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July 7, 2014

YouTube Best Practices: Target Your Audience With Strategic Pre-roll Ads

Are you targeting YouTube visitors effectively?Whether or not you currently use video marketing, you know it can produce incredible results for brands. Videos are snack-sized, convey your company’s implied persona, and are irresistible to prospects who want to consume info quickly. But beyond talk of benefits, what strategies can you use to drive more qualified leads through the funnel with video?

Today I want to take a look at Wishpond, a B2B company offering simple tools for creating epic marketing campaigns. Wishpond caught my eye for their great video practices that you can use in your own video strategy. In particular, today we’ll explore how they’re using targeted pre-roll to make the most of their YouTube presence.

Here’s how Wishpond not only caught my attention in less than five seconds, but used video so effectively that I became their ideal prospect (i.e. leaving YouTube to cruise around their branded content instead!)

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It all started with some YouTube pre-roll…

Wishpond pre-roll adWe all love YouTube, and most times you’re there because you need some quick information, or your co-worker has sent you a new viral video to enjoy.

Well, YouTube is where it all started for Wishpond and I, only I didn’t realize that at first.

Initially I was there to watch a random video someone sent me, but before the glory that was likely to be a cute puppy, I was faced with a dreaded pre-roll ad. Only this pre-roll ad was different

In a catchy voice full of confidence and intonation, I heard the subject of the pre-roll ad say, “What’s a landing page and what do I use it for? Hi marketers, I’m Bree and I’m here to teach you about landing pages.”

This intro took exactly five seconds, and even though I was hovering over the ‘Skip ad’ button, I was compelled to keep listening, and here’s why:

Wishpond’s pre-roll was targeted to my personal interests and needs as a B2B marketer. Not only did the video begin with a question those in marketing are especially interested in – challenging my smarts on the topic – but it also called me out by profession and got to the point before I could click away. I also instantly knew the premise of the content. That is to say, I knew this video was going to teach me about landing pages, and – from her confident intro – I wanted to hear more from knowledgable, friendly Bree. Most importantly however, this clever pre-roll was designed to not just capture interest, but to qualify viewers as leads.

In other words, if I ended up watching the pre-roll add long past the intro and clicked on the call to action (which I did), Wishpond could be sure that I was a prospect worth following up with, especially if I ended up back on their site where brands have the opportunity to track activity and video engagement data.

And back on their site is exactly where I ended up.

After clicking through to watch more of their educational YouTube content (forgetting about that puppy video entirely), I scrolled down to see the video’s description, where Wishpond included a link back to their website as one of the first things listed:

Wishpond uses YouTube descriptions wisely

From there, I clicked through and was browsing their website learning more about their offering and watching more of their videos from a gallery of content where the brand shows off their helpful webinars (seen below).

Wishpond shows off their recorded webinars in one spot

Overall, Wishpond gets all the video marketing points because they use their YouTube presence and videos (designed to work as a targeted pre-roll ads) to first capture attention, then qualify interest and drive folks back to their site where they can convert. Once prospects are on your site, you can use your marketing automation platform to track their digital body language to determine purchase intent; this is ultimately the goal of getting people off of YouTube and onto your own site. It’s a marketing win all around, and it worked like a charm on me (someone in their target market).

So what can you takeaway from Wishpond’s strategic video marketing?

It’s all about that call to action

While you know you should be using a call to action at the end of all of your videos, I was impressed that Wishpond had visible calls to action throughout their content. Just to the left of the video’s host Bree, we are always presented with five different topics to click on. Each topic has a YouTube annotation that will bring you to a different, related video. At the end of each video, the host directly references these calls to action annotations and encourages you on to the next piece of content.

Wishpond always provides the next step

This call to action set up is particularly clever because you can’t always assume your viewer will make it to the end of your video. By presenting five new topics for the audience to take interest in, you not only give viewers a next step at all times, but this video content journey is a great way of offering up more information and driving prospects into your funnel.

And how do you do that?

Use those YouTube descriptions!

As mentioned before, Wishpond knows the value of making your video’s description especially rich. Theirs contain the video’s transcript (great for capturing Google’s attention in search), and it’s packed with strategic marketing keywords. Most importantly, the video’s description links back to their website in the first line. This is key to making sure your YouTube channel is a means for driving people back to your site where conversion is possible.

When making your YouTube descriptions, link back to your site and encourage people to take a specific action while there. The end of your videos should also prompt folks to click and be redirected to your website.

Create scripts that qualify viewers

Finally, the Wishpond video used as part of the pre-roll ad campaign (the one on the topic of landing pages) was perfect in so many ways. The brand showcased their friendly customer success representative, their knowledge of the industry and, by using targeted pre-roll, they ensured that if you kept watching out of interest and ended up back on their website because of their YouTube presence, you were in fact interested in what they do and thereby a marketing qualified lead with a higher lead score. The video didn’t have a long intro, it got you totally hooked, and you learned a bit from the company. It’s a perfect example of writing concise scripts to capture your target audience quickly.

Overall, remember that your YouTube presence is incredibly valuable and because YouTube alone isn’t a complete video strategy (just one part of one), you can use clever, concise, and targeted pre-roll ads like this to ensure that people in your niche audience discover your content and take the content journey you’ve set up for them. You want people to follow the exact journey I did with Wishpond (from YouTube to your site) and the takeaways in this post should set you up for the same kind of success. When designing your own pre-roll ads for YouTube, remember those first few seconds are really important as people are deciding if they’ll listen to you or click through to the puppy video. Make something with impact to reap great results!

Are you using your videos to qualify interest quickly like Wishpond? What’s the best first line of a video you’ve come across? How did it catch your attention?

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Jennifer Pepper

Jennifer Pepper

Jennifer is the Customer Success Content Strategist at Unbounce. One day she wants to direct the ads you skip on YouTube. Follow her on Twitter @PeppersWrite.

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