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November 4, 2020 - By Hawke Media

YouTube Advertising: Tools & Tips to Optimize Your Video Ads

With over 1.8 billion users, YouTube presents an opportunity for advertisers to reach an audience already primed to consume content. Indeed, video ad spend is on the rise, expected to grow 44% by 2021. YouTube advertising makes up a significant portion of that spend.

As advertisers allocating more of their budgets into video ads on YouTube, here are some tools and tips to help you optimize your direct response campaigns and win out over the competition.

Targeting on Search Intent and Relevance

Because YouTube and Google are subsidiaries of the same parent company, Alphabet, advertisers on YouTube can target users based on their Google search history.

Whereas many advertisers make the mistake of serving their ads only on related videos, you’ll get better results when you combine your targeting based on prior search intent and relevance to the video being watched.

That could mean showing an ad for a power drill before something like “Top 10 Funniest Cat Moments.” But, if you know that a user is in the market for your product, it doesn’t always matter what video they’re watching.

Ad Sequencing

YouTube’s ad sequencing features lets advertisers determine the progression in which to serve ads to users, based on various user actions. For instance, if a user skips your first video ad, sequencing allows you to serve a bumper ad (an unskippable six-second ad, great for quickly introducing your brand to users as it ensures the viewer sees your ad) next time.

Because you can build out conditional sequences, ad sequencing allows you to tell your brand story in a variety of ways that fit specific user action. The real advantage is the opportunity it presents to recapture the attention of users who may have otherwise never have remembered your brand after skipping that first ad (even though they might actually want or need what you’re selling).

Additionally, ad sequencing allows you to weed out users who take no action, even after watching a bumper ad.

Machine Learning

Let YouTube’s machine learning algorithm place your video ads where they will perform best and adjust bids to maximize your ROI.

When it comes to creating ads, utilize YouTube’s recently introduced Bumper Machine tool that promises to distill raw video into the six-second bumper format. Because the feature is so new, use the resulting clip as more of a starting point than the final cut.


When it comes to YouTube advertising, shooting from the hip is the quickest way to waste your money as competition heats up. Utilize the features and tools available to you to create compelling video ads that reach the right users at the right time, maximizing ROI.

Focus on catching the viewer’s attention right away and communicating the most essential information about your brand and products within fifteen seconds – in most cases, YouTube charges advertisers on a per-view basis, and fifteen seconds is considered a view for their direct response ad type.