Google AdWords for Video: What You Need to Know

July 30, 2012 | Brendan Cournoyer
Google AdWords for Video: What You Need to Know

Google publicly launched AdWords for Video earlier this year. So what does it mean for video marketing?

Back in my pre-marketing days as an editorial publisher, I remember hating the concept of paid search. SEO was in full swing back then, but search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns were still very new. To me, it felt like cheating.

“But we’re already working hard to create killer content, optimize it, and boost our organic traffic for free. Why pay for it?”

Clearly, that was my editorial ego talking. Fortunately, my opinions changed overtime as SEM and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns grew and evolved. Paid search campaigns are now an integral part of many online marketing strategies – as is video marketing. I guess it was only a matter time before those two concepts were united.

Back in April, that’s exactly what happened, as Google publicly launched its AdWords for Video program. Essentially, the program works similarly to traditional AdWords campaigns, but allows advertisers to focus specifically on video content to raise their profiles on YouTube.

Intrigued? Of course you are, especially when you consider the rising demand for more video marketing content these days. But before you get started, here’s a quick primer on the basics.

Pretend I know nothing about SEM -- what is Google AdWords for Video?

It’s a program that allows you to essentially buy visibility for your video content on YouTube. You can take videos created for a particular audience of potential customers, and use an AdWords campaign to target your content around specific keywords, demographics, and so on.

How do I pay for this so-called “visibility”?

You actually don’t. AdWords for Video utilizes a structure similar to common pay-per-click campaigns. In other words, you only pay when someone actually interacts with your video. This works within a bidding system. For example, say you want to pay no more than 10 cents for every view of a particular video, and that video was viewed 20 times. Theoretically, that would be a $2.00 campaign.

A few caveats: my assumption here is that, as with the original AdWords, competitive keywords will require higher bids to be effective, since so many other companies are bidding for that visibility. This is why less-competitive longtail keywords are your friend. Also, Google lets you adjust your payment options depending on your goals. For example, you can pay every time a video is viewed for at least 30 seconds, or you can focus more on engagement, paying whenever someone clicks on the link, shares it on Google+, and so on.

Where do my ads show up?

You have four options, which Google dubs “TrueView”:

  • First, you can use “In-stream” ads, which typically run before a YouTube partner video. You’ve probably seen these before; viewers have the option of skipping the ad after 5 seconds or watching the whole thing. The good news? You only pay if they watch the entire ad, or at least 30 seconds, whichever comes first.

  • Second, you have the In-slate option. This is similar to the first, except your videos are grouped with other ads to be watched either before the main clip or interspersed throughout like mini-commercials. This only applies to longer feature videos of at least 10 minutes, and you only pay if viewers choose to watch your ad.

  • Third is what’s called In-search, which just means your video ads appear alongside organic search results in YouTube, typically to the right or above the normal listings. This option is most similar to popular PPC campaigns in Google search.

  • Finally, you have In-display, which lists your video alongside the player while viewers are watching another related video.

Selecting all of these options (which Google does by default) will likely bring the greatest value to your campaign, but you do have the ability to pick and choose if you so desire.

What types of videos work best for these AdWords for Video campaigns?

As with most paid search strategies, the idea seems to be mostly geared toward promotional content, meaning you can check your thought leadership videos at the door and use AdWords to get right to your products or services. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t use some finesse and nuance.

The beauty of paid search is that it allows you to target specific audiences, enabling you to get really “nichey” in how you spin your messaging toward certain verticals, age groups, locations, etc. As with all content strategies, the first thing you should do is identify your audience, then develop content that’s best suited for them.

For more on Google AdWords for Video, check out this resource page, and visit the Brainshark homepage to learn about how easy it is to create effective online video presentations for your business.

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