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If you were to take Marty McFly back to 1985 and give them the lowdown on YouTube – every video clip you can think of and every video you can’t, all at your fingertips – they would’ve said, “Yeah cool but do you have the flying cars yet?”

After you’d let them down on the flying cars thing, they’d reflect on YouTube and say, “dude, that is radical, gnarly and grouse.”

I’m from the ’80s and this is definitely how we talked, I think.

It’s easy to take for granted, but when you look at it, the fact that I can instantly view the film clip to TLC’s smash hit, (Don’t Go Chasing) “Waterfalls” pretty much wherever and whenever I want for free is an astounding (and HEAVILY UTILISED) thing. All I have to do is to put up with some minor annoyances. The ads.

Ah, the YouTube ad. The small serving of vegetables before you get to the steak. This is how the tremendous majority view anything that gets in the way of them and keyboard cat.

But on the other hand, YouTube is a marketer’s paradise. You’d be a certified goose not to acknowledge the potential of YouTube advertising. And for certain organisations in need of a boost, it’s a logical step in their marketing strategy.

So how do you insure your YouTube investment isn’t just urine in the wind?

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AdWords for Video

As per their search engine ad structure, Google puts its YouTube advertising under the “AdWords” umbrella. And basic text is still an option here, and is the most inexpensive option available.

The obvious problem with pure text though, is the likelihood of someone reading your punchy little sentence while their super interesting video is playing in the background is slim at best. That’s where TrueView comes in.

TrueView advertising formats are YouTube specific, built from the ground-up to be used on the site. They are terrifically customisable, and go a long way to solving the age-old (10-year-old) question of how to promote your YouTube video content. TrueView ads come in two different formats.

TrueView InStream

This version of YouTube advertising is the most like standard television advertising. The video is played in front of the clicked-on video, but the kicker is that you only really have five seconds in which to grab your audience, or they have the option to “Skip Ad.” But the great thing about the TrueView system is that you can pay a “cost per view” rate, where you’re only charged if the viewer sits through 30 seconds of the clip.

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A tried and tested idea for a suitable video is a channel trailer. If you’re looking to get more people to your channel, telling them exactly what they can expect in a succinct and hard-hitting way is the best way to go for an InStream ad. There’s no room for wallflowers here. Tell people why they need you in their lives.

TrueView InDisplay

A subtler version of TrueView advertising is the “InDisplay” option. You know when you’re 10 hours deep during an endless Sunday YouTube session, and you just keep clicking on those recommended thumbnails on the right? You don’t know how you got to the video of the ladybugs mating, but you did. And it may have been thanks to InDisplay.

The thumbnails on the right of your YouTube video are either related or “sponsored.” InDisplay is run in much the same way as InStream, in that you’re still paying a cost-per-view rate, this time for each viewer who clicks on the thumbnail and starts watching your video.

Some things to remember in this format are to ensure your videos are optimised, with a catchy and concise title, a solid description, and the sort of thumbnail that your fingers will be made to click.

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In both formats, ensuring your video is packed with Calls To Action (a clear message of what the viewer should do next – Subscribe, visit the website, etc.) is paramount in getting bang from your marketing buck.

Combining these formats with YouTube’s stunning ability to deliver the content to the exact audience you need it to, make TrueView advertising a marketing opportunity that’s hard to pass up.

You can rest assured that the result should be the direct opposite of urine in the wind. Although I don’t know what that is, and I’m not particularly keen to find out.