Is YouTube Advertising Right for Your Small Business?

If you've been on the fence about YouTube advertising, here are a few reasons you should give it a try.

Did you know that, according to company reports, there are over 1 billion unique visits to YouTube each month? YouTube is one of the largest video-sharing websites and continues to grow daily. ComScore reports that over 89 million people in the United States alone are going to watch 1.2 billion online videos today — a number that continues to grow. This presents a lot of opportunity for businesses to capture the attention of a widely engaged audience.

Many business owners already know that when it comes to online marketing, they can beneift from using SEM channels like Google AdWords and social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. But not as many are aware of the benefits of YouTube advertising.


Why You Should Try YouTube Ads

As a former marketing executive at a startup, I personally witnessed the benefit of YouTube ads. In fact, it was our top customer acquisition channel. It beat out SEO, other paid channels and email marketing.

So, if you’ve been on the fence about YouTube advertising, here are a few reasons you should give it a try:


  • Viewership is on the rise.

    The number of online video viewers are staggering and continue to grow. People view over 6 billion hours each month and it is the No. 2 search engine. The reason is simple; video is easy to consume. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text.

  • Costs are low.

    You pay a few cents per view and if you’re running in-stream (pre-roll) advertisements, you aren’t charged until the viewer either watches 30 seconds of the video or finishes it — whichever comes first.

  • It’s not saturated yet.

    Marketers are quick to saturate any scalable, cost-effective growth channel. Because it’s not as well-known a growth channel yet, now is a great time to get in. If marketers catch on, this won’t be the case in a year or two.

  • You can use it for direct response.

    This means you can actually drive sales or signups with YouTube ads. People often treat video advertising as a branding play, but with the correct targeting, you can actually drive sales at cost-effective prices.

YouTube Advertising Checklist

Now, before you jump in, here is your YouTube advertising checklist:


  • A clear, succinct explainer video.

    You have eight seconds to capture someone’s attention. Don’t waste time showing your branding or adding gratuitous motion. Explainer videos start around the $5,000 range and can go all the way up to $100,000 — or you can create an explainer video yourself for under $100. A DIY promo video is effective when done appropriately.

  • A final call to action.

    Place a call to action at the end of your video and make sure it clicks through to a relevant landing page to help increase conversions.

  • A call-to-action overlay.

    YouTube allows you to place a call-to-action overlay over your ads. This is a small banner that appears right below the video and gives you another chance to drive an action — use it!

  • Refined targeting.

    YouTube allows you to identify separate target groups. It’s imperative that you set these up correctly or else you’ll be wasting a lot of precious dollars. Try to strike a healthy balance between granular targeting and adequate viewer volume.

  • Patience.

    Do not under any circumstances give up after a month or two. I absolutely flopped during my first month of testing. The key is to look for traction. When you see it, stay patient.

Now is the perfect time to give YouTube advertising a test for your business to see if it’s a sustainable growth channel. The key is to keep testing and optimizing your campaigns. If it works out, it can be very lucrative.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Eric Siu is the CEO of San Francisco-based digital marketing agency Single Grain. He also interviews entrepreneurs on his podcast, Growth Everywhere. For more information, he’s written two extensive resources that might help: Getting Started With YouTube Advertising and Google’s Handbook On YouTube Advertising. Connect with @ericosiu on Twitter.


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