5 Tips to Grow Sales & Brand Equity with YouTube Advertising

May 13, 2024

Before diving into YouTube strategy let’s discuss a bit about how traditionally companies use to drive marketing activities and nowadays with digital what companies should be doing.

A bit about consumer intent.

Traditionally marketing was company driven and the marketing funnel concept was used widely.

Marketing funnel

Marketing Funnel

Organizations carried out marketing activities to a preselected audience (based on age, gender, location, household income & etc.) to create awareness first & to push some of them for consideration & finally for conversions.

When it comes to digital, the consumer path to purchase has changed so much and there are many touch points on digital platforms before a purchase.

Consumer path to purchase

Consumer Path to Purchase

If companies are to follow a funnel they will be missing out a lot. Therefore companies now need to look at how to respond to consumer intent that is shown online through different activities and also to find people who have an interest in your product & services to work with them continuously until conversion.

This is where youtube will be very important for companies. Using YouTube you can find potential clients who are interested in your service/product and then work with them.

To give you an example, let’s say you have an amazing product/service but you are having a hard time identifying who is really interested in your product/service and have a limited budget to get the message out there.

Well, you are in luck. You can use YouTube ads to shout out the story of your brand (can be product/service) to relevant affinity audiences, in-market audiences & people searching for keywords relevant to your brand to find out who is interested (filtering intent).

The key is that you can collect an audience who decided to view (a view is counted when someone decided to watch 30sec of your ad or the whole ad if the length of the ad is less than 20sec) your ad. These are the people who are most interested in your brand. We call it identifying the intent of the audience.

You can further test how strongly they feel about your brand through remarketing and so on. This we will cover a different topic. Further, you can work with this audience and ensure you respond to their signals (can be searching related to your product/service or visited your website or researching about similar products/services) related to your product/service until they convert.

We’ll talk about this more on one of the below points through ad sequencing & remarketing.

You should consider YouTube as your digital asset, in other words, your own TV channel

Why we say this is because this is where the interested audiences about your company, services or products come to. They will consume more content and also subscribe if they are more interested.

Youtube channel structure

YouTube Channel Structure

Following are a list of things you need to do to ensure that you get the maximum out of your channel and the videos that are being uploaded by you.

  • You should update your channel art (YouTube channel cover photo) and ensure that it fits all types of devices. Add channel links (social media links) so people who come to the channel are more likely to check other platforms linked to them.
  • You need to set up the channel structure differently for new visitors and returning visitors to your channel.
  • Add cards to your videos to promote your playlist and other relevant videos.
  • Add end screens to your videos. This not a difficult process and there are several templates offered by YouTube.
  • Add a Call to Action overlay when running the in-stream ads. You can display the company’s website or any other place you want to direct the person who is watching your ad.
  • The channel playlists should be structured as per your company’s requirement.

Type of ads you can run on YouTube

We will keep this section shorts since some of it will be discussed on the next point and also you can find these here in Google support documents which are very straight forward.

There are three ways you can be charged on YouTube.

  • Cost per view (CPV): you pay when a viewer watches 30 seconds of your video (or the duration if it's shorter than 30 seconds) or interacts with your video, whichever comes first.
  • Cost per thousand impressions (CPM): you pay for showing(impressions) the ad for 1,000 people.
  • Viewable cost-per-thousand-impressions (vCPM): you’ll only be charged when someone sees your video play for two seconds or more. (Only applicable for outstream ads)

There are five main types of ads you can use on YouTube.

  • YouTube in-stream ads: Can be pre-roll (played before the video starts) or mid-roll ads(played in the middle of a video). Skippable after the first 5 secs. Can bid based on CPV or CPM.
  • Non-skippable in-stream ads: Video length less than 15 sec. Will pay before, during or after a video. Can bid only on CPM.
  • Discovery Ads: YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and brands can leverage on this. You can show your ads for those who search on youtube or as a suggested video ad when people browser videos that may be related to your video. Will be charged on CPV basis when someone clicks to watch it.
  • Bumper Ads: Unskippable 6 sec ads. Can bid only on CPM.
  • Outstream Ads: These ads are shown on YouTube partner network and only on mobile and tablets. Will be charged based on vCPM.

Cost of advertising on YouTube and some benchmarks.

Something that we have realized is that people think advertising on YouTube is very expensive, well, it is actually cost effective. Here’s why we say it. Following points are valid for Skippable instream ads only.

  • On YouTube you would get charged for views (defined below, CPV) or for thousand impressions (CPM). You will not get charged for the link clicks on a YouTube ad.
  • You get charged ONLY for views. A view is when someone decided to watch more than 30 sec of your video or until the end of it if it’s less than 30 sec.
  • Cost per view (CPV) will be around $0.01 to $0.04 in many countries. We have run campaigns in US where the CPV was $0.03 and in Sri Lanka it can be as low as $0.005.
  • You will get 2.5x to 3x times the impressions. Generally, the benchmark is the 30-40% of the people will watch your video which is called as the view through rate VTR). This percentage has improved over the years since Google is getting better at finding people who are more likely to be interested in your product or service.
  • There are other types of ads that you can run for Brand Awareness which are un-skippable and paid by cost per thousand impressions (CPM). YouTube CPM in Sri Lanka can vary between $1.4 - $2.0 and in US it can between $7.0 - $9.0.
  • For YouTube discovery ads the VTR will be around 2-3% and CPV would be similar to in-stream skippable ads but on certain occasions can be twice the CPV of in-stream skippable ads.
  • Based on how good your ad is you can get people to visit your website by clicking the call to action overlay or companion banner. Also, there would be people coming to your channel to watch more of your content. So you would be getting earned views (free of charge), earned shares & subscribers to your YouTube channel.

The most important thing is the data you can gather about the people who are interested in your product/service and also how good your advertisement is.

You can contact us for a free consultation on how to use YouTube to test video creatives.

There’s a practice done by many big brands around the world where they test TV commercials on YouTube to identify which commercial is more engaging through split tests.

Testing the level of intent of people.

As briefly discussed above intent-based marketing is the future and demographics are dying. Gone are the days when companies should decide which group of people are the best to target through marketing.

People are online and they show what their interests are through searching, liking, reading, commenting, watching videos, browsing & etc. As brands, we need to respond to these signals.

We use the See-Think-Do-Care intent based framework to streamline the communication strategy, advertising channels & measurements. We recommend everyone to use this framework since it helps you have a clear direction and save a lot of money that would be spent unnecessarily.

When someone decides to watch your YouTube ad it is a clear indication that the person is interested in your brand. As a brand, the next steps for you would be to test the strength of the intent of the person.

There are options to collect the audience and run remarketing campaigns through Google Display Network and Gmail. This has worked well for us in the travel industry. You should also make sure that you capture these audiences on Google search around the most relevant keywords for your business. It would be a waste if you do not do this.

However, it is important that the video creative that is used on YouTube captures the attention of the viewer within the first 5 seconds to hook them to watch the rest of the ad.

The ad should primarily communicate the purpose of the brand (starting with the WHY). This is a great way to build brand equity and to drive behavior to make people come to your website/channel and increase engagement.

Bumper ads should be used to stay on top of mind of those who have seen your ad and remind them a few times about your brand. If the person is really interested they will end up coming to your website/channel.

YouTube strategy

Your overall YouTube strategy should be based on Hero, Hub & Hygiene content. This is framework/model that Google introduces based on data analyzed by Googlers on successful YouTube campaigns.

Hero, hub, hygiene

Hero, Hub, Hygiene

Hero content: Directly marketable content of your company or in other words, featured content which is aimed to tap directly into your audience’s passions. It’s designed to be shared widely and bring new viewers for your content and visitors to the website. This will be used as the YouTube Ad. If your company is looking at 12 months campaign for YouTube you would need a minimum of 4 hero video content.

Hub content: This is your company’s regularly scheduled content. It develops the shared passion between your brand and your audiences, developing themes and driving subscriptions to the content. This is what will keep your audiences coming back to the content once they’ve discovered it.

Hygiene content: This is the Informative content a.k.a 'help' content which targets search terms that your audiences might be using. It will also bring new viewers to your content, in a slower, more steady way than Hero content. This is should be achieved in the long run and cannot expect results to come in several months.

There is a great case study of Volvo trucks doing a YouTube ad using Jean Claude Van Damme (JCVD). The video illustrates the stability & precision of Volvo's dynamic steering and JCVD does an epic spilt for which he is widely known. Below is the Youtube advertisement.

This was widely watched by many people and it was pushed as an ad by Volvo on Youtube. The result of it was that many people came to the channel to watch how the video was shot since it was a live demonstration.

Volvo was able to lift the brand image and also increase sales because many truck drivers who saw it were extremely interested in the truck. This is a very good example of how hero, hub & hygiene content work.


YouTube is one of the best platforms for brands to leverage to talk to potential customers online. Most importantly if you know what you are doing it will be a very cost effective platform to reach your potential clients.

It is critically important that if you are running YouTube ads that you collect all the audiences and properly understand all the data to make informed decisions.

You can Contact Us for a free 30 minutes consultation on YouTube channel and strategy.

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