YouTube Ads Targeting Made Easy | The Complete Guide

Targeting YouTube ads the right way can be a bit of a tricky job to accomplish. Today, the platform is more varied than ever, but it still feels somewhat limited. You can’t just hop in, choose an audience, let the algorithm do its work, and release your video. Instead, most marketers have to dig through countless topics and keywords before giving the green light.

In a perfect world, YouTube could (and would) give you all of these options out of the box. However, Google acts in its own interest by keeping a lot of the data scattered throughout the website without aggregating it into the marketing platform. It’s a way for them to keep competition on the platform fair, and not make it too easy to plug your own product.

Surely, there must be an efficient way to approach this problem. In this article, we’re going to unearth some of the basic concepts that lie behind YouTube ads targeting, and how it can affect your organization’s bottom line. Step by step, we’ll see what works and what doesn’t. And in case you’re too curious to wait, Biteplay has an amazing solution to show you!

Targeting People with YouTube Ads Is Becoming Harder

Let’s be real for a second. With well-over 1 billion people using the platform regularly, and a staggering number of countries available, YouTube ads targeting is not easy. You’re essentially comparing a sea of content with your singular video. And you probably don’t even have an audience to start with. Surely, the odds seem to stack up against you.

But don’t worry. Every marketer needs to go through the burden of realizing that preparing each YouTube ad campaign requires precise, in-depth preparation and targeting. Without one of the two, your ads are not likely to succeed. Sure, you might get a few clicks, but it’s the conversions that truly matter. Your bottom line is what defines you at the end of the day.
Slowly but surely, you’ll get the hang of how YouTube ads work, and you’ll achieve great targeting practices. Unfortunately, there’s no real way to test ads on YouTube without getting down to spending some money for it. Most companies learn their way by shooting quick ad bursts that allow them to see the results that YouTube can offer. You should do the same!

The Basics of YouTube Ads Targeting

Based on Google’s own “targeting for video campaigns” document, there are plenty of ways to start targeting people and serve them ads that are relevant to your product or service. But, as we will see, these aren’t always the most valuable targeting methods. It’s worth taking a quick look at each ad format before we discuss how to efficiently target people though.

  1. TrueView (In-Stream)

In-stream ads play before, during, or after videos. The viewer can skip your ad after just five seconds, so you have to capture their attention very quickly. You only pay for these if the viewer watches more than 30 seconds, or if he clicks the ad. These ads are the most common on YouTube, and they’re valuable assets for any marketer.

2. TrueView (Video Discovery)

These are featured snippets that show your video next to related topics. For these, you only pay once the user clicks on the thumbnail. In-stream ads are generally more valuable than video discovery ads because the latter add a layer of complexity to the funnel. Clicking on ads doesn’t mean that people will watch the video after all.

3. Bumper Ads

These are special ads that only last a maximum of six seconds. They are usually played before a video, but also during and after. Viewers cannot skip these ads, but their short nature makes it hard to prepare a fully-fledged message. Marketers pay based on cost-per-thousand impressions so you have to be really creative with these!

These three ad categories are more than enough to start playing around with some of the targeting options that YouTube offers. Once you define the type of ad that you want to serve on YouTube, you can finally fine-tune it to your likings. Here, YouTube shows both great features, and some serious bottlenecks. Let’s find out more about their ads targeting.

How YouTube Ads Targeting Works

YouTube now works in a way that’s very similar to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and other social media apps. Thanks to engagement features such as community posts and stories, it has in fact become a social media platform of its own. Here, ads targeting is done by filtering your audience through various options defined below:

  • Demographic Groups
  • Geo-Targeting
  • Operating Systems
  • Carriers & WiFi
  • Languages

… and a few more. These are broad audience metrics that you should analyze before you proceed onto anything else. If you’re selling tech, you probably don’t want to target female demographics for example… For makeup, you’d want to do the opposite. The same goes with languages if you’re planning to localize your YouTube ads campaign for other countries.

On top of these categories, we also have what are called affinity or in-market audience reports. These tools allow you to dive deep into the interests of the broad audience that you selected, and make sure that you’re targeting exactly who you believe is best-suited for your specific ad. This can be hit-or-miss depending on the topic or area that you’re working with.

Lastly, the keywords report shows you a series of keywords that could be relevant to your ad campaign. It’s worth noting that most of the keyword work is still done by hand though. You look around YouTube for videos that you like, and you gather the keywords that it ranks for; you then match those keywords and compare them with other channels for maximum ROI.

Video Remarketing or Placements?

If you have a strong website that sees a lot of traffic coming in, the same traffic could end up on YouTube that same day, or a few days later. You want to be on the platform right as that happens. Remarketing is one of the most effective ways to capture new leads, and it’s definitely a great way to work towards optimizing your conversion rates.

Placements, on the other hand, are a lot of work. These are videos offered on specific channels or topics that can return a lot of interest in your company. Placements aren’t easy to get done right; you’d need more data to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your investment. The best thing you can do in this case is to browse sites and channels yourself.

Remarketing and placements are two different concepts: one is especially useful if your lead is at the consideration stage, just before they decide to buy; the other is great if you’re looking to broaden your horizons and open up to a more varied audience. Overall, both are great ways to target your audience, so we wouldn’t choose one over the other.

Why Data-Driven YouTube Ads Targeting Is The Future

Marketers can’t work properly with the limited assets that Google provides with their YouTube platform. Sure, it does work, but there’s too much effort involved in creating just one campaign compared to how much work marketers would have to put in if they had a nicely formatted, data-driven report showing everything they had to know at a glance.

There’s no doubt that marketers are now looking for a more efficient, more streamlined way to gather the data necessary to run their ads targeting on YouTube, and we’re here for that specific reason. At Biteplay, we’ve built a platform that finds and targets your YouTube audience with just a few queries. Context is everything, and we provide it.

If you want to achieve better results with your YouTube ads targeting, sign up for Biteplay’s private beta today. You’ll get to enjoy the benefits of our innovative platform before anybody else, and you’ll even get the chance to post your first data-driven ad campaign, all thanks to our easy-to-understand reports. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity!

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