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You can market your product using only free content, but it can take months or years before it ranks in the first spot on Google or YouTube. While you can wait, investors, employees, and costs can’t. Instead, you can rely on videos and Google Ads to find short-term leads. This will help you attract potential customers as soon as your YouTube video ad campaign is live.

Hawaiian Airlines created 15- and 30-second video ads to promote trips to the Aloha State. Its videos targeted people thinking about visiting the archipelago—for example, those searching for airplane tickets—by using a straightforward and action-oriented CTA: “See fares.” At the end of the campaign, flight bookings increased by 185%, and the cost of finding a customer dropped by 69%.

Even if your video ad is appealing, it’s unlikely to get clicks or turn viewers into customers if you don’t set up your YouTube campaign correctly. Using the wrong video ad objective or format can lead to an unprofitable campaign, even if your video is engaging. Because of this reality, you should set up ads with the same level of detail you use to storyboard, write your script, and produce your video.


1. Set up a Google Analytics account

Google Analytics tracks how people interact with your videos. You’ll know the ads people click on the most and the ones viewers watch for the longest time. With this data, you can make future campaigns more specific to the people most likely to buy your product. For example, if Google Analytics tells you one ad is significantly more profitable than the others, you can bid your entire budget on it and pause the rest of your campaigns.

Create a Google Analytics account with the same Gmail account your YouTube channel uses to let Analytics gather data from every sponsored video, then make sure it tracks everything correctly. Luckily, Google makes it a breeze to set everything up with a simple three-step process.

1. Account setup

First, you need to name your Analytics account. Then go to the Account Data Sharing Settings and choose what Google can do with the information your analytics account collects. The permissions you provide do not affect the Analytics or campaign features you can use, but they help Google improve its advertising hub and make your campaigns more profitable. So, if your company’s data collection policy allows it, tick all the boxes.

Image showcasing how to set up Google Analytics Data Sharing. Part of tutorial on how to set up a youtube video ad

2. Property setup

The property is the name of the source of user behavior data that Google will track, like YouTube for your YouTube-based ads. Name your property, so you know what platform it’s on. For example, you should name your YouTube property something like “[Company Name] Data — YouTube.” This distinguishes it from other places where you advertise your product, like apps.

3. Business information

Google Analytics suggests features based on your business’s industry and size, so share this data to enhance your experience. A personalized experience helps you discover profitable features that you may not have found otherwise. If you can’t find your industry in the dropdown menu, pick the one closest to your core business.
image of google analytics goals. Part of the tutorial on how to set up a youtube video ad

Google also adjusts your experience based on your reason for using Analytics. Goals like increasing conversions work for most companies, but you can also find more specific ones, like measuring app installs. Check all the goals that apply to you and click Create.


2. Link your Google Ads account to your YouTube channel

Linking your Google Ads account to your YouTube channel gives Google information about your videos. It will see your channel’s views, the data from the people who watch them, and engagement metrics. With this data, Google can show ads to people who like your content and turn them into subscribers.
YouTube Studio Link YouTube to Google Ads. Part of the tutorial on how to set up a profitable youtube ad campaign

Giving Google access to your channel’s data also lets you check how people interact with your channel after watching your ads. Without this information, you can’t gauge the impact of your campaign. For example, you might turn off an ad because it’s not receiving many views despite it having the highest conversion rate across your campaign.

Log into YouTube Studio and click on Settings to link your channel to your Google Ads account. Click on Channel, then Advanced Settings, and finally on Link Account. There, a window will ask you for your Google Ads customer ID. You can find the ID by logging into Google Ads and selecting the help icon in the top-right corner. Copy the ID and paste it into the window on YouTube.


3. Set a precise objective in Google Ads’ Expert Mode

You can promote the same video using two different types of ads and see different results. Because of this, it’s essential to choose a type of ad that’s aligned with your business goals. Normally, you can only use two types of ads: in-feed video and in-stream. Google Ads’ Expert Mode allows you to choose from a lot more options.

Expert Mode lets you pick between seven campaign objectives, like in-store visits or app downloads, which tell Google what type of ad to use. Using these objectives makes Google more efficient at helping you achieve your business goals at the lowest cost, as the algorithm will focus on actions that will help you accomplish them.

image of Google Ads Objectives. Part of our tutorial on how to sponsor a youtube video ad
You can access Expert Mode by launching Google Ads and scrolling to the bottom of the page. Out of all the objectives, Google recommends you aim for two with video: Product and brand consideration and brand awareness and reach. Both of these objectives use three types of video ads: in-stream, bumper, and in-feed:

  • In-stream ads play before, during, or after a video session. They help you drive people to landing pages or present your brand to potential buyers.
  • In-feed video ads appear on YouTube’s website or the app’s homepage, search results, and related videos column. Because they appear next to related videos, they are perfect for attracting viewers interested in what you’re offering.
  • Bumper ads are video ads that last six seconds or less. Companies can use them to deliver a memorable bite-sized message about their brand with minimal interruption of the viewer’s video.

Product and brand consideration

This type of campaign aims to capture the attention of potential customers and turn them into leads. It has two campaign subtypes, commonly known as ad formats.

First, there are ad sequences. These use in-stream ads, bumper ads, or a mix of both to tell a story across a series. An ad sequence is helpful for campaigns where you have many videos or assets. In a Google and Ipsos Lab Experiment study, video ad sequences were 74% more memorable than a single 30-second skippable in-stream ad.

The second campaign subtype is influence consideration. It uses a single skippable in-stream ad or in-feed video ad to persuade viewers to buy your product.

When using this campaign, strive for video ads longer than 20 seconds. According to internal data from Google, ads of this length are better at making viewers consider products.

Brand awareness and reach

This campaign focuses on driving the most attention to your brand, which is beneficial if you are breaking into a market or launching a brand-new product.

You can use an ad sequence to tell a story that introduces viewers to your brand, as with product and brand consideration campaigns. But you also get access to two new campaign subtypes.

The video reach campaign subtype gets you the most reach possible for a given budget by using skippable in-stream ads, bumper ads, or both. Bumper ads are particularly useful for reaching people. Their short length lets you quickly expose viewers to your brand without annoying them.

Or, you can use the outstream campaign subtype. It shows your videos to people on mobile websites who are not YouTube. If you have a deep understanding of your target audience, this campaign can be very profitable. For example, if you know the type of website your audience likes the most, you can advertise on these sites. This will present your brand to readers with similar interests and challenges.


4. Choose your bidding strategy

Edit this Template Video

Your bidding strategy describes how much Google will charge you for trying to achieve a goal. The wrong bidding strategy can make Google spend an unnecessarily large part of your budget on just a few conversions or website visitors.

In contrast, choosing a bid strategy that aligns with your goals lowers your campaign’s cost and grows sales. For example, a solo immigration attorney ran an Enhanced CPC bidding strategy to attract clients. This type of campaign increases conversions for campaigns where you choose how much to bid for a click.


image for bidding strategies; how to set up a youtube ad.

Solo attorney’s case study by Mockingbird


The cost of attracting each lead was originally $80. After switching to a smart bidding strategy, a model in which Google uses machine learning to optimize bidding strategies, the attorney’s cost per lead dropped to $17. A simple switch in the settings reduced the campaign’s cost by 79%.

Google Ads wins when you run profitable campaigns, so it’ll suggest bidding strategies to those using Expert Mode. The platform offers three bidding methods for those running video-based ad campaigns.

Target CPM

With target CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions), you tell Google Ads the average amount it should spend to show your ad a thousand times. The algorithm will then look for the people likely to watch your entire ad: website users with traits from your target audience.

Ad sequences and video reach campaigns focus on maximizing reach, so they pair perfectly with the target CPM. You can set this bidding strategy and quantify the cost of building product or brand awareness.

Viewable CPM

This bidding strategy is available for those using outstream ads. In it, you decide the most you’ll pay for a thousand people to view your ad outside of YouTube rather than simply being shown it.

Some websites autoplay videos, counting that as impressions even if visitors don’t see your video. With viewable CPM, Google only charges you if 50% of an ad appears on a reader’s screen for two seconds or longer. This time restriction makes viewable CPM an ideal bidding strategy for brand awareness and reach campaigns outside of YouTube, where you don’t control the conditions under which people will watch your ad.

Maximum CPV

Maximum CPV (cost-per-view) is a bidding strategy where you fix the top amount Google should pay for each view or interaction, like clicking your video’s thumbnail. If you optimize for views, Google will only charge you if someone watches 30 seconds of your video or the full video if it’s shorter than that. These time and budget restrictions ensure you never overspend or pay for a view from a person who is not interested in your product.


5. Use Google Ads tools to determine where your ads should play

Your ad’s placement influences its performance. A campaign targeting websites unrelated to your product won’t attract prospects. Instead, it will run until your budget hits zero without becoming profitable.

Use Google Ads keyword, topic, and placement features to place your ads on the websites your target customer visits. This specificity helps the algorithm make the most of your bidding strategy as most ad viewers will care about your product or industry.


If you know the keywords your potential customers use to look for your product or the problem it solves, you can tell the algorithm to display ads on websites and YouTube videos using these words. This targeting method helps attract people already searching for a solution to their problem.

You can use the Google Ads keyword tool to find the best keywords and phrases for your product. There are two ways to do it.

The image showcases the keyword ideas tool from Google adwords.
The first method involves using a keyword research tool and adding a list of keywords to Google Ads. Lean on this method if you know how to use these tools and trust your ability to choose relevant keywords.

But if you haven’t built many campaigns, let Google find keywords for you. To do this, enter your website’s URL in the box below “get keyword ideas” to extract a list of keywords. You can find this search box in the Google Ads Content section. Scroll through the list, searching for the phrases most related to the product you want to sell. Finally, click the plus button to turn keywords into targets.


Targeting a topic places your ads on websites and videos discussing a subject related to that topic, exposing your product to an entire industry. Think of the topic as the parent category of keywords. If a keyword is “red silk scarf,” the topic would be “apparel.” The broad targeting puts your product at the top of a community’s mind and helps you attract prospects from an industry’s niche that you may have overlooked.

Google has a list of industries it can target, like real estate and finance. After choosing an industry to aim at, you can select a topic from the Topics dropdown menu in the Content tab. For example, the Reference category has a General Reference subcategory with its own subcategory: Educational Resources. This topic is more specific than General Reference but broad enough to capture the attention of an entire industry.


You can tell Google to only show your ads on specific websites from its ad network. If most of your customers visit a particular site, you can display ads on it to increase your odds of running a profitable campaign.

Placement targeting also works to reduce a competitor’s market share. For example, let’s say a competitor’s YouTube channel or website targets the same audience and solves the same problem as your product. In this case, you can show ads to your competitor’s audience to introduce them to a better alternative: your product.

You can use placement targeting to display ads on apps, app categories, websites, YouTube channels, or even specific videos. Go to the search bar in the Content section’s Placement tab and paste the URL or video ID of the website or video where you want YouTube ads to show.

It’s important to know Google can show ads outside of these locations if it thinks it can benefit you. You can run a profitable campaign even if you end up targeting the wrong websites or channels.


6. Define your audience segment with Google Ads

The audience segment section lets you define the interests, habits, and demographic information of the people your ads will target. Without these filters, your ads would target every internet user. With this broad focus, your ads would have a low conversion rate and a high cost-per-view, as only a fraction of the views would come from people who actually want your product.

Presenting your ads to a specific group of people helps the algorithm find the type of person who will look at your ad, click it, and consider buying your product. This narrow approach enhances your chances of running a profitable video ad campaign.

Launch your customer relationship management (CRM) software to find your audience’s data. Look for the demographic information, needs, and interests of prospects who became clients:

  • How do they spend their free time?
  • What is the size of their company?
  • What are they actively searching for?

For an even narrower approach, look for customer traits that led to the longest and most profitable contracts. By targeting these individuals, you’ll grow your business’s average contract value and recurring revenue. You will also reduce your churn rate.

Back in Google Ads, scroll to the Audience Segments section and click on Browse. You will see four menus where you can define your audience. Click each of these four dropdown menus and select the audience information that matches your customer base.


7. Write a compelling ad headline

As of 2022, there are over 2.4 billion YouTube users. But only 1% of them pay for YouTube Premium, a subscription that removes ads from the platform. If you want to capture the attention of ad viewers, you need to write a clear and compelling headline.

An ad with a dull or cliché headline is unlikely to receive clicks. Instead, it becomes “one more” in a mass of ads without standing out, wasting your ad budget. Meanwhile, a compelling headline stands out from the over 500 hours of content uploaded to YouTube every minute. It clearly conveys the benefit of clicking on the ad, making viewers more likely to watch it.

Your ad headline should be clear, not elegant or complex. If viewers can get the gist of your ad after reading your headline, then it’s clear. You can write clearly by asking yourself, “What am I trying to say?” and saying it using the simplest and shortest words. Then mention the attribute you want to highlight from your product, and move on. Don’t embellish it.

Once your headline is clear, rewrite it to make it compelling. Change the sentence’s words, order, and structure. For example, if your headline has a number or adverb, modify its position.

Often, clear but bland headlines result from sticking with the first option you came up with. Write many variations, ask colleagues which headline they are most likely to click, and pick the best.


8. Come up with a clear CTA

Offering a clear CTA prompts readers to take the next step. It actively moves readers along, increasing their chances of becoming paying customers. In contrast, if your CTA is vague, viewers might not know how to buy your product after watching the ad.

Companies reduce their ads’ conversion rates when they write overly complex calls to action. Thus, write clear CTAs with action words. These words tell viewers the precise action they must take to inquire about a product or solve a problem.

Wistia found CTAs with action words like “click,” “sign up,” or “download” had a higher conversion rate than those without. So, if you are selling accounting software, use “sign up for a free trial” as your CTA and not “experience the new age of accounting.”


image for Wistia Conversion Rate for Action Words. Part of our resource post "9 Steps for a Profitable YouTube Video Ad Campaign"

Wistia’s chart shows the conversion rate difference for CTAs with different action words.


Google Ads lets you write a call to action of up to 10 words. According to Wistia’s study, CTAs with the word “sign up” outperformed those without it by a factor of three. Include this phrase in your CTA when possible. If your product doesn’t need people to sign up, use the action word that best describes what users must do to buy from you.


9. Write a persuasive description

Headlines alone can’t always influence viewers to click your ad. In these instances, descriptions can save the day, providing statistics, facts, and value propositions that make your product look more appealing. By highlighting your product’s strengths in your description, you increase the odds of turning viewers into page visitors and then into customers.

Generic descriptions like “buy now at XYZ.com” don’t persuade viewers, especially if your headline or CTA has already encouraged people to buy. Instead of these vague descriptions, highlight your competitive advantages. These differentiators prove to viewers your product is the most viable solution on the market. If competitors offer one round of revisions for a product, say you provide unlimited revisions. Or, if you offer free worldwide shipping and that’s uncommon in your market, add it to your description.

When writing descriptions, include power words to make your ad more persuasive. Power words cause emotional responses in readers. For example, “forbidden” sparks desire in the reader. Tapping into the viewer’s rational side with facts and their emotional side with power words makes your ad more alluring.


Launch your next YouTube video ad campaign

Upload your video ad and launch your campaign, but don’t celebrate yet, even if the campaign is profitable. Every YouTube advertising campaign has room to improve and grow its ROI by editing the campaign parameters based on viewers’ behaviors.

Connect your Google Ads and Analytics accounts to see the full customer journey. With this data, you’ll find your campaign’s weak spots. For example, a high bounce rate means people like your ad, but your landing page isn’t appealing enough to trigger a sale. You can pause your campaign, edit your landing page, then resume the ads to increase your campaign’s ROI.

Besides measuring results, you can prioritize animated video ads over live footage to better turn viewers into customers. Animated videos can grow YouTube views by 21% and social media shares by 375%. This extra reach places your brands and products in front of more potential customers. In Vyond, an intuitive animation tool, you can animate videos regardless of your previous animation experience.

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