Google Week, Day 4a: marketing opportunities with YouTube, video ads and social media


video menu in YouTube channelThis is the fourth in my series on Google. Today we’ll have two posts; later today the post will be on analytics. Tomorrow’s post on the company and its corporate culture will wrap up the series.

 Google is #1 in search and search advertising, display advertising, and mobile search and advertising, so is it any surprise that its YouTube is also the #1 video site – by far. Brands have a huge opportunity to reach their audiences through both its free channels and paid ads, as well as using video ads on other Google Display Network sites. And Google provides ways to utilize social media to promote your brand, too.

YouTube and Video Ads

I used to produce marketing videos for companies and schools like IBM, The Boston Globe, Lotus Development, the MIT Sloan School and Groton School. Video can communicate in a way that text, photos, vines and animated gifs just can’t. There’s a reason why the average household has TV on several hours a day. Video is especially good at communicating emotion (the excited look in the eye when someone’s talking about your brand can be worth much more than the words that they’re saying), excitement, stories and process.

Google provides a number of options for brands to use videos in their ads across the Google Display Network and YouTube, creating CPC and CPM ads using the Ad Gallery in the AdWords interface. You have all of the targeting tools of text and image ads, whether you’re advertising a B2C or B2B company.

A newer option, and one that will be preferable for many advertisers, are TrueView ads. With TrueView, advertisers only pay when a person selects to watch the ad. You’ve probably seen these ads, the ones with a five-second countdown on the front, after which the user has the option to stop watching the ad. If you don’t watch it all the way through, the advertiser doesn’t pay. Since people can opt-out of ads that they don’t want to see, advertisers know that they’re only paying for a truly interested audience.

TrueView ad

Google offers three TrueView video ad options:

  • In-search: ads that display on the YouTube search results page
  • In-display: ads that display on the side of videos that people are watching
  • In-stream: ads that show before or during a video

The most popular videos  on YouTube are by musicians. Consumer brands like Coca Cola and Doritos have videos with millions of views, too. And B2B marketers can take advantage of this free service to reach their audience.

IBM, Cisco, Oracle and other B2B companies all have branded YouTube channels with tens of thousands of subscribers, and individual videos that have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. (Some of these companies have multiple channels for different brands, and for online education and support.) Now, those viewers are not kids who just watched the latest Mylie Cyrus video and decided to spend a few minutes learning about the Java SDK — they’re serious people in business who are doing research, very possibly in preparation to making a purchase. Why wouldn’t you want to be in front of them?

And on YouTube, Google also offers display ad options, such as text ads overlayed on the video, and display ads on the YouTube home page which has a huge amount of daily traffic and which can be very effective.


Social Promotion

Clearly social media is one of the fast growing areas of the Internet. Many consumers and B2B buyers are going onto social sites to get information about companies and, perhaps most importantly, to get recommendations from friends and colleagues. Recommendations are especially effective for promotion.

Google offers several options for enhancing marketing through social:

  • By adding Google +1 buttons to your site people can easily share with friends what they like about your offerings, and at the same time see other recommendations. When people search on the #1 Google search network they’ll see content that’s been +1’ed by people they know. (Remember how important social recommendations are in promotion.)
  • Google+ Pages for brands help you communicate basic information about your company and to post updates including new research, offers and other information that would be useful to your audience. (It’s not about selling all the time; you want to be a trusted advisor.) Information from the Google+ page, including updates, will be included in Google search results when people are looking for that company. Again, companies like IBM and Cisco have been very active with tens of thousands of followers each; major consumer brands like Starbucks have millions of followers on Google+.
  • Adding the Google+ badge to your website pages makes it easy for people to follow you on G+
  • Finally, add the social extension to your AdWords search ads so all of your +1’s are properly aggregated. Search ads with social extensions tend to have a higher click through rate.

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