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Derrick Schommer

Why Ads May Not Show Up Often on your Channel

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Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You don't always see ads when watching a video
  • Ads might be generically targetting the channel demographic
  • Ads might be specifically targetting you as a human

This means the ads that show for you on your channel may be completely different from someone else watching your content.


But, why don't ads show on my channel reliably?

Because nobody is bidding on your channel or the channel keywords/industry. To understand this, you need to think like an advertiser. In some ways, I believe the best way to do that is to pretend your an advertiser.  So, let's do that now...


Advertiser Goal: Video Discovery

An advertiser can go to Adwords.Google.com and build a video / text ad. However, even with a video you don't haveto play it in the video itself. The video could be setup as a 'discovery' ad type, which means it might show up near your video (usually one of the top 'recommended' videos) or even in search results at the top. In these cases an advertiser is often bidding on specific keywords (but not always).


Advertiser Goal: In-Stream Ads

The In-Stream ads are those that play before your video begins. We as advertisers can shoot for impressions (just you watching it is what I want to pay for) or for clicks and interaction. If I want to only pay when someone interacts with the ad or watches my ad to completion I can use the True View in-stream ad, to showcase my video in front of your show and offer a 'skip' button on the longer ads.


Advertiser Goal: Targetting a channel (called 'placement') 

I, as an advertiser, often target channels for content and search results (because I use 'video discovery'), here is a sample of what that might look like:


In this example you can see all the channels I target in addition to search. I advertise specific videos on these channels, but not as true view videos, just as suggested videos in the sidebar and such. Why? True View are more expensive, I just want to be 'seen' a bit. Now, I can use the additional fields to see how many impressions I'm getting and how many people clicked/viewed my ad. If I see no progress on one of these channels, I can remove it from my list. Why does that matter? More below on that.


Now, I can drill down to see what videos my ads are showing up on most:




This can give me a better idea of the performance, and potentially which I want to excluse or which may want to target harder (if they're working well). It also gives me an idea of what type of content I'm being shown on by the system.


Advertiser Goal: Targetting keywords

Advertisers usually guide their content by specific keywords, that allows us to nail down specific interests by very focused words. Here is an example of some of mine:




Here you can see some keywords and you can see I cap out how much I'm willing to pay per view of those keywords. Why does this matter? If your content has very lucrative keywords you will see more people bidding higher for themAs an example (purely fictional) the keywords "home insurance" may be a high bid keyword while "kittens" may be nearly zero. So, if you have a channel dedicated to kittens you're probably seeing very little revenue, but a home insurance channel could be making 10x what you see in revenue for the same amount of views. 


Advertiser Goal: Targetting Interests

Yep, an advertiser can also choose interests to target against, this gives them the right 'industry' to target. A person selling a protein shake might target a health/cardio/body building interests while someone selling an energy drink might taget gaming and someone selling a cholesterol medication may target channels talking about heart disease or self diagnoses channels (or drama shows).



As you can see, I target food categories (as there really isn't a "drinking" category).


Advertiser Goal: Targetting Demographics

You'll find most advertisers are targetting a key demographic. A channel targetting medication for elderly probably don't want young people to see the ads because it's a waste of time, energy and money (if those young kids accidently click the ad, the advertiser pays for something they're never going to buy). This is a great way to excluse groups, as you see I do here:


My demographic is highly focused on millenials and such, I didn't choose it, but it has happened. You can see it in your own analytics. Based on that, I know what audience to target for my show. I exclude the rest because it's clear "it's not working." However, if I wanted to gain in a different demographic, maybe I exclude all my normal viewers and market just to those outside the demo so I can increase my reach. 


Advertiser Goal: Remarketing

I don't use Google for this (I use a different company) for my online store, but the fact is many use google for retargetting. This is what happens when you see a product on amazon, walmart, or somewhere and ads for that product follow you around all over the Internet Smiley Happy Fun right? Well, we can also place videos for those products in front of all the shows you watch. 


For instance, anyone that visits my store or reads my newsletter will be 'cookied' and that little cookie sits in their browser for a few weeks (or longer). Now, when you visit a site that advertiser spot might be filled with my content, which I bid higher for to get into the ad spot. Why do I bid higher? Because I've already got the customers interest and I know (or hope) they need the product they found on my website. At this point, my goal is to intice them or remind them they still need to buy it. This is huge and it's more expensive because of what it's doing.


Advertiser Goal: Exclusions

An advertiser can choose what type of content they never want to be seen for (e.g. "Adult Content"). A childrens ad may exclude themselves on a ton of other content just as an adult video ad would exclude itself from everything butadult content. Exclusions work on keywords as well--what you never want to rank for and I know for a fact Google HIGHLY encourages the use of exclude lists (as I usually talk with my Google Ad rep once every six months).



What advertisers may do:

  • Remove your channel from their campaign: An advertiser may remove themselves from your channel if they don't see any significant progress. That way they can refine down to just channels that are showing results. This can be bad for you (if it happens often).
  • Keywords matter: Advertisers are going to cap their pay on a keyword. If you're wondering why you get lots of views but little money, perhaps those keywords you're using just aren't valuable enough.
  • They can target all of these topics at once. They can build a campaign against keywords of particular interestand on specific channels.
  • Retargetting: You may have ads on your channel custom designed for specific users that might not even align with your content but advertisers want to reach them (again). If you're doing video reviews of products on amazon or whatnot, you may see more retargetting ads (and get paid higher for it) in some theoretical situations.
  • Excluded Content: Are you making content so hyper focused on a very specific niche that it can be excluding you from specific ad content? Could happen (e.g. excessive violence, excessive swearing, etc.)


Advertising Spend

Advertisers have a specific daily spend on their campaign. They also have a spend per video ad group. They can campaign based on keywords, topics, etc. Each allows us to tailer what we're willing to spend. But, the best way we reduce cost of spend is to focus our advertising. To do this we exclude demographics we don't want to hit, we exclude keywords we don't want to show up for, we limit our budget on some keywords and excellerate on otehrs. We exclude channels that underperform and prefer to spend with channels that do well. This doesn't mean just impressions but actual conversions/clicks on the product we're advertising. If one demo tends not to skip a TrueView ad on one channel but another tends to skip on a different, we exclude the channel in which people just skip.


Bottom Line

If you really want to understand how your channel makes money you need to understand and think like an advertiser. Perhaps you should read/learn some adwords campaigning. Create a video campaign for your channel like I do and maybe budget to spend a bit of money to try it out. This gives you insight into how others are doing it. In two months I've spent about $129 on adwords because I think it's interesting, I want to see how it works over time and I wanted to learn more about the intimidating thing known as google advertising. But, I've got special insight because of it!

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