Google Ads Video Campaigns – Digital Marketing 101

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What is Google Ads Video? 

Google Ads Video is a way to connect with your prospective students or parents through YouTube and Google Video ad solutions. This platform has become even more powerful due to more people consuming video through their connected TV. With the various video ad formats offered, it also allows you to customize how your school wants to deliver the message about your brand and what your school has to offer. With YouTube having over two billion active users per month, the Google Ads Video platform is a valuable way to connect with a vast audience.

How to Set up Google Ads Video 

Choose A Goal 

First, you will want to sign in to your school’s Google Ads account and create a new campaign. From there, you will be prompted to choose a campaign goal. The campaign goals available are: sales, leads, website traffic, product and brand consideration, or brand awareness and reach. Below are descriptions of each goal and when you would want to implement them:

  • Sales: This goal is for when your school is trying to drive sales for a product or service that your school is offering. Normally your target audience for this goal will be students or parents who your school has already contacted and/or are close to making an enrollment decision. An example of when you would use this goal is if you are trying to drive sales for your school’s merchandise.
  • Leads: This goal is for when your school is trying to encourage students or parents to express interest by signing up for a newsletter or providing additional contact information. An example where you would want to select this goal is if the CTA URL for your school’s video is leading to a landing page where prospective students or parents are able to inquire or apply. 
  • Website traffic: This goal is used for driving traffic to a page on your school’s website. An example of this goal is if you are trying to increase website traffic to the Learn More or Visit page of your school. 
  • Product and brand consideration: This goal is used if your school’s objective is any of the following: to encourage potential students or parents to consider your school when they are researching school options, to engage with students or parents who have previously expressed interest in your school, or to encourage students or parents to consider your school in the future. An example of choosing this goal is if your video content focuses on why a student or parent should select your school during their research process. This video content may assume that the prospective parent or student already has prior knowledge of your school, but you are providing additional details on what sets you apart from competitors. 
  • Brand awareness and reach: This goal is used if your school’s objective is any of the following: to reach a wide audience of prospective students or parents while introducing your school’s brand, to increase awareness among relevant student or parent audiences, and/or to use a variety of ad formats created to help potential students or parents recognize your school’s brand for future consideration. An example of when you would choose this goal is if your video content is giving information about what your school represents and what you offer to an audience who might not be aware of your school’s brand. 

Depending on the goal selected, you will have different subtypes to choose from that fall under that goal. Under the “Select a campaign type” you will want to select “video.” Under “select a campaign subtype” you will have a list of subtypes available. Below are the subtypes’ descriptions and when you would want to choose them:

  • Drive conversion: Drive inquiries, visits, and applications with action-focused ads and targeting. Select this subtype if you want to use Trueview for action videos that will have prominent calls-to-action, headline text overlays, and an end screen to your video ads. When you select this campaign subtype, you can encourage students or parents to explore your school, share their contact information, and take other actions that are valuable to your school. 
  • Custom video campaign: Customize your settings with different video ad types like skippable in-stream ads, bumper ads, or video discovery ads. You will want to select this subtype if your school’s marketing goals require a customized video solution that doesn’t fall under the other subtypes offered. This is an advanced tactic you can use as you get more comfortable.
  • Non-skippable in-stream: Drive awareness with 15-second non-skippable ads. You would want to select this subtype if you want students or parents to view the entirety of your video ad and your video ad is 15 seconds in length. 
  • Bumper: Drive awareness with 6-second non-skippable ads. This subtype would be selected if your video ad is short (6 seconds or less), you want the entirety of your video ad being seen, and your video ad contains a brief/memorable message to increase awareness of your school’s brand. 
  • Skippable in-stream: Drive awareness of your school’s brand with skippable ads. You would want to select this subtype when your video has content that you would like to promote before, during, or after other videos on YouTube. Also, the prospective student or parent has the ability to skip the ad after 5 seconds of viewing. If you choose a skippable ad you will want to make sure the first 5 seconds grab their attention.
  • Influence consideration: Get people to consider your school with skippable or discovery ads. Skippable ads give the student or parent the ability to skip ad content after 5 seconds of viewing. Discovery ads appear on YouTube as suggestions as your potential students or parents are discovering content. For Discovery ads, your video will display as a suggestion in either the search results or on the side for additional videos to view. You would want to select this subtype if your marketing objectives for your video fall in line with the skippable ad or discovery ad format. If you choose a skippable ad you will want to make sure the first 5 seconds grab their attention.
  • Outstream: Tailor your ads to phones and tablets. Outstream videos can only appear on mobile and tablets and are shown on partner sites and apps outside of YouTube. Ads will play automatically on mute when they appear on the screen, and users can choose to unmute to hear the video ads’ contents. These videos can show up as a break in articles that students or parents are reading. You would want to select Outstream video subtype if you want to expand serving your school’s video to students or parents beyond the YouTube video platform and have videos with subtitles or text in the video.
  • Ad sequence: Tell your school’s story with a series of ads in a sequence. You would want to select this if your school has a string of videos that relate to your school’s story or brand, and you want to show these videos in a specific order. An example of when this subtype would be helpful is if your school has videos about Learning More, Visiting, and Applying, but you want to show these videos in that exact order to the prospective student or parent. 
  • Shopping: Promote your school’s products and get people to shop on your school’s website. This subtype would most likely be used for video content for prospective students or parents you have had prior contact with and you want to drive purchases of your school’s merchandise, products, or services.

Spend Your Budget Effectively

The way you allocate your budget will determine how often your school’s ads are shown. Your bidding strategy will control how your school’s budget is spent. You can choose to focus your budget towards parents or students seeing your ad, clicking on your ad, or making a conversion on your site. For a bid strategy, these translate to CPV, CPM, or CPA bidding. Below is a brief description of each bid strategy:

  • CPV (Cost per View): The price paid for every video view or interaction (clicks) that your school’s video gets played. A view is counted when someone watches the entire length of your video ad or interacts with the ad, whichever comes first. You would want to select this bid strategy if your school only wants to be charged each time a video is viewed in its entirety or if clicked on. 
  • CPM (Cost per Mille): The price paid for every 1,000 impressions delivered. An ad impression will be counted anytime an ad is shown. You would want to select this bid strategy if your marketing goals are to reach a certain amount of impressions. 
  • CPA (Cost per Action or Cost per Acquisition): The price paid for each specified action from the target audience that is completed. An acquisition can be a lead, sign up, or form submission. An acquisition is tracked once the parent or student clicks on a specific action button alongside the video. You would want to select this bid strategy if your marketing objective is to have potential students or parents complete an action related to your video, like clicking on an accompanying learn more button alongside your video. 

Once you have your bidding strategy in place, you will be able to set the campaign budget. You can set an amount you would like to spend throughout the life of the campaign or set a daily budget.

Reach Parents and Students Searching for your School 

To set up targeting, you will first want to figure out the network where you want your ads to appear.  The options are YouTube search results, YouTube Videos, and/or Video Partners on the Display Network. Next, you will be able to customize where your video ad serves by location, language, and interest. The same customizations are also offered on the exclusion settings.  It is important to make sure all the settings implemented align with your school’s strategy and goals for your video ads. 

Organize Your Ads with Ad Groups

In order to stay organized, it is best to place your ads with similar creative and goals into ad groups. If you have separate videos for increasing visits, learn more, and apply, for example, you would want to separate these videos into their own ad groups. The great thing about ad groups is that within each group you can adjust audiences, keywords, topics, and placements. Separating your video creative into ad groups will allow each video to have its own custom parameters. 

Create Relevant Ads 

When creating your school’s video ads, you will want to make sure your school is creating content that is relevant and inspires action from your prospective students or parents. Video ads that have relevant headlines, direct calls-to-action, and other creative features will increase the success of reaching your campaign’s goals. 

When creating your video ad, you will want to find the video creative your school has uploaded to YouTube and update the video’s URL. When entering your final URL for the landing page, please be aware that by default the domain will only show up in the text of your ad. For example, if your final URL is http://www.exampleschool.edu/admissions, the display URL will show as http://www.exampleschool.edu. You will also want to select the ad format that your school believes will convey your message the best. The eligible ad formats are: 

  • Skipple in-stream ads: Use this format when you have video content your school wants to promote before,during, or after other videos on YouTube and across websites and apps running on Google video partners. This ad format also allows the parent or student to skip your video after 5 seconds of viewing and can be 30 seconds or less in length. As mentioned above, if an ad is skippable it’s even more important to make the first 5 seconds grab their attention.
  • Non-skippable in-stream ads: Use this ad format if your video content is 15 seconds or shorter and you want to run your video content before, during or after videos on YouTube and on Google video partners. This also is if you want the viewer to see the entirety of your message with no option to skip. 
  • Video discovery ads: Use this format to promote your video content in places of discovery, including next to related YouTube videos or as part of the search results. 
  • Bumper ads: Use this format when you want to reach students or parents with a short and memorable message (6 seconds or less). These ads can play before, during or after another video. 
  • Outstream ads: Use this format if you want to expand your school’s reach of your video ads on mobile, to reach more students or parents. 

Next, you will want to enter a call-to-action. Some relevant calls-to-action for your school might be: Learn More About Our Business Programs, Apply Now to (School Name), or Schedule Your Visit Today.

There is also the ability to add in a companion banner that will generate an image, or a group of images, to appear alongside your video. Please note that companion banners will only appear on computers and not on mobile devices in-app. 

Finally, you will want to name your ad. Once you review everything and it looks good you can then hit create to start your Google Video Ad campaign. 

What’s Next?

Once you have set up your campaign it can take a few days for your ads to start showing. During the length of your video campaign, it is highly recommended to continue to track the progress and optimize based on performance. The beauty of Google Video Ads is that there are so many ways you can deliver your school’s message to create the best video ad solution for your school. 

Overview: Why Use Google Ads Video?

There are 3 key reasons why implementing Google Ads Video to your digital marketing solution can take your school’s advertising to the next level:

  1. Expansive Audience + Customization

With YouTube receiving over 2 billion views each month, Google Ads Video gives your school access to a vast audience to serve your video campaign. Within this audience, you can then customize how, when, where, and to whom your ads get served. This leads to your video, message, and call-to-action being delivered in a strategic and more efficient way to prospective families and students that are more likely to engage with your content.

  1. Powered by Google Data and Tools

Once you have set up your Google Ads Video, you will have access to all the Google data and tools to analyze your pacing and results. This will allow your school to adjust things along the way to get the best performance. Being able to set goals and track metrics for your video creative will make achieving goals easier. 

  1. An Affordable and Effective Video Platform

With the decline of television and the rise of YouTube and streaming viewership, it makes sense to have your school’s marketing efforts focus on digital video. Your school can take advantage of reaching and engaging with prospective students and parents in a medium where the reach is great and the cost is low in comparison to historical television marketing. The ability to adjust your ad spend based on CPV, CPM, and CPA along with daily spend vs total spend, allows your school to get the most value for your budget.

Sarah Kelly

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