One of the great joys of my position at OMG Commerce is speaking daily with eCommerce entrepreneurs. I love these initial conversations where many times I’m personally discovering for the first time a brand I’ve never heard of but has millions in sales and thousands of fans.
These brands arrive on my calendar and subsequent Google Meet or Zoom calls from existing client referrals, or have consumed our thought leadership content via Facebook, YouTube, blogs, or eCommerce Evolution podcasts. They arrive (many times) already convinced that we know what we’re doing (and we do) when it comes to scaling brands on Google, YouTube, or Amazon. In the case of YouTube, they’re excited to add a new channel and many times are eager to “get going as fast as possible.”
This is when it starts to get interesting. In their eagerness to “get going” and take advantage of the opportunities YouTube has to reach the largest available audience on the planet, there is a tendency to skip over the questions of readiness to advertise on YouTube. In most cases, the answer is more of a maybe than a definitive “Yes!” Without a good understanding of what's required for YouTube success, you're almost surely headed for disappointment. You'll end up spending money on an ad that seems great but isn't a good fit for YouTube. Or you could spend copious amounts of money on campaigns that don't accomplish your actual objectives. For the brands we work with at OMG Commerce, most ad spend launches start in the $30,000 to $60,000 per month range for an initial test. However, we have successfully launched with test budgets at half of those amounts.
It’s important to point out that even a less-than-stellar campaign on YouTube is rarely a total loss. Consider for instance the positive impact Brand Lift can have when it comes to spending on YouTube. However, most emerging brands should not consider a YouTube budget that doesn’t have a direct impact on conversions.
Potential YouTube advertisers for Trueview for Action campaigns fit into three distinct levels of readiness to advertise on YouTube. Since we’re all interested in making sure our YouTube campaigns are a hit, we’ll use a baseball analogy for our levels of YouTube readiness.
The three levels are: On-Deck, At-Bat, and Home Run
How YouTube ready is your brand? Let’s dig into these three levels to help you determine your level of readiness so you can chart a course of action for your advertising success on YouTube.
The first readiness level is On-Deck.
You’re close - you’re in the big leagues now, but not yet ready to take that fastball down the middle. At OMG Commerce, we’ve found that brands in the On-Deck level of readiness have most if not all of these in place, but are missing the video content required in order to launch campaigns. Take your personal inventory by reviewing these elements that make up the On-Deck level of readiness:
Your Brand/Product has a clear and compelling story with clear and compelling benefits that lend themselves well to video. Your brand has a “Wow Factor” or at the very least a unique story to tell.
Your brand has traction in the marketplace with positive cash flow or access to funds for testing.
You know your desired outcome from the YouTube campaigns (Brand Lift vs. Conversion or a combination of the two).
You know your numbers including your target cost per acquisition and target return on ad spend, as well as your profit margin on each sale after the cost of goods sold, delivery, and chargebacks.
You’re open to learning/educating yourself/your team on the process and/or open to working with experts to guide them.
You have a positive conversion history or trend from existing funnels.
You have a clear understanding of the customer journey. How does the client arrive at purchase now? Content? Emails? Are conversion rates along the journey performing well? For example, cold traffic is converting from Facebook/Instagram ads to a landing page that is utilizing video in the campaigns.
Your target product or service lends itself well to demonstrations or visuals before and afters.
Your brand/product has positive reviews along with social proof including written testimonials or user-generated video testimonials or professionally produced testimonial interviews.
Your brand/product/service has a warranty or guarantees to mitigate the risk involved in a first-time purchase.
You may have video content, but it’s not quite ready to run on YouTube. Here are questions to ask:
- Do I have video content that is over 35 seconds long that will work with the Trueview for Action ad format?
- Do I have high-resolution video content?
- Do I have rights/access to the raw video content for repurposing/editing into new content?
You should ask yourself these questions about your landing page and existing video content before moving on.
- Are the claims made in the content on the landing page in line with the most powerful product/service benefit?
- Does the landing page load quickly? Check your landing page at GTMetrix.
- Who else can say what is being said in your video?
- What are the clear differences between our offer and the competition?
- Are your benefits clearly communicated visually?
- Is it instantly obvious how your prospects' lives will be bettered by purchasing your product?
- Do you offer visual proof in the form of video demonstrations, diagrams, before and afters, etc?
The next level of readiness is At-Bat.
You’re warmed up in the On-Deck circle and you’re at the plate. Based on our experience with our OMG Commerce clients, the At-Bat level is ready to test. You might not have a home run video, but you won’t get a hit if you don’t swing the bat.
- You may have several videos that fit categories included in our seven YouTube ad formats. These formats have delivered successful campaign performance with other brands we’ve worked with.
- Your brand may also have existing video testimonials, user-generated content, and influencer content. In many cases, the content is almost there, it simply needs some repurposing or editing to get a finished product that is ideal for testing.
- An At-Bat brand has solid video content, but your landing page may need additional work to improve conversion rates.
- Your videos may need expanding. For instance, you have a 15-second and a 30-second video that converts well on Facebook/Instagram, but that video needs to be expanded to 45 to 60 seconds in order to test on YouTube.
The final level of readiness is Home Run.
You’ve put in the work required in the On-Deck and At-Bat levels. You’re in the big leagues with solid content backed up by a world-class team like OMG behind you to handle the complex details.
- Home Run brands, like On-Deck and At-Bat brands, may also have other videos or B-roll content that can be repurposed into fresh content for testing (influencer content, testimonials) with just a bit of editing.
- These brands more often than not have in-house teams for creative or a solid vendor relationship who understands building winning YouTube ads.
- A Home Run brand will also have a solid technical setup for conversion tracking along with a developer or developer team who can implement more complex conversion tracking for multiple funnels and upsells. Our OMG team has deep experience in these areas, so it’s not a must for this level of readiness.
- Brands at this level are also currently investing or open to investing in fresh content on a regular basis as long as a return can be realized.
Other vital areas to consider:
It is important to note that even with a Home Run level of readiness, there are potential hazards and roadblocks that can impede the ability for you or an agency like OMG Commerce to launch your campaigns. Here are the major roadblocks you can address in advance to save you and your agency team possible headaches and delays.
Too many landing pages in play with multiple plugins/software that doesn’t play nice together. This brings to mind a lead generation YouTube client we had recently. They had an amazing business but were held back with an email and attribution system that caused challenges in our ability to scale the business. Questions to ask:
- Where can I consolidate?
- Do I have a solid email system in place for auto-responders, sequences, and conversion tracking?
Conversion Tracking: I’m constantly amazed at the number of potential clients who come to us either from in-house efforts or working with other agencies that have major challenges in tracking conversions accurately. We consistently find no tracking in place, broken tracking, or double counting and multiple conversion actions being tracked in campaigns.
We also find multiple tags on the website or landing page that will require cleanup prior to launch. In addition, we’ve found in our attempts to help with clean up, the client doesn’t have access to Google Tag Manager or simply doesn’t know who has access. Questions to ask:
- How am I tracking conversions currently? Google Ads or Analytics (Google Ads Tracking is ideal).
- What are the conversions I’m tracking in Google Ads?
- Do I have Google Tag Manager installed on my website or landing page(s)?
- Do we have access to our Google Tag Manager account? If not, who has access?
Do you have a video producer/production company that understands how to produce content that will convert for YouTube? Questions to ask:
- Can the agency I hire help to inform my video production company on the final product/output needed for proper testing?
By following this checklist, you’ll position your brand in the best possible place to allow your in-house team or agency to have the highest probability of success with YouTube advertising. Feel free to share your content or ideas with me. I’d be happy to help you gauge your level of YouTube advertising readiness with a complimentary YouTube strategy session.