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The Marketer's Guide to YouTube, Part 4: Targeting

Published: November 5, 2012

Author: Ron Fusco

youtube logoWelcome back to the fourth and final post of our Marketers’ Guide to YouTube series! If you’ve read the first three posts, you should know: why to use it; which of the two platforms to use and when; and which ad types will work best for your campaigns. Today’s topic: targeting!
Before we break down the available targeting types (search, audience, targets/contextual, managed placements, and demographic), a quick note: on the AdWords platform, you have the option of broad or specific reach; in AdWords for Video, you are stuck with specific reach.
Specific reach means that when two or more targets are chosen, the ads will only reach the intersection of the two. Broad reach will be shown to the combination of the targets, meaning whatever is available for each target, not just where they intersect.
On to the targeting types! For each, we’ll offer a quick description, with recommendations of which ad types to use with each targeting type and screenshots of the respective UIs. Here goes:
YouTube is treated as a search partner by Google, so search works the same as a traditional AdWords campaign, reaching a limited set of high-intent users. Queries tend to be focused on head terms, and — as with traditional search — it’s an established best practice to own your brand terms.
Best for which ad types?
Works with TrueView in-search ads only.
UI of AdWords platform:
adwords youtube search
UI of AdWords for Video platform:
adwords for video search
Works through either interest targeting (through Google’s user profiling) or remarketing. It’s a great volume driver; no matter what sort of content is available through YouTube, you have a way to reach your particular audience.
Best for which ad types?
I like audience targeting best for TrueView in-stream; those ads are played before a video (rather than the user having to select it alongside other pieces of content). If you’ve targeted users with precision, odds are decent that they’ll watch (without having to take the step of actively clicking the video).
I would recommend using remarketing for all ad types; the user is already engaged with the brand, and the goal is to reintroduce him/her to the brand and possibly a conversion event.
UI of youtube audience targeting
Targets ads by what users are browsing/viewing content in. Because it’s more precise than audience targeting, there’s a smaller audience, and placements are more expensive.
Best for which ad types? 
I like topics/contextual targeting best for TrueView in-display because it is most similar to the organic suggested videos. This way, the ad unit seamlessly blends with the user’s content consumption, which is a great approach to content marketing.
UI topics targeting
Managed Placements
Extremely precise option with limited volume and high costs, and Google just made it available (again) for AdWords for Video. You can use it for high-impact targets like brand pages and even specific videos.
Best for which ad types? 
I prefer in-display only, since you can work your content into users’ consumption and transition to your brand’s content.  For in-stream ads, I’d skip managed placements in favor of demographic plus audience targeting.
UI managed placements targeting
You can use this in combination with other targeting types to layer on age and gender targeting.
Best for which ad types?
I prefer overlaying demographics with other targeting and then applying to in-stream ads.  Since in-stream ads are most effectively used for branding, it’s best to hone in on the target demographic as much as possible. (Other ad units are more self-selecting.)
demographic targeting UI
That completes the Marketer’s Guide to YouTube series! Please let me know if I missed anything or if you have any questions…we’re here to educate. Thanks for reading!

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