21 min read

For our latest Google Marketing Platform Sydney meetup, we spoke with New Business Manager at Google, Rebecca Robson to get a high level, holistic overview of YouTube.

We looked at the three groups YouTube is made for – Users, Creators and Brands, and shared best practices on how to win on Youtube. Including how to reach the right people, win their attention and finally optimise toward your success metrics.

Google Marketing Platform Meetups

Read on to learn the best video tactics to help you dominate YouTube.

What We’ll Cover

tl;dr? Skip to the slides or skip to the section you want to know more about:

  • Why YouTube?
    • Mission Statement
  • Users
    • Millennials
    • Parents
    • GenX
  • YouTube Growth
    • Growth in Australia
  • Creators
  • Brands
    • Skip Button
    • How Can Businesses Win on YouTube?
    • Find New Customers
      • High-Intent Audiences
      • Intent Signals
      • Google Search & YouTube
      • Case Studies
        • Hawaiian Airlines
        • Betterment
    • Creative
      • Good Video Creative
      • Traditional Story Arc
      • Case Study
  • Optimisation & Measurement
    • Measure Online Conversions
    • Measure Store Visits
  • Conclusion

YouTube: Your Next Growth Engine

Google Marketing Platform meetup - Rebecca Robson

YouTube Growth

Let’s talk about how consumer expectations have changed and how we as marketers have to change the way we think about marketing to reach and assist these new consumers so that they choose us over the competition.

We’re going to dive into the video platform and why we believe YouTube is the next step to find your customers. 

Why YouTube?

Consumer expectations are changing, and that’s why marketing is now more complex, but also more exciting because we need to answer those changing expectations.

With technology changing and advancing, people are finding new ways to get the information they need and expect more from the platforms that provide it. Video content is now more frequent, accessible (4g) and common in people’s lives. Have you ever used a YouTube video to solve a household problem?

Video content is important to our clients and consumers, so it is important to us too.

Today we’ll be talking about:

  1. CARE: Your customers are on YouTube (all ages, genders)
  2. DO: How brands/companies can win on YouTube
  3. IMPACT: Case studies of success stories

Let’s dive in.

YouTube Mission StatementYouTube Mission Statement

YouTube Users

YouTube Growth: Users

YouTube is a platform built for its users.

We see from our research, as well as our own usage, that Aussies are turning to YouTube to be inspired, educated, and entertained. More specifically, we’ve seen that  ‘how to’ videos – whether to fix a sink or learn a new language – is a key way that people engage with the platform.

This year, Google talked to over 2500+ Australians across quantitative and qualitative research, but what we really loved most was the ethnography research where Google actually got the chance to spend time with YouTube users in their own homes (in both metro and rural locations), and see first hand the role that YouTube plays in their lives. Google have delved into three core demo groups that cover the majority of your clients target audiences, however, this is Google’s first round of audience research. 


  • Quantitative survey samples were a representative sample of the Australian online population weighted for age, gender and geography
  • Research conducted from March-August 2017
  • NZ wave of research coming in a few months
  • Definition of parents: access internet at least monthly and have children 18 years or younger living in their household (biological, adopted or step-child)
  • Ethnographies is a method of data collection entailing the detailed examination of human behaviour in a certain specific social situation and also understanding their interpretation of such behaviour

Millennials on YouTube

YouTube Growth: Millennials on YouTube
58% of millennials agree YouTube is a place they can hear different viewpoints on current events.

79% of millennials go to YouTube to connect.

Parents on YouTube

YouTube Growth: Parents on YouTube

59% of parents turn to YouTube for parenting guidance.

49% of parents use YouTube to connect with their child.

Generation X on YouTube

YouTube Growth: Generation X on YouTube

64% of Gen X go to YouTube to follow a passion of theirs.

YouTube is where Gen Xers learn to get things done.

74% of Gen Xers use it to solve an immediate problem.

YouTube Growth

YouTube Growth Users

YouTube is big, but you already know this. 

  • 400+ hours of video uploaded to YouTube every second
  • 1.9B people watching a total of 1B hours a day on YouTube
  • The average YouTube viewer watches 1+ hours a day on mobile alone (60% of views occur on mobile)
  • On an average day in the U.S., adults 18-49 years old, spend more time on YouTube than on any TV network

YouTube growth continues, especially on mobile. We’re reminding you about this because, first, reach matters. We’re not asking you to build a video business around a platform that has a small, niche audience. YouTube is big enough to scale for your clients and deliver a lot of potential new customers. 

But the other point we’re making here is that, with 400+ hours of video uploaded every minute and 1.9B viewers, YouTube is this huge mass of all different people watching all different types of content. It might seem difficult to characterise the entire viewership and platform in a simple way. 

But, in fact, there is a simple way to think about all of YouTube. Despite it being tons of different viewers watching tons of different content, all viewers come with the same underlying intention…

YouTube Growth in Australia

YouTube Growth in Australia

In Australia, a population of 24.6M people, almost 16M adults spend an average of 24 hours a month on YouTube.

YouTube Creators

Without creators, there would be no content.

YouTube for Brands

YouTube Growth for Brands

Take this back to your consumers and what they want. 


They’re not on YouTube to passively view, or browse a social feed, or read an article and get interrupted by video. They all lean in and press play expecting to watch something great, whether they’re looking for entertainment, answers, help or following a favourite creator/channel. 

This may seem like a simple and obvious point, but it’s so important because it explains what makes YouTube unique. All platforms have their own advantage, and YouTube’s is that people press play ready to pay attention. Because YouTube is 100% about video, you know that if someone is leaning to watch, they’re expecting sight, sound and motion. 

YouTube Skip Button

YouTube for Brands: Skip Button

And, we’ve protected this precious lean-in moment when viewers are willing to pay attention by, of course, adding a skip button (we added it back in 2010; it’s not new). This rewards advertisers who bring ads that people want to watch, which creates a better ecosystem where the best, most relevant ads win, and the rest get skipped (and advertisers don’t pay for them). 

How Can Businesses Win on YouTube?

How Can Businesses Win on YouTube

What Google has really done is line up three elements that are critical to making video drive performance:

  1. Reach just the right people who have intent or likelihood to buy from you
  2. Win their attention and give them a way to take action
  3. Optimise towards success metrics and measure that it’s working

Find New Customers

YouTube Growth: Find New Customers at Scale

We know that YouTube allows advertisers to reach audiences at scale:

  • We already discussed the scale. 1.9 billion monthly viewers
  • US only: The most recent figure: seventy-three per cent of U.S. adults use YouTube

We know that YouTube has global viewership and advertisers can reach these audiences at various different moments.

But besides the large scale – how do we make sure that we are also speaking to the right set of people -> people who are really interested in our client’s product or offering?

High-Intent Audiences

YouTube Growth with high-intent audiences

But besides the large scale – how do we make sure to reach the right people: we want precision to reach audiences with high-intent to buy!

The first step towards reaching these “right audiences” as a brand must be to understand these audiences better.

With 7 Google platforms counting >1B unique user/month Google has a large number of aggregate intent signals, which is combined with machine learning to reach specific audiences in the moments that matter.

Reaching these audiences in the moments that matter has become a great marketing challenge, as user behaviour has changed over the last years – we know that >  60% of YouTube viewership now occurs on mobile devices alone.

That is why YouTube as a platform had to adapt to that change in consumer behaviour by innovating its ad serving infrastructure to be able to reach users across devices.

Let me give you an example:

A beauty brand is launching a new product and wants to ensure that everyone within the 18-34 years bracket is aware of this new launch. 

But it also wants to make sure that the brand drives the purchase of this new product when its audiences are looking for makeup tips online.

Reaching such audiences with different levels of intent has been a great marketing challenge for the brand.

YouTube Intent Signals

YouTube Growth: Intent Signals

We are now able to leverage new signals, specifically Google Search, Maps & Apps to reach audiences on YouTube in new and improved ways.


Incorporate signals of users who used Google Search to find seasonal offers, or use Maps Search to find stores close-by.

That is why now with the power of machine learning, Google is able to open the doors to all their platforms and let them interact with each other. 

With seven Google properties with >1Bn users, they have a rich set of signals which we can use to reach the right set of audiences on Youtube.

Improved Audience Types

YouTube: Improved Audience Types

With these new signals, we’re able to reach +15% more people when using existing audience types (e.g. affinities + in-market segments).

But also create new audience functionalities:

  • Life events enable us to reach individuals during major milestones, for example before or after you recently got married or have moved. These major milestones drive differences in purchase behaviour.
  • Consumer patterns enable advertisers to reach people with regular consumption habits, such as frequent grocery shoppers or restaurant-goers.

Google Search and YouTube Growth

Google Search and YouTube Growth

But what is even more special is Google’s new ability to reach people who searched for certain search terms. You already heard about this today: it’s called Custom Intent Audiences.

*This is still in beta so please reach out to your account manager to activate.

This is a strongly recommended targeting functionality for performance advertisers using video.

But the solution that we are more excited about allows advertisers to reach people on YouTube who searched for certain terms on Google search. 

Google search is the place where people search online for everything and we now can reach these people and speak to them with the power of sight, sound and motion on the worlds biggest video platform. This is strongly recommended for performance advertisers using video and is now available on both AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager.

YouTube Growth: Custom Intent

Around 85% of these consumers are using YouTube and therefore are reachable through Custom Intent.

YouTube Custom Intent Audiences Case Studies

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines Custom Intent Audiences on YouTube Case Study

In preparation for the busy summer travel period, the airline wanted to follow up with people in Los Angeles and the Northern California Bay Area who were considering visits to Hawaii. While in the past it has always relied on search ads to push customers to book flights, this time the airline took a cross-channel approach.

To do that, the marketing team set up a typical search campaign, focussing on branded keywords like “Hawaiian Airlines” and nonbranded keywords like “Flight to Hawaii.”

The call to action in the direct-response format invited people to click-through to “See Fares,” where they were directed to a landing page of flight and pricing options relevant to their area.


Betterment YouTube Custom Intent Audiences Case Study

YouTube Growth: Creative for Brands

YouTube Growth: Creative for Brands

Before we get started, one really important point: we know not many of us have a creative background. That’s OK! Writing and producing awesome video creative is definitely a job for creative experts, but we don’t need to be experts to offer some basic guidance and advice to our clients. 

In fact, as consumers — not advertisers — we all have a good basic sense of what makes good creative. We know when we’re being sold to, and we know when we see an ad that makes us want to watch, want to pay attention, want to respond. You can rely on your instincts as a consumer and we’ll give you a little bit of ‘expert’ creative knowledge to supplement it. 

Good Video Creative

We Need Good Video Creative

Because creative is the greatest single driver of campaign success if you want to improve your campaign, improve your creative. 

Different reports place different levels of importance on it, but whichever way you look at it…. It is critical! Around 50%.

Creative needs to thrive in this context

Traditional Story Arc

YouTube Story Arc for Brands

Overall, we’ve found that great ads on YouTube usually follow the emerging story arc. Traditionally, 0:15 or 0:30 TV spots have a slower build-up to the action. On YouTube, most effective ads drop you into the action right away! Remember, viewers can skip after 0:05 so it’s important to ‘start high.’

If the traditional story arc is ‘appetiser – dinner – dessert,’ then the emerging story arc is ‘desert first!.’ 

Overstock.com Case Study

Overstock.com decided to take on the challenge to run a multipurpose campaign that raises brand awareness as well as drive conversions for performance-related metrics. Win-win.

For the brand component, Overstock wanted to make sure that customers realise that the word ‘Overstock’ refers to its prices, not the quality of the goods it sells. They did this through a playful approach in creative.

For the direct response component, Overstock wanted to reach the most relevant audiences as possible. So they used Life events and reached people who were moving homes. They also used Custom Intent audiences. 

And to tie this all together, they used personalised creative for that specific audience segment with TrueView for Action, with an engaging and customised call to action such as “Shop Now” or “Save Big”. 

This strategy of combining all the elements of creative, audience and format allowed Overstock to increase their conversion rate by 80%.

YouTube Optimisation and Measurement

YouTube Optimisation and Measurement

In terms of bidding, while historically we’ve been optimising towards reach and awareness, with our standard TrueView and Bumper formats…

TrueView for Action now has the ability to optimise your video campaigns to a Target CPA.

The best practice to set target CPA should be considering historical CPA:

  1. If the advertiser has run YouTube campaigns before, use the average video CPA
  2. If they have only run Search or Display, multiply up to 2X what they did on Display and between 2-3X what they were doing on Search.

After the campaign ramps up you can decrease TCPA on a weekly basis.

Measure Online Conversions

Measure online conversions

Measure Store Visits

Measure Store Visits on YouTube

How Can Businesses Win on YouTube?

YouTube Growth: How to win on YouTube

In summary, we want to make performance advertising work on YouTube.

With a combination of the precision of search, we have the ability to target high-value and untapped audiences with Custom Intent Audiences.

With video formats that have engaging features, like TrueView for Action, that also have the ability to optimise to conversions using targeted CPA bidding.

And with improved cross-device measurement.

Thank you

Huge thank you to Rebecca Robson for presenting at our latest Google Marketing Platform meetup in Sydney.

Join us at the next Google Marketing Platform Sydney meetup or see our other locations here.

Google Marketing Platform Sydney

Paul Hewett

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