Build your brand awareness while boosting conversions. Why YouTube is the best of both worlds

When we as marketers think about the best platform to drive efficiency within Google Ads, often the first thing that comes to mind is Paid Search, and that’s no surprise because it has proven to be a great channel that drives strong results. But in the past few years the video advertising opportunities provided by YouTube ads have grown to such a degree that implementing a YouTube advertising strategy is now one of the best moves you can make as an online advertiser.

A unique platform with enormous reach

It’s estimated that video will account for 82% of global internet traffic by 2022i. In recent years, the consumer demand for online video content has continued to rise and, with over 2 billion monthly usersii, YouTube is one of the prime protagonists. In fact, the platform is now more popular than traditional TV among millennials and teenagersiii.

Needless to say, YouTube represents a great opportunity for online advertisers.

Although we would most readily recognise it as a video platform, YouTube serves as the web’s second largest search engineiv. The colossal user base this generates paired with high levels of user engagement via its social media features, provides plentiful opportunity for impacting purchasing behaviour. In fact, according to Google, more than 50% of consumers watch YouTube videos to help make a purchase decision and over 40% of global shoppers have bought products they found on YouTubev.

Advanced Targeting Options

Google claims that YouTube has the most attentive and engaged audience on the web, which makes it a very attractive platform for advertisers. But we all know that ensuring the right ads are shown to the right people is the key to achieving any marketing goals. Luckily, YouTube ads benefits from the full suite of targeting options available on Google Ads, with potent additions that go above and beyond those available on Search. With Video ads, it’s possible to provide users with a truly bespoke advertising experience given the multitude of targeting options available. These include targeting based on demographic groups, life events, personal interests, video topics, as well as customer data that is manually uploaded via the Google Ads interface. It’s also possible to target individual channels or videos – especially useful for accessing audiences who are following specific influencers, or even for riding the wave of the latest viral videos!

One powerful targeting option worth highlighting is ‘custom intent’. This audience type was created with performance in mind, as it allows advertisers to reach YouTube viewers based on the keywords that they’ve recently searched on Google properties (such as and YouTube). This means it’s a great tool to reach many undecided customers, providing them with the most relevant ads (and hopefully positively influencing their decision!). Custom intent audiences are also quite versatile in the sense that they can be used to target competitors’ keywords, as well as people who browse websites similar to the URLs that have been added for that specific audience, helping to find the ideal customers that are yet to be converted.

Only for younger audiences?

There is a common misconception that YouTube is a channel for millennials and gen Z only. However, the platform has seen significant growth in popularity across all age groups, with baby boomers representing YouTube’s fastest growing demographicvi. According to Google, baby boomers are turning to YouTube for reasons similar to the other age groups: to save time, to get help and learn about a product or a service, and to be entertainedvii. So, whilst the platform remains the obvious place to find the younger generations, there are also lots of opportunities for advertisers to get their message to members of the wealthiest generation!


Typically, YouTube ad formats run on a cost-per-view (CPV) or cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) bidding system. On average, video ads are significantly less expensive than Google Search or Facebook Ads and are even more cost effective if compared to TV campaigns!

However, it should always be remembered that the effectiveness of YouTube ads is derived in large part from ensuring they’re shown to the right users. One consequence of the bidding system is that targeting audiences, topics or channels which are in high demand with other advertisers, can come with a higher price. But we find this is still usually more cost effective than targeting the same categories on Search, or other platforms such as Facebook.

An ad format that turns interest into action

Once the marketing goals have been established and the right audience has been defined, it’s essential to pick the ad format that best fits the desired business outcome. Google Ads offers a variety of video ad formats to help reach different goals, from brand awareness to website traffic and conversions. One ad type that stands out for its ability to overcome the limits typically seen by traditional video advertising, is TrueView for action. This is a skippable in-stream ad format that allows viewers to take action directly from the ad.

Contrary to traditional video ads, where users are passive viewers, with TrueView for action, advertisers can add a clear call-to-action interactive button within the ad, which drives users to the website, making it perfect for any conversion and lead generation goal. As a performance-driven ad format, TrueView for action can be used in conjunction with the bidding strategies Maximise Conversions or Target CPA, leveraging the power of smart bidding to achieve measurable results. When launching a video campaign with TrueView for action, we always recommend testing different audiences and targeting options as, in our experience, there’s no one-size-fits-all targeting approach that works for every account or campaign.

A must try

With its huge reach and impressive growth, YouTube offers incredible advertising potential, and overcomes obstacles historically encountered with television and video advertising: namely the lack of direct control over performance. The flexibility in terms of budgets and the affordable CPV and CPM (compared to Search and other platforms) are an added bonus, allowing businesses to test the potential of this channel without committing to a large investment.

As an agency we have found really positive results from testing YouTube ads; they’ve proven to be a great tool for increasing brand awareness while driving good efficiency, showing a performance very closely aligned to Paid Search in terms of CPA / ROAS.

Combining the power and reach of videos with Google’s data and tools, YouTube offers the best of both worlds when it come to building brand awareness and boosting conversions and should undoubtedly be considered as part of any marketing strategy.

Have you tested YouTube Ads yet? If so, let us know if you’ve found performance to improve after implementing.


i Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2017–2022