In this article, I run through best practices for YouTube video ad creatives. These tips are based on my experience of testing YouTube ads – with priceless lessons gained!
My name is Anand, and I help working professionals start an online income from scratch. I have shot over 150 YouTube video ads and have helped individuals promote their offer on YouTube generating thousands for them…so I have a tip or two!
- Why YouTube Ads?
- Get Clear On Your Target Audience
- Script Structure For An Effective YouTube Ad
- The Hook
- 3 Effective YouTube Ad Examples (Examples of Great Hooks For YouTube Ads)
- Equipment for shooting your YouTube Ad
- Shooting The Video
Why YouTube Ads?
Simple. YouTube is the second largest search platform on the Internet!
YouTube has a highly engaged audience who are ready to absorb video content. They’re willing to watch 5, 10, 20min videos and so there are willing eyes and ears.
As a result of a highly engaged audience, this means that an effective YouTube ad can result in a higher click through rate compared to say search ads.
This is why you need to create a marketing message/video ad creative that speaks to your target audience.
With proper targeting, your ad will be put in front of relevant and related video content.
Remember – the secret to success with YouTube ads is primarily your video creative. With an excellent video, you can put it in front of many different types of audience and it will convert.
So, what are the YouTube ad creative best practices? Lets get into those YouTube ad tips.
Get Clear On Your Target Audience
Your target audience is a specific group of individuals or potential customers who share common characteristics, interests, demographics, behaviours, pain-points or needs.
The audience is the target group that a company or marketer aims to reach with their products, services, or marketing messages. An effective marketing strategy is often tailored to the characteristics and preferences of the defined audience.
Ahead of writing your YouTube script, you should have defined your who, why, what and how. The clearer you are on your dream customer – the more effective your video ad will be:
To get your dream customer’s attention you need to address them in 3 ways:
- The person profile (i.e. age, language, job type)
- Needs (problem, desire, pain)
- Awareness (unaware of their problem, sort-of aware or fully aware?)
Your messaging needs to meet the sweet spot by layering all 3. By doing so, you will meet them where they’re at. You’ll then sound a lot more relatable to your audience.
Offer or product positioning is the strategic process of defining and communicating a product’s unique value and attributes to a specific target audience within the marketplace.
The goal of product positioning is to create a distinct and memorable perception of the product in the minds of customers, distinguishing it from competitors and influencing customers’ purchasing decisions.
Your unique solution
How does your product uniquely solve their problem or meet their need?
Why should someone sign up to your list / buy your product and not someone else’s?
What’s the magic ingredient that makes your product the best solution for your target market?
Their dream outcome
The desired outcome is the ideal and highly desirable benefits the prospect hopes to experience by engaging with a product, service, or offer and achieving the result it promised. Understanding the desired outcome of your audience is essential for crafting effective marketing strategies and messages that resonate with their needs and aspirations.
What RESULT will using your product create for them? What value will they get from it? How will that result benefit their life?
What OUTCOMES could they experience as a consequence of that result? What might they have, do or be that they didn’t have before? Here are some example outcomes:
Remember – No matter how good the messaging and content that you create is, if it is not specifically designed for the target audience that you need to reach – it will miss.
Script Structure For An Effective YouTube Ad
Your YouTube ad script should generally follow this structure:
- CTA (call-to-action)
- Go deeper into the problem
- Explain the solution
- Emphasize the dream outcome
Remember, you only pay for a ‘view’ on YouTube Ads once the viewer has watched 30 seconds of your video or clicked on your call-to-action button – whichever comes first.
Here is my tried and test timeline when scripting YouTube ad videos:
0-5 sec – Hook your viewer to watching more
5-30 sec – Talk about the problem, and the solution you’re offering. Add a first call-to-action (i.e. ‘Click button below for a Free Download’) if possible.
30-90 sec – Go deeper into the problem and how the solution addresses this problem, or helps achieve a dream outcome. Present social proof and testamonials. Add your CTA. Make it clear what people need to do and how to do it.
90-120 sec– Emphasize the dream outcome that can be achieved using your solution. Add your final CTA.
You don’t pay for the first 5 seconds of your YouTube ad. After 5 seconds, the ‘Skip’ option appears on your ad allowing your viewer to skip it and continue with their original video. So your goal within those 5 seconds is to 1) qualifies or filters your audience, and 2) keep your viewer watching.
You do this by ‘hooking’ them in. You hook your viewer in those first 5 seconds with something that piques their interest. A YouTube ad hook can be:
- Shocking facts and statistics
- Disqualifier (for example, “if you’re a Real Estate Broker – then this video is for you”)
- Emotion (usually this works best for me).
- Teaser – create suspense
- A question
- Unique noise or sound
- An ice-breaker
- Testamonial to evidence credibility
The type of hook you choose depends on your style, the offer itself and your audience.
The aim of the first 5 seconds of your video is to keep your viewer engaged. An effective hook will keep them engaged enough to continue watching the video and hopefully not ‘skip’ the ad.
I highly recommend creating multiple hooks so you can test which hooks works best for your ad. How?
- Shoot your whole script from start to finish.
- Script 5 hooks to test.
- Shoot those 5 hooks.
- Attach those 5 hooks to the body of your video using editing software. This will result in 6 videos for you to test, i.e. 6 intros/hooks with the same body.
3 Effective YouTube Ad Examples (Examples of Great Hooks For YouTube Ads)
Below are the hooks for some of the best ads on YouTube.
- Manscaped ad
What Manscaped do well here is:
- Uses the curiosity hook
- Disqualifies by focussing on men interested in grooming
- Uses humour
2. Organify ad
What Manscaped do well here is:
- Uses revelation, i.e. intriguing images of 2 brains
- Use education
3. Alex Becker’s ad
What Alex does well here is:
- Uses the curiosity hook
- Disqualifies with social proof
- Gets into the context before the 30 second mark.
Question hooks also work well. For example, you can ask:
What is the one concept that allows people to create 5,6 and 7 figure stores online?
When you understand this one thing about losing weight, you won’t waste time on any other pill or weight-loss program.
My best YouTube ads usually had an emotional hook, i.e. when I explained a painful or sad situation at the start of the video. This was amplified using appropriate B-roll, music and text overlays. Again – make sure you test your hooks to see which one converts best.
General Scripting Tips
- Don’t go with the first script write. Read it the next day. Does it still sound natural and compelling? Can you take out unnecessary language?
- Use simple language. Imagine you’re explaining something to your friend.
- Check that your script falls within the 2-3min range
- Don’t use too many CTAs otherwise it will sound ‘salesy’.
One high income skill definitely worth learning is copywriting. With copywriting, you are able to write an effective marketing message/script that takes your ideal customer through the journey of problem/desire to the solution. Check out my article on high income skills, which includes copywriting, video creation and learning an ad platform.
Equipment for shooting your YouTube Ad
You don’t have to go all out and buy the latest camera or recording technology. Yes, the audience on YouTube demand more quality videos – but you can still shoot a great video using simple, inexpensive equipment. Here are my tips:
- Simple microphone
- Smart phone
- Camera tripod/stand
Audio is king on YouTube. You should be clearly heard as a lot of people using YouTube don’t always watch the video and will listen to it in the background. This is why it’s so important to have clear, distinguishable audio. A wired microphone is best – especially one that can attach to your clothes.
Smart phones are increasingly sophisticated these days. Many of them boast incredible cameras which have more than enough capability to record a video for a YouTube ad. All of my successful YouTube ads were shot with my android phone.
Unless you are holding your phone in selfie mode for your video – I would recommend you buy a simple tripod or phone holder. This ensures your phone is stable and allows you to focus on your content.
I’m a big of subtitles in my YouTube ad videos. It just allows people who are mainly visual to understand your content clearly. Nothing is lost to interpretation. There are many sutbtitlers out there, including AI generated ones. Kapwing is my personal favourite subtitler.
When shooting a new YouTube video, you should always use a teleprompter. You basically load your script into the teleprompter software – and when you record your video, the teleprompter will display your scrolling script so you can read straight off it. It’s super useful as it’s hard to remember a full script! Just be careful that it doesn’t look obvious that you’re reading off a script! I tend to ues the teleprompter BigVu as they allow you to shift the scrolling script towards the corner of your phone where your camera lens is. That way it looks like you’re looking straight at the camera and not a reading a script.
Shooting The Video
- Drink coffee!
- Shoot many takes
- Get to the point where you know the script largely by heart
When shooting your video, be graceful with yourself. If you’re not feeling right on the day of your shoot – delay it till the next day. If you’re energy is off, it will be reflected in your video.
I tend to drink lots of water a few hours before my shoot so that I’m well hydrated and my throat isn’t too dry. I also drink coffee just before my shoot for that extra boost!
Your initial takes are likely to cringeworthy. Mine certainly were! Watch your video back after your first take and make mental notes about what you can do better. This may relate to your body language, your tone, your volume or even lighting.
Try and be as natural as possible, though this will probably need a few takes.
- Use subtitles
- Test different background music vs no background music
- Don’t let the video go for 10 secs without something happening, i.e .transition, animation, image, etc
- Use B Roll, but don’t use too many stock images. Aim to have majority personal videos, or videos of the product.
- Add arrows or highlight where you want your viewer to click (for the CTA). Check out how Alex Becker does it below:
My best YouTube ads were generally the ones where I done so many takes that I knew the script pretty much by heart! When you get to this point, you become more relaxed and your delivery is natural.
You are able to use more facial expressions or hand gestures to articulate the point. Essentially, your message becomes a lot more effective as you’re communicating better. Aim to get to this point.
YouTube Ads are powerful. They can certainly provide 4, 5, 10X return on your ad spend, BUT to get to this point takes MONEY and TIME! You will probably have to test different video ad creatives and targeting to see what converts best.
I had to shoot over 150 YouTube ads to see what worked best!
So to avoid going through all that pain – I would highly suggest getting guidance from YouTube ad experts who have already been through that journey. This is the same training I used to build on what I had already learnt from my experience of shooting YouTube ads.
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