Our blog theme this week: getting the most out of YouTube advertising, brought to you by Sr. Account Manager Ashley Mo. If you missed her first post, on hacking YouTube for direct response, check it out.

YouTube advertising

The business-to-business (B2B) buyer journey can be long and complex, and staying top-of-mind throughout is a key responsibility for marketers. One way to reach users during this decision-making process is YouTube advertising. Video views are quite cheap, so you can amass a large number of views more cheaply than in other media channels.

Why, then, are so many marketers afraid to run YouTube advertising? Answer: they see YouTube’s consumer targeting and content and (wrongly) assume that it’s only for B2C.

Well, every B2B buyer is also a consumer, which means your B2B audience is on YouTube. If you’re not reaching them there, you’re missing out on traffic from the second largest search engine. Also important to consider: 40% of YouTube users turn to the platform to learn more about a product before buying it.

By now it should be pretty clear the role YouTube advertising can play in your B2B marketing strategy. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Targeting

Putting together a B2B targeting plan for YouTube takes a bit more finesse than consumer-facing targeting. It’s important that you have a good understanding of where your customers lie within the marketing funnel and know what type of content resonates most at each stage. From a targeting standpoint, here’s where we see the best results.

Customer Match: Leverage first-party data as much as possible. You can use Customer Match to upload lists of existing customers to either exclude from campaigns or target to promote a new product. You can also target leads who may still be in the consideration phase.

Similar Audience: After you upload email lists of your highest-LTV customers via Customer Match, Google will determine users who look like your ideal customer and create a Similar Audience. You’ll then be able to serve ads to these users and use this audience just like any other.

Remarketing: Sometimes just being there is all that matters. Retargeting website visitors is an easy way to stay top of mind in the consumer’s eye. For extra credit, you can create a remarketing audience based on people who watched your YouTube ads and then retarget them in your AdWords search and display campaigns

Custom Intent: Custom Intent is a brand-new YouTube product that is an excellent fit for B2B. What better way to reach consumers in the consideration phase than to target users who are actively researching your product on Google Search? You can experiment with different types of audiences based on keyword intent: Brand, Competitor, and General Non-Brand.

Measurement

Admittedly, measurement can be one of the biggest roadblocks for anyone looking to run YouTube ads. Sure, if you are trying to generate leads or other shallower conversions, that’s easier to measure. But how do you measure the impact an ad has on increasing awareness or influencing purchasing decisions?

Enter the YouTube Brand Lift Study. As long as you meet the required campaign spend, this is a free study that you can run alongside your video campaign to measure different brand metrics that matter. These include brand awareness, ad recall, consideration, favorability, purchase intent, and search uplift.

The way the study works is that Google will split your potential audience into two randomized groups: the exposed group (people who see your ad) and the control group (people who see other ads). Google will then survey both of these groups and analyze their organic searches on Google.com and YouTube.com (if running search uplift).

Once the campaign reaches statistical significance, you’ll receive a report showing which areas generated lift (if present) and how that compares to the average in your vertical. With these insights, you can see which areas your ads are having the most impact in and use this to inform the targeting for your next campaign, or even make changes mid-flight.

Example of Brand Lift report

Reach out to your dedicated Google rep for minimum spend requirements (varies by geo) and to get a Brand Lift Study set up.

Creative

Later this week, we’ll cover YouTube creative best practices for advertising. The good news? Those apply to B2B as much as B2C.

Even when you’re marketing to a business audience, play with emotion. Make it clear what you want a user to do – this is associated with increased brand lift, even when users don’t take action. Include your brand logo. What type of creative works best is going to vary by vertical, so it’s always best to develop multiple creatives and test.

Conclusion

Now that we’ve run through best practices for creative, targeting, and measurement, you should have a good understanding of how to leverage YouTube advertising within your B2B marketing strategy. Let us know how you plan to experiment with YouTube in the comments!

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Ashley Mo
Ashley Mo is a digital marketer who's always looking for new ways to engage other people. Ashley graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in Economics and Psychology, along with a passion for understanding how people think. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys exploring new trails, learning to bake new treats, and ballroom dancing at the local club.