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Are you missing out on the video ad gold rush?

The time has never been more right to run video ads.

The problem with paid digital ads is that you don’t have much space to capture attention, promote your brand, present your offer, and drive action.

Can it be done? Yes, and profitably. But it’s not the only way to introduce your brand online.

What if, instead, you made video ads?
…and you introduced people to your brand, your story, and your unique value in a compelling way?
…and you ran your ads on the world’s largest video site and other relevant websites?
…and you targeted them only to your prospects in your local area?
…and you only showed them to people in the market to make a purchasing decision?
…and the first 5 seconds of your ad were served absolutely free?

The time has never been more right to run video ads. In this article, we’ll review how you can take advantage of this incredible way to reach your audience.

The biggest advantages to running YouTube ads

  • It’s crazy easy to get started. If you have a YouTube channel, you’re more than half-way there. You can select your videos to run as in-stream ads – this will show your videos in front of the videos your audience is watching. No insertion orders, budget commitments, contracts, or complicated creative specs or file sizes needed.
  • It’s incredibly affordable exposure. As mentioned above, the first 5 seconds of your ad is free. If someone chooses to skip after the first 5 seconds, congratulations! You paid nothing for that 5 second message. You’re only charged if someone interacts with your video, watches beyond 30 seconds, or if they watch the entire ad without skipping (if the ad is less than 30 seconds). The amount you pay for the watch is incredibly low too – we’re seeing cost-per-views (CPVs) of $0.05-$0.13, or even lower.
  • You can get ridiculously specific with targeting. You can choose to target entire countries or a 2 mile radius around your stores. You can choose the age, gender, or income of who will view your ad. You can target their interests, the video topics, whether they’ve visited your site before, even the specific channels or videos they’re watching when your ad appears.

Things to know and do before getting started

  • Video is best for branding (for now). When you look at the direct ROI of video ads, you might quickly decide it’s “not working.” For all the impressions and views your ads generate, you probably won’t see immediate sales. Yes your ads can include calls-to-action, links back to your site, even shopping cards that feature specific products from your video. But don’t be surprised if these innovative ad formats don’t drive typical direct response results. The in-stream format is still disruptive, and the majority of your audience won’t take immediate action.
  • Make the most of your free 5 seconds. People who make videos love to spend some time “setting the scene.” Don’t do this. If you spend 5 seconds on establishing a mood, you’ve wasted your entire free ad, and now you’re at risk of getting skipped! Use the first 5 seconds to make a quick introduction and give your viewer a reason to keep watching. Even if they skip, you at least had the chance to make an impression.
  • Test and measure everything. Because you won’t drive a ton of direct sales with your video ad, how will you measure success? Watch rate? Clicks to your website? Average length of a view? Also, how long will your videos be? Since a 47 second view is charged as much as a 47 minute view, do you make your videos as long as possible to maximize your message, or as short as possible to discourage skipping? There’s no one-size-fits all for video ads. Yes, you’ll see a drop-off rate the longer your video, but the quality and content of your ad will heavily influence how your viewers interact with it.

Some video ads to inspire you

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Purple Mattress: Raw Egg Test

Including this video ad here is kind of a cheat, I’ll admit. If you’re a mattress retailer, you don’t have the unique positioning and benefit statements of a disruptive brand. But it’s worth kicking things off with this ad for a few reasons, mentioned below the video:

Here are some things you can learn from (or maybe steal from) this ad:
This ad has been seen over 62 MILLION times. (I’m pretty sure at least 1 million of those were served just to me – I’ve seen them everywhere!) So how did they make the ad “go viral”? They didn’t. They just paid for the ads. Of course, some people DID share and promote the video, but Purple didn’t wait around for that to happen.You already know the secret that the cost per view is extremely low, so running ads can be an affordable way to get people familiar with your brand.

The content is unique and engaging. The first 5 seconds have a hook to get you to keep watching.

Mattress Firm’s Hi-Tech Beautyrest Black Hybrid Mattress

Mattress Firm’s sleek, branded ad looks more like an ad for a new high-tech phone than a mattress, and I doubt that’s on accident:

At just 15 seconds, if viewers watch the fast-paced at all the way through, Mattress Firm is charged for the full view. But since the ad is quick, there’s a good chance they’ll watch to the end and make the association with the mattress and high-tech.

Sleep Country’s Bloom Mattress with Direct Response Offer

To promote its bed-in-a-box offer, Sleep Country launched this mattress ad with a $100 off promotion and free shipping:

Unlike the other videos listed above, this 30 second ad doesn’t do much to promote the actual product. What makes Bloom different? It’s unclear. Still, the ad is well-produced and the call-to-action link back to the site works to drive awareness, even if most of the video doesn’t.

Makin Mattress – Double Sided Mattress

This local mattress ad clearly explains the value of buying a double sided mattress:

The visual of throwing the single-sided mattress in the dumpster is pretty compelling, and the ad does a good job of including benefits. Another Makin ad throws shade at its liquidating competitor. And another one shows a behind-the-scenes look at their factory and even invites the viewer to see how their mattress is made first-hand (those first 5 seconds though…) While these ads weren’t designed for digital, they can be repurposed as branding ads to reach their target audience, without requiring a Harmon Brothers budget.

Hopefully this video overview has given you some ideas for how you can leverage your YouTube channel for better brand messaging, awareness, and reach among your target audience.

For a complimentary review of your video ad strategy, apply here.