For many school marketers, the big question when it comes to video marketing is often whether or not Youtube is really a platform that's worth advertising on? Well, today we're here to tell you that the answer is Yes! You might be surprised to know that Youtube is the second largest search engine with over two billion monthly visitors worldwide. The platform is known for drawing such a diverse audience, which is why it has become an ever so powerful platform to advertise on. In fact, many successful and (most importantly) affordable marketing campaigns have been run on YouTube.

So what's the catch?

Well, unlike Google ad word campaigns, you need to actually create a video in order to advertise on the platform. This can take a little bit of time to get right and take up some of your marketing budgets if you don't have the skills in-house to create a video. With that being said, once the setup costs are out of the way, the average cost per view is remarkably cheaper and less competitive compared to Google search ads. If you're considering getting started with YouTube advertising this year, we've put together some key information that will help you choose the right format and content for your marketing campaign.

Choosing the right ad format

You'll find that running a YouTube ad is vastly different from your run-of-the-mill PPC campaign. There are more options to choose from as well as limitations to consider. YouTube offers a variety of ad formats, each with its own set of benefits. Just like any ad campaign, the overall goal or objective of your campaign is going to drive the decision behind which ad format you choose. Let's take a look at some of the common ad formats you've probably encountered as you search for videos.

Bumper ads

A bumper ad is a six-second in-stream ad that cannot be skipped by the viewer. Due to this reason, they tend to be used to create awareness and drive impact. Primarily viewed on mobile devices, bumper ads are measured by a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) target and have the lowest CPM of all the in-stream Youtube ad formats.

they are used to create awareness and drive impact. They are purchased on a target CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and have the lowest CPM among in-stream ad formats. Bumper ads are delivered primarily to mobile devices. Check out YouTube's 20 best bumper ad playlist to get a feel for this format.

Skippable in-stream ads

Just as it sounds, a skippable in-stream ad appears on a video selected by the user and can be skipped after 5 seconds of content have been watched, or they may continue to watch. This ad format tends to be inserted before, during, or after the main video plays, though you'll find that most are played either before or during. Skippable ads are measured according to a cost per action target (CPA).

Example YouTube ad

Non-skippable in-stream ads

Non-skippable in-stream ads are similar to classic TV ads in that they play for 15 seconds or less before, during or after the main video and cannot be skipped. Although this ad format is arguably the most annoying, denying the user the ability to skip your ad captures their full attention.


Master head ads

Master Head ads appear on the Youtube homepage and are useful in driving brand awareness or acquiring a large audience reach. Similar to more traditional digital advertisements, these ads are charged according to a fixed CPD (cost per day) or target CPM.


Creating an effective advertising video

We can't stress this enough – video advertising it's all about quality over quantity! Unless you're running non-skippable ads, you only have 6 seconds to capture your audience's attention before the viewer chooses to keep watching or skip your ad, so your video must be engaging and communicate everything it needs to in a short amount of time. To achieve this, we recommend ensuring that your video includes the following four elements.

  1. Choose one core message
  2. Hook your audience immediately!
  3. Showcase your school's brand
  4. Tell a Story

Naturally, you'll want to tell your audience about all of the wonderful unique selling points your school has to offer. Now, this is great for longer videos, but time is of the essence with video ads, so it's best practice to choose one core message and communicate that can be communicated clearly and effectively.

As mentioned, those first 5-8 seconds are crucial to hooking your audience. To create content that resonates with your audience, make sure you perform research to understand what content they are already watching and what is going to peak their interests. Having an in-depth knowledge of your audience personas will allow you to create more meaningful content that has a higher chance of connecting with your audience.

Youtube are huge advocates of ensuring that your brand appears early on your video ads – ideally within the first 5 seconds (especially if you're trying to nail that awareness stage). Campaigns that are aimed toward the consideration stage, on the other hand, can afford for the audience to engage with the ad content and story before revealing your school brand.

Emotions are powerful and great tools to have in your video toolkit. Be sure to leverage emotion and storytelling to engage your audience. If you can connect with your audience on an emotional level they are more likely to engage with and remember your video.

Creating your YouTube ad campaign

So, you've chosen your format, created your video and now you're ready to kick off your campaign. The first step is to upload your video ad to your school's Youtube channel, then jump over to Google Ads where all your video ads will be created and managed. If you're just getting started with Google ads, check out this resource we put together about how to advertise on google ads.


Before starting any marketing campaign it's important to set goals that align with your school's broader digital marketing plan. Remember, your campaign should always include goals that are specific, measurable, are support a greater business objective. For example, this might include;

Boosting your school's brand awareness, increasing online enrolments, or building your subscriber base for your Youtube Channel.


When building your YouTube ad campaign, you'll be required to set a daily budget. We find that it's a good idea to have an overall monthly budget for your paid advertising and divide it up throughout your individual campaigns. Again, as we mentioned earlier, the great thing about YouTube ads is that you really don't need to spend as much as other platforms to see results come through! A budget of $10 a day is a great place to start for your video campaigns, expect to pay on average $0.10 to $0.30 per view or per action.


If you'd like your ad to reach your target audience, you'll need to utilise YouTube's advanced targeting features. Here, you can target your audience not only by age, gender and demographic information but also what their interests are, what they are actively researching and watching, as well as any previous interactions with your school. Again, the best way to narrow down your target audience is to base your information on your school's personas.


Finally, just like any other campaign it's important to monitor and track how your campaigns are performing. Below, we've included some of the key metrics you'll need to understand and keep an eye on:

  • Average watch time / impressions: the average time someone watched your video, per impression of the ad.
  • View Rate: Lets you know how many people watched the video compared to how many people the video was displayed to. A low view rate means people are skipping which can indicate the targeting is not effective or the ad is not engaging.
  • Cost-per-click (CPC): The average amount you spend for each link click on the ad.
  • Cost-per-view (CPV): The average amount you pay when a viewer watches 30 seconds of your video (or duration of the video if shorter then 30 seconds).
  • Earned actions: When your channel is subscribed to, video liked, video shared or viewed other videos on your channel through your ad.

To wrap up

In summary, Youtube Ads are an effective and affordable way to reach and engage a diverse range of audiences and provide a huge opportunity for video savvy schools to showcase themselves. Just remember, engaging video ads will greatly increase your campaigns success more than your marketing dollars, so keep your videos short, engaging and direct and you'll have an effective campaign.

Published 6 July 2020