Think about your business’ value proposition. Now think about those micro-moments when potential customers will experience your brand. Lastly, think about where those people who are living in the lifestyle that your product or service is positioned towards live online.


“Apple didn’t invent the lifestyle, nor does it sell a lifestyle. Apple is simply one of the brands that those who live a certain lifestyle are drawn to. Those people use certain products or brands in the course of living in that lifestyle; that is, in part, how we recognize their way of life in the first place. The products they choose become proof of WHY they do the things they do.” – Simon Sinek (Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action)


The most appealing aspect of TrueView ads on YouTube is that they take advantage of a naturally occurring discovery process. Google’s TrueView ads are built on the promise that you’ll only pay for an ad view when someone chooses to watch your video ad in length. Specifically, you only pay when a viewer watches your ad for at least 30 seconds or to the end of the video (whichever is shorter) or clicks on a card or other elements of your in-stream creative. And, since the AdWords Display platform is based on a bidding system, you only pay for the views that you can afford. It’s a win-win – viewers see videos they’re curious about and you get more views from an audience that you know is engaged with your content.


Image of a TrueView ad - Grammarly


According to Google“Viewers who do not skip your ad are 10X more likely to share content, subscribe to your brand channel, and/or engage with your brand.”


Some would argue that the success of these campaigns is best measured by softer metrics, such as channel subscriptions or click-through-rates, rather than last-click conversions; due to the brand-focused nature of the ad format. However, I believe that marketers often forget that this format, by segmenting out users who watched our ads in length, facilitates building remarketing lists at a much faster rate than any other digital format. Moreover, these lists can later be used to build out similar, middle-funnel, audiences through platform-native algorithms. It’s these audiences that should be measured with conversion-centric direct-response metrics.


Why are middle-funnel audiences so important? Because they are likely closer to making a purchase decision than some of those people you originally spent your hard-earned money reaching. These algorithm-built audiences are in the middle of the funnel because we are inputting those users into the algorithms who actually engaged with our advertisement, that is, watched our video ads in length. We can then use these audiences for our retargeting and middle-of-the-funnel campaigns through all our Google Display and Google Search campaigns. You’ve paid for the data, use it.


If you are not already convinced, watch this video by YouTube AdvertisersTrueView EXPLAINED While Being Bombarded With Puppies…


Next, let’s look at our targeting options.


Target the Right Audience

Using your AdWords account, it’s possible to target certain types of users (based on demographic categories like age group and gender), as well as categories of video and specific channels, so your ad only gets shown to the types of people who are likely to engage and convert. Targeting options include: Topics, Interests, Placements, Keywords, Affinity, In-market, and Custom Affinity. In order to help reduce A/B testing and sunk costs, you should consult a Digital Marketing Specialist before choosing a targeting method.

TIP: In order to ensure the right people are getting served with the right messages, improving your relevance overall, segment your remarketing lists into buyer personas and buyer journey stages.


Increasing Relevance

Landing pages are vital to maximizing TrueView results. If there isn’t continuity between the initial ad and the on-page content that was specifically designed drive conversions, then your value proposition might get lost. For instance, you will want to match the tone and design of the ad and landing page. Embedding the original video ad, screenshots, or even dialogue excerpts are other ways to ensure continuity.


Appealing and distinct calls-to-action, concise and familiar copy, a reader-friendly layout, and an emphasis on brand and product identity are all integral components of landing page design and success. For more ideas on maintaining the strength of your TrueView ad’s value proposition in your landing pages, check out InstaPage’s blog post.


Key Metrics

Like all Google Display and Search campaigns, there are a plethora of metrics to pour over once your campaign starts running. As mentioned above, one of the best metrics is video view percentage. This metric tells you how much of your video ad a user watched. Further, video view percentage is a great indication of how many users were actually engaged with your ad. Other metrics include the click-through-rate (CTA) of the call-to-action (CTA), number of ad impressions, cost per view (CPV), number of conversions, and cost per conversion (CPA).


TIP: By creating custom conversions on your website, you can track those micro conversions that you’ve determined to be indicators of macro conversions, helping you optimize your campaigns at their nascent stages. Speak with a Digital Advertising Specialist in order to ensure that you don’t miss any opportunities that might be hidden in plain sight.


TrueView Ad Formats

TrueView ads are opt-in, so you aren’t restricted by time limits. This means you have the freedom to experiment with creative formats – try a longer product demo, testimonial or how-to videos demonstrating your product in action. While video ad content must be hosted on YouTube, video ads can appear on YouTube and on video partner sites and apps across the Display Network, including on tablets and mobile devices (depending on your format and settings). You can find more details on the video ad requirements here.


TIP: Don’t forget the cards. Cards allow advertisers to overlay more information about their brand, related videos, playlists, and links to other websites. These cards will work on desktop, mobile, and eventually come to connected TVs. Cards are great tools to highlight your call to action and drive viewers down your funnel.



Let’s review. It’s a win-win – viewers see videos they’re curious about, and you get more views from an audience you know is engaged. Because you choose what you want to pay for a view, you’ll reach the right audience at the right price. Unlike cost-per-impression (CPM) pricing, you won’t need to pay every time your ad is shown.


Tell your story – you’re the expert of your business, so share your expertise with the world. Be personal. Put the camera on yourself and explain how your product or service can benefit your audience – show them why they should care about your product or brand. Get users involved, acknowledge the skip button, use humour, get emotional, and be weird.