Tips for creating effective video ads

There are several video ad formats to choose from in AdWords, and each offers unique opportunities for you to attract customers with creative messages. That's why it's important to know your audience and think about the best way to reach them. We'll give you some tips on the basic parts of any video ad: content and text.

Engaging content is always a winner, and finding ways to drive traffic to related videos that you also own — or content on your website that's especially relevant to your video ad — will keep viewers coming back for more.

Because there are multiple ad formats, we've organized our suggestions to build successful and relevant ads into the following groups:

  • TrueView in-stream video ads
  • TrueView in-display video ads

TrueView in-stream video ads

Fine-tune your in-stream video ad campaign

In-stream video ads allow you to insert your ad into the beginning or middle of other video content. While this method is a great branding medium, it often has lower conversion rates than other online formats. Here are a few suggestions for ways to get the most out of your campaign:

  • Direct traffic from your ads to your brand's YouTube channel or website with additional video content. By continuing a customer's video experience, you're more likely to get more viewer engagement.
  • Make sure your landing page is relevant to the content of your ad. For YouTube landing pages, consider directing customers to a page or brand channel tagged with an AdWords remarketing code to increase your brand exposure and how often your message is shown to viewers.
  • Have a clear call-to-action within your ad, and select colors and fonts to match your brand.
  • Avoid using keyword targeting for your campaign, since this could significantly limit how often your ads are shown.
Be creative with your in-stream video ad content

Make sure the video you create for your ad is engaging. Remember, you don't have a captive audience because viewers can skip a video after 5 seconds. To keep viewers' attention during the video, try these tips:

  • Keep your video short and sweet. Deliver your most important messages early in the video, in case viewers stop watching before it's over. Play rates drop off significantly after 45 seconds.
  • Be clear about what your business offers, since the video may be your sole communication with a site's viewers.
  • Provide clear next steps for customers to take after finishing the video. That could be making a purchase, or visiting your website or store.

TrueView in-display ads

YouTube is a powerful way to gain new customers through video content on the web, but it's also a community-driven social media network that values meaningful content and genuine community engagement with real people and stories. For you to get the most out of YouTube, you'll need to create video content that builds a relationship with YouTube users above and beyond the traditional advertiser-customer relationship. Promoting video content that contains only advertising can actually make it harder for you to drive increased viewer engagement with your brand.

Here are some guidelines to help you create effective TrueView promotions for YouTube that contribute positively to the YouTube community. Choosing relevant keywords and promotion text can help you get your video content in front of interested viewers for a reasonable price. It's a good idea to test different keywords and promotion text to reach your goals.

What to promote

Before creating your promotion, make sure to review YouTube's advertising policies and the Google AdWords editorial policy for standard text ads for placements on the Google Display Network. TrueView ads accept only "family safe" content for promotion, either on YouTube or the Google Display Network. Feature engaging content with a real story. A video that's just a commercial is less likely to keep viewers happy and coming back for more.

Ad text
  • Avoid using general themes in your ad text and focus your text instead on why a person who sees your promotion should click on it to watch the content you're featuring. For example: what kind of language is used in a movie trailer versus a commercial on television? Movie trailers use taglines and scripts that encourage the audience to be intrigued by a story and to follow up to see more. Try to encourage people to learn or see more through your video instead of heavily pitching the sale of a product or service.
  • If you want people to perform an action, have them perform an action that's possible on YouTube, such as: Subscribe, Watch, Record a Video Response, or Comment.
  • Do some market research to see what people are saying about related content. Take a look at comments for similar videos and channel pages.
  • Use YouTube Analytics to see which parts of videos keep your viewers most engaged. This can help you come up with more ideas.
Video stills

When you create your TrueView in-display ad, you'll see a number of video stills or "thumbnail images" to choose from. These stills are the first thing YouTube users see before they click on your promotion. Choose the video still that highlights your content best. You can also try to match this image to the content in your promotional text or keywords.

For example, if your video features someone surfing, choose the video still that actually has this moment captured. When you create your promotional text and choose your keywords, you should mention surfing. That way, you'll have a well-packaged promotion that makes sense to anyone who searches for surfing-related videos, sees your corresponding promotion, and clicks on it to watch your surfing video.

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