90% of information sent to the brain is visual, 93% of all human communication is visual and 65% of people are visual learners. It’s clear that when it comes to messaging, imagery is a good way to go. As the saying goes, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million. No – you’re right – the saying didn’t go like that – we made that last bit up. But you get the point. And where do we go when we think of video? Well, YouTube of course.

YouTube is not only the number one hub for video, but is also the second largest search engine in the world. And it’s right behind Google and Facebook as the third most visited website too. With more than 1 billion users, the video giant reaches over 90% of internet users worldwide, through 2 million different sites and apps.

So, it’s clear there’s a sizable audience here, but how do we reach them?

Well, Google actually. Because In 2006, YouTube was acquired by Google, which meant you could plan and book video ads through the AdWords network. YouTube offers two main ad formats; in-stream ads and in-display ads.

In-stream ads: If you’ve ever watched a YouTube video (let’s face it, you’d have to have been living in a hole if you hadn’t!), these are the clips which appear at the start of your video, or even sometimes somewhere in the middle. They can be either skippable, where the viewer is given the option to skip the video after 5 seconds at no cost to you, or they can be non-skippable, where viewers must finish the ad before they’re able to watch the selected video.

In-display ads: This ad format can be displayed next to the YouTube videos or on your viewer’s search results page, and – like Google search ads – is charged on a cost per click basis.

So, aside from the clear benefit of reach, why YouTube, and why video?

Well one of the key benefits to YouTube, is that like AdWords you can target your audience by demographic, location, interests, device and even time of day to ensure that your ad is being viewed by the right people, and not just any random viewer. Because reach means nothing, if you’re not reaching your target audience.

But that doesn’t mean that you can create any old video – home movie style – and expect to improve your brand awareness in a positive way. Sorry! Just for a moment, think of the worst film you’ve ever seen – you remember it, right? And not in a good way. Video can be just as damaging as it can be effective. So, really think it out, spend a bit of money producing it with professional help (production values rule here – no – shooting it on your iPhone X really, really won’t work), keep it brief – generally we recommend no more than 60 seconds (although we could be swayed) – and make sure you have the viewer hooked in the first 20 seconds. Research shows that this tends to be the tipping point – where disengaged viewers will press that dreaded ‘skip’ button, getting lost down a black hole of funny cat videos (we’ve all been there!).

One of the best things about video advertising, is that once you have something good, you have something incredibly sharable across many mediums – Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter – you name it. And even more importantly, something incredibly sharable among your target audience. Take the time to invest in creating a video ad that will truly resonate with your target audience, and you’ll see engagement, awareness and an overall return on your investment like nothing else.

Need help integrating video into your paid advertising? Let’s talk.