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How to Roll TV Spend Into YouTube

How to Roll TV Spend Into YouTube

It’s no secret that visual content is more engaging than text. As a marketer, this means that photos and videos are great ways to capture and keep your audience’s attention. Up until a few years ago, TV ads were the only way to reach consumers with video.

And although these ads can be effective, their targeting is imprecise and their results are difficult to measure. Fortunately, there’s now a better option: Online video. In 2015, there was a 23.3% increase in time spent watching online video globally, and YouTube alone will get 3 trillion video views in 2016. This means that at least part of your target audience is watching videos on YouTube – and with their diverse advertising options, you can reach your audience where they already spend their time. But as with any form of advertising, you’ll need to determine where YouTube fits into your budget. This can be difficult, but at WebFX, we recommend simply shifting part of your TV spend to YouTube.

So if you’re ready to make the shift and start experimenting with YouTube ads, the following steps will help you roll your TV spend into online advertising.

Evaluate your existing TV ad strategy

Before you make any changes to your budget, you need to evaluate your current video marketing strategy. Specifically, you should answer the following questions:

  • What is your monthly/yearly budget for TV advertisements?
  • Do you have any other video content (a YouTube channel, Facebook page, etc.)?
  • How much of your budget is allocated to production (vs. airtime or ad space)?
  • Do you have an in-house video production team or a production agency you work with?
  • How well is your current strategy working?

Once you have the answers to these questions, it’s time to learn the basics of creating YouTube ads.

Learn how to create YouTube ads

YouTube’s in-stream video advertisements (also known as pre-roll ads) are managed within Google AdWords. This means that if you have experience running PPC or display campaigns on Google, managing YouTube campaigns will be a breeze.

That being said, there are a few different components you should know.

Ad types

Before you can run an ad, you’ll need to select an ad type. For the sake of this post, we’ll stick to the three most popular options:

  • TrueView in-stream ads – Ads that give viewers the option to skip after 5 seconds, but only charge you if the viewer watches a minimum of 30 seconds.
  • In-stream select ads – Ads that give viewers the option to skip after 5 seconds, but charge regardless of whether or not they do.
  • Standard in-stream ads – Ads that do not give viewers the option to skip.

These are all commonly used, and if you’ve ever used YouTube, you’ve probably seen all of them before. They all look similar to this: moroccon oil ad highlighted


As one of the main advantages over TV advertisements, it’s important that you select your target audience carefully. Beyond the basics (like location, language, age, and gender), you can also target viewers based on topics and interests.

And although they sound like the same thing, they each have different advantages. targeting When you target based on Topics, you select ad placement on specific videos and channels. For example, if your company sells cosmetics, you could place your ads on popular beauty tutorial channels.

Essentially, this is the same principle you use to place ads on television. When you target based on Interests, on the other hand, you target individual users who often watch videos of a certain subject, regardless of what they’re watching at the time they see your ad. Sticking with the same example of a cosmetics company, this means that you could target your ads to users who frequent beauty-related channels.

So even if they visited YouTube to watch a completely unrelated video, you would still be able to show your ad to someone interested in it.


The most important part of a YouTube advertisement is, of course, the video. If your existing TV ads are already suitable for YouTube, you can upload them to your channel at no extra cost.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that if you give viewers the options to skip your ad, it needs to catch their attention within the first five seconds. If your existing video ads aren’t attention-grabbing right from the start, it’s in your best interest to create separate content for YouTube. Other than that, the types of ads you create depend on your brand and goals for your campaign.

But if you’d like more information on creating successful ads for the platform, check out YouTube’s guide to getting started with video ads.

Decide how to budget for YouTube ads

Now that you have a basic understanding of what goes into a YouTube advertising campaign, you’ll need to decide how to fit it into your budget. Ideally, you’d simply grow your marketing budget – but in many cases, that isn’t an option.

Instead, you can start by shifting a percentage of your existing TV spend to online video. YouTube encourages this practice, and specifically advises advertisers to shift at least 24% of their TV spend to their site. Once you’ve determined how much you’re able to spend, you have two main costs to consider: Production and advertising.


As I mentioned above, you may be able to use your existing videos as YouTube ads, making your production cost $0. But if you don’t already have video ads – or your existing ones aren’t suitable for YouTube – you’ll need to set aside part of your budget to create them. This cost varies depending on the quality of video you want, as well as the experience level of the team you work with. But as a rough estimate, hiring a professional production team to shoot a short, 2-3 minute video will cost $1,000 -3,000.


Once you’ve produced your videos, you can allocate the rest of your budget to your campaigns. If you’re familiar with Google AdWords, this part of the process will be straightforward. And even if you aren’t familiar with AdWords, their budgeting options make it easy to stay within a set amount.

First, you can place a limit on your daily spend. When you create your first campaign, I recommend keeping this limit low until you fine-tune your targeting and bidding. Then, choose whether you’d like your ads to be spread out evenly over the course of your campaign, or shown as quickly as possible until you hit your budget.

standard video campaign After that, you can set bids based on the amount you’re willing to pay per video view, as well as an adjustment for popular videos. bidding It will take some time to determine appropriate bids for your audience, and the best way to do this is through trial and error. But after you’ve run a few campaigns, you’ll develop a sense of what works best for your company.

Does your company advertise on YouTube?

Has your company successfully shifted part – or all – of its TV advertising budget into YouTube ads? What were your biggest challenges? Let me know in the comments below!

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