Episode 168

YouTube Expert Panel - Your Top YouTube Ads Questions Answers

Sheila Secrest, Derek Casas, Heidi Sturrock, Greg Maycock, Matt Slaymaker, Bill Cover - OMG Panel
July 14, 2021
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Nearly every day we have eCommerce companies reaching out to us wanting to know how to grow their eCommerce brands using YouTube ads.  YouTube ads are both exciting and mysterious to most store owners.  

In this episode, I’m bringing you insights from some of the best and brightest minds at OMG Commerce. This is the audio recording from a recent YouTube ads expert panel that I moderated.  This was a really fun panel for me because it was made up entirely of my team.  I brought in 6 of our top YouTube ad specialists from team OMG to answer your burning YouTube questions.  I think you’ll really learn a lot and enjoy this format.  Here’s a look at the questions we dive into:

  • What are the best YouTube audiences to launch with and what are the best audiences to SCALE with?
  • How are YouTube ads different from Facebook and IG ads and different from ads on other platforms?
  • How long does it take to start reaching your CPA or CAC goals?
  • What kind of scale is possible with YouTube ads
  • When things go wrong on YouTube - what’s usually the cause? 
  • How important is production value to the success of your campaigns
  • What new YouTube features are you most excited about?

Sheila Secrest

Derek Casas

Heidi Sturrock

Greg Maycock

Bill Cover

Matt Slaymaker


Mentioned in this episode: 

Kurt Elster

Brett:

Well, hello, and welcome to another edition of the eCommerce Revolution Podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce, and today you get to hear from not one, not two, not three, but six OMG Commerce experts and myself, so I guess that makes seven. But today we're doing a replay of a recent YouTube ads panel, an expert panel with six of our brightest specialists and strategists from here at OMG Commerce plus myself. So I'm grilling this crew with questions about audiences, best audiences to start with, best audiences to scale with. We talk about the differences between ads on Facebook and ads on YouTube. We talk about what should you expect as you launch campaigns on YouTube, when should we get our CPAs or our customer acquisition cost really dialed in and all kinds of other burning questions that I know a lot of you have when it comes to YouTube ads. We answer them in this expert panel, so I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed moderating this panel. So check it out, the OMG Commerce YouTube ads expert panel.

Brett:

This episode of the eCommerce Revolution podcast is brought to you by OMG Commerce resources. That's right. Here at OMG Commerce, we want to help make sure you're educated and in the know to capitalize on the latest tips, tricks, and strategies to help you grow your eCommerce business. So if you go to omgcommerce.com and, under resources, click on guides, we have some cutting-edge free information for you on things like how to dominate with Amazon DSP ads or how to use Amazon's Sponsored Brand video ads and how to craft the perfect ad. We have several guides on how to capitalize on YouTube ads, from creating the perfect ad to knowing when you're ready to scale. Plus, there's a newly updated Google Shopping guide plus more. Check it all out at omgcommerce.com and click on guides under resources. Now, back to the show.

Brett:

All right. Well, I know this session is possibly the whole reason you attended this event. You want to hear from the experts. You want to hear from those that are behind the scenes, managing campaigns day in and day out. So I've assembled a dream team here. This is the OMG Commerce dream team. This is the team behind some of our biggest wins, some of our fastest scaling accounts. These are the guys and gals managing things and making dreams come true on YouTube. So I'm going to do quick intros and then we're going to dive into the most asked questions we get all the time from prospective clients and clients we're working with and just people we know that are interested about YouTube ads. These are the hot questions. We're going to dive into them in a minute. But, first, I'm going to do quick intros so you know who you're hearing from and who you're learning from. So, first, I'm going to start at the bottom of my screen. Sheila Secrest. What's up, Sheila?

Sheila:

Hey.

Brett:

And so no relation to Ryan Seacrest, but Sheila is nearly as charismatic and she's way better at YouTube ads than Ryan Seacrest. But she's working with some of our fastest-growing accounts, been with OMG for almost five years. She's a rockstar, got good insights. She's scrappy, and really excited to have her on the panel. Going to move up from there, and Derek Casas. What's up, Derek?

Derek:

Hey. How's it going?

Brett:

You've got almost a glow, angelic almost. Your background is bright white light. Derek also is into photography, so he's got a leg up. He's got a really cool set-up, a nice camera, and all that. But Derek has been working in digital advertising now for some huge brands across the US and Latin America for eight years. He's managing some of our top YouTube ad spenders. Derek and I work together a lot, and so, Derek, really excited to have you on the panel. In the middle, in the middle of all of this, is Heidi Sturrock. Heidi, what's up? How are you?

Heidi:

Hi, everyone. Good, thank you.

Brett:

So, believe it or not, Heidi was the first, the very first, Google Ads specialist at OMG Commerce. We have not run her off yet. And that was a solid 11 years ago, 10 years ago? I don't know. That's an eternity. I don't know.

Heidi:

Yeah, I think it actually might be going on 12. We might be going on 12 years, yeah.

Brett:

12, yeah. So I'll go with that. But Heidi knows Google Ads inside and out. She's helped us recruit other great people to OMG. Really, Heidi's just helped with the formation of who OMG is on the Google Ads side. So, Heidi, glad you're here. Thanks for taking the time, really appreciate it. Next to Heidi is Greg G-Money Maycock. What's up, Greg?

Greg:

Hi. How you doing?

Brett:

Greg is our lead technical strategist. Greg knows the YouTube algorithm. Greg knows Google ad campaigns and YouTube inside and out. Whenever we're scaling a huge account on YouTube, we want Greg's input, and so you'll learn very quickly Greg is very, very smart. He's also an entrepreneur. He's owned businesses. He's worked in the travel industry. He's got a really wide breadth of experience. So, Greg, thanks for coming on the panel. Then directly above Greg is Bill Cover, and Bill is specialist turned strategist. And I don't know, Bill. First of all, you look good. I love the beard. Honestly, we're-

Bill:

Thanks. I tried to dress up for you.

Brett:

.. But I don't know, man, something about that outfit just doesn't feel quite Internet marketing enough. It doesn't quite feel like you.

Bill:

Okay. I can go t-shirt.

Brett:

I think you need to go Internet marketing. I think you just need to adjust just a little bit.

Bill:

All right. Well, these are button snaps, so here we go.

Brett:

Yeah. Going Internet marketing, that's what we're going to call that. But Bill Cover, longtime eCommerce guy, worked in the development side of things, has been a specialist, now a strategist, of great insights. Bill, thanks for coming on, and thanks for partnering with me on that cheesy shtick there for going Internet marketing. Then, last but not least, Slaymaker. The play-maker, Matt Slaymaker. What's up, man? How are you?

Matt:

Hey, everybody. Hey, Brett.

Brett:

So Matt is a client favorite. Everybody loves working with Matt. Matt also has experience on Facebook and other platforms, so he's got a really unique perspective that he brings to YouTube and Google. He's just crushing it. He's got a really cool last name, too, so that's part of why we had him on the panel. Then, of course, I'm Brett Curry. I'm the CEO. You've heard from me a lot today. I'll be mainly serving as moderator. I want the brilliance of the team to shine forward. But I have a hard time not saying anything, so I'll probably chime in a little bit as we go. But with that, let's dive right into these questions. So first one, what are the most important elements of a YouTube ad? We're trying to create a YouTube ad that works. What are some of the most important elements? I'm going to open it up to you guys.

Greg:

I've got three things that come top of mind. I think the first thing is the intro. As you know, you can skip a YouTube ad for most ad formats, and so that first five seconds is very critical. In that first five seconds, we want to make sure that, one, we get a branding impression so that if someone does skip, at least we have gotten our brand in front of the viewer. Second is I think you want to make sure that you tease something that is going to be provided in the video, whether it's an offer, a call to action, or a promise of something that they're going to learn in that video to engage the viewer. So the key there is branding impression and engage the viewer. Then I guess I would transition into the core of the video. The key there is to keep engaging and re-engaging. So you cover whatever you need to regarding the product or explaining the product, and there's always something coming next that keeps the viewer engaged.

Greg:

Then I think the third element, which is really where the rubber meets the road, is a outro that includes a clear call to action. People want to be told what to do. If someone's engaged in the video and watched it to completion, they want to know what to do next. So we want to make sure we provide a clear call to action and then, ideally, an offer. So if this is a campaign for a new customer acquisition, then a exclusive offer or something that's discreet and unique to viewers of that video will work very well in driving conversions. To me, those are the top three elements for a video.

Brett:

Awesome. Love it.

Matt:

Yeah. And to elaborate a little bit on what Greg said, what makes a successful YouTube ad all the way through is going to vary so much based on the type of business that you are, the industry that you're in, and the voice of your brand and the way that the messaging will resonate with your customers. So the way that you are going to engage the user immediately, like Greg mentioned, getting them to stay past that five-second mark, will vary. Some brands do this with a question, so asking a question at the very beginning, "Is this you? Do you have a problem with blank?"

Matt:

Then when it comes to that call to action, create some sense of urgency, so don't just say, "Hey, come to our website now." Like Greg said, have some sort of offer attached to that that makes them feel like, "I got to act on this right now. I got to click on this video ad right now or this chance might not come up again." But all the details in the middle, that's going to vary so much based on what you know about your target market, what resonates most with them. So do as much research as you can beforehand and plan as much as you can beforehand in planning out that video ad.

Brett:

Love it. Anybody else want to chime in? Super good..

Bill:

Yeah. I feel like I see a lot of YouTube ads that do the classic Super Bowl television commercial format, which is like, "Here's the teaser and the meat of the thing," and then it's like, "Budweiser," the brand. But a YouTube ad, you can't move that cursor, and people don't have to stick around. So make sure that you're ... As you said, as Greg said, put that brand impression ... Pull that forward and pull that hook and that message forward. You don't want that traditional story arc that has a build and then a climax and then the message. You want to make sure that all of that is stacked at the front. You want to sell that as early as possible and then give a call to action. Then your ad can be two to three minutes, so if someone chooses to stick around and find out more, keep selling. What are some common objections? Supplement that earlier information with more detail, maybe some peer evaluations and testimonial. Give another call to action, that sort of thing.

Matt:

Yeah. And one thing that's super important to keep in mind, what Bill was saying, is that a lot of times you don't pay for the YouTube ad until somebody watches 30 seconds of the video or clicks on the video, so trying to stuff as much important, valuable information in that 30-second mark so if anybody does for any reason hop off, they still leave that video with a lasting impression of your brand. Maybe if they didn't watch 30 seconds or more, they'll come back and do a search for you, and that's equally valuable to us.

Brett:

Yeah. So this has been fantastic, and we've talked a decent amount across the event about what makes for a great YouTube ad. But one of the things you just mentioned, Matt, reminded me of something that we used to talk about in copywriting a long time ago, when you said, "Hey, the guts of the video is going to be different depending on who are you going after on what does your product do well." We always would look for, what's that intersection between what you're best at and what your market really wants most, right? This is two-thirds of a Venn diagram. Anyway, but thinking back to Volvo as an example, this is an old example, but they're all safety, right? Their position was safety not sexy when it comes to cars, and so that appeals to parents, right? So it's like what do we do best versus what our market wants most, where's that overlap, that's what we're going to key in on. That's something important to look at, too.

Brett:

Awesome. Anybody else? We got a lot of questions, so lots of good stuff ahead. But anybody else want to chime in? All right. Let's talk about then ... A lot of people that are tuning in today, their background is Facebook. They spend more on Facebook than on YouTube. As an agency, that's our typical client, someone that comes to us and they're spending six figures a month on Facebook or sometimes 20, 30,000 a day on Facebook and they want to have success on YouTube. So I want to talk about some of the differences, and let's start with audiences first. What are some of the differences between a YouTube audience and a Facebook audience?

Bill:

You get your demographics, you can categorize these audiences into interests and behaviors on both platforms. So all of the demographic tools are there on YouTube and on Facebook. When you look through some of the Facebook default audiences, you have interests like what forms of entertainment are they into, fitness, health, hobbies, et cetera, and then you get what Facebook refers to as behavioral traits, but when you look through the list, it's stuff like do they have an anniversary coming up, what mobile device are they using, browser are they using, political affiliation, which I think is kind of funny they have that, whether or not they're engaged shoppers, but who isn't, we're all buying something at some point, soccer fans, upcoming travel, that sort of thing. All of those things are available on YouTube.

Bill:

Where I think YouTube is able to take it a step further is that YouTube, obviously owned by Google, knows a lot about us and a lot about our behavior, and they are learning to understand very deeply what we are into and what we are about to do. So our behavioral traits on YouTube ... And I think Facebook used to have this, but when Mark Zuckerberg has to testify before the Senate, then things change. So YouTube has very advanced behavioral queues to understand what we are about to purchase, and their machine learning is constantly refining that to understand was it correct, was it incorrect. While we don't see the individual, we see groups of individuals, so privacy is still there, YouTube unblocks those tools so us as marketers, we get to tap into those groups who are about to do X. In eCommerce, that's so valuable because we want to find somebody who is about to purchase X and who is exhibiting these behaviors. So I think that's one of the key fundamental differences there.

Matt:

Yeah. I would love to elaborate on that a little bit because what Bill said is perfect. Basically, what it comes down to is that what Facebook is great at is targeting people based on their interests and who they are in terms of their demographics, and they do have some great targeting opportunities for that. Outside of that, one great thing about Facebook is the lookalike audience targeting. That can sometimes work really well for a lot of brands. But the reason that I've had a lot more success on YouTube ads versus Facebook ads is due to what Bill was elaborating on, where we can build out custom audiences based on what people are actively searching for. So rather than going after somebody's-

Brett:

That says so much about someone's state of mind and what they're trying to do, how they're searching on Google.

Matt:

Yeah, because your long-term interests can be very different than what your short-term interests are. A lot of times, I find a lot of success on YouTube with custom intent audiences or in-market audiences that are built out by Google. But it's going after people based on what they're actively shopping for right now. If they're actively shopping for it as opposed to the longer-term interest, the likelihood of converting here in the short term tends to be a little bit higher. So, yeah.

Brett:

Awesome.

Bill:

Yeah, and-

Brett:

And what about differences in ... Actually, did you have something else to say there, Bill?

Bill:

Yeah. Let me just play off that a little bit with regards to the behavioral audiences and custom intent. YouTube not only gives us audiences that are in-market, someone in the market for running shoes, but the custom intent audience allows us to create a custom profile so that we're not just looking for someone who's looking for running shoes. We're looking for someone who's looking for running shoes for a marathon or for a track race ..

Brett:

Or minimalist running shoes and barefoot running shoes and running shoes to run in the rain, all kinds of very specific stuff that you can try. Yeah. Yeah, really, you're only limited by your imagination in a lot of cases and maybe some privacy things, but you can be very creative with your audience creation efforts on YouTube.

Bill:

Right.

Brett:

Awesome. Let's transition a little bit. So we talked about audiences. What about creative? How are creatives on YouTube different than creatives on Facebook?

Matt:

Yeah, I could kick us off there as well. What it tends to be in terms of user behavior on social media versus YouTube, on social media, it's a lot more short attention span. People are scrolling through their news feed, and shorter, more promotional content tends to do a lot better on Facebook, whereas YouTube, the average watch time for a YouTube video tends to be about two and a half minutes. People are seeking out videos, whether it's a news video, sports video, et cetera, and then they're dedicated to watching that for the next couple of minutes. So to get ahead of them with a longer form video works a lot better on YouTube than it would on social media. So on YouTube we have-

Brett:

Right. I mean, kind of the goal on ... Just to riff on that for a second, the goal with social media is to scroll. That's why I'm on Facebook. I'm scrolling. The goal of YouTube is to watch. I came to YouTube to watch something, and so I'm potentially going to stick around with a video a little bit longer.

Matt:

Yeah. So the opportunity to really tell a story and have a little bit more of a narrative there is a lot broader on YouTube. You have a lot more possibilities there, whereas on social media, Facebook, you might not get that chance. You scroll to it, it charges you, and then they don't even watch it.

Bill:

Yeah. To be clear, I love Facebook advertising. I think-

Brett:

Yeah, me, too. Me, too. Yeah. I'm glad you mentioned that, Bill, because we are not anti-Facebook. Facebook and YouTube together are an extremely powerful combo. I think the reason we're calling out the differences is just because people overlook YouTube, and it's a really powerful complement.

Bill:

Exactly. Exactly. Or don't know the full capabilities of YouTube. So Facebook is a wonderful platform because it's in a feed, people are engaged, it's got the social proof right there. You can design your post. It can communicate your brand. It can communicate a call to action. All those things are really great. Some things about Facebook that are different from YouTube is ... One main thing is the audio. So the audio is off by default when it comes to a Facebook feed. Your audio is on on YouTube when someone gets your YouTube ads, so it's more engaging through both visual and audio.

Bill:

The other thing is Facebook, somebody ... Let's say it's a re-marketing ad, someone who's been to your website, you're trying to re-market to them to get them to come back and buy. I might be reading a post from one of my friends or something like that and the Facebook ad is in my window. One pixel is showing, basically. Facebook regards that as a view, which that's fine. Whatever they want to do to measure their ads is fine. YouTube waits for you to view 30 seconds of the ad before they count that as a view, and you can skip it at any point before that and not pay for that ad. So there's a huge advantage to YouTube in that you know that someone was looking at that ad and watching that ad versus on Facebook you can make assumption they were.

Brett:

Really good. Awesome. A big question that a lot of people ask, I hear this over and over again when I'm speaking at events or talking to people that are new to YouTube, is what about production value? How much do I need to spend? How important is production value? So who wants to kick us off there?

Derek:

I think production value is negatively related to value and content that you're providing within the video. Obviously, there has to be some degree of purpose and intent when editing and putting this stuff together. But if you're providing value and you're providing content to the user, you can get away with certain things when it comes to production value that would be nice to have but can potentially be a little bit expensive. A perfect example is user-generated content, right? Sometimes, brands will ask their previous purchasers to generate a review for them and film themselves doing a review and that is a huge X factor because not everybody knows how to film themselves, not everybody knows the selfie camera, lighting, audio-

Brett:

Not everybody can create an angelic background when they're on video like Derek.

Derek:

Exactly. Yeah.

Brett:

Exactly.

Derek:

Exactly. Correct. Not everybody has the 24 megapixels on hand. So for user-generated content specifically, the goal there is to provide the content and the social proof that the product actually works, and having that in the video provides that kind of validation that you would need for your brand to showcase it as successful and something work investing in or at least worth clicking onto to then go learn more on the website and then make a decision based off of what they learn there versus something like perhaps, like Bill mentioned, the Budweiser Super Bowl commercial, where there's not necessarily too much of a brand new content in there. It's just more so like, "Hey, we're Budweiser, we're awesome, we're a staple of America, but we're not going to necessarily tell you anything new about us."

Brett:

"We have Clydesdales."

Derek:

Yeah, exactly. So it's something a little bit more informative and more providing something for free to the user, which is value, for them to then engage further with you down the line.

Heidi:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Brett:

Cool.

Heidi:

And I have to also say, it's never been easier for an advertiser to get into YouTube right now because gone are the days when you had to hire a production company to film your shoot. I had a client last year who filmed some amazing, winning, high quality, high production value YouTube videos using their iPhone 11. The reality is, is that if you have a great script, if you have the right background, you've given it some thought, and you have some wonderfully placed products and images, you don't need to hire the studio anymore. You can really take it on yourself. So the barrier to entry for advertisers to get in there and really start campaigns has never been easier.

Matt:

Yeah. Heidi, you hit on that perfectly because I feel like there's so many brands who are like, "I would love to do YouTube, but I don't have the money to afford a big production company." And exactly what you said, iPhones nowadays have great cameras where you can shoot a lot of that stuff. Production value is not the end all, be all. It's the story and the storytelling, the narrative, having a strong call to action. That's what really sells. I've tested it with my own accounts and then just seen case studies across the board. It's somewhere in the middle. Usually not the highest, most expensive video isn't always the one that performs the best. So you don't need something that's $100,000. Maybe it's $2000 or something like that. It's going to vary based on your brand, but try to get something out there. It doesn't have to be super expensive to be successful.

Heidi:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). And sometimes those native formats, that kind of organic material and content, that's what people resonate for. Because when they're on YouTube, keep in mind, they're on there for a couple reasons. I like social media. As Brett mentioned, you're scrolling, you want to get to the next thing. You're on YouTube to either be entertained or to look up something to learn something in regards to that. So that content that organically lends itself to that type of usage does really, really well.

Greg:

Absolutely.

Brett:

Yeah, and some of the things I'm hearing you guys saying is some of the most powerful elements of your video ad are not expensive to produce, like testimonials, like UGC. We had a client that Greg and I worked on together, an automotive client, that spent millions on the platform, and their core video was all user-generated content. Now, it was edited. They did use an editor at a studio and it looked good, but almost all the video was user-generated, but it was super powerful. So what you say and how you say it is very important. How much you spend to get there is not as important. There are cases like ... Hey, we shout out to the Harmon Brothers, and some of those super high production value videos can work, but they also can fail. So it's better to test and iterate with a smaller budget in my opinion, and then, yeah, maybe you do land on a video that costs $75,000 to produce and you can go to the moon on it, but you don't need to start with that. I think, Greg, you were about to say something?

Greg:

Yeah, I was going to double down on, I guess, one element here, that, as a strategist, I think one of the most important things is to make sure that you have a good messaging strategy, that what you're trying to communicate with that video, one, speaks to the target audience, is compelling to them, and, in particular, is relevant to them with respect to where they're at in their buying process. Where are they at in that conversion cap? Is it awareness? Is it consideration? Or are we trying to convert with that specific video? So I think making sure that you start with a good messaging strategy that'll guide creative development can trump the overall cost and production value.

Brett:

Yeah. I also just want to underscore, we're not anti-studio, right? We've built a creative department now at OMG Commerce. We have a seasoned 17-year veteran in the advertising space running our creative department, and we've got partnerships with video editors that have created hit TV shows and done amazing things. So we have the ability to create some fantastic stuff. But just to underscore our point, you don't have to spend a lot, right, and we can test and iterate. It is more about the strategy, to Greg's point. It's more about what you actually say, to Heidi and Derek and Matt's point. Anyway, there's lots of ways to be successful, and the key to success isn't spending tens of thousands of dollars on production. So great, awesome. Really good stuff, guys. Appreciate that.

Brett:

Let's transition now. Let's talk about those first few weeks of running YouTube because that can be scary, right? We're full of anticipation and nerves, and we just can't wait to see what these YouTube campaigns do after we launch them. It's still one of my favorite times. We get the campaigns all prepped and ready, we have our audience strategy and our message strategy, and we flip those things live. For me, I still just want to sit and watch. I want to watch and see how it goes. But what are some of the metrics in the first couple weeks we need to pay attention to to know are we on the right track, are we moving towards success as we would define it? So what are some of the metrics that you pay attention to in the first few weeks?

Heidi:

We have a couple of metrics that we use. I know Sheila has a lot of information about this because she does a lot of optimization in the first few parts of our campaigns probably better than any specialist that I know. She can speak to some of the metrics that she uses. But, for us, I know those core performance metrics that we look at are definitely the views because those represent the number of times someone's watched or engaged with that video ad that you've spent so hard all that time making. Then, also, the view rate. View rate shows you number of views that your video had received and can be a big part to determine how successful that algorithm is to optimize. The cost per view is also a big one. So those are the core performance metrics that we start with. Then I know Sheila does a great job with the others, so I'll let her speak to some of the others that she works with.

Sheila:

Yeah. So those were kind of the main ones that I was going to mention as well, but I think that really does speak to that there are ... I say look at all of them. I know that's the easy answer, the easy way out, but the ones that-

Brett:

Spoken like a true Google specialist. "All the data's important. I want to see everything."

Sheila:

All of it. But Heidi made a good point that those are going to be your base. I would take it into a scenario where, let's say, your view rate was a little bit lower. I would then dive in a little bit ... No, not your view rate, sorry. You have good views, but you're not really getting the conversions that you were thinking. I think it's important to maybe even take it a step deeper, and you could take a look at your video play to percent to see, whether it be ... I think the labels are 25, 50, and 100. I could be very wrong about that. But looking at where people are dropping off, are they dropping off at that first 25% marker before that, and then being able to see, "Okay, should I be making sure that my hook or whatever is in the first 15 seconds of my video?" Yes, that is going to go into the important elements of your YouTube video, but definitely taking a look into that, how far are people getting into my video before they're dropping off. So if you have a good view rate but you're struggling with your conversions, that could be another place that you could go and look and potentially identify an issue in your video.

Heidi:

And we have the other second part of it, too, which is your click performance. Though, as advertisers, we want people to view our video and then hopefully come to our websites, either submit information to become a lead for us or a customer. So that click performance, those metrics that are super important to look for, the number of clicks, so the number of times that someone's clicked on your video, that's a big one, and then your click-through rates, so the number of clicks that your ad receives just divided by the number of times that had been shown, and that's always shown as a percentage in Google. But-

Matt:

Yeah. And every one of those metrics tells a little bit of a story, so your click-through rate tells a lot about, "Do I have an engaging call to action," not only at the end of the video and throughout the video but the actual button. So maybe instead of saying, "Learn more," I need to say something a little bit more engaging and speaks to the user a little bit more. When you look at view rate, and like Sheila was talking about, you can see what part of the video people are dropping off, and if they're dropping off really early, then maybe we get back to the client and say, "Hey, we need to rework this video a little bit to try to change this element." If it's really sharp at a certain point in the video 50% through it, then that's something you could also look at. Every metric tells a story, so it is important, like Brett said, to look at everything and see what you can pick out there, especially in the early stages when conversions might be low and you don't have a big enough sample size to really draw anything too conclusive.

Brett:

Yeah. Yeah. Really good. Yeah, because, hey, view rate is a little low. Percentage of people served the ad, it's low, the percentage that actually watch it. Well, then maybe your hook needs work or you're not getting ... Going back to Bill's point about a story arc and pulling the climax to the front of the video, maybe you're not doing that well. Or my click-through rate is really low. Well, to Matt's point, yeah, there's not an engaging call to action. You're not compelling someone to click. Or maybe I'm getting a lot of clicks but the conversion rate is low. Well, maybe then it's something about your offer, something about your landing page that's not actually completing the deal. That's where you need to make sure you watch Kurt Elster's presentation on how to optimize your landing page.

Brett:

But, yeah, all the data tells a story, and, ultimately, we're a direct response agency, right? We're all about hitting a CPA target, scaling at that CPA target, so CPA is what matters at the end of the day, no question about it. If my view rate goes down or my cost per view goes up but I'm hitting my CPA and I'm able to scale, then I'm a-okay. But these other metrics do tell the story, and they help you diagnose what you need to improve on and what levers to pull or what changes to make to make things really work. So awesome. Good stuff there. Appreciate you guys on that one. Moving right along. So how long does it take to start hitting your CPA goal, right? Because CPA, that is the metric to rule all metrics when you're talking about direct response. How long does it take to start hitting your CPA target?

Greg:

Yeah, so I will address this and look at it from a bigger picture perspective as well. This is an area where OMG really excels, and we've developed internal best practices, I think, that guide us along a very systematic launch process that helps improve the overall success of our clients. First of all, if you think about YouTube, there's, for all practical purposes, unlimited inventory and therefore potential for unlimited spend. So the first challenge is how do we launch campaigns for a client and manage that so we have a controlled launch, we create the best opportunity for success, and then we also mitigate any potential campaigns and spend that's not performing well?

Greg:

In doing that, the key is ... And this is relative to a client and the budget and what the potential market is for the products we're talking about. But the key there is setting up, one, campaign structures and targeting and testing of multiple versions of creative so that as we launch we have the best chance for seeing early success and being able to look at those metrics that we were talking about earlier and get a pretty good indication of which are going to perform and which have an opportunity to succeed. In the process that we've established with that, we'll basically look at three buckets, so to speak, as we start evaluating performance. We're talking about in a one to two-week timeframe here initially.

Greg:

The first bucket is, "Okay, these are some creative-audience combinations that are obviously performing. The view rates look good right off the bat. We're getting really close to our CPAs early on, and so these look like they're going to succeed. We're going to let them continue." We may even make some early bid adjustments or create an opportunity to accelerate the success there. Then we'll also use some metrics that will create specifically for that client and say, "Okay, if we have other combinations of video, creative, and audiences that are in this range here, they're kind of borderline, they look like they might succeed but we need more time to evaluate that, and they're in a range that we can afford to let them run a little longer, but they're on a tight leash. We're going to evaluate that daily and see where they land." Then there's going to be some other combinations of video, creative, and audiences that right off the bat don't appear to be performing well. We're simply going to pause and cut those in order to mitigate overall cost.

Greg:

Some of those fence-sitters then are going to potentially tend to trend that way as well, so we'll pause those but then come back to those and reevaluate. Because one of the things that we have to look at is conversion reporting lag, which means the first week we don't have the conversions that we need to get a good CPA for particular video ad and audience combination because of the reporting lag built into YouTube and Google Ads, where we're looking at conversions based on when the click occurred and not when the transaction occurred. Then we mind find later that week and the following week there are some of those that are borderline that suddenly have enough conversions then that they're in the performance range.

Greg:

So we've got a very systematic, methodical process of determining what's working and what's not early on. Google has a 14-day window, they call, of learning for the smart bidder within these campaigns, but we're not waiting 14 days before we take action. Basically, that first seven days, we're looking at the winners and clear losers, and then that 14-day period is probably where the focus is on sorting out those fence-sitters, those ones that may or may not perform well.

Sheila:

Yeah, and-

Bill:

Yeah, and that takes experience, doesn't it, Greg, to have seen enough success versus failure to just know, "This is headed north, this is headed south," before you get to that 14-day window.

Brett:

Sometimes, and I know all of you guys are this way, you kind of become the data whisperers, where you're like, "Yeah, I've got a feeling about this one."

Greg:

That's right.

Brett:

"It's not there, but I think it's going to get there, or it's not there, and I don't think it's ever going to get there." So you kind of start to get a feel for that. What else have you guys seen? What kind of timeframes are we looking at here? When do we start hitting our CPA target? I know there's a couple of short answers there that we can get to.

Matt:

Yeah, no, it's kind of all over the place. Most typically where I see it is anytime between a week and a month. So, usually, you have some great indicators within two weeks and, like Greg said, can start narrowing in on the winners. So you see ad creatives that are doing well, audiences that are doing well, if you're using topics, certain ones there that are doing well, and you can start to narrow in on that. Usually, I see by the end of month one you start to sit in a pretty good place.

Matt:

But I actually, really quick, wanted to touch on one thing that Greg was talking about, which is conversion lag, because that's becoming a bigger and bigger thing here recently. Think about your own user behavior. A lot of times, you might watch a YouTube video, click on it, go to the website, and say, "Okay, this looks cool. I'll come back to it later." You do come back to it later and maybe you purchase it. Or say you viewed a YouTube video and ended up coming back to purchase it. The reason that there's going to be a conversion lag there is because Google is trying to give more credit to what introduced them to the brand in the first place. So it wasn't from thin air that they just searched for your website. It was because of that YouTube ad.

Matt:

When you initially look at your results today, it might look like, "Hey, this isn't doing so well," but you check back in about a week and it's like, "Oh, wow, I got a lot of conversions from that day." So one thing to keep in mind when looking at your CPA goals and when you're going to reach it is to be patient with it and to understand your own user behavior and that that is what everybody's experiencing. So come back, check on it, see how things have changed, and you'll see.

Brett:

Love it. Well, this question I want everybody to answer. It'll be kind of rapid fire, so this could be a very, very short answer, and it's okay if the answers are duplicated from one panelist to the next. But what is your favorite audience type? You can clarify if you want, like, "This is my favorite audience to launch with, this is my favorite audience to scale with," however you want to do it, but favorite audience. Bill, go.

Bill:

Custom intent.

Brett:

Custom intent, which is? A real quick definition for those that don't know.

Bill:

Yeah, you bet. So it's kind of like in-market. That's a common term across Amazon and a number of pay search platforms. But in-market is I'm in the market for X. Custom intent is you as a marketer saying, "I want an in-market but this specific persona, this avatar."

Brett:

So these specific searches, keywords, in market for these particular things. Yeah, awesome. Slaymaker?

Matt:

Bought X but not Y. Brand loyalty is such a huge thing, and so introducing them to new products that you have that they might not be aware of is a huge opportunity to cross-sell a lot of users.

Brett:

Especially when you have a big audience and a fairly large established brand, you start getting more of your customers to consume more of your products. That campaign type, pound for pound, can do some real damage, and I mean damage in a good way. It can be really good. Awesome. Greg?

Greg:

Custom intent as well. One, the new and improved version has additional inputs that you can use to customize your audience, and that's really improved performance. Then it gives you not only the ability to see early success in launching because it's intent-based audiences, people that are in-market for products, but once you have learned what performs there, you can also use that to scale and identify other places and other audiences that you want to go next. So I think it's early success for launch as well as guiding future success for scale.

Brett:

Sweet. Heidi?

Heidi:

I think custom intent is the way to definitely start off all your testing, but because it's been mentioned a few times, and it's no surprise, it's a really great way to target and get in customers and leads, I also want to mention we had some great performance with customized placement. So what that means is going after certain channels that really resonate with your audience. This one particular client that we had, their customers were known to follow some very specific channels and influencers out there. So when we targeted these channels specifically, so having a campaign for custom intent and then expanding on that with specific placements, we were able to really expand other targeting and do well. It's a lot of understanding who your customer is and who they follow, what they want on YouTube.

Brett:

Yeah. It's sometimes overlooked with YouTube, but it kind of goes back to the ... And I've got a traditional media background, but as a TV ad buyer, you're picking programs, right? "My customer watches these programs." You can do something similar on YouTube. It's very powerful and it's often overlooked, so glad you mentioned that one. For sure, Heidi. Derek? Mr. 24 Megapixel?

Derek:

So I think custom intent is something that is basically the meat and potatoes of most strategies, right? Most YouTube strategies that I've worked on, and I think everybody here, has included custom intent to some extent. But I will say that typically what my favorite is and what gives me pure adrenaline when launching is launching campaigns that are going solely off of basic demographic targets, like gender and age, specifically those two. I will say that with the disclaimer of you need to make sure that whoever's watching that knows what they're doing and they have experience and they have dealt with it before because it really does have to be the perfect storm when it comes to launching something like that, right? It needs to be an account with enough historical data in there. It needs to be the right product, and then the right product also has to be priced the right way, and you have to have the right goals in place, too. So there's a lot of moving parts to it, but custom intent, I think, is my old reliable, but then demographic only is the game-changer for me sometimes.

Brett:

Pretty fun. I like that. Adrenaline, the adrenaline rush. Spoken like a true media expert there. Love it. Sheila?

Sheila:

Well, mine kind of could go well with Derek's. After you get that nice base built up with custom intent that everybody's already mentioned, I will veer off of that because I think they've covered just about every part of custom intent. So going off after that base is built there and you're looking for other ways to really take that brand and show it to people who you might've missed somehow with that custom intent audience, if you're not quite ready to dip your toe in that demographic, very wide, broad audience, you could take on testing topics and really taking some topics and layering them in your branded campaigns and things like that and then seeing how they perform and then taking the ones that perform well and then adding them into campaigns in your top of funnel campaigns.

Sheila:

Just seeing the correlation between, let's say, somebody who they're selling ... Your client is selling instructional videos for working out, whether it be lifting or Brazilian jujitsu, and then randomly your topic of smooth jazz music pops off with a bunch of conversions and you're like, "I would've never thought people who were buying Brazilian jujitsu things were really into jazz, but"-

Brett:

And Matt Slaymaker is a black belt. Do you listen to smooth jazz as you're working out, Slaymaker?

Matt:

Not as I'm working out. Working on other things.

Brett:

But the rest of the time you might. Okay, cool. So I derailed you. Sorry, Sheila.

Sheila:

No, no-

Matt:

But, Sheila, that's-

Sheila:

I-

Matt:

That's such a great idea, Sheila, though, about testing topics out on your branded campaign as an observation audience. It's a no-risk type of thing where you can see, people who are searching for us by name and actually converting, how are these different topics doing. Yeah, no, that's great. Then you can take that information over, layer it onto your audiences. Yeah, I love that.

Brett:

So I derailed you there, Sheila. Just, I thought of the black belt thing all of a sudden.

Sheila:

No-

Brett:

So you're looking at topics, and you've done a great job with topics. That's something as an agency we haven't scaled that many accounts using topics, and you're doing an awesome job with it. Did you want to finish your point?

Sheila:

Just that was it. Thinking about this question, I had lots of time to think, and I was trying to get creative with it. But I just realized when I've got that base and I'm like, "Okay, back to the drawing board, how can we keep spending efficiently, obviously, or keep testing," that's somewhere that I always end up because there's so many pre-filled topics that Google provides. It would be a waste if we didn't at least touch them.

Brett:

Yep. Yep.

Matt:

Yeah.

Brett:

Awesome. Love it. Fantastic. I'll chime in here, too, because I've got to. It's not called this anymore, but custom affinity. I love custom intent, too. But custom affinity, it's sort of Google's version of a lookalike, where you're giving inputs on people that visit this site or this topic or whatever. Build me a lookalike audience, Google, based on that, is sort of what custom affinity is now. It's all just custom audiences. They've dropped the custom affinity moniker. But I love those audiences. With some accounts, those are the audiences that truly scale, but they're not always the best to lead with, although they're not quite as risky or as much of an adrenaline rush as demo only. That's a .. Sorry, Bill.

Bill:

But if you're seeing success on Facebook with an interest-based audience, that's your closet thing to affinity on the YouTube side, so worth testing.

Brett:

Yep. True story. True story. Awesome. Okay. So we are running out of time. Man, you guys are long-winded. Just kidding. This is awesome. But we're running out of time, so I'm going to actually combine the last two questions, and you get to pick one or both in your answer. But what do you do if the first few weeks don't go that well, right? So what do you do if the first couple of video campaigns don't work that well? Then a very related question is what are common hiccups, right? If things don't go well, what usually are the main culprits? So what do we do if the first few campaigns, first few weeks aren't great, and what are the common causes for hiccups or speed bumps?

Sheila:

I think more ... Okay, so I'll be quick because mine isn't necessarily going to be technical. I hate failure. I think most people in business obviously hate failure. But I think it's important when you launch something to realize that this is just a battle within a never-ending war. With Google, there are so many opportunities. Don't take that and don't get discouraged about it. You just say, "Okay, check that off the list, never-ending list of things that I have tried and I can try," and move onto the next thing. Getting a little more technical, I guess I can, is go look at ... Like we talked about, look at your hook. Where is the hook falling in your video, or is there some piece of creative, maybe a character that isn't hitting right with your audience or things like that? I know one of the common issues ... I guess I wouldn't say common, but my most recent failure that I did have with a client was they used a character that was kind of like the beef jerky ... Who's the guy in the woods?

Brett:

Slim Jim?

Sheila:

Sasquatch?

Brett:

Oh, are-

Sheila:

Yeah, Sasquatch.

Brett:

Bouncy, maybe? Oh, okay, got it.

Sheila:

So they used this. But this Sasquatch was terrifying, and the business owner knows. Obviously, he knows, too. He said, "This might not work, but let's give it a shot anyways." He was accurate. So I think going back and, again, analyzing where are people dropping off. Are we even getting the view rates? Then after you do that analysis, take that knowledge, understand there's many more opportunities, and then launch a new ad, launch a new video, test a new audience. There's endless opportunity.

Heidi:

And I think one of the things that we just have to say, for being in this business for as long as we have, first thing, if you do not see conversions populating in your account, what do we do? Come on, guys.

Heidi:

We check our conversion tags. So make sure that tag is working and recording data properly. Once that's cleared up, use those nice metrics we were just talking about earlier to really clue you in as to what to focus on next. So if you're not getting conversions, look at your audience. Is it bringing in the volume of clicks that you need? Do you have enough of an audience to serve ads? If you do and your ads aren't getting great view rates, like Sheila said, look at that first part of your ad. Look at the hook. Is it compelling enough to get people to really view, take that next step, or are they skipping? The other part, look at your CTRs. Is your call to action strong?

Heidi:

If your conversion rate stinks and all those things are good, look at that landing page. What's going on with your offer, with your landing page format? Is it resonating with the video? All those connections can really help you alleviate all those little hiccups that can prevent you from getting to the next spot and go from getting success, like Matt said, in that first week instead of waiting a little bit longer, which sometimes can happen when you're testing them.

Matt:

Yeah, even in the biggest failures-

Brett:

We can't underscore enough the value of conversion tracking, and so you got to set it up properly, got to do test purchases, got to check and re-check. Don't get a week or two into your campaign launch and then realize, "Oh, conversion tracking." All right, well, then you've wasted time and money and all kinds of bad things. Yeah. Go ahead, Slaymaker.

Matt:

I was just going to say, even to go off of what Sheila and Heidi were saying, even in your biggest failures, if a campaign fails, that doesn't mean that every element within the campaign was a failure. Just dig into your data and find out what were those things that did work well. So it's like, "All right, well, we didn't get many conversions, but we had a really strong click-through rate. Let's keep that element. So maybe our call to action is really strong, but maybe it's something with the landing page or maybe it is something with conversion tracking." So try to identify what are those wins, even in the losses.

Brett:

Yeah, or maybe this particular audience didn't work well, but as we drill into some of the segments and combinations, we realize, "Oh, but there was one pocket of this audience that did great," and so now we know what to do as we build our next audience to test.

Matt:

Definitely.

Brett:

Cool. What else? Common hiccups and/or what do you do if the first few weeks don't go well?

Bill:

Yeah. So I see a number of accounts that we don't manage through our sales prospecting process where they're running custom intent, and I know that we sat here and four out of five specialists recommend custom intent. This is just a shell of an idea. It's just a tool, the way you build it, comes down to a little bit of geeking out and expertise. What is happening with these keywords? What do they mean to the robot that's running these ads and finding you an audience? You can't just throw custom intent out because it didn't work. That would be like, "Oh, I hired a construction worker and he used a circular saw and we hate circular saws now." It's how you use it.

Brett:

No circular saws. I love that. That's a good analogy.

Bill:

Yeah. So just make sure you're geeking out on it, testing new ideas within these tools, because you can't just throw out the tool because it didn't work the first time.

Brett:

Yep. Yep. Yep. Because, sometimes, it becomes clearer as you get into that what we thought about the buyer's mindset of people searching for these keywords was actually off, right? We may have thought, "Hey, I want to target buyers of a related product." Then we realized, "That's actually not our buyer. It's actually people that are going over here." So, yeah, don't throw out the tool just because you were using it incorrectly in the beginning. It's a great analogy, Bill. What else, guys?

Derek:

A lot of people also tend to think of ... I've worked with clients in the past where they're like, "Well, just increase this bid or just do this specific thing and that will fix this other metric," and they're not looking at the entire picture and not realizing that YouTube is not necessarily a mathematical equation or a scientific thesis. It's also kind of an art form, right? So understanding that it's both and being able to dive in and look at the metrics and say, "This is what the numbers are telling me," but then also looking at the more human side and artistic side when it comes to, "How does my creative resonate with the user? How do users that are searching X, Y, and Z term fall into a custom intent audience I may or may not have built?"

Derek:

I think that is all something that needs to go into, first of all, the plan that you set up when you're first launching but then your evaluation process in that first and second week when you're taking a look at what the performance may have been. Then, when it comes to just hiccups in general, I would just say be ready for them. Some of our most invested clients, most hands-on clients that you would never think would lose conversion tracking for a day have lost conversion tracking for a day.

Brett:

Developer makes a change, and, oops, they drop your code, and you're like, "Ah, why did you do this?" Well, I'm the developer. I don't care about your code.

Derek:

Exactly. Yeah, exactly. So the more that you can invest on that front side of the art and the science and building the momentum up the right way, the harder it will be for those little hiccups to make a dent into the momentum.

Brett:

Yeah. I would, just to piggyback on that, it's really good advice, Derek, thank you, is that expect hiccups. They're going to happen. If you're building something great and you're trying to scale, there's going to be little hiccups. We try to build the right foundation to minimize hiccups, but you're still going to have them, and you just roll with it and you adjust and you know what to do and you move forward. G-Money, you want to close us out?

Greg:

Yeah. I look at it very systematically. In other words, analyze the data, what's working, what's not. Make adjustments, whether that's campaigns, bids, creative. Then test, test, and re-test. What's unique about the platform is that it is very efficient and very easy and low cost to test multiple variants of the creative, the audiences, the different combinations. So I think the key is revise and re-test.

Brett:

Yeah, love it. I did let everybody answer that, right? Sheila, you started us off, is that right? Okay, awesome. Man, fantastic job. I wish I had a standing ovation sound effect that I would play right here. That was awesome, guys. You brought the thunder. Proud of you guys and impressed anyway, but this was just next level. It's always cool to get you guys all in the same room talking, well, virtually, all in the same virtual room talking. Super, super fun. You guys brought the value. So thank you, guys, well done, and we'll have to do this again sometime soon. With that, our journey is almost complete at this virtual event. Stick around, though. Next session coming up momentarily.

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