5 YouTube Ads Best Practices For Maximum ROI

Published by Pedro Campos on

youtube ads best practices

I think you´ll agree on this…

YouTube ads can become annoying when not done properly.

However, if they follow these best practices, you´ll actually be happy to see more of them.

There´s a misconception out there saying that people hate advertising. That´s not true, people hate bad advertising.
If it´s relevant, valuable and creative, your prospects will be happy to see and click on your ads.

The goal of this post is to teach you some YouTube ads best practices so you can be the advertiser that creates video ads worth seeing and buying from.

YouTube Ads Best Practices

As you can probably tell, in this post, we´re going to mainly be focused on YouTube video ads, specifically creative or content.

We believe video is the best form of advertising. There are countless studies all over the internet showing the upward trend in video consumption.
It´s mind-boggling!

Video ads allow you to connect with your prospects over sound and image, stimulating two powerful senses, earing, and vision.

But there´s no need to oversell you on video ads, you already know they´re powerful.
That being said, let´s dive into the five best practices!

“Digital ads with a strong-performing creative drive 6x ROI compared to digital ads with an average creative performance.” ~ Nielsen

#1 – Hook ´Em In From The Start

Hook who?
Your prospects, of course!

Regardless of your YouTube video ad´s length, it´s imperative that you start it with a bang. It doesn´t mean you start shooting paintballs, it simply means you need to grab people´s attention.

You can use the following tactics, also known as pattern interrupts, to accomplish that:

  • movement
  • unexpected sound

Let´s break down each one to see how they apply in the real world.

Movement: starting your video ad with some sort of movement is more powerful than starting it static. Avoid any sort of static lecture!
A good yet simple example is approaching your face to the camera in the first seconds. Another is to start the video driving in your car.

Unexpected sound: this could be a disruptive sound of a cup, a door opening, or just someone saying “hey!”
It´s not set in stone, this requires some planning and creativity, you´ll also need to stay on brand and immediately connect with the person behind the screen.

These pattern interrupts when exaggerated, can have the opposite effect. The key here is balance, between capturing people´s interest and annoying them!

Make sure your audio effects and background match the theme of the message you´re trying to convey.

#2 – Pre Qualify In The First 20 Seconds

You probably already know that with skippable video ads, YouTube only charges you if someone watches past 30 seconds.

With this in mind, the last thing you want to do is rambling on and on past the 30 seconds.
Instead, you need to qualify your prospects as much as possible before they waste you a view.

Much like in a sales letter, qualifying is crucial and can be done by answering these questions:

  • who´s the product for?
  • what does their world look like right now? (problems, frustrations, desires)

You don´t need to over complicate it here!
Just focus on answering those two questions and talk them out in the first 20 seconds, if possible.

Here`s an example of a video ad script:

“As an accountant for 20 years now, I never thought I´d get to that point! I was overweight, unfulfilled, and felt like my marriage was falling apart.

Someone that´s not an accountant and doesn´t feel those emotions, won´t resonate with the message, thus skipping the ad before you pay for the view.
This is like magic, I´m telling you!

You can do this through a story, which is always more powerful, in the first or third person.

Also, make sure your audio effects and background match the theme of the message you´re trying to convey.
For example, you wouldn’t use nostalgic background music for an ad that requires an upbeat theme.

In your video ad, create open loops throughout the story to arouse curiosity.

#3 – Tell A Compelling Story

Stories sell.
We´ve both heard this somewhere at some point.

However, applying them to a YouTube video ad is a completely different story. Uau, that sounded good!

The point is that storytelling is an art, it takes time to master in print and even harder to master it on video. But if you have some guidelines, you´ll be less likely to get lost and make mistakes.

Here are some guidelines to help you craft a great story:

  1. don´t be vague in your story, talk about the details to get people involved and to picture in their head what you´re saying
  2. inject emotion, remember that people buy with their feelings, logic comes after
  3. create open loops throughout your story to arouse curiosity (example: “I´ll show you in a few minutes what I mean. But before that, let me…”)
  4. be genuine and really feel what you´re saying (it´s much harder to fake it on camera, people will sense it)

What I´ve shown you are just some of the most simple yet highly effective tactics you can use right away. There are more, of course!
My goal isn´t to overwhelm you but to give you something you can take with you and implement it.

There are countless resources and books about storytelling.
It´s always worth checking them out, if storytelling is something you want to master.

Once you get your viewers to start considering the implications of not taking action today, you´re more likely to have them take the exact action you want.

#4 – Talk About Implications

This tactic ties into storytelling. Implications are used by the best sales professionals to get prospects “over the fence.”

In other words, it´s your last chance to convince your viewers to take immediate action. Not tomorrow, next week, or a month from now, no… immediately!
So, how does it work in real life? Let me show you an example.

Imagine you´re 3/5 into your video ad when you say:

“…I can´t even think what would happen if I hadn´t made that change two years ago, I just didn´t want to get to the end of my life and regret it. Honestly, I feel like I couldn´t even live with myself!”

This is some powerful stuff! I´m giving you the goods here.

If you do it right, with emotions attached to your words, two things are gonna happen:

  • the prospect will start wondering he needs to make a change too
  • he will reach the conclusion that not deciding now will be more painful in the future than taking action

As you probably already know, humans beings will do anything to avoid pain.
Remember this all happens at a subconscious level, and pretty fast!

Once you get your viewers to start considering the implications of not taking action today, you´re more likely to have them take the exact action you want.
It could be a registration for a webinar, a PDF download, whatever!

Of course, this doesn´t guarantee all people will take action but the best prospects will.

When you make an offer on a video ad, it´s very important to set the right expectations by telling the prospect exactly what he will get once he takes action.

#5 – Strong Call To Action

At Advertongue, we see this across the board!
Ads without strong calls to action almost always end up underperforming.

I´d even say that if you don´t have a strong call to action, it´s not even considered an ad, it´s just a bunch of words.

Think about this… what´s the purpose of an advertisement?

Exactly, to get someone to take an action. That being said, without a call to action, people will just wonder “what the hell am I suppose to do next?”

I´ll tell you what happens when your prospects think like that: they don´t take any action!
So, here are some calls to action you can include at the end and even throughout your YouTube video ad:

Throughout the video (more subtle):

  • “We actually have a program on this…”
  • “You´ll see later that I´ve been able to help people like you do X!”
  • “… you´ll find a huge selection of clothes.”
  • “… maybe you have to see for yourself!”

At the end of the video (more pronounced):

  • “Click somewhere around this video to get instant access to the video series.”
  • “Thousands of people have already downloaded this worksheet, grab yours right now… it´s totally free!”
  • “Shop now at website.com”
  • “Sign up today and claim your coupon”

You´ve put in all this effort to get someone to watch your video ad until the end, don´t waste that opportunity.

Make your calls to action clear and concise.
It´s also very important to set the right expectations by telling the viewers exactly what they´ll get once they take action.

They might get a video series showing how to do X or a coupon for all line Y of products.

How Good Is Your YouTube Video Ad?

Sometimes, the best converting YouTube ads are not the ones with the highest level of production or high-end graphic arrangements.

Video is a medium that demands authenticity, not expensive production!
If the message on camera isn´t transparent and doesn´t arouse emotions, it will not connect.

Ultimately, if it doesn´t connect, it will most certainly not convert.
So, don´t worry about making your video ads perfect. Instead, focus on getting it done using some of the best practices shown here.

Lastly, if you want us to critique your YouTube video ad at no cost and share some recommendations to improve it, simply reach out by email.

Now, a question for you: what insights did you get from this article?

Share them in the comments below, we´d love to hear!

YouTube Ads Best Practices – Infographic

Pedro Campos

Pedro is the founder of Advertongue, a performance-based digital advertising agency. He is a paid media strategist for high-growth companies and experts all over the world, with over a million dollars in managed ad spend. You might have seen his content on sites such as Funnel Magazine, G2, Content Marketing Institute, or FitSmallBusiness, to name a few.


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