How to Set Up a YouTube Pre-Roll Ad

Video pre-roll ads are flexible as they can target users based on their viewing habits, age, demographics, and interests. These video ads can be up to two minutes long, but the sweet spot where most advertisers see success/high permeance is between 15-30 seconds. 

Once the type of pre-roll ad is decided, it is time to move ahead and set up the ad. Follow these set-up steps for success:

Step 1:  Determine the Campaign Objective

Because there are no CTAs on pre-roll ads, from a performance perspective, all pre-roll ads are for brand awareness. However, there’s the ability to add layers for conversion and click-through within the language/messaging of the video ad.

Step 2:  Create and Upload Video to YouTube

The main goal is to create a video ad that can hook people within the first 5-6 seconds before they can click the “skip now” button if it isn’t a non-skippable ad. In those 5-6 seconds the ad should include a logo or business name to gain brand exposure. Once the video is ready, simply upload it to the business’s YouTube account and make sure to set the video as live, but unlisted.

Step 3:  Create a New Campaign in Google Ads

When creating a pre-roll ad, always choose video.

Keeping in mind what the campaign objective is, choose a goal to make the campaign successful. This goal will typically either be sales, leads or awareness depending on whether the objective is for sign-ups, purchases, website visits, etc.

Next, set up the campaign strategy which includes the campaign name, bidding strategy and budget.

Step 4:  Set up Target Audience

As with any digital advertising, the audience the ad is intended to reach is key to its success. While setting up the target audience, choose the demographics, geography, language, and users’ search behavior and re-targeting those that have already visited the business’s website. Taking full advantage of the granular targeting Google provides will ensure the ad appears in front of the right audience.

Step 5:  Choose Where Your Ad Will Show

After setting up audience targeting, choose where the ad will show. To decide where the most effective place is to push out the ad, think of keywords related to the ad content, trending topics with highly viewed videos, types of videos and YouTube channels the target audience is most likely to watch. 

Step 6:  Finalize and Launch Your Ad

Once the ad campaign is set up, tell Google which video is to be used by copying in the link and previewing how the ad will look to ensure the ad copy and landing page URL is correct.  While finalizing the ad, this is where the short and catchy call-to-action and headline will be set up. It is important to keep in mind that the video itself will be doing most of the talking so the headline and call-to-action will want to reinforce that message.

Implementing YouTube pre-roll ads into the marketing strategy is not only effective but also practical. Running an ad before the video a user is about to view means that person or audience is more likely to watch the short video ad increasing the opportunity for engagement. Even if the “skip now” button is pressed, a viewer has already been exposed to the brand, product or service in the first 5-6 seconds if the video ad is done correctly.

If you would like help with marketing and advertising, feel free to contact us. We offer a variety of services like digital marketing & analytics, marketing & brand strategy, and more to small and large companies.

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