Digital Essays 2022: Make your youtube spend work harder – by MiQ’s Mike Gray

MiQ’s Mike Gray shares his thoughts on using smart data strategies to maximise ROI on YouTube campaigns

By Mike Gray, managing director MENA, MiQ

The premise for advertising on YouTube is clear: you can reach billions of potential customers on the world’s most popular streaming service, target them based on demographic or interests and pay only when they engage. Combine this strategy with other market-leading data sets such as data pulled from smart TVs that can enable brands to understand viewing habits of specific audiences, application programming interface (API) data from YouTube that can unlock a plethora
of insights for every video on YouTube and brand safety compliance that includes brand safety and brand suitability. You now have every tool you need for an all-encompassing growth marketing strategy.

With a great deal of powerful data available at our fingertips, cherry-picking the most important figures can turn into a task. On the other hand, if you ignore data, YouTube advertising performs like traditional TV advertising. Unless your North Star metric is directly sales-oriented, you may never know whether your campaign was successful or not. If you are disconnected from real marketing outcomes, you may end up with little knowledge of how to best navigate your YouTube campaign. 

Reach more with less

YouTube campaigns can net you massive results when done right. However, setting them up to facilitate optimum performance can be a difficult and time-consuming task. Even the most experienced marketers run into roadblocks while trying to collate data and analytics across multiple platforms. If you identify precisely which platforms to partner with at each step, that’s half the battle won.

Achieving the best possible performance requires marketers to understand the risks of the platform as well as ways to mitigate them. Applying AI-driven brand safety is as important as brand suitability. It ensures that campaigns are only associated with appropriate content and your brand’s reputation will not be tarnished by videos that follow. 

Understand your audience across diversified screens

Consumers have moved from traditional television to mobile devices. Demystifying your target audience goes beyond understanding the content they consume to identifying the devices they are on. YouTube marketing is vital for capturing their attention, especially when deployed alongside TV campaigns. Brands can use smart TV reach extensions that enable brands to reach viewers across different devices based on the content they are watching at the time. It makes retargeting much easier and helps guide users down the funnel to make a purchase.

The evolution of screen diversification is backed up with robust viewing data. According to statistics from Google, TV is YouTube’s fastest growing screen and reported a year-on-year increase of over 100 per cent since 2020. The rate of scale and opportunities will only continue to grow as device diversity continues to evolve. MiQ sees this in action as many campaigns are already delivering approximately 30-40 per cent of impressions across CTV.

Realise the potential of data

The YouTube format offers better scope than television to deliver content to the right audiences. It presents far more opportunities to analyse results and fine-tune your approach. However, not everyone has achieved success through YouTube. One of the key reasons is that YouTube advertisers often rely on view-through rates (VTR). VTR is the number of completed views of a skippable ad divided by the number of first impressions and it tells you little about why your advert has not performed as expected. 

Optimising the full potential of API data can help advertisers understand why audiences are reacting – or not reacting – to a campaign. Over time, brands can develop a failproof roadmap to create successful YouTube campaigns, maintain results and adapt them to changing trends.

There are plenty of opportunities to market better on YouTube, but right now most marketers are not seizing them. It is a tough pill to swallow, but tackling YouTube campaigns with a linear TV approach implies that you are misspending at every stage and losing opportunities to reach the right audience, understand them better and generate more sales.