Idea Blog

YouTube As An Advertising Platform For Your Animated Videos

Denise McArthur 10.16.2014

A compelling explainer video can do wonders for your business. It can raise millions, tell a story, and, of course, sell your product. Let’s not be coy: it’s all about your bottom line. A stellar animated video can go far, but with a little push, it can go ever farther. Many people simply stick their awesome whiteboard animation on a static home page and forget it. Maybe you put it on YouTube and simply hope people will find it.

To use a fanciful (if slightly bizarre) metaphor, if you had the world’s best butterfly net, would you just hold it in one spot and hope those beauties fly in? Nope, and there’s no reason your video should stay stuck, either. Pushing that video to thousands of targeted viewers on YouTube is easy and, more importantly, effective.

Tapping into the Power of YouTube

Maybe you think that YouTube’s just for infectious K-pop and finger-biting babies? You’d be wrong. A recent study confirms that YouTube is the single most effective social platform for paid advertising, converting sales at a better clip than Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and all the rest. An incredible 60% of US Internet users are on YouTube once a week—that’s a good enough reason for your explainer video to be there, too.

Sounds great, but not sure how to actually push your video to YouTube’s massive audience? Many, if not most, companies are comfortable using Google AdWords, but few realize that you can actually advertise on YouTube on the exact same platform. In fact, even Google’s got an explainer video on AdWords for Video.

Different Ways to Advertise on YouTube

Once you’ve decided to tap into the ‘Tube, you’ll face what can feel like a dizzying array of options to choose from. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different types of ads.

Display ads are traditional image-based spots that link directly to your video. They come in two flavors: banner ads, which appear to the right of a user’s YouTube video, and overlay ads, which appear as a thin strip on top of the video already playing.

While these can be effective for other advertising initiatives, it doesn’t present the best opportunity for your explainer video—viewers are used to ignoring banners and quick to X-out of the overlay popups.

Video ads, on the other hand, are a perfect fit for your alluring animation: it’s easy for viewers to jump right in. Perhaps the most potent are in-stream ads, which show for about five seconds before the users selected video. Here’s the best part: if they decide to skip your ad after the opening seconds, you don’t pay for the impression.

In-search and in-display ads highlight your video in search results and “Related Videos” lists respectively. If you think someone will be searching for your video, this approach is a sure way to get an extra boost. If, however, you’d like to target users who aren’t actively seeking you out, in-stream ads are the way to go.

Targeting Your Audience

The beauty of online advertising is the ability to control your budget, twiddle the knobs, and zero in on your ideal audience. Only want your video to be seen by 20-something women in Kansas interested in space travel? Done. Gunning for Francophone seniors in Austin looking into retirement options? Easy peasy.

YouTube lets you target your viewers by demographic, location, language, interest, and so much more. You can even choose to advertise on a single video (maybe a competitor’s?).

Perhaps the most powerful way to target on YouTube is by remarketing—showing ads to users who have already interacted with your brand. These viewers are already familiar with you; they might just need a little reminder to whip out their wallets. Here’s a detailed how-to to get more exposure to users who have visited your website. 

Your animated explainer video is much more than a fun elevator pitch; it’s also a versatile advertising tool that just so happens to be perfectly suited for the third most poplar website in the world.

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