zoosk grand persona.”

Video was a much better medium for for portraying the fun, personable nature of Zoosk than traditional ads.  Barret explained that “display is more about bringing people in after they’ve seen the video, while video is a much more successful platform for raising awareness and giving a brand persona.”  With video, brands can tell a story, show off their unique character, and provide a memorable experience that sticks with viewers. Zoosk found that by telling a story through their YouTube campaign, they saw a tremendous 318 percent rise in unaided awareness among those that had been exposed to the campaign.

Online video ads also have the benefit of being shareable, by nature.  Lanz explains, “With online video, you’re adding in a fourth component to video – the ability to share the experience with others.  This social aspect is hugely important. As we all know, people don’t just watch ads on YouTube, they also share them with friends, family, and others on the web.”  Zoosk sought to make the most of this by including hashtags in their Heart Friend video titles to propagate sharing and discussion on Twitter.

In addition, Lanz points out that when brands put out great video content, it results in customers actually seeking them out and engaging with them, as opposed to being forced to watch advertisements during commercial breaks or in online video pre-roll.  ”We see that the most successful ads on YouTube have a mix of paid and earned views. That is to say, not only are people watching ads because of proactive campaigns from brands – they are actively seeking them out and watching them too. These earned views are produced in a variety of ways: customers can subscribe to your channel, they can stay to watch another video after their initial view, they can like or favorite a video, and they can even upload a video response, and more.”

Getting Started

Lanz says, “If they haven’t already, brands should make sure they have a presence on YouTube by creating their own channel.  We recently redesigned channels on YouTube so it’s even easier to organize content and create a brand channel that’s viewable across all devices.

“Once they have created a brand channel, brands need to think carefully about how to drive viewers to engage with it.  Marketers use video ads across YouTube, Google search, and the Google Display Network to promote awareness for their videos.”

Need help?  Larger brand advertisers may have a Google sales representative that they can contact to help them get started, but you don’t need to actually speak to someone at Google or YouTube to advertise on the video site.  You can get started at youtube.com/yt/promoteyourself or youtube.com/yt/advertise.

Do you have any experience with advertising on YouTube? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Related Stories
Mediabistro Course

Pinterest Marketing

Pinterest MarketingPin your way to a wider audience! Starting December 1, work with the VP of Marketing at SheKnows to learn how to leverage Pinterest for your brand. In this course, you'll learn how to create a Pinterest Playbook to develop and measure your marketing strategy, grow a follower base, run an effective contest, and stay updated on the best practices for this platform. Register now!