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Tips for optimizing your video campaign

So, you've uploaded your videos to YouTube, and have been running your TrueView campaign for a while. Video ads provide a range of viewer actions that can be measured and tracked so you can better achieve your advertising goals. For example:

  • If you find that your video ad's view rate is lower than ads in your other campaigns, you can adjust your campaigns for a higher view rate.
  • If your cost-per-view (CPV) is higher than your target CPV and you're willing to reach a broader audience, try adjusting to a lower CPV.
  • If you're not achieving your clickthrough rate (CTR) or CPV goals (and are paying much less), you can consider increasing your CPV or CTR.

Making the most of your cost-per-view (CPV)

Average cost-per-view (CPV) is the average amount an advertiser pays for a view of their video ad. CPV fluctuates based on ad length, creative quality, targeting, and auction dynamics among other factors.

Evaluating CPV

Cost per view is a valuable signal about the competitiveness of your ad in the auction ecosystem. Are you paying more for views than you wanted or expected? Are you seeing CPVs increase over-time? By tracking and adjusting your CPV, you’ll be set up to deliver your message more efficiently. Rising CPVs could be a sign of creative fatigue if your ad has been live for a couple of weeks. Rising CPVs can also be a sign of increased pressure in the auctions that you compete to win. Conversely, declining CPVs could indicate that there's less competition in the market and that you may have a chance to gain some views at a lower cost.

Tips to meet your CPV goals

While a bid is the most direct link to cost per view, there is a balance between the targeting and creative that also provide the best user match, and therefore drive a higher view rate and low CPV. Here are some tips for optimizing for CPV.

  • Adjust your bids: Bids have the most direct link to CPVs in that you will never pay a higher CPV than your maximum bid. However, they act only as a ceiling, and so are only one way to make CPV adjustments. The most effective use of bids is in bidding your true value for the view that you’re buying (much as you would with a click in Google Search). However, this “true value” is often difficult to arrive at, and is a critical place to focus in post-campaign evaluation. The best starting point for defining your value of a view is by comparing your paid views, owned views (views of content that you own), and earned views (views from shares). A view can drive far more activity beyond what you pay for directly. With TrueView ads, there can be improved engagement and recall for ads that haven’t even been seen for the full 30 seconds, meaning you don’t pay, but still accrue value.
  • Expand your targeting: Restricting your targeting will lead to higher competition. This will likely manifest itself in higher CPVs, unless you are already near your maximum bid, in which case you will simply stop winning auctions and end up with unspent budget. Expanding targeting will allow the ad-serving system to identify auctions where your ads and bids are more competitive, and can reduce the campaign’s overall average CPV. You may still find a valuable audience at a lower CPV by exploring broader targets. Remember, the TrueView format itself acts as a targeting filter where you pay only for engaged viewers who choose to watch your ad.
  • Relax other campaign-level restrictions: For example, turning off accelerated delivery, platform targeting, or adjusting your ad rotation settings may help drive a higher view rate and lower CPV.
  • Improve your ads: Because strong ads drive good view rate, they can often impact the CPV. As view rates rise, CPVs fall because the auction values relevant ads that audiences will enjoy as shown by their willingness to view-through. Learn more best practices for creating effective video ads.

Making the most of your view rate

Your view rate is the total number of views of your video ad divided by the number of people the ad was served to. The view rate is a good indicator of how compelling viewers find your video. The higher the view rate, the more engaged viewers are with your content.

Evaluating view rate

View rate is the primary metric for understanding the health of a video ad. A video ad with a high view rate will generally win more auctions and pay a lower CPV than a video ad with a low view rate. If you're interested in driving the most views for the lowest cost, you might want to identify ad assets and targeting methods that can help increase your ad's view rate. Similar to CPV, a view rate point-in-time analysis can be useful to understand if you’re doing well or poor, but it's more critical to understand the trends.

Tips to meet your view rate goal

Although it’s not obvious that targeting could be a method to improve the view rate of a campaign, it could impact performance because it affects who is able to view your ad.

  • Improve your ads
    • Shorter ads have higher view rates; if your ad can convey the same message in 20 seconds than in 30, consider editing a shorter version.
    • If you create several ads as part of a campaign, each will provide you a chance to better connect with your audience. Even small differences in your ad's text or video can mean large improvements in view rate and cost over the course of a campaign.
    • Minor tweaks like changing the introduction, or adding or removing call-to-actions can help shift viewer behavior and improve view rate.
    • Try rotating 2 or 3 different ads in and out of the auction to avoid "ad fatigue.”
    • Learn more best practices for creating effective video ads.
  • Improve your targeting: The following are a few ways that targeting can affect view rate:
    • Wrong targeting: If you identified the wrong target audience, you might see more skipping of your video ad. You’ll want to adjust your targeting methods as you figure out who is responding best to your ad.
    • Missed audience: You might also be restricting where your ad shows, and therefore may be “hiding” ads from some viewers who may want to view them. Some advertisers think any views outside a specific target demographic group are “wasted." But, remember that TrueView video ads are billed only when someone chooses to watch the video, so it may be possible to find a receptive audience by expanding your targeting. This will often have the added benefit of reducing your average CPV

Making the most of your clickthrough rate (CTR)

Your clickthrough rate (CTR) is the total number of clicks on your video ad divided by the number of people that the ad was served to. While view rate is the primary engagement metric associated with video campaigns, CTR is another way to measure how well your video campaign is doing. The higher the CTR, the more engaged viewers are with your content and the more interested they are in learning about your business.

Evaluating CTR

If your goal is to drive more people to your website, YouTube channel, or Watch page with your video ad, CTR is the right metric to look at and optimize for. Looking at your CTR over time will tell you how well your video ad is doing to drive customers from your ad to your website.

Tips to meet your CTR goal

Here are some tips for increasing your CTR over time:

  • Add a clear call-to-action (CTA) overlay within your video.
    • CTA overlays are eligible to show on TrueView video discovery and in-stream video ads on YouTube. This feature is available at no extra cost to you, can increase viewer engagement, and adds an interesting element to your ads. Also, because they’re associated with the video instead of the ad, CTA overlays will show whether your video is triggered through an ad or an organic (unpaid) view.
    • For example, you can mention a specific selling point about your business to put you above your competitors, or mention what visitors can find if they click to your website.
  • Remove low-performing inventory or placements.
    • You can find information about the placements of your ads by navigating to the “Targets” tab, and then clicking Placements under the “Where my ads were shown” label. As with placements in AdWords display ads, try to edit any inefficiently performing placements.

Narrowing your targeting

The ability to show your ads online to people with specific interests can help you make sure you’re reaching the right customers. You can show your ads to specific audiences according to their interests, whether they're gamers, pet lovers, or are interested in purchasing a car or home.

By narrowing your targeting, you can show your video ads to a more relevant audience, where it makes sense contextually. Here's an overview of the available targeting methods:

  • Demographic groups: Choose the age, gender, and parental status of the audience you want to reach.
  • Interests: Pick from available categories to reach people interested in these topics, even when they may be visiting pages about other topics. Learn more about audience targeting.
    • Affinity audiences: Raise brand awareness and drive consideration with your TrueView video ads by reaching people who already have a strong interest in relevant topics.
    • In-market audiences: Select from these audiences to find customers who are researching products and actively considering buying a service or product like those you offer.
  • Video remarketing: Reach viewers based on their past interactions with your videos, TrueView ads or YouTube channel. If you've linked your YouTube account to your AdWords account already, we'll create custom lists for you automatically. Learn more about remarketing lists for YouTube viewers.
  • Placements: Target unique channels, websites, or placements within them. For example, you can target an entire high traffic blog or the homepage of a popular news site. Placements include:
    • Channels (YouTube Partner Channels)
    • Videos (YouTube Videos)
    • Sites (Display Network - includes YouTube.com as a publisher site)
  • Topics: Target your video ads to specific topics on YouTube and the Display Network. Topic targeting lets you reach a broad range of videos, channels, and websites related to the topics you select. For example, you target to the "Automotive" topic, then your ad will show on YouTube to people watching videos about cars.
  • Keywords: Depending on your video ad format, you can show your video ads based on words or phrases--keywords--related to a YouTube video, YouTube channel, or type of website that your audience is interested in.

Prevent your ads from showing in certain cases by adding exclusions

You can see how each of your targeting methods have performed for your ads on the "Video targeting" tab. There, you might find that your ad isn’t relevant to a particular topic or demographic group. If that's the case, consider adding the topic or demographic group as an exclusion at the campaign level in your account. This can be useful when your video is most relevant to a specific demographic group and you want to target certain topics but exclude some viewers.

Add targeting exclusions to your campaign or ad group

Note

Your TrueView campaigns are located with your other campaign types (if any) from the "All campaigns" drop-down menu. You can also use this drop-down menu to view only your TrueView campaigns by selecting Video campaigns.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab, and then select the video campaign you want to edit.
  3. Select the campaign you want to edit. If you want to add an exclusion to a specific ad group, select the ad group you want to edit on the "Ad groups" tab.
  4. Click the Video targeting tab.
  5. Select the targeting method where you want to make an exclusion, by clicking the related sub-tab: Demographics, Interests, Remarketing, Topics, and Keywords.
  6. Follow the steps on that sub-tab, and then click Save.
    • Demographics: Each demographic group - age, gender, and parental status - has its own sub-tab. Click the green dot next to the demographic group you want to exclude, in the table on each sub-tab.

      A red dot will appear next to demographic groups that you have excluded.

      Keep in mind

      You must have at least 1 demographic group selected on each tab.

    • Interests, Topics, Keywords, or Remarketing: Click +EXCLUSIONS, and then toggle to a campaign or an ad group, depending on how you want to apply the exclusion. For example, excluding the "News" topic in your campaign will automatically exclude that topic from all ad groups within the campaign.
  7. Click Save.
Add placement exclusions to your campaign or ad group

Viewing where your video ad was shown is a great way to make sure it’s not showing on irrelevant videos or websites. Just click the Placements sub-tab on the "Video targeting" tab, and then click the Where ads were shown sub-tab for any campaign or ad group. Based on that report, you can add exclusions to both campaigns and ad groups. Here's how:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab, and then select the video campaign you want to edit.

    Note

    Your TrueView campaigns are located with your other campaign types (if any) from the "All campaigns" drop-down menu. You can also use this drop-down menu to view only your TrueView campaigns by selecting Video campaigns.

  3. Click the Video targeting tab, and then click the Placements sub-tab.
  4. Scroll the page down and click the Where ads were shown sub-tab. Go through the list and make sure your ad isn’t showing on any irrelevant videos or websites.
  5. To exclude a placement in a specific ad group, click the green dot next to the placement you want to edit and select the red dot to exclude it.
  6. To exclude a placement in your campaign, click +EXCLUSIONS at the bottom and add your excluded placements.

Note

Using exclusions may limit your video campaign's reach.

Improving your bidding

Consider changing your bids on your TrueView video discovery ads to increase the likelihood of your ads showing to interested viewers. In general, because viewers who choose to watch your video discovery ad reflect a desire to engage with your brand, it may make sense for you to increase your bids on these formats. Conversely, if you’re more interested in views, traffic to your website, or increasing awareness of your brand, consider increasing your bid on the in-stream format to increase the likelihood of viewers seeing at least part of your ad. Here's how:

Improve your CPV bidding

Once your campaign has been up and running for a bit, you’ll start to see which ad formats and ad groups perform best. If you want to increase your reach or engagement on your ads, you might want to bid a bit more aggressively.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab, and then select the video campaign you want to edit.
  3. Click the Ad groups tab.
  4. Hover the cursor over the figures in the Max CPV column and make edits directly, or click the ad group to edit its content directly.

Tips

  • You might want to increase your bids on all in-stream ad groups in your TrueView campaign. To see which ad groups are in-stream and video discovery, click Modify columns on the "Ad groups" tab and add Ad group type.
  • To edit all in-stream ad group bids simultaneously, you can use bulk, in-line editing. Select all in-stream ad groups, click Edit, and then select Change bids.

Adding a call-to-action overlay

Call-to-action overlays are eligible to show on any TrueView video ad on YouTube. This feature is available at no extra cost to you, can increase viewer engagement, and add an interesting element to your ads. Also, because they’re associated with the video instead of the ad, call-to-action overlays will show whether your video is triggered through an ad or an organic (unpaid) view.

For example, you can mention a specific selling point about your business to put you above your competitors, or mention what visitors can find if they click to your web site.

Just advertising your channel? Tell people what new videos you may be posting soon. Here's how:

Steps to add a call-to-action overlay
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab, and then select the video campaign you want to edit.
  3. On the Videos tab, click Edit Call to Action on the "Analytics" drop-down.
  4. If you don't see this option, you may still need to link your YouTube account with your AdWords account. On the "Analytics" drop-down, click Link your YouTube Channel.
  5. On the box that opens, select either I own this channel or Someone else owns this channel, and then complete the steps to link your account.

Using video remarketing

Video remarketing is a powerful tool that takes viewers' activity on your YouTube channel to create highly specific lists to retarget your ads to. After linking your YouTube account to your AdWords account, you can create these lists based on various ways people interact with your videos, such as watching a video, subscribing to your channel, or even liking. Learn how to remarket to YouTube viewers with AdWords.

Tip

Already using remarketing in your display campaigns? You can use video remarketing lists for your display ads just as you can target your videos to people who have interacted with your web site. For example, you can create dynamic combination lists to target people who’ve seen your video ad but haven’t converted or who have been to your web site but have yet to make it to your channel.

Using advanced campaign settings

Consider using advanced settings to optimize your campaigns. Use the schedule setting to specify certain hours or days of the week when you want your ads to appear and to control how long your campaign runs. It's important to keep your content fresh so people will keep coming back, so you might consider scheduling your in-stream ad so that it runs for one month.

You can use the ad delivery setting to specify how often we deliver your active ads in relation to one another within an ad group. For example, you can optimize your ads for views, conversions, or rotate them evenly. With the ad delivery setting, you can also set a frequency cap, which limits the number of times your ads appear on the Google Display Network to a unique user. Setting a frequency cap can be helpful if you want to limit the number of times someone sees your ad, or if you want to focus more on gaining exposure to new people.

You can target your video ads to people located in, or who show interest in, a geographic location. Choose one or more geographic locations that are relevant to your ads. By advertising to the right customers, you can hopefully increase your return on investment (ROI).

For example, when advertising your bakery in Paris, you can target only people located in Paris or only people who show interest in Paris, or both. Or if your online business ships to Canada and the U.S., you can target both countries.

You can choose the language of the sites and videos that your ads appear on, by changing the target language in your campaign's settings. To decide where to show your ads, AdWords looks at a user’s Google language setting or the language of the user’s search query, currently viewed page, or recently viewed pages on the Display Network.

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