Creating (and Managing) a Google Video Ad Campaign

Online videos, whether containing informational content or paid advertising, are a great way to inform, entertain, and engage potential clients for your business more deeply than you can with text or images alone. There’s no better way to boost your businesses profile and convince potential clients of your expertise, attitudes, and beliefs.

Check Out Our Attorney Guide

You can use your Web site or app to host rich video content permanently and at a low cost, offering your clients resources they value, making your brand more visible, and potentially improving your search engine rankings.

In this blog post, though, we’re going to focus on online video advertising – a smart and effective way to tell your businesses story while precisely targeting your audience, and using tools to measure your reach, impact, and return on investment (ROI). While there are good reasons for hosting video content (other than paid ads) on different sites – like Vimeo, as opposed to YouTube – in this blog post we’re going to discuss only TrueView video ads created through Google AdWords and hosted on YouTube. TrueView ads are:

  • Easy to make and upload.

Because TrueView ads run through YouTube, you have access to YouTube’s user-friendly video editing tools and upload interface.

  • Easy to distribute to a wide audience (and at a reasonable cost).

According to Google’s studies, between the end of 2013 and the end of 2014, the time people spent watching videos on the Internet grew by 38.5%. Every month, 1 billion people watch 6 billion hours of video on YouTube alone, including through desktops, connected TVs, smartphones, and tablets. TV viewership is decreasing while Internet access and usage is increasing, and TV ads remains comparatively far more expensive than Web video ads, with far less precise targeting.

  • Easy to target, narrowing audience.

If your business specializes in a niche, and you’re located in downtown Buffalo, NY, you have a niche audience of potential clients. With TrueView video ads you can narrow your reach using keywords, language, location, demographics, and affinity groups to deliver your video ad to the viewers most likely to become clients.

  • Easy to track and measure.

You don’t know how many people watched your TV ad, how many people fast-forwarded through it, or how many people took an action – like calling your office – after seeing it. TV ads offer only the broadest brushstrokes to help you understand ROI. TrueView video ads let you know exactly how many people viewed your ad, how many people navigated away from or didn’t finish your ad, and how many views led to valuable actions.

Depending on the format, TrueView ads run on YouTube, in embedded YouTube videos on other sites, and across Google’s Display Network, including apps. Compared with TV advertising, TrueView ads are much cheaper to make, and offer much more precise targeting opportunities and loads of data to help you understand your ROI. With TrueView ads, you won’t be paying for many random impressions (on viewers who have no interest in your services or in your areas of practice), and you’re only charged when viewers engager with your video (watching the duration or at least 30 seconds, or clicking through it to a landing page of your choice).  Check Out Our Attorney Guide

Depending only your available time and resources, you can create your own videos and manage your own AdWords account, or you can get a digital marketing agency to handle your video ad campaigns for you.

Producing and editing your videos

Depending on your businesses ambitions, your budget, and what “story” you want to share with potential clients, you have many options for producing and editing your videos.

Technically, the only thing you need to create a video ad campaign is a webcam. You can shoot an ad, upload it to YouTube, and create an AdWords ad campaign all without leaving your desk. (You could even do it all from your phone – though we don’t recommend that.)

A low quality video could do serious damage to your businesses reputation. YouTube Analytics data shows that viewers are most likely to leave a video within the first 15 seconds, so it’s important to have a strong start, especially with ads. Conversely, a poorly targeted and managed campaign could reach few potential clients, or reach the wrong viewers, wasting your time and efforts.

While it is “easy” to upload video ads through YouTube, you still want to make sure you’re putting a quality product on the Web. If you want to do your ads in-house, you should at the very least invest in a high-definition camera, a tripod, a clip-on mic, and video editing software.

We have more information on suggested equipment for producing videos in our Definitive Guide to Business Videos. Before you invest in this equipment or begin making an ad, though, you should spend a little time exploring the field, and watching informational and advertising videos from competitors and successful practices from elsewhere in the country. Take notes on what you like; try to determine which ad formats and what types of content are the most effective. Reach out to your colleagues and ask what their business paid or invested for their video ad campaigns. Then consult with a video producer or digital marketing agency to discuss what kind of cost, time, and labor commitment your goals would require – not only to produce the videos, but then to devise, implement, and manage an AdWords campaign.  Check Out Our Attorney Guide

Video ad formats

While you have to host all TrueView ads on YouTube, they can also appear on partner sites and apps throughout the Google Display Network. Not all video ads hosted on YouTube are the same, though. When creating a TrueView ad campaign, you will have three choices of ad format, each with different advantages. The following is adapted from Google’s video advertising guide’s breakdown of TrueView ad formats:

TrueView in-stream ads

When should I use it?

Use this format when you have video content you’d like to promote before other videos on YouTube and across the Google Display Network.

How does it work?

Your video ad plays before, during, or after other videos. After 5 seconds, the viewer has an option to skip the ad.

Where can the ads appear?

TrueView in-stream video ads can appear on YouTube watch pages and on videos on partner sites and apps in the Display Network.

How will I be charged?

You pay when a viewer watches 30 seconds of your video (or the duration if it’s shorter than 30 seconds) or interacts with your video, whichever comes first.

TrueView video discovery ads

When should I use it?

Use this format to promote a video in places of discovery, including next to related YouTube videos, as part of a YouTube search result, or on the YouTube mobile homepage.

How does it work?

Your ad consists of a thumbnail image from your video with some text. While the exact size and appearance of the ad may vary depending on where it appears, video discovery ads always invite people to click to watch the video. The video then plays on the YouTube Watch page or on your channel page.

Where can the ads appear?

Video discovery ads can appear in YouTube search results, alongside related YouTube videos, on the YouTube mobile homepage, and on video partner sites on the Display Network.
How will I be charged?

You’ll be charged only when viewers choose to watch your ad by clicking the thumbnail.

Bumper ads

When should I use it?

Use this format when you’d like to reach viewers broadly with a short, memorable message.

How does it work?

Your bumper video ad is 6 seconds or shorter and plays before, during, or after another video. Viewers do not have the option to skip the ad.

Where can the ads appear?

Bumper ads can appear on YouTube videos, or on videos on partner sites and apps on the Display Network.

How will I be charged?

You pay based on impressions. Bumper ads use CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) bidding, so you pay each time your ad is shown 1,000 times.

Check Out Our Attorney Guide

Targeting your ads

Advertising with video through the Google Display Network means your ad has the potential to reach 90% of Internet users through 2 million sites and apps, in over 70 countries and more than 60 languages.

That sounds exciting, but as a business, you shouldn’t be casting such a wide net. If you don’t do anything to limit your ad’s reach, your ad won’t be effective: you’ll pay for errant impressions, and your bids won’t go as far. With AdWords, however, you have more tools for targeting than in any other form of advertising (except perhaps for chasing actual ambulances). The success of your AdWords campaigns depends on an understanding of these targeting methods. With AdWords, you can target your ad by:

Demographic groups: You can target based on age, gender, parental status, or household income.

Affinity audiences: Reach people who have a strong interest in topics relevant to your practice areas. (This type of targeting is comparatively broad, but effective: think about Nike commercials appearing on ESPN.)

Custom affinity audiences: Tailor an audience by more specific interests, hobbies, spending habits,

In-market audiences: Reach customers who are actively researching your practice areas or specialties, or the issues your business commonly confronts.

Placements: Target specific sites, channels, videos, apps, or even placements within websites.

Topics: Advertise on websites (and apps) related to the topics you select – for example, if you handle auto accident cases, you’ll want to advertise on car sales, car repair, medical, and other legal advice sites.

Keywords: Choose keywords or phrases relevant to your business, to your potential clients’ needs, and to the websites you think they’re visiting. Don’t add every word or phrase associated with your practice areas into one ad group. Instead, create different ad groups for different practice areas and add just a few well-selected keywords to each.

Remarketing: This allows you to reinforce your message with people who’ve already visited your site or YouTube channel or have seen your videos. You can remarket based on visitors’ actions on your website or actions on your videos (like liking, disliking, or sharing), and you still only pay for views or other interactions with your video.

Note that you can also exclude ad placements based on many of these targeting methods. If you don’t do personal injury law, you probably don’t want to pay for an ad impression on someone who’s been researching slip-and-fall.

Measuring the success of your video ad campaign

Before you can judge the success of your ad campaign, you need to know what metrics are most relevant. Many of these you can find in your AdWords dashboard or on YouTube Analytics.


One important metric for evaluating the success of your campaigns in average cost-per-view, or CPV. CPV will never exceed your maximum bid, but ad length, creative quality, targeting, auction dynamics, and other factors determine CPV below this “ceiling.” If your ad has been running for several weeks, CPV might rise because of “creative fatigue” – Google wants fresh content. Increased demand in the auctions you’ve entered could also increase CPV. To adjust your CPV, change your maximum bids, expand your targeting (to reduce competition), turn off other campaign restrictions, or improve your ad quality.  Check Out Our Attorney Guide

View rate

View rate is the total number of views of your video ad divided by the number of people the ad was served to. This may be your best indication of how compelling your audience found your video ad. A low view rate might mean you need to improve the quality of your ads, or adjust your audience targeting. In general, shorter ads have higher view rates.


Your ad’s click-through-rate (CTR) is the total number of clicks on your video ad divided by the number of people that the ad was served to. If your goal is to drive traffic, CTR is one of the most relevant metrics. Is your view rate is significantly higher than your CTR rate, then people in your audience are interested in your services, but something in the ad in not “sealing the deal.” A clear call-to-action could improve CTR.

Conversion tracking

This tracks the number of clients who clicked on your video and ultimately took a certain desired action – such as calling your office or downloading your app. Video advertising doesn’t always drive immediate conversions, so you should also look at view-through conversion data, which includes conversions that happened up to 30 days after a viewer saw (but did not click) your ad. You may use AdWords or third-party conversion tracking tools.

Display ad interactions

Depending on the type of ad you’ve built, there may be additional actions beside simple click-throughs that users take, and that are valuable to your business. While you won’t be able to see these measures in your normal AdWords reporting, you can download the free “clicks report” to get this additional information on your ad’s performance.

Display ad mouseover

A “mouseover” occurs when a viewer lets a cursor hover over your Display Network advertisement (an image or a video) for at least one second, without clicking. A high number of mouseovers compared to a low number of click-throughs indicates your ad is compelling, but not quite compelling enough, and needs a stronger call-to-action.

Video play

“Video play” lets you know how many viewers watch 25, 50, 75, or 100 percent of your video ad. Like comparing mouseovers to click-throughs, this one is a measure of an ad’s success at engaging customers. While a high mouseover rate indicates the need for a stronger call-to-action, a low video-play rate indicates the need for fine-tuning at the creative level.

You should study all these metrics, but remember that different metrics will be more or less relevant to different advertising goals. For more information on measuring the success of your video campaign, visit this helpful Google study guide.

Tips for optimizing your video ad campaign

Google offers the following suggestions for creating quality, compelling, effective YouTube video ads:

  • Understand that users come to YouTube to learn, watch and be entertained. As such, create videos that feature original content.
  • You are the expert on your industry, product or service. Try creating videos that teach and engage the YouTube community on your expertise.
  • Keep your message simple and concise. A good benchmark is to try to keep your video to two minutes or less.
  • Use theAudience retention report to see which parts of videos keep your users most engaged. Based upon user engagement data, optimize your video content to keep users watching.
  • Update your content on a regular basis. The YouTube users who have been successful keep their message fresh with regular updates to their channel.
  • Read user comments on your own and similar video and channel pages for ideas.

With an effective ad, and with well-crafted calls-to-action, you can use video ads to drive customers to rich non-ad video content that you also own, deepening engagement and increasing the chances that that prospective client calls you to set up a consultation.

Free audit and online video advertising consultation

Whether you already have video content or are just considering starting a video ad campaign, we can help. At Accelerate Now, we’ve helped countless businesss across the U.S. make the leap into digital marketing and customer service, designing websites and apps, producing thousands of hours of video, and managing Google Ad Words campaigns.

Within one business day, we can offer a free audit of your businesses website, social media presence, app, and video content (if you have these), and identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas with potential for growth.

Check Out Our Attorney Guide

Call today to set up your free website audit and video marketing consultation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *