YouTube is an amalgam of advertising, social, and content distribution all rolled into one. Many brands try to win at YouTube and consistently fail due to unoriginality and lack of unique content. So their channel becomes a digital repository of their humdrum TV commercials. That’s a lot of wasted time and money. In part 1 of this blog series on YouTube marketing, I’ll show you 4 ways to kill it on YouTube through advertising.


Google recently announced that they are pulling all YouTube inventory off 3rd party exchanges. What does that mean for advertisers? You can’t buy YouTube through DSPs (other than Google’s Doubleclick Bid Manager) or from ad networks. Why does this matter? Because YouTube is the top visited video site in the US, according to Comscore. It ranks above Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. And not only does it top the big three in visits on the web, it also ranks above them in over the top video viewing (OTT) – meaning from your connected TV or smart TV.

In order to get around this, advertisers will now have to run campaigns through Google AdWords (Google’s paid search platform) via Trueview. Trueview allows advertisers to run in-stream video on YouTube and only pay if a person watches the entire ad. Your video must be hosted on your YouTube brand channel in order to do this. I’ll admit, Google doesn’t make it easy for SMB’s to set up their own campaigns. It’s a complex maze of steps, from linking your YouTube channel to your account through a series of e-mails to figuring out if your campaign should be in-display, in-stream, or in-search?

Mason Digital has the capability to run YouTube Trueview advertising through the Mason Trading Desk, which reduces complexity and even allows us to layer in 1st and 3 rd party data to target the right people.


The YouTube ad platform gives you so many metrics to look at it will make your head spin. Make sure to start a campaign with a plan on what success will look like from a metric standpoint. And more importantly, from a business objective standpoint. If you’re looking to build awareness, use reach and views as your starting point. Want to build you brand channel? Measure engagement (comments and likes) and video CTR.  What about people getting to your website? CTR helps, but Google Analytics can tell the full story of where these visitors go and what they do on your site.  Setting up this framework will also give you data to optimize the campaign and get more bang for your buck.


As with many forms of digital advertising, you can target people multiple ways on YouTube, including contextually, demographically, behaviorally, and channel specific. You can even add exclusions or negative targeting so as not to reach the wrong audience. The key is to test different methods and see how those perform against your measurement plan. Just a note: mixing targeting methods can seriously dilute your reach if you have a small geography, so be careful on how you set the campaign’s parameters.


Think about the last time you saw a video ad online. Odds are it was a re-purposed TV ad. It failed to keep your attention and you probably counted down the 5 seconds until you could skip it. Live TV is a passive medium. There is no interaction from the viewer. Online video is the exact opposite. Someone is at their laptop, tablet, or smartphone and actively consuming content. The short 15 second format is not a barrier to be creative. Some advertisers take a risk and roll with it. Geico does a great job with this.

Dollar Shave Club also takes a playful approach and dares to run over the 15-30 second time length.

In the future, think of the medium when producing your next TV spot. Make a couple of different cuts for each platform – TV, pre-roll, even social. Remember, don’t push out passive content on an active medium. You are doomed to fail and you won’t move the needle.

Need help running your YouTube campaign? Use the form on the right to learn more about how we can help.