YouTube Mobile Opportunities & Strategy: A Test-and-Learn Approach to Engage the Growing YouTube Mobile Base

Post by Nonie Carson, Marketing Specialist Half of YouTube views now come from mobile devices and mobile revenue increased 100% year over year (YoY). Purchased by Google in 2006, YouTube has grown to an audience of 1 billion users and is the second largest search engine in the world (next to Google). More than 1 million advertisers leverage YouTube as a marketing channel because of its wide audience pool, advanced targeting capabilities and multiple ad formats. With over 300 hours of video uploaded every minute, brands must: (1) define which ad formats drive optimal campaign success and (2) create engaging content that reaches the most relevant audience, at the right time. MOBILE AD FORMATS YouTube offers 3 unique ways to reach, capture and convert this influx of mobile activity: Mobile Roadblocks, TrueView InStream video ads and Brand Channels. Mobile Roadblock: YouTube gives advertisers the option to purchase a “roadblock” on The roadblock is an ad unit that lays across the top of mobile users’ screens, like a banner ad. The roadblock gets its name because it gives advertisers all available ad impressions on for an entire day.

  • Advantages: Advertisers benefit from having 100% share of voice (SOV) for the day. Roadblocks are image-rich static ads that have a compelling call-to-action and lead to mobile-optimized landing pages.
  • Where they appear: On smartphones and tablets. Roadblock ads are visible on the home, browse and search pages.
  • When you would want to use them: Brands that want to drive maximum visibility to a wide audience (e.g. new product launch, support of offline campaign)
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Example of Mobile Roadblock ad*

TrueView InStream Video Ads: YouTube offers advertisers two types of mobile InStream ads: skippable and non-skippable video ads. These ads appear before, during or after the main video. Skippable ads allow the viewer to skip the ad after 5 seconds of playing, while non-skippable ads must be watched in entirety before the video content is viewed.

  • Advantages: InStream ads only charge advertisers if the video is watched and clicked on. This means advertisers aren’t paying for impressions, they’re only paying for actions. While non-skippable ads seem appealing, Google’s Vice President of Display Advertising, Neal Mohan, noted that the “skip” option can increase engagement by up to three times.
  • Where they appear: InStream video ads are served to mobile users that have the Android YouTube app or users accessing
  • When you would want to use them: InStream video ads work best at raising brand awareness and gaining additional visibility to a product or service.
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Example of InStream video ad*

Mobile Brand Channels: If a brand has a desktop YouTube channel, it’s automatically optimized for mobile. Brands can use their channel to control featured content and playlists in a mobile-friendly layout.

  • Advantages: Manage mobile content from your brand on YouTube Mobile. Gain higher positioning and better visibility in YouTube mobile’s internal search feature with a brand channel.
  • Where they appear: Brand Channels appear on
  • When you would want to use the: Having a Brand Channel ensures that your brand has a strong presence on mobile and increases brand engagement with iOS and Android users. Brand’s that have a mobile Brand Channel provide better overall user experience.
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Example of Mobile Brand Channel*

*Images courtesy of Google MOBILE YOUTUBE STRATEGY: TEST and LEARN To maximize YouTube mobile performance, advertisers should employ a test-and-learn approach, leveraging learnings for optimization. YouTube mobile ads are managed through the same AdWords interface and have the same access to YouTube analytics as desktop YouTube ads. We recommend three comparative tests to help you determine which video content and messaging will drive the greatest return on effort. Each of the comparative tests relies on measuring (1) Initial Response Rate (IRR), (2) volume of video views (engagement) and (3) percent of video watched (engagement).

  1. Test Long-Form Video vs. Short-Form

On your Mobile Brand Channel, compare the performance of long-form and short-form to reveal whether your needs are better served by short, snackable clips or longer, more informative videos. In TrueView InStream, test how video ads perform with the “skip” option versus non-skippable ad formats.

  1. Test Different Kinds of Video Content

In owned and paid mobile formats, compare videos with different content to drive engagement across your target audiences. Types of videos to test include:

  • Videos to Promote Branding: Commercials (TV and made-for-web), video sponsorship, corporate videos, video blogs, behind-the-scenes (outtakes, making of)
  • Videos to Aid Consideration: Conference presentations, white paper presentations, case studies, demos, product showcases, testimonials
  1. Test Roadblock Creatives and Call-to-Actions that Speak to Your Audience

Compare creative to determine how your brand should best engage with your target YouTube audience. Types of creative to test include:

  • Messaging that aligns with Display, Print, TV or OOH creative
  • Calls-to-action that explicitly invite users to watch the videos
  • Calls-to-action to encourage users to learn more
  • Calls-to-action to drive users to visit an external site

YOUTUBE SUCCESS Performics launched TrueView skippable InStream ads for a large client on YouTube to measure the impact YouTube ads had on search performance and find additional users outside of traditional paid search ads. After launching InStream ads, we found that YouTube users were 148% more likely to go to Google and search for the product than users who did not see the ad. With a cost-per-view of only $.09, 20% of users watched the entire video. Overall, we were able to utilize InStream ads as a cost effective and measurable way to build additional brand awareness and drive incremental users to the client’s website—particularly during key promotions, new product launches and holiday seasons. For more information on YouTube Mobile best practices and opportunities, please contact your Performics Account Team today.

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