According to 2019’s State of PPC, 46% of marketers said they would spend more on YouTube ads within the next year. In 2018, that number was 38%. From that, we can assume that advertisers find YouTube to be either:
- More measurable in terms of their KPI’s
- More accessible in terms of ad creative
- Neither more measurable or accessible, but they just “have to be there” because it’s the second-largest search platform, after Google.
I think there are some advertisers in each of those segments, but I would argue that in 2019, YouTube made the most strides on the creative front.
It has been a YEAR for the YouTube team. YouTube is breaking down barriers to entry for the common advertiser. (I don’t mean common in a negative way. I’m simply referring to those of us that don’t have massive creative teams and huge budgets at our disposal. Think…non-Fortune 500 companies. Or, every small and medium-sized business in America.)
Historically, we have felt limited by our creative assets or lack thereof. We either had videos that were too long and not enough manpower on the creative team to continually edit a revolving door of video ads or we didn’t have access to video ads at all.
Now, granted, some advertisers had videos and creative teams but ultimately weren’t sure how to measure the effectiveness of YouTube on their KPI’s. I won’t focus on performance or measurement too much here, as that could be the topic of another 10 blog posts.
As I said, this year has been the year of YouTube innovations and updates. I’m here to share the 3 that I believe are changing the game, on the creative asset front. These updates make it easier for brands with average marketing budgets to get their ads on YouTube and get quality brand reach.
NOTE: I’m not listing TrueView for Action ads because
- They were released in 2018 and my list is specific to 2019. However, they came out of beta in 2019, so admittedly they are still pretty new.
- For brands with CPA’s above $10-$15, the minimum recommended test budget begins to exceed $5,000/month. In my experience, that’s more than most small-to-medium-sized businesses are comfortable investing in a month-long test. In my opinion, this ad type is exciting but still lacking accessibility due to these budget minimums.
1. Bumper Machine
Bumper Machine allows advertisers to quickly edit their longer videos into variations of six-second videos. Machine learning powers the bumper machine, which makes it so quick! That being said, definitely review your bumper ads and edit them before saving because machine learning is not perfect.
Airbnb Bumper Ad
2. Discovery Ads
Discovery ads allow advertisers with NO video assets to begin advertising on YouTube, without launching smart shopping, smart display, or responsive display ads. Lack of video assets has been one of the largest barriers to entry for small and medium-sized businesses since YouTube ads began, so this update is impactful. However, it’s still in beta.
3. 15-Second Non-Skippable Video Ads
In January, YouTube expanded access to advertisers running auction campaigns. Before, only advertisers buying via YouTube reservation could access 15-second non-skippable ads. This update broadens the ad type mix for the common advertiser.
Hero Conf 15-second non-skippable video ad
There are surely more updates to come in 2020. My personal opinion is that TrueView for Action has lots of potential, but it’s not an easy point-of-entry for advertisers who want to test YouTube with lower budgets. I imagine the YouTube team will continue to advance that ad type to the point where it doesn’t need as high of a budget to drive results for businesses. On top of that, I think we can expect Discovery Ads to come out of beta in 2020.
Aside from those simple predictions, it’s hard to know what’s next! But I can’t see Google allowing the momentum to die…
Want to dive deeper into YouTube? Here are some additional resources that may help:
How To Start A TrueView YouTube Ad Campaign – a free 10-minute course via Hero Academy. You just need to create a free Hero Academy account to get started.
Boosting YouTube ROI with Key Metrics and Creative Strategy – On-Demand Webinar featuring experts from Variable Media, Shakr, and Hanapin.
Video is Not Hard: Fearlessly Feed Your Funnel with YouTube Ads– On-Demand Webinar featuring experts from Google, Variable Media, and Hanapin.
9 Local Search Developments You Need to Know About from Q3 2022
The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
Did Q1 and Q2 whip past you? They did for me, but the pace of life often seems to slow down a little in autumn, and I hope you’ll join me for a relaxed and studious look at interesting local search marketing developments from the third quarter of 2022.
1) A small harvest of review-related changes
I’m grouping four different review-related developments under this heading. First, Joy Hawkins spotted a change to Google’s guidelines on prohibited and restricted content. As I’ve covered here exhaustively in my Moz column, there are lots of things a business can do to rectify a complaint in hopes of seeing an unhappy customer update their negative review to reflect an improved experience, but outright incentivization of negative review removal has now been declared out-of-bounds by Google.
Second and rather related, Greg Gifford captured a good stat from Aaron Weiche’s LocalU presentation that I’d not heard before: over ⅓ of negative experiences referenced in reviews mention communication problems. This means that you not only need to have your local business listings up-to-snuff with ongoing management of the accuracy of your contact info, but that all of your communications technologies (texting, live chat, phone, etc.) must be responsive!
Thirdly, Barry Schwartz spotted early testing of a Find Places Through Reviews feature in July, but as of September, I have still not been able to replicate this interesting result, which is a further indication of Google’s continuous experimentation in the review space.
Finally, another tip from the inimitable Hawkins as tweeted by Brandon Schmidt: longer reviews tend to remain higher up in your Google review corpus for a longer time. The problem with this is that lengthier reviews are commonly negative, with unhappy customers taking the time to wax poetic about their complaints. Take some time to consider whether you can finesse your review requests so that your delighted customers are inspired to leave more voluble reviews.
2) HCU near you
It’s my belief that local businesses which have already made a habit of publishing content that thoughtfully serves their specific customers should come out well in the much-talked-about Helpful Content Update, which finished rolling out on September 9th. While many SEOs are trying to ascertain which changes can rightfully be attributed to the update, our friends at NearMediaCo are having interesting discussions about whether the HCU is, in fact, part of Google’s response to the rise of TikTok as a vehicle for search. As Greg Sterling notes,
“Right now the most influential internet company is arguably TikTok. Google’s HCU appears to be partly a response to the popularity of the site and its much-touted “authenticity.”
Local SEOs and their clients cannot have failed to notice how many Google searches (including local searches) return low-quality results made up of optimized filler rather than human-worthy help. While the search engines and social sites play ball over who will win the authenticity trophy, my best advice to independent local businesses is to be sure that everything on your website is a proudly-published source of information for your community.
3) Beyond content: communication
There may be times when I’m willing to wander about in the Google maze or the morass of site search hoping for an answer to a complex query, but usually, I don’t have the patience and want to be able to ask a business directly, “Do you have size 8, man-made, furry boots, with fluffy linings, but not from this brand, and only from this brand, and can you deliver them to my house, and can you do that contactlessly, and is there a surcharge for that?” Local businesses can certainly publish content to cover all of these bases, but bless the brand that makes it easy for me to have a conversation with a human being.
Brandon Schmidt did us the favor of photographing Aaron Weiche’s recent presentation on this topic. Ahead of the holidays, be sure your texting, live chat, and phone staff is ready with all the answers via highly visible numbers and links (and my boots!).
4) Toggle to hide your address
Barry Schwartz highlighted Stefan Somborac’s screenshot of a new toggle feature in search and Maps that is meant to make it easier for business owners to hide the address on their Google Business Profile. The hidden address drama is one of the longest-running plots in the soap opera that is the Guidelines for representing your business on Google. I would personally like to see this character written out of the script in favor of businesses having the say in whether they want their exact location to be visible on their listings. I’ve never understood Google’s logic for requiring SABs to obscure their locations; living in an old house as I do, I’ve had too many opportunities of needing to know which 24-hour plumber is actually nearest to me.
5) Linked FAQs in Google Messaging
This might be one of the most exciting developments of the third quarter and we again have Stefan Somborac to thank for noticing it first. You can now populate Google Messaging with up to 10 FAQs with questions of up to 40 characters and answers of up to 500 characters and your answers can include links! While I’m not personally fond of automated consumer-brand communications, I can see a good use of this for answering really common questions about hours of operation, premise accessibility, or the availability of top brands in your inventory.
6) Filter local packs by days of the week
Google has long offered searchers the ability to filter packs by hours of the day, but Shameem Adhikarath realized that, at some point, the ability to filter results by specific days of the week was added. When a customer wants to know on Monday which are the best restaurants that are open on Saturday, a little feature like this makes sense. Word to the wise: be sure your hours of operation are always up-to-date on your listings!
7) Evaluate the role local SEO should play in property hunting
Elizabeth Rule brought us this screenshot of Andy Simpson’s LocalU presentation in which he reminded local SEOs that our concerns are not the only ones that should be involved when a client moves or opens a new branch. While I’m sorry to have missed Andy’s full presentation, I can see the sense of it, just from this slide. So many of the goodies of reputation and profit will flow naturally when other factors like the location, convenience, and size of a new locale are properly considered, so definitely weigh in with local SEO recommendations during times of change, but prepare to be in a queue of many priorities.
8) Maps Photo Pins exist, but have you seen them yet?
Our honored colleagues at BrightLocal captured a version of Maps-based photo pins in September that is different than the ones reported by Barry Schwartz back in July as spotted by Vishal Sharma. These latest examples are round instead of square. I have not been able to replicate this test with similar search terms from my location in the US, and so I have no way of sussing out what the source of these images is or how to nudge Google into giving a business pin like this. For now, keep adding photos and keep checking Maps for this intriguing feature.
9) Be the winner next-door next year?
Nextdoor users voted many local and ten national businesses as their favorites this past August, and the winners have received press, badges and $500 ad credits. It’s definitely a platform worth getting listed on, and home service providers came out especially well in the contest. Nextdoor highlighted how showing up on time for appointments, providing excellent service, offering specialty goods and services, and earning recommendations from neighbors all contributed to winners’ successes. Sounds like good advice to take with you into the fourth and final quarter of 2022!
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