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Approaching YouTube Marketing During a Pandemic


by Jessica Ruiz, Media Supervisor at Exacta Media

YouTube is a treasure trove of content and marketing opportunities. Viewers can be entertained by celebrities and content creators or watch a tutorial on how to replace their car clicker battery. They can work out with top fitness experts or discover how to make the perfectly crusty sourdough loaf. The variety of content on YouTube is astounding and reaches a wide variety of people with varying interests. It’s no surprise that as the pandemic hit and people were stuck inside their homes, viewership took a dramatic uptick. With over-the-top (OTT ) and streaming from connected TVs (CTVs) available, this last year has been the fastest-growing market for YouTube on the actual TV screen with a whopping 70 percent growth. A lot of that can be attributed to stay-at-home orders and as a marketer this is a prime space to reach your target audience. Here are a few things we’ve learned about marketing on YouTube during the pandemic.

Don’t underestimate a brand awareness campaign
During the pandemic, consumers who have been financially affected may not be ready to purchase or act. However, creating and maintaining a brand awareness campaign allows for continuous brand visibility, keeping your brand top of mind and boosting ad recall. If you’re looking to save some dollars on your PPC campaign, as many marketers are during this time, take advantage of YouTube’s targeting capabilities and exclude demos, audiences, placements and topics that don’t meet your KPIs. This will allow for a narrower target audience which could be beneficial down the line for re-targeting purposes. Also, don’t be afraid of longer format ads or videos. Anything longer than 30 seconds could still be appropriate in certain cases. It allows the brand to address the current pandemic environment, making them more relatable, leading consumers to feel connected to the brand. It doesn’t hurt that this can boost ad recall along the way!

Brand awareness moves to conversions
As the pandemic situation changes, campaign strategy should shift as consumer habits start to normalize. Creating new YouTube PPC campaigns with the goal of driving conversions should be a priority and tapping into Google’s custom intent audience data will be key. The addition of keywords to the campaign will make ads more relevant to consumers as they are actively typing those key terms into the search query. Custom intent audiences yield higher click-through-rates and are likely to see more conversions. If you’re looking to a remarketing campaign to drive conversions, make sure to target those who have previously watched any video ads, even if they didn’t click through. Re-targeting those who have seen brand awareness type ads can have a higher chance of converting, especially if the new ad is shorter in format (30 seconds or less) with a strong CTA and ad extensions, giving them different opportunities to engage.

How YouTube Campaigns Help Existing Search and Display Efforts
Copy length is limited for search and display ads, so brands may not be able to convey their full messaging. Especially in the case of addressing something like the pandemic, the message would be better presented in a video. If search and display are the only types of campaigns running, creating video ads will help the brand connect with their target and may also help them reach untapped audiences. During this time, reaching people to stay top of mind is key. If people aren’t actively searching for your brand, building a YouTube campaign utilizing an interest audience or even lookalikes will be helpful in reaching more consumers.

YouTube Offers Opportunity
Brands may be struggling to determine how best to reach their audiences at this time. YouTube presents a unique opportunity to reach customers for both brand awareness and retargeting campaigns. Marketing through YouTube with video also allows brands to better convey their message, as it may be difficult through the minimalist formats of search and display alone. Brands can take advantage of both long and short video formats, providing even more messaging possibilities. As the pandemic continues and people turn to YouTube for both entertainment and information, marketers can be sure that with some smart targeting, their campaigns will reach the right viewers.

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