Leveraging YouTube for Performance Marketing

Is your marketing team looking for more effective ways to generate conversions while keeping costs in check? Do you want to get more mileage out of your brand’s best YouTube videos? Find out how to leverage YouTube for performance marketing and learn how this approach can benefit your business.

What Is Performance Marketing?

Performance marketing is a results-oriented strategy designed to drive conversions and transactions. Think of it as a direct response-oriented approach that prompts prospects to take immediate action. With this approach, you can optimize for just about anything that generates value for your business – such as e-commerce purchases, email subscriptions, or lead form submissions.

So what can performance marketing do for your business? Some of the most valuable benefits include:

  • Optimize for what you want. With performance marketing, you optimize for the bottom-of-the-funnel results you want instead of prioritizing clicks, views, impressions, or other top-of-the-funnel results. That way you can focus your campaign and budget on what matters most.
  • Increase your return on investment (ROI). Clicks and impressions may never generate value for your business, but conversions certainly do. Using the conversion value and your performance marketing campaign results, you can calculate ROI and ensure you’re getting your money’s worth.
  • Enjoy extra (free) exposure. Conversions can require multiple touchpoints over days, weeks, or months. Since you don’t pay until the conversion happens, your performance marketing campaign is likely to generate brand awareness and interest during the process – a bit like an added bonus.

How YouTube Fits Into the Performance Marketing Mix

A typical performance marketing strategy includes both organic and paid elements, such as:

  • Search engine marketing opportunities like YouTube and Google Ads
  • Social media marketing platforms like Facebook and Instagram
  • Affiliate marketing networks that pay commissions for promotions
  • Influencer marketing and paid sponsorships

Although your team can opt to use any or all of these options in your performance marketing strategy, YouTube is almost always a smart choice. After all, 81% of American adults use YouTube, making it the most popular social media channel by far. With 2.1 billion YouTube users around the world, this platform also helps you tap into a global market.

Reaching a huge slice of your target market is great, but what kind of results can you expect from YouTube? After all, performance marketing is all about conversions.

According to Google, there’s a lot to like about YouTube ads results. Brands that run both search and YouTube video ads tend to average 3% higher conversion rates and 4% lower cost per acquisition (CPA). That means YouTube can help you lower your costs while optimizing your results.

9 Ways to Leverage YouTube for Performance Marketing

Also known as TrueView for action ads, YouTube ads have several key features that make them ideal for performance marketing. Here are nine ways you can leverage these ads:

1. Target High-Intent Audiences

Performance marketing campaigns work best when you serve them to an audience that’s ready to convert. YouTube ads can target:

  • In-market audiences, which are pre-made Google Ads audiences that include people actively shopping within your category.
  • Custom audiences, which you can create and personalize based on any keywords or purchase intentions.
  • Remarketing audiences, which retarget people who have already shown interest in your business.

2. Track and Attribute Valuable Conversions

Conversions from these ads don’t always take place on YouTube. Often, they happen after prospects click through to your website, install your app, or tap to call. With Google video ads, you can track conversions wherever they happen – even if they occur offline.

You can also set up the attribution model that works best for your performance marketing strategy – so you always know which channel drives the best results. Attribution options include:

  • Linear
  • Last click
  • First click
  • Time decay
  • Position-based
  • Data-driven

3. Drive Results With Two Powerful Ad Formats

Google video ads automatically come in two formats so you can connect with prospects throughout the YouTube site and app:

  • Video discovery ads appear on the homepage and in search results on the mobile app. A click leads to the video itself so users can watch or learn more.
Screenshot of YouTube Video Discovery Ad
  • In-stream ads appear as skippable videos before, during, or after other YouTube content. A click leads to the URL you specify.
Screenshot of YouTube In-stream Ad

4. Find Relevant Prospects With Keywords

Like most other types of Google Ads, you can add keywords to YouTube ads to help the algorithm pair your ad with the right type of content. If you’ve already done keyword research to optimize your YouTube description, then you can use the same set of search terms for your video ad. If you need new ideas, you can enter your landing page or even a competitor’s website into the ad interface to get a list of relevant terms.

5. Create Compelling Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

When you publish a YouTube ad, tell prospects exactly what step you want them to take next. Both ad formats include a bold CTA button that can include just about any prompt you want – as long as it’s 10 characters or less. That means you can say anything from “Download” to “Shop Now” to “Sign Up.”

6. Send Prospects to External Landing Pages

Although video discovery ads lead prospects to the video itself, the interaction doesn’t have to end there. Both in-stream and video discovery ads include external URLs so you can guide prospects toward a conversion. Consider designing a custom landing page that speaks to the target audience and makes your offer irresistible.

7. Add Sitelink Extensions to Drive More Traffic

Ideally, you want prospects to click your CTA button. But you can give them other options to click, too. According to Google, sitelink extensions – which are website links with customizable anchor text – increase video ad conversions by up to 24%.

8. Use Conversion-Focused Bidding Strategies

Google video ad campaigns have two options for bidding strategies geared toward conversions:

  • Maximize conversions drives as many as possible given your budget and targeting parameters – but there’s no limit on what you pay for a conversion.
  • Target CPA drives as many conversions as possible without exceeding the cost per acquisition (CPA) you specify.

It’s usually best to maximize conversions if you’ve never run video discovery ads and you don’t know what to budget. If you already have reliable data, it’s often better to set a target CPA instead.

9. Test and Optimize Ad Versions

When you set up a YouTube performance marketing campaign, you certainly aren’t limited to creating one ad. If you create multiple versions of your ad using various URLs, headlines, CTAs, and descriptions, you can run them all simultaneously.

After giving them a week or two to generate results, compare conversions or other metrics to determine the top performer. Then, optimize the campaign by modifying or pausing poorly performing ads, testing out new versions, or shifting to a target CPA bidding strategy.

Need Help?

Do you want a trusted partner to guide your approach? Contact Operam to get started with YouTube ads today. We look forward to helping you develop an effective performance marketing strategy.