By Andy Beedle
Google's ad platform has evolved once again! All of Google's advertising services have been gathered under a new brand name called "Google Ads." Your YouTube video, search, and display campaigns are now all available from a single login — and Google has unleashed a host of powerful new tools that, when used properly, will make your ad spend more efficient and increase the size of your prospect pool.
Many of Google's new changes are really exciting, but today, I'm writing to let you know that it is now time to get your school's terrific video content *BACK* on YouTube. In the past, we have recommended that clients avoid the YouTube platform because it has traditionally resulted in a high percentage of wasted traffic with very little return.
Things have changed in two important areas: Ad formats and targeting.
Traditionally, clients would use 15- to 30-second versions of their television commercials as video ads on YouTube. Now Google allows (and encourages) advertisers to use "Bumper" videos that are much, much shorter (in the 5- to 10-second range). These bumper videos require hyper-focused messaging and immediate calls to action.
In early tests, Google has seen (and we can confirm) that exposure to these bumper ads drives website/lander visits but does *not* immediately drive conversions. So why are they still worth doing? Because driving low-cost website visits and then tagging and remarketing to these visitors via Google Search, Facebook, and even additional video, is producing very favorable cost-per-acquisition rates compared to those of traditional search campaigns.
Combine this approach with Google's new audience targeting and you have a powerful combination that can increase brand exposure while simultaneously lowering overall cost per acquisition.
Google's new targeting (for both Search/Display and Video campaigns) allows advertisers to target a number of new options:
- Demographic Targeting — allows advertisers to target users on the basis of factors like age, gender, etc.
- Affinity Targeting — allows advertisers to target users on the basis of their additional content interests (like the shows you buy for television ads)
- In-Market Audiences — gives advertisers the ability to target (or just observe) different search categories that your potential students are also looking at
- Similar Audiences — gives advertisers the ability to upload lists of existing prospects/students/grads and allow Google's machine-learning algorithm to target people with the same profile (this is Google's answer to the Facebook "Lookalike" audience that you should all be using...)
Combining this powerful targeting with short, punchy bumper ads and a well-constructed remarketing/audience-building campaign can result in dramatic changes across your entire paid-search outcomes. While these new video campaigns generate views and traffic, you are using the valuable data generated both to retarget these same users at a lower cost on other platforms (resulting in a lower overall CPL) and, at the same time, to build a more powerful audience profile to take advantage of the advanced machine learning on both Google Ads and Facebook.
Combined, these strategies can increase the size of your qualified prospect pool while simultaneously lowering cost per acquisition.
For more information on all of the latest changes to Google Ads, contact me (Andy@NortonNorris.com) — I'll be happy to schedule a call to answer your questions.