Everything you need to know about YouTube audio ads

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YouTube launched its version of audio ads, as part of the platform’s strategy to engage music and podcast listeners, in November 2020.

YouTube audio ads provide another way for advertisers to capture the attention of its users, especially those who use the platform as a hearing aid rather than strictly video – to listen to podcasts, concerts or lectures, for example.

If your goal is brand awareness and reach, it’s worth testing this new initiative.

Let’s see how to get started with YouTube audio ads.

How do YouTube audio ads work?

Although the audio announcement format is primarily characterized by a voiceover, there is always an image or animation component that is displayed on the screen during playback.

Here’s an example of a YouTube audio ad with a simple animated display:

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YouTube audio ads share similar characteristics with video ads, such as CPM delivery.

Google touts the relatively low cost of creating, simplified buying and configuring campaigns, streamlined targeting and metrics, and extended reach in a new low-cost inventory as the main benefits of YouTube audio ads.

Where do YouTube audio ads appear?

Audio announcements only appear on music or podcast content. Video ads, on the other hand, can be placed across multiple categories, playlists, and channels.

Currently, there are audio and podcast ranges available, such as:

  • Pop.
  • Rocky.
  • Country.
  • GED.
  • Rap and hip-hop.
  • Designed for audio music.
  • Podcasts.

Google is also rolling out dynamic musical ranges in its targeting options. More on that below.

Who is eligible for YouTube audio ads?

This new audio format was limited to certain brands in the testing phase since late 2019. Since the announcement in November 2020, audio ads have remained in global open beta.

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Some brands are not allowed to show audio ads, including those of:

  • Health and medicine.
  • Alcohol.
  • Gambling.
  • Other sensitive verticals.

It’s important to note that Google requires brands to perform two Brand improvement surveys before being eligible for open beta.

Audio ads are currently available on the Google Ads, Display & Video 360 platforms.

How to start your first YouTube audio ad campaign

To get started, sign up for your Google Ads account. From there navigate to Video campaigns and click on the More button.

To select New campaign > Brand awareness and reach (objective)> Video (type of campaign)> audio (campaign subtype).

Then click Carry on. That’s it! You are now ready to enter your auction and budget details.

Google Notes:

“YouTube audio ads are currently in beta, so features can be added or removed at any time. If you have any issues or have feedback on audio ads, contact your Google sales representative.

Audio Announcement Specifications

Similar to the format of YouTube video ads, your audio ad should also be uploaded to YouTube.

Here are some other requirements and specifications for audio ads:

  • Duration of the advertisement: 15 seconds maximum.
  • File size: 128 GB maximum.
  • Resolution: from 426 × 240 (240p) to 3840 × 2160 (2160p).
  • Aspect ratio: 16: 9.
  • Associated banner and call to action: available on request from your Google representative.

Audience targeting for audio ads

YouTube audio ads offer the same targeting options and bidding strategies as video campaigns. Think of it as one less new thing that you have to learn.

Google recommends that you don’t restrict your audience too much. Ultimately, you control who your ads appear to.

Some of my favorite audiences to try out in YouTube ads, where our clients have been successful, are:

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Example

Suppose your brand is trying to reach people who own a restaurant or other hotel business at a broad level. You want to target them with a new payment technology product.

With Google’s new Custom Combinations feature, you can get creative on how you can try to reach these people:

  • Detailed Demographics: Works in the “hospitality” industry.

And also includes:

  • In the market:
    • Payroll services.
    • Financial services to businesses.
    • Payment processing and merchant services.

Now is the time to get into your user’s mind. These could be the type of people who listen to podcasts on business ownership, finance, etc.

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Try creating an audio ad that runs only on podcasts, and then set up another campaign for different music genres. By segmenting where your audio ads are showing, you can quickly grab the top performing placements.

Dynamic musical scales

Dynamic musical scales are driven by advanced contextual targeting. Choose from queues that match the topics, times, or popularity of your target audience.

If you are using dynamic music schedules, it is important not to overlap targeting with the following options:

  • Advanced audience targeting.
  • Keyword targeting.
  • Different types of targeting in the same campaign (meaning dynamic lineups audience must have their own campaign).

In the campaign interface, just go to:

Pitches > Click Enter multiple locations > Find the specific video content ID.

Best practices and key takeaways for YouTube audio ads

Now that we’ve covered the who, what, and where of YouTube audio ads, it’s time to cover the “how.” Follow these best practices for a more streamlined setup.

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Be interesting! Since audio ads only appear over long music or podcast listening sessions, capturing a user’s attention within 15 seconds of your ad being able to read.

Concentrate on the sound component. While the ad always has an image or animation component, the emphasis should be on the audio. You would be surprised how difficult it can be to master your post in 15 seconds.

Think about the tone and the tempo. Are your ads presenting themselves as conversational or commercial? A friendly tone is crucial to help engage and capture your audience’s attention between their music or podcast content.

The number of words is important. With just 15 seconds, don’t try to cram too much information at once. Google recommends aiming for 40 words in your audio clip. Be clear and specific for optimal brand recall.

Remember the call to action. Try adding a specific offer for audio listeners. This can help determine the success of your campaign when reviewing the results.

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Start testing! Google is starting to roll out video experiences, which makes testing easier. Creative and audience tests will be the main elements of these first experiments. This feature has not yet rolled out to everyone, so be sure to discuss this with your Google representative.

Stick to one audience per campaign. This is similar to how we set up YouTube video ads, but it bears repeating. If you use two different audiences with different sizes in different ad groups in the same campaign, chaos can ensue. Typically, the audience with the highest size and highest CPV will win the majority of each auction. If you want to test audiences, do so with separate campaigns.

If advertising on platforms like Spotify or Pandora seems intimidating, try YouTube Audio ads. Your first audio campaign can be up and running in no time.

YouTube audio ads can also give you a head start in remarketing efforts because they are linked to the Google Ads platform.

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Testing audio ads with YouTube can be a cost effective way to amplify your brand’s message, and at a fraction of the cost compared to other platforms.

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