Google is opening its AdWords for Video up to the masses, making a big push for small- and medium-sized businesses to jump aboard. The functionality, which brings YouTube video buying into AdWords, began its public beta in September, and Google has made a few tweaks to reporting and measurement for the wide release.
“A lot of what we are focused on is how to make video ads much, much easier for all businesses,” said Lane Shackleton, product manager for YouTube. One thing we’ve learned from YouTube, he added, is that “businesses are harnessing the power of video in new and interesting ways.”
While agencies and large advertisers have long had access to Google’s video inventory, the wide launch of AdWords for Video marks the company’s effort to bring video advertising to local and national small businesses. Now that most people have widespread access to digital video creation, be it in a smartphone or in a handheld Flip Video-like device, Google wants them to focus on their businesses instead of their cute toddlers or cats.
Touting Success Stories
To that end, the company has recruited ambassadors, a set of nine small businesses — including Philadelphia-based motorcycle gear shop Revzilla Motorsports and Zagg, a company that makes protective shields for electronic devices — to serve as examples of the way video can be used by small businesses.
As Gary Vaynerchuk proved the power of video in promoting the New Jersey-based Wine Library shop with review program WineLibrary TV, Shackleton says most small business owners are subject matter experts in their fields — something that can make for good video content.
“They see that they are the experts in some niche,” said Shackleton. “It doesn’t have to be high production values…advertisers creating their first video fits in well on the YouTube ecosystem.”
Shackleton says Google provides tools to help small businesses create compelling videos, including a video creator it launched with American Express called My Business Story. The company also previously developed the Advertiser Playbook, a 121-page PDF that guides advertisers in creating successful YouTube videos.
TrueView Ad Formats
AdWords for Video advertisers only pay when viewers either click to watch an ad, or — with pre-roll formats — watch at least 30 seconds of the ad content. Formats available include TrueView in-stream, TrueView in-search, TrueView in-display and TrueView in-slate.
TrueView in-stream ads appear as a pre- or mid-roll on short or long-form YouTube videos. TrueView in-search ads (formerly branded as Promoted Videos on YouTube) show up when people search on YouTube or Google video search. TrueView in-display (similar to the old Click-to-Play format) go onto the Google Display network, and TrueView in-slate appear in a “slate” of multiple videos before long-form video on YouTube. In-search and in-display videos that play on YouTube can also have call-to-action overlay elements.
New Traffic Estimates And A Post-View Report
With the wide release of AdWords for Video, the company has made some tweaks based on advertiser demand. The first is a new way of targeting that allows advertisers to see an estimate of how much traffic they’ll receive when they input their targeting parameters along with their budget and bid price.
“It has been a multi-year request from video advertisers,” Shackleton said. “They want to understand what they’re going to get before buying ads with us. This is a really difficult engineering problem that we hope to have finally solved.”
The company has also made some changes to simplify campaign management and make the user experience consistent with the regular AdWords program.
Additionally, advertisers will now be able to see reporting on what happens after their video ad is viewed — such as if a user goes on to subscribe to the business’ channel or watches additional videos from the advertiser. The idea is to capture other actions of value related to the video ads.
It will likely be a challenge to get small businesses producing video content in droves. After all, the company created AdWords Express to meet the needs of busy small business owners, who are likely in charge of everything from marketing to accounting to sales. Still, Shackleton tells some compelling stories, such as the toymaker Rokenbok, which “showed people how cool their products were through video,” he said, “and now more than 50% of their business comes from YouTube.” However, Rokenbok only looked to video because the population of speciality toy stores — the venue where it used to show off its toys — has declined dramatically.