Search Supplement – YouTube

Dominika Wynne

YouTube Is More Direct Response Focused Than Ever

Many marketers consider YouTube as a platform concentrated on top funnel goals such as building brand awareness for products. However, with targeting options such as Custom Intent Audiences or new formats like TrueView For Action, it seems crucial to incorporate YouTube into marketing plans as a platform for driving actions, like website traffic and conversions too.

Keyword Is King

Custom Intent Audiences give advertisers the opportunity to reach people on YouTube, who have searched for their products or services on When it comes to Search advertising – keyword is king, and it is no different when it comes to YouTube. Custom Intent Audiences work by uploading lists of potential keywords, that someone interested in your product might have searched for on Google. If we get these keywords right, then relevant users will be served our ads on YouTube. It is worth focusing our lists on generic keywords, which indicate that users are still in the decision-making process. If we manage to reach these users, with a creative which emphasises product USPs or highlights special offers, it should help conversion efforts.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Although calls to action were always available as build-in ad overlays, last year YouTube decided to up their game. In March 2018, they introduced a new creative format, that is TrueView For Action. With this format, advertisers can easily add customisable calls to action in Google Ads, which will then appear together with their video ads on YouTube. They drive cheaper cost per clicks and higher clickthrough rates than standard TrueView formats. To use this format, advertisers must choose Target CPA bidding, where the algorithm will automatically try to serve YouTube ads to people who are more likely to take the action. To use it, website conversion tracking must be in place. We have noticed that with Target CPA, your cost per view will be considerably higher than when running standard TrueView, thus it is crucial to be aware that although certain metrics might increase, there should be considerable improvements on CPCs and CTRs.

Last month, YouTube made call to action buttons available and easily customisable in Google Ads for standard TrueView formats as well. This change means that calls to action can redirect to landing pages, which don’t have conversion tracking in place and can be used by advertisers that want to educate their audiences or show them more content by redirecting them to their websites, rather than drive specific e-commerce goals.

Don’t Underestimate The Underdog

Although typical Direct Response marketing seeks instant, on-the-spot responses, with increasing focus on data-driven attribution modelling when it comes to measuring e-commerce goals, it is worth considering metrics beyond immediate call to action clicks and conversions.

Personally, my favourite additional YouTube metric to look at, when analysing YouTube’s performance, is View-through Conversion. This records conversions when a user views (but doesn’t click) on your YouTube ad and then later converts. Importantly, this metric automatically excludes conversions from people who have also interacted with any of our other ads.

Another interesting measurement option for YouTube is Brand Interest Uplift in organic search activity. We are all aware that user’s path to purchase isn’t generally as straightforward as clicking on the YouTube ad and converting straight away. Users might come back to our website through organic search or through our paid search ad. If we are looking only at conversions coming through organic or paid search, we might easily miss YouTube being a crucial first touchpoint. By running a Brand Interest Uplift study, we can easily see where it was on their journey that our YouTube campaign inspired consumers to search further.

YouTube can still be perceived as an underdog in performance marketing. Nonetheless, with the right message and the right targeting, it has the capability to work as hard as any other DR focused platform. We just need to think further and consider more elements when measuring and evaluating YouTube success.

Liked this? Don’t miss the other articles in our Search Supplement series.