Warm Up to Video this Holiday Season with YouTube

With the holiday season in full swing, more people than ever are turning to YouTube to help them shop. In fact, the number of people who go to YouTube is up more than three times year over year1. However unlike TV, YouTube isn’t just a place for brands with primetime budgets to connect with consumers. It has become a powerful tool for small and medium businesses which actually make up the majority of the video advertisers on YouTube. Over the last two years, the number of these advertisers has doubled.2

Small businesses like Cosatto, Ole Smoky Moonshine, and Homer Simpson’s Mr. Plow are using YouTube to connect with potential customers and make the most of the busy holiday season. Here are some tips for advertising on YouTube to help you get started.

1. Get mobile with YouTube

    More than 50% of YouTube’s video views happen on smartphones and tablets.3 In fact, YouTube videos on mobile alone reach more U.S. viewers ages 18 to 34 than any cable network.4 Businesses are realizing they can reach those customers with relevant video ads, when and where it matters. For instance, Cosatto, an online retailer specializing in high-quality strollers, baby travel systems and car seats, uses YouTube ads to connect with people researching baby products on their mobile devices.

    54% of all holiday shoppers say they plan to shop on their smartphones in spare moments throughout the day, like when they’re walking or commuting.5 To capture that attention, think of where your ideal customers live, where they go and what they watch. Use that information to tailor your video ads to the people who share your interests and live nearby. For Cosatto, half of all their video views come from people watching on mobile devices.

    2. Build your brand with video  

    People go to YouTube for all things do-it-yourself – searches relating to "how to" on YouTube have grown 70% year over year.6 So if someone searches for “how to make a holiday cocktail” and your company sells those ingredients, your video ad can show up in that moment. Ole Smoky Moonshine, a corn whiskey distillery from Tennessee, wanted to position itself as a great addition to specialty beverages for holiday parties. To raise brand awareness ahead of the holiday season, the company partnered with their agency VaynerMedia to introduce the “C’mon Live a Little” tagline among their key audience of 21-to-34-year-olds in zip codes near their distilleries. The campaign featured a series of short TrueView video ads which drove a 22% increase in brand awareness and 1,115% increase in related keyword searches.

    To stand out, include your business logo, a link to your website (or phone number) and a strong call-to-action in your video ad. Having a memorable ‘hook’ at the start of the ad can also capture people’s attention, lead to more views and increase the chances they’ll search for your business afterwards.

    3. Get meaningful metrics

    You want to know when your advertising is working, and YouTube analytics lets you keep an eye on the metrics that matter most – including how long people watch, how many viewers visit your site, and how many people share, like and comment on your ad. With YouTube’s TrueView video ads you only get charged when someone chooses to watch your ad, so every view you get is deliberate and can be measured. For example, Mr. Plow is a snowplow business in Springfield owned by Homer Simpson. In our new ad spot, he uses TrueView video ads to showcase his snowplowing capabilities to neighbors watching videos online throughout the busy winter season. Video advertisers like Homer can see how people are engaging with his video ad and use this information to make small but important changes to their campaigns. Are people not finishing your video ad? Consider shortening it. Is your view rate lower than you’d like? Potentially make the first five seconds more interesting.

    We hope you can use these tips to creatively showcase your business on YouTube this holiday season and beyond. You can learn more here, and best wishes as you wrap up the holiday season.

    Posted by Claire Mudd, Head of Americas SMB Marketing

    1. Google earnings call, Jul. 2015
    2. Google data, Q4 2013 - Q4 2015
    3. Google earnings call, Jul. 2015
    4. Google-commissioned Nielsen study, Dec. 2013 - Feb. 2015
    5. Holiday Shopping Trends 2015: 3 Predictions for Retailers, Nov. 2015
    6. Google data, U.S., Q1 2014-Q1 2015