How To Launch A Profitable YouTube Ads Campaign

Introduction To YouTube Ads

YouTube advertising focuses on video format, with a very different way of engaging with people. If your audience engages with video content better than others.  then YouTube advertising is the best platform to discover ad revenue from.

Before you begin creating your first campaign, it’s important to understand each YouTube ad type. That way, you can tailor your YouTube ad campaign for the format you plan on using.

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There are different types of YouTube ads. But here, we will just focus on True View ads. 

There are two types of TrueView ads:  In-stream skippable and discovery ads  

  • In-stream ads (skippable) – the most popular type of ad. It works like that of a TV commercial. Users can view before, in-between, or after the video. But it is usually found at the start of the video.

Users have the option to skip this ad after five seconds. Advertisers only pay for this ad format when the viewers watch this for 30 seconds. If someone skips before that 30-seconds mark, you don’t pay as long as your ad is more than 30 seconds. 

The in-stream ad is also the most effective ad, especially for branding or promotions. 

When users click your ads, you can direct them to your landing page or sales page. 

  • Discovery ads – these are the ads that you can see on the sidebar or home page alongside other related videos. It has that yellow tag that alerts the viewers that it is an ad. 

Advertisers pay for this ad when someone clicks on the video. 

Users that click these types of ads are directed to a video to watch it. 

This type of ad is used when your goal is to have more subscribers or more views on a particular video. 

Note: In this tutorial, we will go through step by step of doing In-stream ads. 

Other types of YouTube ads are:

  • Bumper ads – a video that only lasts for six seconds before a video starts 
  • Overlay ad – small, semi-transparent banners found on the bottom part of a video
  • Preroll ads or non-skippable – these are videos that only last for 15 or 20 seconds
  • Masthead – these are ads that are found on top of YouTube’s homepage. 

Before you start running ads on YouTube, you have to consider some stuff. 

  • Niche – What is your target niche?
  • Audience – Who is your target audience? Creating a customer profile will help you here. 
  • Budget – How much are you willing to bid?
  • Landing page – This is a requirement especially if you are offering a product or service. You need to create a landing page to start off with your sales funnel

Tutorial Overview

For this tutorial, our campaign will look like this: 

First, we will go through the account structure. I will teach the basics of settings of your account and how to set your desired budget. 

Next, we will go through the details of our targeting. For this tutorial, we will do two targeting options: (1) In Market and Life Event, and (2) Custom Intent Audiences. 

This is to make sure we’re really targeting those potential viewers or those potential subscribers and leads that are actually most ready to follow our channel. And of course, enter their name and email.

Finally, we will go through how to put together your ad groups and the ads. Here, we will do the In-stream skippable ads. 

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Account Setup

Step 1. Create your YouTube account or channel  

Sounds like a no-brainer. But I am just being basic here. 

If you don’t have a YouTube account yet, signing up is so easy. 

Step 2. Upload videos to your YouTube account. 

You will use some of the videos in your YouTube for your campaign. 

Step 3. Create your Google Ads Account 

If you don’t have one yet, you can Google search Google ads and sign up. This is a free account by Google that allows you to run not only YouTube ads, but also search and display ads. 

Step 4. Structure your settings

The first thing we need to do is connect our YouTube channel so we can run video ads.

We’ll click on tools and settings in the top right-hand corner.

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Then under the setup section, click on linked accounts. 

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We’ll scroll down and click on YouTube details. 

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Then, we’ll be able to click the blue plus button to add our channels.

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You can add multiple channels to your Google ads account. And you can have multiple channels connected. 

Note: There is not a limit between the number of channels and ad accounts you can connect. Some of our channels are connected to multiple ad accounts and vice versa. 

So you can just go ahead and click search. 

Google Ads will then verify that you own the channel. 

Then your channels will show up here after the verification. 

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We will go back to our campaign page. And we’ll start creating our campaigns. 

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New Campaign

So we will click the plus button. 

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Click Create a campaign without goals or guidance. 

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All of these other campaign styles are essentially just limiting the options you have when setting up your campaign. 

You don’t actually need Google to tell you what you should and should not. You want to have full control.

So we’ll go and click on continue.

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 We’ll select Video. Because we want to run video ads. 

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We will click the Custom video campaign. So we can do In-stream or discovery ads.

Note: This is an important part of the structure. This will matter on what type of video campaign you will get. It can be non-skippable or discovery ads, which are completely different types of campaigns. 

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Campaign name

Next, we will give a name to our campaign. 

I’ll leave the name up to you. You’ll develop your own naming convention. As you start to make more and more campaigns. 

Tip: As a general rule of thumb, you have to include the channel name or offer. Then you can also note what kind of targeting you are doing or the location. 

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Bidding 

YouTube ads have three different types of bidding strategies. 

  • Cost per view 
  • Cost per 1000 impressions
  • Cost per action 

For the bidding strategy, will choose Maximum Cost per View. 

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The price of YouTube ads involves bidding for placement just like Google Ads. You bid for a bidding space and the highest bidder gets accepted. 

We will set our budget daily. Because you can always turn this on and off. 

Setting the dates

I recommend setting an end date two weeks from your start date. That way you make sure that YouTube and Google don’t run away burning your ad dollars. Because you will not get your money back. 

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Display Networks 

Uncheck video partners on the display networks. 

This is to make your videos show up on YouTube itself. 

You don’t want them showing up in random other places that YouTube and Google are unclear about where the video shows up. 

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Language 

If it’s really important to you, you can enter a language. 

Tip: It’s going to be hard for YouTube to know which language the viewers are using. Because language information is limited to people who are logged in. 

Locations

I always use location targeting as a way to make sure that I’m targeting the right people.

We will immediately click on advanced search. And click on add bulk locations. 

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  • If you are targeting more than one country, then you want one country per campaign. 
  • If you’re targeting just one country, then you’re going to enter all the States, territories, and provinces. 
  • If you want to target a specific state territory or province, then just enter in all your cities and neighborhoods. 
  • And if you’re going to be very local, then just enter your neighborhoods and zip codes. 
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Click search. 

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For this tutorial, we will target the United States. So, I will copy-paste all 50 States.

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Then click on Target all.

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And that way I’m telling Google that I want my YouTube ads to show up in all 50 States. 

Tip: As your views come in, you’ll easily see which specific state, neighborhood, or zip code is performing or responding the best. 

Click on save here. That we target all 50 states.  

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Inventory Options 

This is something that not everyone seems to agree with me on. But, I don’t care what my ideal viewer or ideal prospect is watching at any given time. 

So I choose Expanded Inventory. Because big brands do away with these types of videos. It will also mean that there’s less competition so the cost is lesser. 

If you’re concerned about your brand, you choose Standard or Limited. But your costs will be significantly higher. 

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Specific Labels 

I generally just leave this alone. 

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Embedded videos and live streaming is now automatically taken off. 

If you’re very concerned, you check the box “Content not yet labeled”. 

Tip: I always leave these boxes unchecked. Because we want to really focus on who we’re targeting. And not worry about what the video they have chosen to watch. 

Other Settings

What is important here, is your optimization and conversions.  

If you’re already advanced, you can set your conversions for this campaign. 

I’ve just blurred hours out for privacy reasons.

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If you don’t have custom conversions and micro conversions set up. You can skip this altogether. 

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Device 

You will have to uncheck TV screens. There’s no way to actually make clickable links inside of the YouTube app on TVs right now. 

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  • If you’re trying to grow your YouTube channel. And you’re just trying to figure out who likes your videos. Then you could leave the TV checked here. 
  • For businesses where you will lead your audience to a landing page, this is not practical 

Frequency capping 

This is another place where you want to leave it alone especially when you’re new to YouTube ads. 

If you get advanced in doing remarketing campaigns, you can start to play around with frequency capping. 

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Tip: The issue is you have no feedback or data to know whether or not frequency capping is making a difference unless you make two campaigns. And the only difference you made between the two was the frequency caps. So I generally just leave this alone. 

Ad schedule 

I typically leave this alone. 

If your business needs to do some phone calls, you can make your ad show up when you’re ready to take a phone call. 

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Tip: The more restrictions you put on your ads, the more you’re going to have to pay. 

Ad group creation 

For now, we will skip the ad group creation. 

We will choose advanced. And create our ad groups separately. 

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So we will skip. 

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Then we will click Create our campaign. And continue to our campaign settings. 

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We now have our campaign. And we will create ad groups. 

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This is where we will make the decision on who will be our target audience. 

Ad Group 1: In-Market 1

We will go back to our campaign diagram real quick. 

You can see that we’ve actually completed the first step, which is the structure. We have chosen our country, the type of inventory, and our daily budget. 

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Note: The settings that we chose will be applied to all of our ad groups and ad. 

Step 5. Targeting Research 

Now, we’re on level two. We will do targeting research. And choose who will view our ads. 

So let’s go through the different options. You will then know why we chose “In-market and Life Events” as our target audience.  

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Click on the blue plus button. 

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Inside the campaign we just created is our ad group settings.

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Ad Group Targeting

The first that we will do is choose if we will be targeting people or targeting content. 

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When you’re targeting content, these will be keywords, topics, and placements. 

If you want to target specific videos or specific channels. Then, that is under Placements. 

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When it comes to people targeting, we can target Demographics and Audiences.

For this tutorial, we will focus on the Audience for the rest of our ad groups.

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But there is something under demographics to make sure. And that is, we uncheck the 18-24 age number. 

If you want to grow your channel, this isn’t as much of a big deal. 

If you want to sell anything, you definitely want to uncheck this box. 

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Inside of Audiences, we have a couple of options. 

  • Affinity and customer affinity 
  • Remarketing 
  • Combined audiences
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We will choose In-market and life events. These are the audiences that represent people who are actively looking to purchase something. 

They are slightly more expensive than affinity audiences, which is just full of people who are generally interested in a subject.

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These are people whom Google has identified as actively looking to buy or actively looking at content around these specific services. 

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In this tutorial, I’m going to choose business services. This is a quick list of all the different options you have. 

Note: We only choose one option per ad group. So that’s why we have so many different ad groups. 

So we will select Advertising and Marketing services. Because someone who is interested in advertising and marketing services would probably be interested in a video about YouTube ads. And on our agency services.

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This is the only targeting setting I’m going to set for this ad group. 

So I’ll go back up to the ad group name and just name it “In-market Advertising and Marketing services”. 

So when I’m doing my analysis later, I know by just looking at the ad group name exactly who the target is.   

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Tip: You name your ad group after the group of people that you are targeting. 

Setting Your bid

The only other thing we need to do here is set our bid.

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The only risk you have with this is setting the bid too low. And as of right now in 2020, setting this up at 5 cents is more than enough to get enough traffic. 

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For an in-market audience on YouTube, 5 cents is plenty to know whether or not it is working. There’s no point in paying more at this time. 

We will skip our Ad creation. 

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We will be asked of our ad format when we will save ad group. 

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Here, we will choose the type of ad that we want. Whether it be skippable or discover ads. 

I will click Skippable in-stream. And save the format.

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Note: You cannot undo this. Your ad groups should be either skippable or discovery. 

If you want to make discovery ads, you will do the entire process over again. And just select discovery instead of instream. 

So with that, we have our campaign and we’ve created our first ad group. 

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Now looking at our targeting here, you will find another group in the In-Market audience plus Who They are. You can experiment with the group. Same process but different audience group. And that will be your Group 2. 

Ad Group 2: In-Market 2

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Ad Group 3: In-Market + Life event 

Next, we will put together another ad group. This time, it will be In-market plus Life event. 

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To create our second ad group, we’ll click the blue plus button. 

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Our group name will be “In Market + Life). Because we will combine the two. 

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Again, we will uncheck the 18-24 age bracket in our demographics. 

Tip: Any settings you one ad group should be the same as with all other ad groups. So your analysis can be consistent. 

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Under Audiences, we will go to Combined audiences.  Because we want to layer two different audiences together to be very specific. 

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We will create a New combined audience to tell Google that we need two things to match up instead of just one. So, we’ll click on the Combined audience. 

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Then, we will give our audience a name.

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I’ll just wait until I’ve actually chosen my selections here. So when you do your dropdown and you click on browse, you’ll see that you have the same audience options as when you were creating your first ad group. 

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So we’ll go ahead and click on In-market. 

Then, we will go to In-market audiences.  

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Then click on Business services. 

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And click advertising and marketing services again. 

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We will narrow down our Audience. 

It will tell YouTube and Google that we want to show our ads to those who are in the advertising marketing services. Plus meet the next requirement, which is a Life event. 

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So we’ll come in here.

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But instead of In-market audiences, we will choose Life events.

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You’ll see, there are a lot of different life events that Google is tracking. 

They’re doing their creepy thing, trying to figure out what we’re doing with our lives. 

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In this tutorial, we will go to Business creation. And click on Recently Started a business. 

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I will click on Recently started a business. 

Tip: You might go through this list and you find that there aren’t any options here. And that’s okay. What you can do is have two In-market audiences, instead of an In-market plus a Life Event.

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For our target audience, we chose someone who started a new business and is interested in advertising and marketing services.

What we do is something very simply by targeting people who are highly interested in our content or our business offer. 

We will click on Create. And now I have this new combined custom audience that I can actually use in other campaigns. 

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Setting Your Bid

Now, we will set our bid. I will set the bid to 10 cents on this, because I am being so specific on who I want. 

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I’m guessing that it’s going to cost a little bit more. 

So for this campaign, it makes sense to pay 10 cents, but that is the absolute max, I would ever pay in 2020. It might change in 2021, but for 2020, this is the absolute max that you want to start with. 

We’ll go ahead and skip the ad creation process again. 

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Then Save ad group.

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Yes, we want it to be Skippable in-stream. And save the format.

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Now, we have our two ad groups. 

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Ad Groups 4 – 6

As we go back to our diagram here. You can see that we’ve already set up our two ad groups. 

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Then you can go through the exact same process that we just went through. 

Create an ad group for the other In-market audience that you’re interested in your other life event. 

If you can find one and then create one campaign, that’s your in Market audience, plus some sort of other demographic option.

We will keep it very basic here. We will wind up having six ad groups. 

Creating Video Ads

Step 6. Place the ads 

Once you have created all of your ad groups, you will start to put in your ads. 

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Now the good news is when it comes to creating our video ads, we only have to create our ad once and we can easily add it to other ad groups in our campaign. 

Tip: With this campaign structure, you want to have the same video ads across all of your ad groups. This way, the only variable in your test and analysis will be the ad group targeting. 

Otherwise, you will have different ad groups with different targeting, with different ads. You will not know which factor affects the results of your campaign. It will give you a hard time

We’ll go over back to our campaign, where we are at the ad group level. 

We’ll just click on one of the ad groups we want to add our ad to, I’ll click on the first one that we made. 

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It will immediately take us to the ad section.

And again, we will click that giant big blue plus button in the top left.

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Then, we will go to the area where we will create our ad. 

We will enter the URL of the video we want to use as our ad. 

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Now, if you’re doing In-stream, your setup is going to look like this.

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If you will do Discovery, then you have the option of giving your ad a headline, two lines of description, 15 characters each line, as well as choosing what thumbnail you want. 

So here, I’m just going to go through the skippable in-stream ad format. Then place our final URL. 

This is where we want viewers to be taken when they actually click the call to action button or click on the ad and don’t skip, 

Our display URL is what people are actually going to see. So as an example, here, you can see we’ve typed in our super long landing page URL. 

And then we just made our display URL nice and neat. So it’s just as actmarketing.io, as opposed to actmarketing.io/blah, UTM source, and so on and so forth. 

Now it says the call to action is optional. But really you should add a call to action to every in-stream ad that you create. Because there’s no penalty to doing so.

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Unlike what we’re about to get to. So with the call to action, you want to have it very clear on what you want someone to do. 

So the best call to action really is to just say, “Click here”. Because this is a new format. Even for 2020, we still find that those who use YouTube don’t know that that’s something that they’re supposed to click on. 

Just write very short words. 

For your headline, just add some texts that replace your channel names. 

The next one is you will be asked if you want to have a banner auto-generated for your ad. 

And yes you do. Because if you upload an image here, the 30-second grace period payment is forfeited. 

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If you want to upload your own image there, it means you will pay every single time someone watches, even if they skip.

So you definitely want to keep that 30-second grace period. 

Then, give your ad a name that’s easy and recognizable. Just put a version number after it, especially if you are doing discovery ads. Because you’re going to be trying different thumbnails and different headlines. You need to keep track of which version is which. 

Next, save the ad

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Coping Video Ads

And now we can easily copy and paste it to our other ad group. And this is just as easy.

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 If you have one other ad group or you have 20 other ad groups, you can select it.

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And then we’ll come up here to edit and click on copy. 

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And then once we see that little notification at the bottom, we can go ahead and X of our selection 

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And this paste icon will appear. 

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So let’s go back up to our campaign. Because we’re in a one ad group right now. 

We can use the short navigation up here. And we’ll click on our actual campaign name, which is Zone template version one. 

Obviously your campaign will be named something that matters. 

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Then you’ll be able to see all of the ads for all of your ad groups. 

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As you look at this at the campaign level, you see that there’s only one ad. Because we only have two ad groups.

We’ll click on Back to our ad groups. And we will go ahead, and click on paste. 

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The reason that we did this is simple. You want to clearly be able to see which ad groups you want to paste your new ad into. 

So we’ll go in and click on paste. 

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Note: Probably don’t have 99 campaigns. Just select the ad groups that you want to paste the ad into. And click on done. 

If you have multiple, you can just check all the boxes. So you don’t have to go through and make your ad over and over again. We’ll go ahead and click on done. We’ll click on paste. 

And now our ad is in both ad groups. 

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And if you want to check, we will click on “In-market plus Life”. 

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And we will see that our new ad is in that ad group as well. 

So with that, you have created your entire campaign. 

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Experimenting

Step 7. Experiment cycle 

As a review, we went through the settings at the campaign level. We also created ad groups with one audience and combined audiences. 

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Now, let’s go through what do we do when that data starts coming in. 

How do we know what’s working and what isn’t? 

Ideally, we want to have three to seven ad groups per campaign. 

Note: We have to keep those demographics consistent. Remember we unchecked 18 to 24 for both of these ad groups. 

Before we will make a decision, we need to wait until we have:

  • At least a thousand impressions at the ad group level; or 
  • A hundred views. 

The two things you will have to check are the average cost per view and your view rate. 

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  • View rate is the percentage of people are actually watching. 
  • Cost per view is how much it cost you to actually get that view. 

If you have a cost per view, that’s really high compared to everyone else, you probably want to not keep running that ad group. 

If you have a view rate that’s doing really well, you have to keep that ad group.

As we look back to our diagram. 

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For example, we look at the view rates, these three ad groups have really good view rates, like they’re at a 10% and 20%, 

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But then we see that the view rates on these other ad groups 5%, 2%, 3% and 0.5%. 

It means that people in that audience don’t seem to like the ad. So we will pause all of those ones that have bad view rates or really high cost per views. 

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Then we will move forward with only three ad groups running. We will do the same analysis on our ads inside of each one of those ad groups. 

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Finally, you will continue to run these ad groups and new ad groups. 

Then test new audiences and try new ads. 

That’s all there is to it to setting up and running your YouTube ads campaigns. 

Conclusion

YouTube has revolutionized how viewing is. It has never been the same. 

The platform has given equal opportunities for everyone to do business and place their ads as well. 

The success in doing YouTube ads lies in targeting the right audience. Let your audience guide your campaigns. 

Doing ad campaigns can be complicated and expensive if you don’t understand how the platform works. And if you just do some guessing game. 

It takes a lot of tests and patience. Plus creativity. 

I sincerely hope you got some value out of this blog. And you feel a lot more confident with YouTube ads. 

Keep doing the business you love. 

Jason Whaling
 

Jason Whaling is an online marketing expert, consultant, author, and a lifelong entrepreneur. Combining a mix of dynamic business strategy, consumer psychology, and social media marketing, Jason works with people like you to build their personal brands and business.