The Biggest Mistake People Make Starting Their First YouTube Ads Campaign

YouTube is the second most popular search engine on the planet (ahem, 3 BILLION+ searches per month), and will soon (if it hasn’t already) eclipse television entirely when it comes to viewership.
So it’s natural that a lot of advertisers are beginning to wonder if it’s right for them and dip into the googly waters.
But it’s important to do it right, because like all forms of digital advertising, you have to know how to leverage it to be truly successful.

We dove into this question head first in our first (of many!) YouTube Ads Accelerator podcast. And we gave some handy and crucial tips on what to do (and not to do) when starting out.


Release Date: 7/19/19

Host: Matt Johnston

00:18 Welcome everybody to the show. So excited that you’re here. I’m so excited that we’re finally doing this. Finally, kicking off this podcast. Spent a long time in the making a long, long time in the making. Um, very, very, very excited to get started and uh, and set the tone for what I know is going to be a really an incredible run. Um, and I’ve, I wanted to sort of tell you a little bit what this podcast is all about. Again, I’m Matt Johnson. I’m the CEO of guide social where a Youtube ads advertising agency. Um, and uh, I just wanted to tell you a little bit about myself and about what this show’s going to be like, um, before we get into the value because really that’s what this is the show’s gonna be all about, is helping you dominate Youtube advertising. That’s what it’s all about.

01:08 I’m going to be bringing on a lot of amazing guests. I have some incredible folks lined up. And you’ll also just, uh, have me here and Jamie Barbara, who is also an awesome part of our company. She’s our Cxo, um, whose deep in the weeds of Youtube advertising of course as well. And we’re just going to be talking about all things youtube. Uh, so some episodes you might have a, an amazing interview with somebody else. I’m amazing cause I’m doing it. It’s going to be an amazing, just a, hopefully get the best people on here that we can. We’ve already got some great folks lined up, uh, and also just, uh, have plenty of episodes where a May just be us giving some value to you. You know, just taking us through what we’re seeing day to day inside our Google ads accounts as we’re running youtube ads every day and we’re, you know, we’re pushing, um, thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars through youtube all the time.

02:04 And so, uh, we’re obviously very qualified to talk about what’s happening. It’s ever changing, ever evolving. Uh, behavior patterns of Youtube users is, is of course changing all the time. But, but it remains core to the true purpose. Um, I’m going to start a little bit telling you a little bit about me. I’m, I, uh, [inaudible] I started this company originally as a, as a, as a Facebook ads company way back in the day. And we were doing Facebook ads for a while, long time. Um, and it was fine. Uh, and, uh, you know, it was going well. I, uh, I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m, I, I became part of a large Facebook advertising community and, uh, it’s, it really is an amazing community and Facebook can be an incredible way to advertise. Um, always sort of found it a little more frustrating sometimes than I would like at times.

02:56 And, you know, I think I always had it in the back of my mind that, you know, maybe there was something else. Um, and, uh, you know, my background is in video, so, um, just for me, I actually spent, I spent my twenties directing theater in New York City, which is kind of a funny thing. Um, I spent seven years there just living in maybe New York City apartments, um, all across, all across the New York City area. Um, all the boroughs have, like I live in Everett. No, I never live in Queens. I lived in every borough except for Queens. This is a weird thing, but, um, uh, I was directing theater, um, forever, so I always had that storytelling background going on. I went back to school for journalism. Uh, I went to Grad school at Syracuse and we, uh, I, I studied digital journalism, broadcast journalism, went into produce television news, um, in Las Vegas, uh, before I moved down to what became, uh, an amazing career in digital video.

04:01 So I was producing, I was, I was, I was running video teams largely. Um, I was at business insider for a couple of years. I moved on to New York magazine where I built their video program from scratch. And then I, uh, I was hired briefly by Rodale before they sold the company. And then we moved on to, uh, I’m, I moved on and now this, which as you probably know, is the number one video publisher on Facebook. So I built a, I built a couple of lifestyle channels there. I’m really proud of our work. And then I started this company. Uh, I’d wanted to, you know, like, like so many of us, I went out on my own. Um, I, uh, I went the entrepreneurial route. I wanted to start my own business and, uh, I found a community and I started a Facebook ads agency and, you know, I, I got, I got into it, you know, obviously we got lots of good results for our clients and very happy about that.

04:53 But, um, there was something always nagging about me, a nagging at, you know, video, video. Matt, your background is in video. You know, you have such a strong background in video. What on earth are you doing completely ignoring the video side of Your Business? You know, why are you ignoring the video side of your business? And it was a good question and I’m glad I asked it of myself because, uh, it really, it really got me thinking, you know, it really, it really got me thickened. And coincidentally, I ended up going to a retreat, uh, for, uh, a mastermind event, um, in the Pacific. And I hung out with some amazing people. One of them was Tom Breeze and Tom is a, some would say the number one youtube ads guy in the world. And, uh, we sort of, uh, we got to know each other while we were there.

05:49 And he talked to me about Youtube ads. You gave a presentation and then we went on to chat. And, uh, he ended up taking me his wing, uh, as, as, as my sort of mentor. Um, and as I started testing youtube ads for myself, uh, I was seeing the power, you know, I mean, as we were becoming expert in it, we were seeing the power of it, uh, because we, we could already do a video. That was, that was, that was my background. And so it was very easy to transition there. Um, but then of course, you know, is this gonna be actually the thing and the, the results came in so, so strong. The, the, the quality of the traffic we were driving was so good and uh, it just, it just turned, it was such a, it’s such, seemed like such a perfect niche for us.

06:38 It actually did not take us long, Jamie and I to decide, you know, what we need to pivot this business and here we are, guide social is now a 100% youtube ads and video marketing agency. We also do some brand awareness campaigns for large companies, but mostly we are a youtube ads agency and a, that’s why I’m very excited to bring you this podcast because there just aren’t a lot of us out there that are in youtube ads all the time. Like seeing this stuff happen all the time and know how to get results in the platform because it is very different. It’s its own unique animal. It’s, it’s uh, it’s, if you’re moving from Facebook ads to youtube, it’s quite different. If you’re moving from Google to youtube, it’s not as different. But at the same time you have this whole wrench of the video creative.

07:26 So I wanted to create this show so that I can help demystify so people just let you know what I’m seeing and, and also for all the big questions that I have of course perspective is the key to life, or at least I like to think it is. And um, hopefully bring in some, bringing some amazing people too to tell you how they’re running youtube advertisements. Uh, I’m also really excited, uh, about the breadth of folks that we’re going to be bringing on the show. We’re going to be bringing in some folks also that are expert video production folks that can really tell you how to shoot the perfect dad. Whether you want to shoot for comedy, a drama, empathy, whatever. You should always be shooting for empathy. Empathy is everything. It’s the heartbeat of the Internet, right? Um, and uh, also, but writing, you know, how to write great ads, obviously the creative is extremely important.

08:21 Uh, we’ll talk to some youtube advertisers as well. We’ll probably a in general just talk to people that understand funnels as you want, as as they run through. Because of course it’s one thing to drive really qualified traffic as youtube does to funnels and websites. But once you get there, then what happens? You know, what’s the offer when that happens and how does it differ when you have youtube advertising running traffic into a funnel? What do they look like down the funnel? I mean, they, they have a tendency to convert much better. Uh, but what does that in the trenches? So I, I actually, I think the sky’s the limit, but I’m very committed to making this, this show, this space, a space where really we’re going to have a youtube ads as the core, every single episode will be, will be, will be geared towards helping you get better at running youtube ads, helping you get better at understanding Youtube advertising and getting perspective on how others are running advertising and marketing on Youtube.

09:28 I mean, I also want to investigate the platform a little bit here too, because the more we know about the platform, the more we know about the influencers on the platform and how other people are acting and reacting on the platform and how users are using it, the better we’re going to be able to do as advertisers. And, uh, of course there’s many different types of advertising we can do as well. I mean, we can run subscriptions, we can, we can, we can get views on our videos. Um, we can, and of course we can drive conversion optimized traffic, which is mostly what we do, um, into things like webinars, sales pages, product pages and, and things like that. So I have a, I have a lot of ambitions, uh, for this, for this podcast and I’m very excited to see how it evolves. Uh, please make sure to hit me up if there’s anything that you want to see, any specific questions that you have.

10:22 I’m hoping over time to get, um, to get enough of these in my inbox where we’ll be able to tackle people’s specific questions with Youtube advertising. Um, and so you’ll see, uh, anywhere where you find this published, you’ll see my email address, mad at guide social, Uh, please feel free to reach out and just let me know if there’s something that’s very specific that you want me to discuss on a podcast. I mean, because really this is for you. Uh, I’m making this for you and, and I’m bringing all these great people in, in for you guys. So, uh, anything that you want to cover, his is totally cool with me. I mean, I want to cover it. My goal here is to, is for us all to become youtube advertising experts. That’s what this is all about. And, you know, I didn’t want to make this whole episode just about me storytelling the whole time.

11:12 I mean, I do think it’s important. It’s cool. I mean, it’s good to do, you know, a little bit about may a, I don’t know anything about you. Who are you? Let me know. But, um, I think, uh, one of the things that I really wanted to do today is, is I, I wanted to talk about one very specific thing. You know, I wanted to give you some value here in this first show because, uh, that’s what you came here for, right? And I think that w w one of the biggest things that I see is, is a lot of people jump into youtube ads from the beginning and they don’t really know what to expect there. They’re not quite sure what they’re getting into. And they may have come from Facebook advertising. They may have come from Google words advertising or search, Google search campaigns, cool display campaigns, and, uh, not always 100% sure how best to leverage the platform.

12:03 Um, there’s all sorts of pieces that go into it. Um, and of course our agency uses very specific scripting formulas and video and everything like that. And we’re going to go into all of that during the course of this, uh, during the course of this show and not the specific show, but we’re going to go into in specific one specific niche every single time. No, is my hope here. But the biggest problem that I see is that people don’t know how to set up their campaigns in the first place and it actually makes or breaks your campaign. And part of the, part of what I see, part of the issue of course is that Google and all of their, um, and all of their amazing, this tries to make it very easy to get ads up and that makes a lot of sense. They try to make it extremely simple for the first time you log into Google ads, actually the first time you actually create a Google ads account and you get in there and you start trying to, uh, you know, hey listen, I just want to like put in my settings and like see what the heck this is all about.

12:59 And you’ll see that they immediately want you to make an ad. So you always have to switch to expert mode is what they call it there. Um, some of you will already, you’ll, you’ll listen to this and you’ll be so happy that I told you that because very often people get to that screen and they’re like, what do I do now? And then they sort of bounce and they get frustrated cause they weren’t anywhere on doing much anyway. Um, but some of the basic campaigns set up stuff. I wanted to go through some of the basic campaigns set up stuff because I see the same mistakes being made over and over and over again. Google actually needs a lot more pixel data to run on a, at least for Youtube ads, uh, then then you would think normally, uh, and certainly not as much as Facebook would necessarily need.

13:45 Um, the bottom line is when you’re first starting out on Facebook, you are still able to rely on the machine learning a lot. And then youtube, you’re not relying on the machine learning as much. You, you really get to control where the money goes. So the research is very, very important. You have to do the keyword research, your placement research, all those things, we’ll get into those in future shows. But, uh, what’s really important to know is that you need to set up your campaign in a way that allows you to spend the budget the way that you want to spend it. So you can test and optimize this account the way that you need to until you can actually let the con, the, the machine learning system Google takeover, which is really powerful when it does, but you need to get enough data in your account to actually make that happen.

14:33 So a couple of the things that I always see a lot of mistakes that I see. Uh, and, and I’ll leave and going here and, and, and start a campaign. We’ll just pretend. Um, so when you first start a campaign, a Google ads campaign, it asks you all these things. I mean, when you push that plus button and you go to start a Google campaign and there’s all sorts of things that you can choose, right? You can, uh, you can choose a sales leads, website, traffic product and brand consideration, brand awareness and reach app promotion, like all of these things. And it’s, it can be obviously pretty dizzying and confusing sometimes. And if you’re coming from a platform like Facebook, you would just say, you would say what you want. And one of the rules of Facebook often is tell her what you want and that’ll be your objective.

15:20 You don’t want to do that with Google right now at least. So sales, leads, website traffic. Oh Great. I’m running a Webinar. Uh, I want leads. Um, oh great. I am, I have a product to sell, I want sales. Um, but I wouldn’t recommend doing any of those off the bat because the machine learning is not going to help you and you need to make sure, and this is why you need to make sure that you’re able to bid on cost per view during this optimize. This testing optimization phase is really more of a ramp up phase. So what you want to do is select the last of the seven options, create a campaign without a goals, guidance. And that’s the only way that you’ll be able to bid on CPV. Then again, select campaign type is a bunch of options. You want to select video. That’s pretty obvious, right? Custom video campaign.

16:13 Now the rest of this is relatively a self explanatory, but you have to make sure that you’re bidding strategy. A lot of people choose target CPM here. Some people will go into other things and they’ll say target CPA, right? Because that’s what they’re used to bidding on. Uh, they, they want to bid on cost per acquisition. Uh, cost per view. You want to bid on maximum CPV. Uh, we also, I also see a lot of people, I’m not going on youtube videos. So when you’re actually setting up your campaign and you are [inaudible], well they’re going on youtube videos, but they’re selecting all of these, right? So when you’re trying to decide where your ad should go, you can choose search results, youtube videos or partners on the display network. I typically turn off search results and display network when I’m running in stream ads. Um, I just, I just want to, well obviously cause its discovery ads, research results, but you don’t want, you want to make sure that no matter what you do, the budget is going where you want it to go.

17:12 Because Google in this phase, when you’re bidding on Max CPB, it will put the budget wherever you choose to put the budget, it’s up to you. So if you have stuff left on you, you go, you have to make sure it’s super tight because it will just, it will just spend money, um, inventory, et Cetera, et cetera. Um, so, uh, when you’re splitting out audiences, you often split them out by ad groups. But I would recommend when you’re in this phase, you want to test them against each other in separate campaigns. For the most part. For example, if you want to try to use keywords you don’t want and you want to try to use placements, you want to make sure to not put them in separate ad groups within the same campaign because that campaign will just spend money. It will, it’ll just, I mean, it could spend, it could throw all the money to, to one ad group and not to the other and you’ll never have a good test.

18:05 So if you set them in separate campaigns with separate budgets, you’ll be able to do a true test between the two of them and be able to see the good results. I mean, that’s, and that’s what you want and you don’t want to layer any of this stuff. You want to be able to see it. You want to be able to see each individual thing. Right? Uh, so it’s important when you’re creating these ad groups to make sure you’re just doing that one thing per ad group. And this is just the beginner level. Obviously there’s more advanced stuff that you can do, but you know, as far as talking about the biggest mistakes that people make in their own youtube ad accounts when they’re first setting up their first campaign, this is what I see all the time.

18:43 So, uh, [inaudible] keywords, demographics, uh, topics. I mean if you’re going to try any of these, I really wouldn’t layer these at first. I would really go for just one thing at a time and see how it goes. If you want to test keywords, just go for keywords. If you want it, this placements, just go for placements. So then you have to put in your maximum CPV bid. And a lot of people may be sort of following my advice here and they might say, okay, great, you want me to, uh, you want me to bid on cost per view? Fantastic. But what cost per view am I supposed to put in there? So, uh, it’s really great if you can put in something in the 7 cent, 8 cent, 9 cent, 10 cent range. Um, but it’s going to vary. It’s going to vary. So you’ve just got to feel it out at first.

19:28 Um, I remember the first time I ever ran a youtube ad campaign, it was a, it was a B2B campaign. This is a business. And so I’m, I just, I just, I had no frame of reference, right? And I, you know, and I had my ads were alive for a few days and I was like, what’s going on here? Is Anybody gonna Act? There’s just enough feeding out, like nobody’s seeing any of that stuff. And, uh, what, what ended up happening was that I just didn’t have a high enough bid on Max CPV because it turns out that in the B2B space, at least with the placements and the keywords that I was going for, I was seeing a much higher CPV, uh, on average. And there was just no way for me to get that down. Uh, or, or rather, there was no way for me to show up on these ads.

20:13 I was just getting outbid by every other advertiser out there. Uh, so by a, you know, increasing my seat, my max CPV bid and you know, it finally started feeding out there and I started getting really, really good results. Once I started to dial that in and I actually saw the CPV number go down and I could adjust my bid as needed to meet that, to make sure that I was getting the high quality traffic that I want. A, but very often you’ll see a very, very typically somewhere in this six, seven, eight, 9 cent range cost per view. I mean, that’s really what you see sometimes in B2B. I have seen higher, as I said, um, you know, even 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 cents. Uh, but, uh, uh, for the most part, you know, you’re, you’re usually pretty good putting that Max CPV when you’re setting up your first campaign and that 7 cent to 10 cent range and just seeing what the CPV is, come in and see if you can lower that down.

21:10 Because obviously if you can lower your bid and still get the same performance, you’re gonna spend less money. So you just have to keep your eye on it. Right. That’s the, that’s the whole, that’s the whole point of it is to keep your eye on it. Okay. It’s very manual at the beginning when you’re starting to do it, but still very powerful. Then one of the things about Youtube ads is that you start seeing results right away. Uh, it’s, it’s, it’s not really, I mean, I mean it just gets better and better and better as you test and optimize, but you do start seeing results right away because the research, uh, is, is so good, right? Keywords in placements, um, are, are such that, that, uh, you’re in just a great position to be in front of super relevant stuff to your audience. So they’re already looking for it.

21:53 It’s a wonderful thing about youtube is these people are already looking for you and you get to show up with your ad saying, Hey, were you looking for this? And they’re like, yeah, that’s why I opened youtube in the first place. So when you do it right, you make the right creative, you get the right placements, the right keywords in there, and you get everything sort of sorted, tested, and optimized. It just works so well because you’re so relevant. It’s like, you know, you go to buy a box of granola bars and somebody comes up to you in the store without you even going to the island saying, Hey, you wanted this box of granola bars, right? And you’re like, MMM, yeah, I did. Thanks. It’s too perfect. Right? It’s the perfect marriage between intent and, uh, advertising. And that leads to conversion. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s insanely powerful.

22:48 If you do it right now, I’m going to be going over all the skills of future shows about how to do all that keyword research, how to do all that deep, deep placement research because you need thousands of placements. You really, really do to test them against each other. Um, how to, how to break down those audiences. Um, we’re going to see how other people break down those audiences, how other people do research, get that perspective so that we all can become better youtube advertisers. Uh, but that’s, that’s really the power of it. That’s really the power of it. And you can see results right away.

23:21 Those are, for the most part, the main problems that I see people make it. And really the big problem is, is, is that people don’t understand that they can’t go for leads sales right at the beginning. They need to go for Max CPV and bid on views. So what is a view on Youtube? So this is actually, this is actually really strong to huge, huge piece of what youtube is. A view is actually not just, it’s not like a three second view, five second view of whatever it is. Um, as you might see on Facebook a, what a view is, is 30 seconds. And why does this matter so much to us? Because you only pay when you’re doing paid advertising on youtube, you only pay for views over 30 seconds or clicks. So if somebody leaves your video before the 32nd mark, you actually don’t pay for that.

24:14 I mean, it’s a free impression. They just move on. This is why we worked very hard in our creative to make sure that qualified avatars get through 30 seconds and unqualified avatars, um, or out before 30 seconds. It’s very, very important. Uh, so a view is, is 30 seconds or more. So that’s what you’re bidding on. You’re bidding on that and so it was extremely valuable thing. What’s so cool about that is can you imagine like 30 seconds? I mean, it’s not, it’s not really a, it’s not a flash in the pan. It’s not seeing a sentence here, seeing a sentence there going by a billboard. You know, it’s not that kind of exposure. We’re talking about watching a 32nd video of somebody. I mean, just think about how valuable that is. This is why conversion rates are often so good once people click through ads on youtube because you’ve already built so much rapport and trust with them in the space of the advertisement that they already know what they’re going to do when they click.

25:14 There’s no more decisions to be made, and this is also another reason why they convert so much better down the funnel because you’re getting a small yes from them there right away. I mean, it’s one thing to click an ad in Facebook or Instagram. That’s a really small yes, but to be able to, to, to watch a one, one and a half minute video, right, click an ad and then opt in to big huge yes, they’re to watch a minute and a half value videos. Why we always try to make our ads with lots of value. You know, the more value that you have in ads, the more rapport you can build, the more selling you can do it. Actually get people to opt in a, but really it’s about building value and uh, talking about pain, you know, all of these, all of these things, um, you’re really get the chance to sell people into your offer in that space and they’re just so warm when they click because they’ve seen so much of you already.

26:08 Um, that’s really, that’s really the, the crazy, crazy power that, that youtube ads. So I, if I would say the, just to recap, the biggest mistake that the, that I see when when folks are setting up their first campaign is they’re not bidding on Max CPV and they’re expecting the machine learning to do the work for them at the beginning. And it just, it’s just not gonna work very well. Uh, expect to do this pretty manually. Uh, but no, that, that’s a blessing and a curse because you really get the opportunity to control where the money goes and in so doing you really what’s working and what’s not working. In fact, when you’re running youtube ads, you’re really gonna find out who your Avatar is. If you are wishy washy at all before you’re really going to find out who your Avatar is because you’re going to know exactly what videos they’re coming from.

26:57 You’re going to say, ah, yeah, so that’s, so that’s it. That’s it. That’s what these people are feeling. That’s the real pain. That’s the real offer that they’re interested in. I see that, you know, because they came to youtube just to watch the video, you know, and of course they’re going to watch a bunch more like that and Google is profiling them that way. You know, average session on Youtube is 40 minutes long and we get to advertise in that space. Um, and it’s, it’s, it’s crazy to me that there are not more youtube advertising agencies proud to run land. Uh, so that’s it for us for now. I’m so excited, uh, that you’re here. I’m so excited that, that, that, that we’re getting started with this thing. I think it’s going to be an incredible podcast. I hope you got some value today. We’re just scratching the surface.

27:43 We’re going to talk to so many amazing people. We’re going to get into so many very specific nitty gritty things about how to run youtube as well as get some great perspective on how Youtube creators create what they create that’s native to the platform. How to make the right videos, how to write great videos, how to write great video scripts. Um, all of this stuff. We’re going to get into all of that. I mean this, this podcast is really for you. And, uh, uh, I really want to see Youtube advertising take off, just like we’ve seen other platforms take off. And I think it’s going to, I think it’s going to, so, um, I’m, I’m hoping that this show can really be, um, ground zero to completely get into, uh, everything that we all need to be to be X. Great. So thanks so much for joining me. A, so excited you’re here. So excited for what’s next. We’ll be here with you every single week and, uh, looking forward to seeing you on the next show. Cheers.

Here’s an example of the unique method we’ve developed for fleshing out customer avatars, this is the exact grid we fill out for every new branded content campaign we work on:

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