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YouTube TrueView for Action Best Practices

Published: April 18, 2018

Author: Ashley Mo

Our blog theme this week: getting the most out of YouTube advertising, brought to you by Sr. Account Manager Ashley Mo. If you missed her first posts, on hacking YouTube for direct response, and on using YouTube for B2B marketing, check them out.
YouTube advertising
Now that YouTube TrueView for Action has been released, more performance marketers have been experimenting with YouTube video advertising. We’ve already seen a few new Google products released for the feature, including Target CPA bidding and Custom Intent targeting. After some initial testing, we’ve developed some early best practices to get started on the right foot.

Test the new headline and call-to-action.

Now that you can edit the headline and call-to-action at the ad level, this means you can serve different calls-to-action to different audience types for the same video. One way to test this is to create two ad groups (or campaigns) with the exact same bids and targeting, but one different call-to-action element. Run both and then compare CTR and CVR to see if one call-to-action performs better.

Start your campaigns on manual CPV bidding.

You have the option to select Target CPA (tCPA) bidding when creating a new TrueView for Action campaign, but I would advise against this. We’ve seen the most success with running tCPA on a campaign that already has a good amount of conversion history. With manual CPV bidding, you have control over many more factors so you can figure out, for example, which creatives do well before investing the amount of spend that Target CPA requires.
Note: you may need to get whitelisted by Google to run manual CPV bidding. I would definitely recommend doing so!

Experiment with Target CPA bidding.

Once your TrueView for Action campaigns are in a good place performance-wise and you’re looking to scale volume in your account, Target CPA is the best way to do so. It’s also only available for Action campaign types.
If you’ve run search and display campaigns in AdWords before, chances are you’ll already pretty familiar with tCPA best practices. Here, you’ll set a goal for your ideal cost per conversion, instead of a max cost-per-view bid. You’ll still pay for each view, but Google’s automated bidding will use numerous signals to predict users who are likely to convert. Set your daily budget to minimum 20x tCPA. If this is a little high, you might want to optimize towards a shallower, more upper-funnel conversion.
Target CPA will help you more effectively scale conversions in a campaign than simply increasing the Max CPV. Expect that it will take a full two weeks for the algorithm to learn, and make sure you have enough budget to let the campaign run before turning tCPA on.
Another tip is to only run video ads that you’ve seen success with in other campaigns. We’ve seen performance fluctuate greatly across creatives, and with Google bidding for more expensive, premium placements (our average CPV on tCPA was double what it was on manual bid), you want to minimize factors that will influence performance.

Try Custom Intent targeting.

Custom Intent is a new audience targeting type available only in TrueView for Action campaigns. You can now reach users searching for relevant keywords on Google, but within the YouTube platform.
To start, you’ll need to put together a list of relevant keywords, focusing on what someone actively researching your product would be searching for. Think about custom intent more like a search campaign and less like a custom affinity: capturing all relevant keywords really matters for traffic size. Start with all converting and assisting keywords from your search campaigns. Run these through the Keyword Planner to understand volume potential. It’s also a good idea to segment audiences by keyword type: Brand, Competitor, General Non-Brand, etc.
Once you have your keyword list, upload it in the new AdWords UI and attach the audience to any ad group. Depending on your keywords, it may take 2-3 days for the campaign to start receiving traffic as the audience starts to populate.

Early testing has shown that custom intent is great for adding scale to an account. Because the audience size is large, you may be able to bid lower (e.g. $.01 CPV) and bring in more signups at the same CPA as other campaigns in which more limited targeting forces you to bid a higher CPV. Once you have enough conversions, you can try switching your bidding to tCPA.
Overall, YouTube TrueView for Action is a great addition to the AdWords suite and provides a ton of opportunities to test video advertising. Let us know how you’ve found success with this new campaign type!

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