YouTube campaigns

YouTube ad sequence campaigns

With video ad sequencing, you can tell your product or brand story by showing people a series of videos in the order that you define. You can use a video ad sequence to build interest, reinforce a message, or create a unifying theme.

About ad sequences

A video ad sequence is made up of a series of ads that you’d like to show to a person. Each ad sequence line item is made up of a series of “steps.” Each step of a sequence is an ad group with an ad. Most of a sequence’s settings are selected at the line item level—such as a bid strategy and targeting—but you’ll select your sequencing rules, ad format, and bid within each of your sequence’s steps. Your ads will serve in the order that you’ve defined.

Nuances of ad sequence line items

Compared to other types of YouTube & partners line items in Display & Video 360, ad sequence line items have the following structure:

  • One YouTube ad sequence line item contains…
    • More than one ad group, each of which contains…
      • Exactly one ad.

The ad level is where you pick the YouTube video you want to use for that step in the sequence.

Templates for YouTube ad sequencing

Sequence templates guide you in creating a YouTube ad sequence. After you select a template in Display & Video 360, follow the guidance on ad formats and ad lengths to build your sequence. Sequence templates are available during line item creation but don’t appear in reporting or when you’re editing the line item. 

Templates:

  • “Introduce & reinforce”: Introduce your brand with a long video ad, then reinforce your message with a short video ad.
  • “Prompt & inspire”: Prompt viewers with a short video ad, then inspire them with a long video ad.
  • “Attract & direct”: Attract viewers with a short video ad, inspire them with a long video ad, then direct them to action with another short video ad.
  • “Engage & differentiate”: Divide your brand narrative into multiple parts or tell the same story from different angles with 4 short video ads.

The templates reflect insights from Ipsos’ research on using narrative structures to tell better stories and create more effective ads.*

Bid strategies and ad formats

The bid strategies available with ad sequence line items include:

  • Target CPM (recommended): You’ll set how much you’re willing to pay every thousand times your ad is shown (this amount is your target CPM), and Display & Video 360 will optimize bids to show your entire sequence to your audience based on that target. This can help you get a higher sequence completion rate.
  • Maximum CPV: You’ll specify the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for an individual view of an ad.

The bid strategy you use will determine which ad formats are available:

Bidding type Available formats
Target CPM

TrueView in-stream ads
Non-skippable in-stream ads
Bumper ads
A combination of the above

Maximum CPV TrueView in-stream ads

More details about progression through your ad sequence

A viewer’s progress through your ad sequence is based on impressions, views, or skips, and follows the order you set. For example, a person moves  to step two of your ad sequence when an impression is counted for the video in the first step (if you select impression as the condition to move to the next step).

In some cases, people will progress through your ad sequence by seeing the next video when it appears in a different YouTube & partners line item. By following the sequence by video, regardless of the line item that serves it, more people will complete the sequence at a lower cost to you.

As an example, let’s say you have Video 1, Video 2, and Video 3 in a sequence. If Video 2 is also used in another line item, people who have already seen Video 2 through that other line item are immediately eligible to see Video 3 in the sequence.

Frequency capping limits the amount of times people will see your sequences to 1 sequence per person in the time period you set.

Create an ad sequence line item

Creating an ad sequence line item has a few different steps from a regular YouTube & partners line item.

  1. Start in an existing insertion order or create a new one.

  2. In your insertion order, click New line item.

  3. Pick YouTube & partners video.

  4. Enter the following information for your line item:

    • Name for your line item.

    • Select Brand awareness as the line item type.

    • Select Ad sequence as the Ad format.

  5. Click Next.

  6. Review the Targeting section. You'll see that the inventory source is set automatically. You can click Add targeting to set other line-item level targeting options. All targeting for ad sequences is set at the line item level. See Limitations for more details.

  7. Configure your line item's settings:

    • Flight dates: Pick custom dates or use the same dates as the line item's insertion order.

    • Budget and pacing: Set your budget and how quickly it will be spent. After you save the line item, you can't change between daily and flight, but you can update the budget amount. 

    • Bid strategy: Choose to target CPM or maximum CPV as your bid strategy. You won’t be able to change the bid strategy after you’ve added an ad group to the line item.

      • (Recommended) Select target CPM to use all available ad formats.

      • Select maximum CPV to use only TrueView in-stream ads.

    • Frequency cap: Choose Once per 7 days or Once per 30 days.

  8. Select the YouTube-enabled Floodlight activity you want to use to count conversions.

  9. Click New step and create the first step in your sequence campaign.

  10. Create a custom sequence or use a sequence template to guide and inspire you. For sequence templates, you can choose either:

    • Introduce & reinforce: Use a long video ad (30 seconds or more), followed by a short video ad (less than 30 seconds).
    • Prompt & inspire: Use a short video ad, followed by a long video ad.
    • Attract & direct: Use a short video ad, followed by a long video ad, and end with a short video ad.
    • Engage & differentiate: Use four short video ads.

      Instructions for a custom sequence

      1. Enter a name for your ad group.
      2. In the Bid strategy section, enter your target CPM or maximum cost per view bid based on the bidding type you’re using with this line item.
      3. Select an ad format.
      4. In the Ads section, follow the steps to set up an ad based on the format. You can only use videos from YouTube channels that are linked to your Display & Video 360 advertiser.
      5. Click Add to sequence.
  11. Click New step and create the next step in your sequence.

    • Select the interaction with the previous step that will lead the viewer to this step. You can choose:

      • Impression: The ad was shown to the viewer.

      • View (only available for skippable in-stream ads): The viewer engaged with or watched at least 30 seconds of the ad (or the entire ad, if it was less than 30 seconds).

      • Skip (only available for skippable in-stream ads): The viewer skipped the ad. 

    • Enter your ad group name, bid strategy, ad format, and YouTube video URL for the sequence.

    • Click Add to sequence.

  12. Add steps to the sequence until you've added all sequence steps.

  13. Click Create to save your new line item.

Editing an ad sequence

You can add new ad groups, change the order of your sequence, or change the videos in the sequence from the Line item details tab of your line item. You can change the status of the ads and ad groups from the YouTube ad groups tab.

Editing an active ad sequence line item can impact performance and reporting data.

Pausing ad groups or ads within an active sequence

If you pause an ad group or ad within a sequence that’s already started serving, the following steps will not be eligible to serve.

Changing videos in ads within an active sequence

If you change a video within a sequence that’s already started serving, the following issues will occur:

  • Some users will become ineligible to see your sequence and others will repeat the sequence to follow the new sequence order.
  • Reporting may be inaccurate due to users repeating the sequence, missing steps, or other issues.
  • Lift measurement will be interrupted, which may cause inaccuracies in various Lift metrics.

Reporting for ad sequence line items

Ad sequence line items use the same reporting options as regular YouTube & partners line items. You can view metrics per step in your sequence by looking at ad-group level reporting.

You can also see basic details on the performance of your ad sequence from the YouTube ad groups tab of your line item, including impressions or views for each ad group.

Limitations

  • Targeting
    • Ad sequence line items are only available on the YouTube videos inventory source.
    • You can exclude keywords, categories, and placements at the line item level but can’t include them.
    • Ad group-level targeting is not available for ad sequence line items.
  • YouTube videos
    • You can only use videos from YouTube channels that are linked to your Display & Video 360 advertiser.
  • Other
    • Reach forecasts aren't available for ad sequence line items.
    • Ad sequence line items can’t be edited in bulk or with Structured Data Files.
    • The device-specific bid adjustments available for other YouTube & partners line items are not available for ad sequence line items.
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