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Youtube Promoted Videos, aka Video SEM

Posted: April 9th, 2009 | 5 Comments »

Woefully behind on tricking out our Youtube page with new utilities. Today, Youtube SEM.

1) You can now set up a text ad much like an adsense ad, and then buy keywords for placement of a link to promote a specific youtube video or video channel. The example on the right shows how I purchased the word “consumer reviews” and you can see my bid earned me first placement among…one bidder. The layout is integrated, with a video thumbnail and my text descriptor.
2) Obviously, the key is finding the right keywords that work for you. There are similar tools to adsense that will suggest related keywords to the ones you are targeting. I assume those are based on popular youtube search queries.

3) Youtube allows you to set a maximum bid price and a daily maximum budget. The interface allows you to see the average slot placement you earned based on your bid. You can change each keyword individually. Youtube serves google adsense results when there is no youtube bidder. In my small tests, it seems if there is at least 1 youtube bidder on a word,

youtube seems to displace the adsense module for the youtube bidder. My bids were very high, so it’s possible the unit is already be optimized to serve adsense or the youtube bidder based on which yields the most revenue. However, for strategic reasons, I would think they would favor heavily the youtube bidder. Such a weighting keeps the visitor within youtube, since the paid link goes to a youtube video or channel. That allows youtube to show effectiveness of the ad unit, and the ability to keep the user to monetize further.

The Youtube Promoted Videos is an interesting ability to get distribution for your video. The trouble for youtube will be finding users who have the ability to monetize their video or channel, or have rationalized some other reason to pay for viewers. The rates are relatively high…I’d heard the average is $1.00 CPC, although we have been experiencing significantly lower CPC than that for first slot placement on our keywords. (Obviously, it all depends on what words you’re going for.) I’ll update that range as we expand our buys.

More on the impact of these changes to commercial applications after I post about the Youtube Insights module next.

Facebook comments:

5 Comments on “Youtube Promoted Videos, aka Video SEM”

  1. 1 Bill said at 6:08 pm on April 23rd, 2009:

    Like the post, DK. Hadn’t taken the time to understand this program but now I do.

  2. 2 Daphne Kwon said at 6:58 pm on April 23rd, 2009:

    Spammer! You’re just trying to get link juice off my PR1. :)

  3. 3 Frank Perrotto said at 2:48 pm on June 24th, 2009:

    I've been using it to promote a web series called and to be honest, besides a decent sized circle of friends, I don't know how else I'd get the views some other videos get. It really makes me wonder how these videos get hundreds of thousands of views. Youtube provides practically zero initial momentum for new videos, unlike Break.com, which you are guaranteed some nice numbers, at least on the first day. I also think that if you don't have good content, you'll learn pretty quickly that you're wasting money. So far, the response seems good because people have been watching the other videos as well, and when I pause the campaign overnight, I wake up with a lot more views than before the campaign.

    That said, my search keywords are costing me, on average, eight cents per click, and being that I have three other similar videos that people are following through and clicking on, it's coming out to more like three or four cents. If you have the targeted content, well worth it in my opinion. Unless you have 10,000 facebook friends or it's a one-of-a-kind video that's less than thirty seconds, I see no other way to get that initial momentum.

  4. 4 Daphne Kwon said at 8:32 am on June 25th, 2009:

    Frank, that is a really insightful comment. I do think self-publishing on youtube isn't any different than self-publishing a book, or a blog. You have to figure out how to get seen in the morass of other publishers. I guess the point you make is that at least YT is offering another tool to allow people to try to drive traffic, and that it does work. Whether or not it's economical, it's at least empowering to be able to make the choice to promote your content in this manner. Thanks for the 'in the trenches' viewpoint.

  5. 5 Frank Perrotto said at 2:26 pm on July 4th, 2009:

    No problem! I had forgotten about posting in here and wanted to follow up. Also, I realized I left out the name of the series in that first sentence! It's just a science fiction web series called the grey corridor. Anyway, I paused the campaign a little over a week ago, and because of that initial momentum that came from promoting it, I've gotten enough comments, ratings, and views to the point where I'm getting 50-100 views per day with no promotion. I've paused the campaign until the second episode, since that one is far more involved and more 'viral', but I plan to use it again at that point and I'm fairly certain the views will then skyrocket. So it's something where, if your stuff is good, you will continue to see the returns (i.e. – views) well after you stop promoting.

    I think if you're doing something creative where you hope to get an ROI at some point WAAAAY down the line, then the promoted videos is a great tool to have in your arsenal. It's especially great now because there are so few people using it. I was routinely featured not only at the top right but also sometimes in a highlighted box above the actual search results. Like I said, being that it's extremely difficult to get that initial momentum to move up in youtube search and become 'discoverable', the money spent on promotion is well worth it.


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