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Nail Youtube Advertising To Promote Your Online Courses

Nail Youtube Advertising To Promote Your Online Courses

While millions of online course creators flock to Facebook Ads for its ease-of-use and wide-range targeting options, many avoid YouTube Ads in particular "because video is complicated and expensive."

Can YouTube ads be tough to grasp? Sure, at first. 

But overlooking this opportunity is a recipe for disaster.

Video content is powerful. If you're looking for growth, profits, brand awareness, YouTube ads are the way to go. But if you're hesitant to invest in Youtube ads to promote your online course and not feeling it out yet, we've got you covered. In this article, we'll help you navigate some of the confusing aspects of Youtube advertising to get over the initial hurdle. 

By the time you're done with this article, you'll learn:

1. Why Youtube advertising can make your course sales soar.

2. What types of Youtube ads are there.

3. How much does Youtube advertising cost.

4. The formula of the perfect Youtube ad.

5. How to laser-target the right audience.

6. 3 pointers for Youtube advertising .

7. 3 common mistakes (& how to avoid them).


Why Youtube?

The biggest reason to use YouTube advertising to promote your online course is YouTube's epic user base.

How epic are we talking about?

It's the world's second-most visited website right after its parent company, Google. Three hundred hours of videos are uploaded every minute, 2 billion logged-in visitors a month, and a whopping 48% of marketing investment in YouTube ads

YouTube has something for everyone. It attracts an even split of men and women, with a majority of people from each age group using it, which offers a healthy range of advanced audience targeting options.


Why Do Youtube Ads Work So Well For Online Course Promotion?

If you're looking for reasons to get started with Youtube advertising, here are five benefits you'll find useful:

1. Low advertising cost

If you're a beginner or working with a tight budget, Youtube ads can be your preferred choice. Advertisers only pay for videos that users choose to watch and engage with. 

2. A purchase inspiration

Youtube users are actively searching for products which explain why there was a 2X increase in watch time for "which product to buy" videos.

3. Brand discovery 

90% of shoppers have discovered new brands and products on YouTube, according to Google.

4. Ads are watched on Youtube.

How many channels do you know where users actually enjoy watching ads on? With 72% of people watching in-stream video ads until the end, Youtube officially proves to be the best platform for users to watch ads.  

5. In-depth reporting 

The data you receive during your advertising campaigns covers your ads and those who interacted with them to help you get to know who your audience is, what content they enjoyed before they went on to buy any of your courses.

Basically, if you're looking for an enormous user base with highly targeted features, YouTube advertising may be just the ticket.

Now that you're (hopefully) convinced to take a step forward in YouTube ads, let's hop into the different ad formats available. 


How Many Types Of YouTube Ads Are There?


There are six types of YouTube ads:

1. TrueView ads

2. Non-skippable instream ads

3. Bumper instream ads

4. Sponsored card ads

5. Overlay ads

6. Display ads

The choice of the ad format is based on your preferred ad placement, target devices, and budget. Let's briefly get into each to give you a better idea.

What Are YouTube TrueView Ads?


This is the main advertising format on YouTube — and for that reason, we'll be going more in-depth about this type than the others.

Google reports that eight out of ten Youtube viewers prefer TrueView to other In-Stream video ad formats because it gives them the most control over the advertisements they see.

But TrueView ads work great for businesses too.

You only pay for ads that viewers watch for at least 30 seconds or interact with, like clicking on a CTA. 

This is low-risk and awesome, which gives you the opportunity to filter irrelevant audiences with targeted massage in those 30 seconds to avoid unprofitable spending.

You get to spend your budget only on interested viewers, saving you money and improving your targeting to reach a more interested audience.

A TrueView video ad's maximum length is 6 minutes, and the minimum is 12 seconds. But you can experiment with different creative formats. 

For example, Grammarly's testimonials and product demos in their TrueView ads have generated a massive 54.4% of their social media traffic.

What's more, businesses that use TrueView can see views of existing content increase by up to 500%, according to Google.

TrueView ads have two major types: In-Stream ads and Discovery ads. Let's take a closer look at each of them.

TrueView Instream Ads

They play for 5 seconds before a viewer's chosen video, and then viewers have the option to keep watching or skip your ad. If they watch 30 seconds of it (or the entire duration of the ad if it's under 30 seconds) or engage with it: whichever comes first, then you pay for that view. 

If they skip your video ad after those five seconds, then you won't be charged.

Just like this ad 




TrueView in-stream ads also feature a small countdown timer and a link to the advertiser site in the bottom left of the screen.

What's more, marketers can customize them with calls-to-action and text overlays.

Next up?

TrueView Discovery Ads

TrueView Discovery ads don't show up in videos. Instead, they appear within the Youtube search results and in the right-hand sidebar based on the viewer's search history, and video content previously watched. 


The ads consist of a thumbnail and up to three lines of text. Upon clicking on a video discovery ad, the YouTube video ad won't actually play but directs them to the YouTube watch page or relevant channel page to play the video.



What Are Non-skippable Instream Ads?


They're the opposite of skippable ads and play only on desktop and mobile devices and, of course, can't be skipped. 

Just like the skippable ones, they can also be placed either in the beginning, end, or middle of a video. They must be between 15 and 20 seconds, and here's an example of how they look like:



Unlike TrueView ads, non-skippable ads are paid on a CPM basis which stands for cost-per-mille. This means that advertisers pay a fee per thousand views, making targeting supercritical to avoid wasting your advertising budget. 

CPM advertising is best suited to achieve massive exposure, such as the Apple example below.



What Are Bumper Ads?

They are a type of non-skippable ads that play for up to six seconds immediately before a viewer's chosen video, just like this 6-second ad from Swarovski.



While bumper ads are not very common, they are still very effective, especially in brand awareness. A study from 2016 has shown that 70% of brands had an average increase of 9% in brand awareness using bumper ads,

That's amazing, right? 

Payment is also made on a CPM basis and takes part in larger YouTube advertising campaigns. 

Now for our fifth YouTube ad type.


What Are Sponsored Card Ads?


These ads show up as either a small "i" icon on the upper right side of your video or as content blocks on the video, making them a super unobtrusive form of YouTube advertising. Advertisers can use them to showcase other YouTube videos and products through Google Shopping.

Here's an example of how they look like:



What Are YouTube Overlay AdS?

Perhaps these are the simplest form of YouTube advertising. They are banner ads that show at the bottom of videos, just like the example below.



They can also be text-based, like in the example below:


What Are YouTube Display Ads?

Display ads have been around for a while; they show in the right sidebar above the suggested videos list and can be displayed in different sizes.


Now that you know the different YouTube advertising formats, you're probably wondering how much you'll need to budget for your campaign's ad spend.

There's no straightforward answer to this, so let's dive into the nitty-gritty. 

How Much Does Youtube Advertising Cost?


Every time you ask this question to a Youtube specialist, you can get a different answer. That's because five different elements define YouTube ad expenses; let's take a look at them.

1. What Is Your Specific Goal?

You can either pick one of these predefined options from Google Ads:

• Drive sales

• Generate leads and conversions

• Send traffic to your site

• Boost product or service discovery 

• Broaden reach and build awareness

Or "Create a campaign without a goal's guidance," but this is better left for experts as it is an advanced setting.

Take your time to nail this and specify exactly the goal you want to achieve because it determines the options that will be available for you regarding the ad type and bidding strategy.

Pro Tip: Always know your KPI’s before you touch the ad account.

2. What Is Your Budget?

Specify your daily budget and multiply it by the duration you wish to run your campaign. A $10 daily budget is a good start, and a duration of at least two weeks is ideal for gaining traction before making any changes.

The amount you get will be divided throughout the duration of your campaign, which means the ad price can be higher or lower than your budget on certain days, but it will eventually average out. You will only be billed the amount you set, even if the total views or impressions exceed what your budget allows.

Pro Tip: Set your daily budget to x10 your Target Cost Per Acquisition (TCPA) and always calculate your Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) based on every step of the funnel including retargeting so you would know your blended profitability and KPI’s in order to profitably manage your ad account.

3. Which Targeting Methods To Use?

Strategic targeting that is not too wide or too narrow helps you reach the right audience.



While checking all boxes results in a higher impression volume, it doesn't necessarily guarantee you'll hit your business goal. Instead, choose the 

demographics that best fit your buyer persona to maximize the price of YouTube ads. 

Pro Tip: Layer/stack your audiences against each other or with specific keywords to create narrow, hyper-focused ads.

4. Which Ad Type Works Best?

Find the type and pricing combination of YouTube ads that work best for your brand in the previous section.

5. Which Bidding Type To Use?

Bidding on Youtube is set per specific keywords, but if other marketers are bidding for the same keyword, Google will display the highest bidder's ad. To make every dollar count, you'll need to choose one that maximizes the cost of YouTube ads. 

Pro Tip: Always start with the TCPA bid strategy.

While Youtube ads can be more engaging than PPC marketing, without strategic planning management, the costs can snowball in no time. 

A Youtube marketing agency may require upfront fees on top of the costs mentioned above, but finding a partner with a proven track record in terms of campaign results and client relationships will help make your campaigns pay for themselves while you're earning profits exponentially. 

Reach out to one of our Youtube marketing specialists to learn more about and start leveraging YouTube advertising benefits now. 

The key takeaway is to clearly define your ad campaign goal before distributing your ad spend.

With costs out of the way, let's explore ways to make your Youtube advertising more effective. 

The Perfect YouTube Ad Formula

It's a seemingly simple but challenging process that's centered around covering three points:

  • Start with the people you are targeting in mind.
  • Plan and create the campaign content inspired by what they enjoy watching and sharing. 
  • Integrate appropriate slang, humor, memes, references, and setting with your brand story.

Matching the message and a creative with the target audience is the ONLY variable in the success or failure of your campaign. 

Pro Tip: Start with an emotional hook answering the customer question “what’s in it for me?” Then add your first CTA as some people would be ready to go to the landing page without watching the whole video.

If you have the resources and time to run surveys and focus groups, this can help you learn more about the content your target is already consuming. Otherwise, you can get insights by setting up a display remarketing campaign and targeting the audience of paying customers. The aim for this is to mine data on where the ads get shown, so don't worry much about perfecting it. 

How To Laser-Target The Right Audience

There are plenty of targeting options offered by google for YouTube advertising.

  • Channel target

You have the option to pick the channels where your ads should appear on. You can find this option in the "Placements" section when creating a new ad group or campaign. Also, the insights that you previously gathered from your remarketing campaign can be used here as well. Your choice must be based on the channels with high volume and good performance across CTR and CVR.

  • Specific videos target

You can handpick specific videos like those of your competitors to show your ads in.

  • Topics or categories target

You can broadly target videos by topics and categories.


  • Search history target

You can choose to show your course ad only to people who have searched for relevant terms. 

Keep in mind that successful targeting heavily depends on the range of locations and the size of the audience. Targeting a small town requires going broader in terms of topics, in-market audiences, and channels.

However, a larger potential audience (tens of millions) requires custom audiences or specific placements to cut away the low-quality views.  


3 Pointers For YouTube Advertising


Although Youtube advertising captures 84% more attention than TV advertising ads, it doesn't mean you can cut corners. Your Youtube ad should still be compelling and speak to your viewers' emotions.

Here are 3 YouTube ad best practices for you. 

Set Up Video Remarketing

Video remarketing is a way to follow your website visitors with ads in other places. As creepy as it might sound, it is by far one of the most effective targeting methods. The great thing about it is that it's relatively easy to set up, and once configured, you just track the effectiveness.


Create Human Content

You must focus on producing high-quality video content but think of quality as not your typical advertisement. Aim for something relatable that feels natural and native, not annoying and disturbing. This can be a compelling story, a joke, or even a prank that has your audience on the floor laughing. 

Drive Action

 Having a brilliant ad is one thing, but getting measurable results and sales from that ad is another. To reach your video ad goals faster, make sure your CTA directs people to a landing page to grab their email in exchange. This is critical for building an email list and nurture a sale with potential customers later on. 



3 Common Youtube advertising mistakes and how to avoid them 


As much as you want to sell your online course by doing what's right, you need to avoid major mistakes that might ruin your campaigns. Here are 3 major mistakes which can hamper your growth and revenue:

1. Poor-Quality Videos

Not only do people love high-quality, high-definition videos, but a poor-quality video can leave a bad impression on your brand reputation.

2. Impatience

Great results come with great persistence, which requires time and effort. Be patient and don't quit.

3. Wrong Ad Format Choice

Choosing the wrong ad will cost you time, effort, and money and will fail to achieve the expected return on investment (ROI).

Pro Tip: Depending on the brand guidelines you would like to control where your ads are shown with the ads inventory option.

Ready To Roll Your Youtube ads?

Over two billion users use YouTube as an educational or product research tool. What's more, video content is expected to claim 82% of all web traffic by 2022. It can feel overwhelming at first, but incorporating YouTube ads into your marketing strategy may be one of the best things you do and well worth getting to grips with.


Rayed Chaudhry

Rayed is passionate about marketing and interested in learning new ways to hack (legally) marketing platforms to help businesses achieve growth using unconventional methods. Prior to starting Orion, Rayed has worked in various marketing positions and spent millions of dollars across different ad platforms.