Do YouTube Video Ads Make a Brand Impact?Online video continues to grow and to be the main focus of marketers online. According to a recent study by Forrester Research, spending on video ads will make up 54.6% of total desktop display ad and 40% of mobile revenue across the Web. As online spending continues to increase, so do brands needed to know if those video ads are having an impact and that influence can be measured.

With YouTube there are very basic engagement metrics like views, likes, shares, comments and watch time that begin to put a picture together about how an audience is engaging with a video on the most basic level. Beyond these basic metrics, how do you measure some of the more nebulous brand metrics like brand awareness, ad recall and audience targeting? What brand related keywords are users searching for after watching the ad? Google’s Brand Lift tool gives you access to some of these deeper engagement metrics for YouTube ads so you can optimize your campaign in progress.

Think with Google, which collects insights from Google data and research, conducted a study of Fortune 100 brands operating some of YouTube’s most popular channels. The results were that 65% saw an increase in brand awareness with an average lift of 17%. What’s most impressive about this is that the majority of the Fortune 100 companies profiled in the study were already well-known, household names.

They also measured the interest in a brand as measured by an increase in organic searches for it on Google by observing over 800 Brand Lift studies. They found 65% of YouTube “TrueView” campaigns drove a significant lift in brand interest, with an average lift of 13%.

So I know what you’re saying “These are big brands they measured, that’s not me” To that I say, it’s all scale. There is nothing that these Fortune 100 brands did that couldn’t be done on a smaller scope. Yes they spent millions on advertising, which you likely will not come anywhere near that, but there’s an opportunity. If these behemoth Fortune 100 brands which already garner household name recognition are getting a 17% lift, what could it do for your small brand? The key is targeting.

First and foremost you’ll need to identify your audience persona. Who are the purchasers versus the influencers for your brand? Then once you’ve started serving up those ads you can utilize Google’s Brand Lift to be sure that it is resonating with your audience. If it is, great! How do you refine the creative and make it better? If it isn’t, you have to revisit that video content and figure out why it’s not resonating with the right audience. Maybe it’s the targeting? Maybe it’s the keywords you selected?

Finally you’ll want to test your creative. Don’t just roll out one ad. Do some A/B testing of different ads. Measure the response. Which is working better? Look at those keywords used in search, are any areas you hadn’t addressed before or thought of targeting?

Should YouTube be your only video ad platform? Not necessarily. I think it may be for some, but a combination with the vastly improved video player on Facebook along with Facebook’s targeting makes them a natural fit for the right market. YouTube advertising with the addition of Google’s Brand Lift and the ability to measure brand awareness and audience targeting through search beyond the video makes YouTube a very powerful option to measure your brand impact as you never have before.

If you need to convince upper management “why branding videos”, this is how you show them it’s working and measure what used to be vague metrics around your branding video content.


Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts