Many SEM professionals have long assumed that YouTube is a top-of-the-funnel marketing channel that is not designed to drive direct conversions. That is frequently true for YouTube prospecting campaigns, that usually target topics, interests, keywords, or some combination thereof to drive new customers to your website.  However, we’ve seen much better performance from YouTube remarketing campaigns.

Don't let your ad get lost in the shuffle. Image via Pexels.

Don’t let your ad get lost in the static – target your market where they spend the most time. Image via Pexels.

What Results Have We Seen?

In the examples below, I have compiled data for one B2B and one B2C advertiser with significant spend on YouTube. These charts compare non-brand search performance to YouTube Prospecting and YouTube remarketing performance over the last 30 days:


As you can see, YouTube remarketing not only outperforms YouTube prospecting campaigns, but also outperforms non-brand Search performance. That’s pretty impressive, considering many advertisers have written YouTube off as a channel that doesn’t drive direct conversions at all, let alone conversions anywhere near a non-brand CPA/ROI.

How Does It Work?

YouTube remarketing works by targeting YouTube videos to show only to users who have previously visited your site, or interacted with your YouTube videos, as they’re browsing around YouTube and watching other videos. You can target remarketing audiences with both In-Stream and In-Display (now known as Video Discovery) campaigns. According to YouTube, more 18-19 year olds are watching YouTube videos than any individual cable network, so it’s easy to see why YouTube is an ideal place to be retargeting your site visitors.

How Can I Get Started?

If you already have a YouTube channel and videos to use as ads, campaign set up is very easy, and you can even use the same remarketing audiences that you already target with GDN remarketing campaigns. Try experimenting by targeting shopping cart abandoners, visitors that have been on the site for a certain amount of time, or even Customer Match email lists. Additionally, you can target people that have already engaged with your YouTube channel in some way, like channel subscribers or people who have viewed a video from the channel.

Although you may not be ready to fully jump into YouTube with prospecting campaigns, remarketing campaigns are a great way to get started with YouTube while still aiming to drive direct conversions and revenue. All savvy SEM marketers know that remarketing is a valuable way to recapture site visitors and encourage them to convert, and YouTube is a fantastic channel to put those remarketing lists to use.