Ever had your Facebook ad account banned?

If so, I don't have to tell you: it's now more important than ever to diversify your traffic sources.

If you're not yet using YouTube ads? Now is the time to start scaling your traffic on this massively under-utilized traffic source.

In this case study, you're going to learn the 3 phase process our team used to take an info product that had been "banned" on Facebook, and how we used YouTube ads to scale it from zero to nearly $10k/day in profitable adspend (in under 6 weeks).

[edit: as of May 17, 2020, our daily spend on this offer is at $26k/day+]

Here's a screenshot of this process in action for the case study we'll be walking you through in this post:

We're going to cover:

Preparation phase:

  • How to Research Your Audience
  • How to Swipe & "Spy" on your competitors' YouTube ads with free VidTao software
  • How to Create Your YouTube Ads

Phase 1: Campaign Setup, Testing, Tight Targeting (Scaling from 0-$2k/day)

  • How to set up & launch your first campaigns

Phase 2: Targeting Expansion ($2k-$5k/day adspend)

  • How to scale from $2k/day to $5k/day

Phase 3: Turn on The Taps ($5k/day+ adspend)

  • How to scale from $5k-$10k+

Your YouTube video ad creative is the most important element when it comes to succeeding with YouTube ads.

So don't guess what might work. Instead, spy, swipe & model the YouTube ads your competitors are already running, right now. 

Go here to get free access to the YouTube ad Research & Spy Tool we built to discover & track competitor YouTube ads: Go here to get full free access.

Background: A Profitable Offer, Banned on Facebook

This client had a info product (relationship niche) that converted well on Facebook ad traffic before being banned again and again.

The client had almost given up on running paid traffic to this offer and was primarily relying on email traffic when we started chatting about testing YouTube ads.

We decided to start a test.

Starting budget: $200-$400/day 

Preparation Phase: Research & Create Your YouTube Video Ads

The first step to success on YouTube ads is this: create high-performing video ads.

Make no mistake: Your success or failure with YouTube ads depends on your video ads. 

Without good ads, you could have the best targeting and be the best media buyer in the world, and you still won't be able to make YouTube ads work. 

Also - Facebook and YouTube are very different platforms. A video ad that works as a Facebook ad will most likely NOT work on YouTube ad. (Of course feel free to test this yourself.)

So let's take a deeper look at the process we use to create YouTube ads that set you up for success.

Step 1: Research Your Audience

The first step is to understand your audience and what makes them tick, so your ads speak directly to their unique situation. Go here to see the survey process to use to uncover your market's deepest pain points, hopes and fears.

Step 2: Swipe & "Spy" on Your Competitor YouTube Ads

Next, you want to see what YouTube ads your competitors are running on YouTube, and see their performance over time. Download the free YouTube ad spy tool & research library we built called VidTao that allows you to:

  • "Swipe" any YouTube ad you see Track & performance on it over time
  • Search our database of thousands of YouTube ads for other ads that are working right now in your market.

Here's how it works:

Step 1: "Swipe" Your Competitor's YouTube Ads

Let's say you're on YouTube and you see an ad from your competitor. Once you've installed the free VidTao SwipeTube Chrome Plugin, all you have to do to "swipe" and start tracking your competitor's ad is simply click on the VidTao SwipeTube button in your Chrome toolbar, and the video will automatically be added to your "Swipe File" inside your VidTao dashboard. Check it out:  

vidtao youtube ad competitive research tool swipetube spy tool

Step 2: Discover & "Spy" on Your Market's Best YouTube Ads

In addition to "swiping" the ads you happen to see, you can also use the free VidTao YouTube ad database to research thousands of competitor YouTube ads and find the ones working right now in your market. Here's a quick look at how this works:

youtube ad competitive analysis spy tool vidtao-dashboard-search-walkthru-for-gif

(Here's a post we did walking through this process in more detail on how to spy on your competitors' YouTube ads.)

Let's say you have a financial info product you want to promote with YouTube ads.

Wouldn't you like to see how YouTube ads like this Motley Fool financial info product are doing? (Currently nearing $2 million USD in estimated adspend) Go here for a full breakdown of this ad.

With your Free VidTao YouTube research tool , you can not only find great-performing ads like this in your market, you can also track their performance over time to see if they've stopped working, or if they are still spending money on these ads, right now:


Want to find the YouTube ads that are working in your market right now? Get free access to our VidTao YouTube ad Research & Spy Tool we built to discover & track competitor YouTube ads here: Go here to get full free access.

Step 3: Create Your YouTube Ads

After you've researched your market and your researched your competitors' YouTube ads to see what's working, it's time to actually create your ads.

If you're new to YouTube ads, don't get scared.

You do NOT need a huge production budget to make winning ads on YouTube. In fact, all the ads used in this case study were shot with just an iPhone!

That's right. With just your smartphone you can create YouTube ads that you can profitably scale to $10k/day+ adspend.

Since this case study is of an active client, we can't share these actual ads themselves.  But we can share the proven YouTube ad frameworks & examples you can use to get started: 

With these examples as your inspiration - and again, with just your iphone - you'll be able to create high performing YouTube ads.

(Later on if you want to invest $500k+ to create an (amazing) Harmon Brothers ad? Feel free. But you're better off testing and iterating using low-cost production methods at first.)

Key Point: Use Modular Scripts - Test Multiple Hooks/Openers

The first 30 seconds are crucial to your YouTube ad's success:

  • 1st 5 seconds: Hook - Your viewer can't skip the first 5 seconds of your video - so you need to hook your viewer with this opener
  • 1st 30 seconds: Qualify - You pay after your viewer watches 30+ seconds of the video (or clicks), so we often want to qualify or exclude people during this phase

(Again - go here to see a full breakdown of the YouTube ad script framework we use that explains this in more detail)

Give yourself as many chances as possible by testing several variations of your video's opening 30 seconds. 

The diagram below shows the "modular" script approach we recommend (something we first learned from Tom Breeze and Shash Singh).

Use this approach to get several different video variations from a single shooting session:

vidtao modular youtube ad script format framework

Got a bunch of YouTube ad variations ready to test? Great!

Time for the next step: set up and launch your ads...

Phase 1: Campaign Setup, Testing, Tight Targeting (Scaling from 0-$2k/day)

Now it's time to set up your YouTube ad campaigns.

Campaign Structure & Naming

We like to isolate key elements of our campaigns as much as possible, so we can easily see at a glance the specific elements that are working / not working.

This is why campaign naming structure is so important.

Here is the campaign naming structure we recommend:

YouTube Ad Campaign Naming Structure

[Offer Code] - [Traffic Temperature: Warm/Cold] - [Targeting type: (Keywords/Placements/Custom Intent/etc.] - [Targeting Descriptor: (KW/Audience name)] - [Optimization/Bidding Type: (CPV/CPA/Maximize Conversions/etc.)]

Here is how the campaign name might look as an example:

WEZ - Cold - Keywords - Shark Tank - MC

We can tell now, at a glance, that this campaign is targeting the "WEZ" offer, it's cold traffic going to "Shark Tank" keywords with a Maximize Conversions optimization setting.

Ad Group Structure & Naming

Again: isolation is key. We want to see which variables (device, demographics, ads, targeting, etc.) are actually generating results, so we can cut under-performing elements and focus adpsend on what's driving results.

On the ad group level starting out we'll isolate placements (usually Desktop, Mobile, and Tablet). Down the line, once we get more data we'll also isolate by the demographic segments we see working well. So we'll have ad groups for "F 25-34 Mobile", for instance.

Inside each adgroup, place 3-5 of your ads. In this case study we started with just 3 top of funnel ads and tested more from there.

Targeting for Phase 1

One of the great things about YouTube ads is you have access to all of Google's user behavior data.

This gives us broader (yet still highly relevant) behavior-based audiences to target in our scaling phases (which we'll get into in a bit).

But for our launching & testing purposes, this data allows us to be very tightly targeted to make sure we are testing our ads to the most relevant users.

For this offer, we decided to focus our initial cold traffic campaigns on Keyword and Custom Intent audiences.

Here's Tom Breeze (with John Belcher) walking through a great way to grab your initial batches of Keywords

For this offer, we identified 2 keyword "bundles" of 15-50 keywords related to:

  • Common problems this market faced (think "How to [avoid pain]" & "How to [get desired result]"
  • Brand names for other solutions in this market (brandnames for apps and websites serving this market)

For each "bundle", for offers with broad appeal in the "Big 3" markets (Health, Wealth, Relationships) we're ideally looking for 500k to 1 million monthly search volume according to Google Keyword Planner.

However, don't stress if your offer is a bit more niche. If you can come up with keyword bundles with at least a few thousand monthly search volume, it can still be worth testing. Just recognize you'll be limited on scale.

guinea pig care youtube ads vidtao

For this offer, we started with 2 keyword bundles and made custom intent audiences for both.

For YouTube campaigns, "keyword" targeting looks at viewer behavior on YouTube and YouTube video metadata keywords, while "custom intent" targeting allows you to target users based on their recent behavior on the actual Google search platform.

Here is the custom intent audience we made for app/website brand names. You can see we were targeting 14 different brand names.

youtube ad custom intent audience vidtao

Here's a quick snapshot of the "problem/solution" keyword campaign settings. You can see how many keywords we were targeting (50 total) and how we paused a few keywords as we progressed with the campaigns and these particular keywords didn't perform well.

keywords for youtube ad campaigns

Warm Audiences

You'll want to leverage your warm audiences of YouTube channel organic video views, landing page visits, etc.

For this offer here is what we set up at first:

  • [Offer] - Warm - Visitors - Landing Page - CPV
    • (Tag-based audience of landing page visits, excluding conversions)
  • [Offer] - Warm - Viewers - As an Ad - CPV
    • (Create placement audience of your ad videos. Exclude conversions.)
  • [Offer] - Warm - Viewers - Organic - CPV
    • (Create placement audience of your organic videos. Exclude conversions.)

Note: these audiences will most likely not deliver much volume at first. Setting bidding to cost per view (CPV) helps maximize your reach with these very small audiences.

Bidding Methods

We usually start out cold campaigns on Target CPA or Maximize Conversions bidding. In this case study we used Target CPA to start.

Maximize Conversions bidding allows Google to auto-bid in each ad auction and spend your full daily budget while trying to get as many conversions as possible for that amount.

For this offer, our client's desired CPA for our testing phase was around $60 (same-day cost per acquisition). Because we wanted to be very conservative, we set up our first cold campaigns' Target CPA to $35.

What Conversion to Optimize For?

Google's AI/Machine learning engine ideally wants 7 conversions per campaign per day to optimize around.

When you're just starting to test and have smaller campaign budgets, this means you'll likely have better results when you optimize your campaign for events further "up the funnel" than the purchase event, like:

  • Time on page (dig into Google Analytics to see what specific time on page amount correlates to a higher likelihood to purchase)
  • Key event (for example, seeing the offer during 20 minutes into a VSL)
  • Add to cart
  • etc.

Let's say you're aiming for a $50 purchase CPA and a $10 add to cart CPA. If you are testing $100/day budgets, you will likely have better luck optimizing your campaign for that add to cart CPA, to give Google's AI/Machine learning algorithm more data points to optimize around per dollar spent.

Once you start scaling, it can make sense to start testing bigger budget campaigns pointed at conversions deeper in the funnel.

Notice from our setup from this case study campaign that we did NOT follow our own advice here. (We started out optimizing around a $35 CPA for the purchase event on $100/day budgets). These campaigns still worked great however.

Use conversion action sets to test optimizing around different conversion actions for specific campaigns.

YouTube Ad Campaign Roster (Ready to Launch) 

Here was the set of campaigns we launched with, with a total target spend of around $200-400/day to start:

  • [Offer] - Warm - Visitors - Landing Page - CPV 
    • (CPV bid: $0.25, Budget: $50/day)
  • [Offer] - Warm - Viewers - As an Ad - CPV 
    • (CPV bid: $0.25, Budget: $50/day)
  • [Offer] - Warm - Viewers - Organic - CPV 
    • (CPV bid: $0.25, Budget: $50/day)
  • [Offer] - Cold - Custom Intent - [problem KW] - CPA 
    • (CPA bid: $35, Budget: $100/day)
  • [Offer] - Cold - Keywords - [problem KW] - CPA
    • (CPA bid: $35, Budget: $100/day)
  • [Offer] - Cold - Custom Intent - [brand KW] - CPA
    • (CPA bid: $35, Budget: $100/day)
  • [Offer] - Cold - Keywords - [brand KW] - CPA
    • (CPA bid: $35, Budget: $100/day)

Troubleshooting Launch & Initial YouTube Ad Optimization KPIs

Let's take a look at some of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) we're looking at right after launch...

Click Through Rate (CTR)

The most important "top of funnel" YouTube ad metric we look at is Click Through Rate (CTR). We want a CTR of 1%+ to cold traffic.

Since we launch with audiences that are as tightly targeted as possible, if the ads are not getting at least 1% CTR to these highly relevant audiences, there is something wrong with the ads. You'll need to go back to the drawing board to create ads that resonate better with your audience.

  • Problem: Ad CTR under 1%
  • Solution: Go back to the ad research & creation steps we walked through earlier. Take a deeper look at your market's survey results, and use the free VidTao YouTube ad library & spy tool to research competitor ads that are seeing significant adspend.  See the format they are using successfully (especially the first 30 seconds of the YouTube ad) and model it in your own ads. Use this research to create 3+ more ads. 
    • Key Points:
      • Uncover your market's unique language around their pain points, hopes and fears - and echo this language back to them in your ads.
      • Research your competitors' YouTube ads with VidTao's YouTube ad library
      • Test new modular hooks & angles based on your research into competitor ads that are working. Focus on testing variations of the first 30 seconds of your ads.

Cost Per Click (CPC) & View Rate

Cost Per Click (CPC) and View Rate (the % of ad impressions that result in someone watching 30 seconds+ of your YouTube ad) are very closely related. This is because with YouTube ads you pay when someone: 

  • Views 30 seconds or more of your ads (which qualifies as a "view") 
  • Or when a user clicks through to your website 

Because of this, to keep your CPC (and as a result, your CPA) as low as possible, you want your View Rate within a somewhat narrow range.

  • A high view rate (over 30%) always means you're going to be paying a high CPC
  • A view rate of around 15% means you're going against a super targeted audience, and as a result you can afford higher CPV to get you decent CPC

So what to do if your CTR is great but your CPC is too high?

  • Problem: CPC high despite CTR of 1%+
  • Solution: Test new versions of your video ads, and test more tightly targeted audiences.


What if your campaigns aren't spending? If you haven't seen any spend on a campaign after the ads have been approved for 24 hours or more, there are a couple things you can try:

  • Problem: Campaigns not spending
  • Solution: Duplicate your campaigns but edit the bidding method or amount in the duplicated campaign.
    • Raise your target CPA bid by 20%+
    • Switch from Target CPA to Maximize Conversions bidding
    • Test a CPV campaign with $0.50+ CPV bid

*** Warning ***

Keep a close eye on all your campaigns - Google can and will occasionally suddenly spend 2x your daily budget on a campaign, especially with these more wide-open bidding methods.

Phase 1 Results + Breakdown

Let's take a look at our Phase 1 / week 1 results and breakdown. After spending around $200 on day 1, we saw good results and quickly ramped up and were spending around $1700/day 7 days later.

Phase 1 / Week 1 Results:

  • Adspend: $7,755
  • Conversions (Purchases): 124
  • Cost per Conversion: $62.54

Let's take a look at the results snapshot and then we'll get into what we tested for this first week of YouTube ads to this offer:

how to scale youtube ads info product vidtao

You'll notice that after 7 days, there are a lot more campaigns than just the ones we launched with.

Let's take a look at what we added to the mix...

New Audience: Similar Audience - Viewers

We made a remarketing audience of "viewers" (people who have viewed 30+ seconds of a video)right away. Google automatically makes a "Similar Audience" (the equivalent of Facebook's "lookalike" audience), by finding new users who are similar to those users who saw the videos.

Similar audiences of your viewers / website traffic / converters / leads or buyer email list / etc. are always great audiences to test.

In this case, we used "Maximize Conversions" bidding on this audience and started with a budget of $100.  

New Audience: New Keyword Bundles for Keyword + Custom Intent Audiences

We used the keyword strategy from earlier in this article to come up with another set of keywords, and built keyword and custom intent campaigns around this bundle. 

We tested both Maximize Conversions bidding as well as Target CPA ($120 CPA bid) on these new audiences, and started with a budget of $100 for each.  (Why the high bid?

New Audience: In-Market Audience

Google has a massive amount of data on each action a user takes online. And with access to literally billions of users' data, Google knows exactly which behaviors lead to purchases.

So each time a user in your market...

  • Searches for problems your business solves...
  • Starts clicking on your competitors' ads...
  • Visits your competitors' sites...
  • Starts engaging with their site in meaningful ways (time on page, opting in or adding to cart)
  • Or even actually buys your competitors' products...

Google knows.

And Google allows you to target these people as soon as they enter this buying research phase with something called an "In-Market" Audience.

There are over 700+ In-Market audiences Google has identified (Go here to download the complete updated list of In-Market audiences, direct from Google.)

These audiences have a lot of scaling potential. And as soon as we see that we have ads & an offer that works on tighter targeting (in this case, Keyword & Custom Intent), we want to start testing broader audiences with significantly more scaling potential.

So here, we looked at existing data to find the best In-Market audiences to test first. 

If you have Google Analytics set up on your site, you can do the same. Here's how to do it:

How to Find Your Best In-Market Audiences for YouTube ads

Here’s how to see which In-Market audiences are already working for your offer, so you can simply copy+paste them into your YouTube ad campaigns:

  1. Log into Google Analytics
  2. Click on “Audience”
  3. Click on “Interests”
  4. Click on “In-Market Segments”, sort by revenue (or whichever metric you prefer), and grab the top performing In-Market Segments.

You should see a breakdown of how In-Market audiences are already performing to your offer, like this:

how to find in market audiences for youtube ads vidtao

Remember the 3–5 top-performing audiences, which you’ll use for your initial In-Market tests.

(Note: if you don't have eCommerce tracking set up inside Google Analytics, you can look at other metrics like session duration to see the In-Market segments who are most engaged with your content)

These audience categories leverage Google’s thousands of data points on each user, and as a result have MASSIVE scaling potential.

Here were the campaign settings we started with for these In-Market audiences:

Budget: $100
Target CPA: $120

Phase 2: Targeting Expansion ($2k-$5k/day adspend)

Phase 2 is really just a continuation of Phase 1. You identify audiences with a good chance to work, and test proven creatives & bidding strategies against them.

But let's take a closer look at a few issues you'll need to be aware of at this point.

When to turn off a campaign?

Turn off a campaign when:

  • There is no delivery after 48 hrs
  • You've spent 2x desired CPA with no conversions
  • If CPA is too high

What to do when a campaign "dies"?

Campaigns (especially Target CPA) will sometimes simply stop spending. This is why you want to have as many successful campaigns as possible in the mix, so you're not completely dependent on one campaign's performance.

When a campaign dies, pause it and try re-launching a duplicate. 

How much to scale per day on campaigns that are doing well?

Scale campaigns that are working well by up to 20% per day.

How to avoid "Zombie" campaigns

Sometimes campaigns that have stopped delivering will suddenly "come to life" and start delivering again at very high spend. Performance is usually terrible since the campaign will have no recent learnings. To prevent this wasted spend, pause all campaigns that aren't delivering.

When do you need to add new creatives?

When you see your CPA rising across the entire account, try adding new creatives to the mix.

How to scale the account?

Here is the TL;DR of this entire post: 

  • Find a winning creative, run it against different audiences.
  • Scale the winning campaigns, cut the losers.

Phase 3: Turn on The Taps ($5k/day+ adspend)

After around 3 weeks of YouTube ad traffic, the client had solid data the the back end of this funnel was converting nicely. We were given the green light to raise our CPA to around $120 (same day click-based purchase conversion) and to scale further.

With lots of data already fed to Google, more budget at our disposal, and a higher CPA to hit, we could start opening up the traffic gates a bit more.

Here's what the account looked like (the top ~20 campaigns by spend) at the close of this case study period, spending $9565/day after just over 5 weeks of YouTube ad traffic:

Adspend: $114809.46
Conversions (Purchase): 1189
CPA (Purchase): $96.56

Let's walk through a few of the key learnings for scaling at this point:

how to scale youtube ads vidtao

New Audiences: Several New Keyword/Custom Intent Bundles

We added several new keyword/custom intent bundles to the mix, based on more customer feedback & further customer research.

New Audiences: Topics

Topic targeting allows you to show your YouTube ads to a broad category of YouTube content videos & channels that relate to whichever topics you pick. Here we found a couple topic targeting options that worked great.

New Audiences: Custom Affinity Audiences

Custom affinity audiences are a broader, yet still highly relevant, user-defined audience targeting option where you can target:

  • keyword phrases that define interests
  • website urls of websites with relevant content to your offer
  • stores / other product names / etc. relevant to your offer
  • apps relevant to your offer

In this case, we simply re-purposed the keyword "bundles" we had found success with for the Keyword & Custom Intent campaigns, and tested them as Custom Affinity audiences.

New Audiences: New Similar Audiences

We started testing similar audiences of as many relevant users as possible. In this case, the following similar audiences worked best:

  • Similar to users who viewed any channel video
  • Similar to users who viewed the ad videos
  • Similar to email subscribers

New Locations: "2nd Tier" Locations

Notice the "2TL" in some of the campaign names above. In this case study our main ads were targeting the "Big 5" english speaking countries by default (USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand).

In these "2nd Tier" campaigns we tested countries outside of this primary group.

Quick Summary...

Now you know the steps to take an offer that's converting on Facebook (or any other traffic source) and create a YouTube ad campaign to diversify and scale your traffic.

We walked through:

Preparation phase:

  • How to Research Your Audience
  • How to Swipe & "Spy" on your competitors' YouTube ads with free VidTao software
  • How to Create Your YouTube Ads

Phase 1: Campaign Setup, Testing, Tight Targeting (Scaling from 0-$2k/day)

  • How to set up & launch your first campaigns

Phase 2: Targeting Expansion ($2k-$5k/day adspend)

  • How to scale from $2k/day to $5k/day

Phase 3: Turn on The Taps ($5k/day+ adspend)

  • How to scale from $5k-$10k+

Campaign setup, bidding strategies, and targeting are crucial - but they are completely worthless if you have bad YouTube ads.

Your YouTube video ad creative is the most important element when it comes to succeeding with YouTube ads.

So don't guess what might work. Instead, spy, swipe & model the YouTube ads your competitors are already running, right now. 

Go here to get free access to the YouTube ad Research & Spy Tool we built to discover & track competitor YouTube ads: Go here to get full free access.

When you claim access to the free software, you'll also get regular updates with step-by-step content like this YouTube Ad Case Study on what's working right now to launch & scale your business with YouTube ads.

- Sponsored -

Inceptly: the performance video ad team behind $950M+ in direct response revenue

Inceptly High-Performance YouTube Advertising Agency

Inceptly builds YouTube ad creatives & manages over 5M USD/month in YouTube ad spend for companies like ClickFunnels, Descript, MindValley, Advanced Bionaturals, Organifi, and many more.

Are you spending over $1k/day on ads and looking to scale your business with YouTube ads?

Schedule your free YouTube ad brainstorming call here:

👉 inceptly.com/call

What are your YouTube ad questions?

In the meantime, 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 nice day!

The VidTao Team

Sign up for VidTao.com: The Free Tool to Discover & Track Your Market's Best YouTube Ads.

Are you spending over $1k/day on paid traffic and want to scale with YouTube ads? Schedule your free YouTube ad brainstorming call here: inceptly.com/call

VidTao.com is brought to you by Inceptly.com - High Performance YouTube Ad Creative & Media Buying Agency Managing $5M/month+ in YouTube Ad Traffic

  • Hi, Best YT ads case study out there!

    Couple questions…

    1. You say redo ads if CTR is under 1%. But after how many impressions/views/clicks/spend?

    2. You say redo ads/targeting if CPC is too high. What is too high?


  • Thank you so much for the tutorial. I have a question about keyword research. In the video they show to basically scrub keywords from YT search, but in your tutorial, the screenshot shows you doing research on the Keyword Planner.

    So which keywords did you end up using the ones from YT search, or the ones from the Keyword Planner?

  • You’re so awesome! I don’t believe I have read a single thing like that before. So great to find someone with some original thoughts on this topic. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!