Google has made some big changes to YouTube ads in the past 30 days!

Here we’re going to cover one of the biggest shifts, as well as share some of the data / KPI baselines we are seeing after spending over $5M on ads in this “new normal” ad environment.

Update #1: Bye Bye TrueView for Action, Hello Video Action Campaigns

September 30, 2021 was the last day to create a new TrueView for action campaign.

Any existing TrueView for action ads will continue to run until early next year. But starting early 2022, all existing TrueView for action campaigns will automatically upgrade to Video action campaigns.

As a Video Action Campaign, your ad will not just show in the in-stream placement. It’s also going to show up in the discovery placement (more on this below), and there is currently no way to exclude this additional placement.

What’s the biggest difference between Video Action Campaigns & TrueView for action campaigns?

Video Action Campaigns use Responsive Video Ads, which allows the ads to show as either a Video Discovery ad, or an In-Stream ad.

You’ve seen these Responsive Video Ads, which show up in the YouTube newsfeed (see inside the green highlight box in the screenshot below):

When the video shows up in the discovery feed, the viewer does not see a playing video here, just a thumbnail, headline, description, and call to action (CTA) button.

When the viewer clicks on your ad, they are taken to a view similar to the following screenshot, where they can actually watch the video, see the video title, and click on multiple CTA sitelinks, like this:

You’ll now need to provide the following copy elements for each of your videos:

  • Headline (100 characters)
  • Description (2x35 characters)
  • Video title
  • CTA text
  • Business name
  • Sitelinks (25 characters each)

Key Takeaways:

Most important, you need to specify a thumbnail for your Responsive Video Ad, which again will show in the discovery feed. Just like for Facebook, native ads, and other platforms, this thumbnail image is crucial to getting your viewer to click so they can actually watch the ad and take action.

Make the video title compelling. When clicking on the Ad, it's shown as a ''regular'' video, with its title being visible to viewers. Video ad title should be appealing to the viewer, which wasn't the case before.

Importance of Sitelinks:  A way to drive even more engagement is to have relevant extensions (such as Sitelink extensions) that will positively affect overall ad engagement & performance.

Possible Thumbnail CTR boosting “trick”? According to one Google rep we spoke to, swapping your thumbnail image after your ad is approved will NOT re-trigger the approval process. So yes, you might be able to get away with a more “clickbaity” thumbnail, after the fact. Use at your own risk…

KPI Breakdown: TrueView for Action vs. Video Action Campaigns

Yes, it’s troubling that we have no control over whether an ad shows up in the in-stream or discovery placement. 

But first, some good news: 

In the initial tests we’ve run, Video Action has outperformed TvA in almost every case,  so this should be a positive change overall.

You might be wondering a few more things:

What % of impressions go to discovery vs. in-stream placement? We’re seeing anywhere between 10% to even 50% of impressions going to Responsive Video Ads in the Discovery placement.

What exclusions are working? Consider excluding showing ads on apps categories in order to avoid losing more money than needed. For instance, we recommend excluding this placement:  mobileappcategory::69500 

What View Rate / CTR / CPV are you seeing for Responsive Video Ads vs.  TvA? 

View Rate: TvA 15-30% vs. 0.5%-1.5% for discovery ad format

CPV: Mostly higher on discovery ads, in some cases are the same and in some cases from 10%-100% higher (remember the viewer has to click on the ad in the discovery placement in order to even see the actual video play)

CTR: 0.05% - 0.20% on discovery ads vs. 0.5% - 2% for TvA

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So there you have it: the latest on the new TvA transition to Discovery ad format. Stay tuned for more YouTube ad platform updates!

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What are your YouTube ad questions?

In the meantime though, what questions do YOU have about YouTube ads?

Let us know in the Comments section below, and we’ll make sure to cover your question in an upcoming post.

Have a great week!

The VidTao Team

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