Forget Viral Videos – Use YouTube Advertising for Long-Term Success

By Blaine Anderson | May 17, 2013
More Articles by Blaine

Viral MemeWith Google AdWords for Video, you have the ability to use the videos from your YouTube channel as advertisements. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “We should make a viral video!” If that’s what your goals are, then I can’t help you. The concept of viral videos could be a whole blog post in itself, so my short response is this: you can’t make something go viral. (Michelle Doty actually touched on this in her recent blog post about how to make an effective social media campaign). Instead, I’m going to give you some first steps you can take to leverage the power of YouTube for the long-term success of your business, making it an integral part of your marketing plan.

1. Define the Purpose of Your YouTube Channel
I know, this seems too basic, but I find that the fundamentals are the easiest to overlook. It can never hurt to revisit the basics. Before you start turning your videos into ads, you need to take a second and define what the purpose of your YouTube channel is, and how that relates to the goals of your company. Essentially, why did you create it in the first place? The answer to this question will help you determine what type of advertising you should do, if any. If you created your YouTube channel for brand awareness, then your advertising goals should be for brand awareness. If you created it for customer engagement, then that is what your advertising goal should be.

2. Decide Which Videos to Use and Why
Once you have defined the purpose of your YouTube channel, take an inventory of the videos you have already created, and look at any plans you may have for future videos. As you’re taking this inventory, start deciding which videos you will use as advertisements. Keep in mind that not all videos are created equal; some are better for advertising than others. A ten-minute video describing all of your products might not be the best first impression for someone who wants to watch music videos. On the other hand, a short, humorous video that simply teases the viewer about your product may be great “bait.” Take this Grub Hub video for example:

Once intrigued by this bait video, a viewer goes to the Grub Hub channel to watch more videos. There they learn more about how Grub Hub works and they decide to become a customer!

This isn’t the only strategy you could use, though! If someone wants to know how to make really good lasagna, and you happen to be a gourmet lasagna ingredients shop, then your ten-minute long “How to Make Lasagna” video might be exactly what the viewer needs to see first.

3. Figure Out How to Reach Your Target Market
Finally, how do you reach the kind of people that will actually become your customers? When advertising on YouTube, you can target keywords that people search for, static keywords that are on existing pages (contextual keywords), viewer search interests, video topics, and demographics. You have the flexibility to either cast a wide net, or aim for the bull’s-eye. As an advertiser, you need to know your target market well enough to make this decision. If people are actively searching for your products, then target those keywords. If you’re trying to break into a market, try targeting search interests and demographics.

These are just the first steps to take when advertising on YouTube. “What comes next,” you might ask? I would love to have that discussion with you! Feel free to ask questions in the comments section below, or give me shout on Twitter! @BlaineAAnderson

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