Want to deliver the right message at the right time to your audience on YouTube? Have you considered using an ad sequence?
In this article, you'll discover why and how to use YouTube ad sequencing to deliver your video ads in a specific order.
How Does YouTube Video Ad Sequencing Work?
YouTube video ad sequencing lets you show people multiple ads in any pre-determined order you choose. Ad sequences include a series of two or more ads that work together to deliver a consistent message. You can use sequences to tell a story in parts, present a solution from different angles, or emphasize a single theme.
When you create a video ad sequence, you can choose from one of four pre-made templates that are optimized for different types of storytelling. You also have the option to create a custom sequence based on your marketing goals and understanding of your target audience. When you launch the campaign, Google Ads delivers the sequence to your target audience one step at a time.
4 Reasons to Consider YouTube Video Ad Sequences
YouTube ad sequences offer a valuable opportunity to connect with your target audience. Here are a few ways your business can leverage this tool—and why you should consider using it.
Deliver Your Brand's Message in Order
If you've set up solid targeting parameters and built YouTube remarketing audiences, then you can feel relatively confident that your video campaigns are successfully reaching your target audience. But unless you run a lot of one-off, short-term campaigns, you can't always control exactly when your audience sees most of your ads.
YouTube video ad sequencing gives you much more control than you get from running a standard video ad campaign. That's because Google Ads treats each video in a sequence as a required step. In other words, users must view step one before seeing step two, and so on.
There's no guarantee that each person who sees the first video will complete the entire sequence. However, Google Ads does optimize bids for that outcome. That means you can deliver an entire series of ads in order, building on your brand story and creating a message that truly resonates.
For example, this @Noom YouTube ad features multiple customer testimonials that highlight the impressive goals customers have reached using the weight loss platform. By including several testimonials, the ad uses variety to make an impact.
The @Noom YouTube ad below continues the storyline but uses a single detailed testimonial instead. By using longer video with an interview-style format, this ad can provide more in-depth information while delivering a consistent series of messages.
Make Your Brand More Memorable
YouTube's in-stream ads are great for getting your brand in front of your target audience as they consume organic content. But if you run a lot of skippable ads or bumper ads, then you only have 5 or 6 seconds (respectively) to make an impact. That isn't a lot of time to introduce your brand and get your message across in a notable way.
With YouTube ad sequencing, you have a better chance of making your brand and your message memorable. According to Google, video ad sequencing is significantly better for getting and staying on your target audience's radar.
Although YouTube ad sequences need a minimum of two videos, longer sequences may be more effective. To find the ideal sequence length and structure for your brand and message, consider testing a few options and comparing the results.
For example, this @monday.com YouTube ad introduces the project management platform by tapping into the problems that its target audience typically faces. The ad depicts a project manager managing a range of disconnected tasks and struggling to improve efficiency.
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The @monday.com ad below generates additional interest by showing the project management tool in action. By walking users through the app's interface, showing the company's logo, and repeating the brand's name, the ad makes the series of messages more memorable.
Drive Website Traffic and Purchase Intent
Increasing ad recall is great for boosting brand awareness and reaching upper-funnel marketing goals. But if you want to target lower-funnel goals or guide your audience through your sales funnel, YouTube ad sequencing can still be a smart option as long as you choose the right template.
Each type of video ad sequence is geared toward a different goal and some have proven particularly effective at driving purchase intent.
For example, the @WIX YouTube ad below introduces the website builder by showing how users can create a website with the platform. By highlighting several of the platform's key features, the ad quickly shows how the website builder can meet the target audience's needs.
The @WIX YouTube ad below guides users further through the funnel by addressing common objections to the platform. The ad explores some common questions potential customers may have, helping them overcome hesitation and move closer to a conversion.
Complement Related YouTube Campaigns
In some cases, you might view your video sequences as distinct campaigns that shouldn't overlap with other YouTube ads. Although you can certainly include completely unique content in your video ad sequences, you can also incorporate some (or all) of the content into other campaigns.
Google Ads has a strategy for ensuring that you don't overdeliver an ad that's part of a sequence. Say the same video is the second step of a sequence and an ad in a separate YouTube campaign. If a user fits the targeting parameters for both, they may see the video in the separate campaign first.
When they enter the ad sequence, they won't see that video again. Instead, they'll skip that step and automatically move to the next video in the sequence.
It's true that you'll lose some control over how your messaging is delivered if you reuse the content from sequence steps in separate campaigns. But you'll still be able to deliver your ads to your target audience without having to worry about ad fatigue or exceeding frequency caps.
How to Set Up a YouTube Ad Sequence
Before you build your YouTube video ad sequence, decide on at least two (and up to four) related videos to feature in the campaign. Then open your Google Ads account and follow the steps below to create a sequence.
#1: Create a New Campaign
Start by clicking the blue New Campaign button. Choose one of the two objectives that work with ad sequences: Brand Awareness and Reach or Product and Brand Consideration. For the campaign type, choose Video. For the campaign subtype, go with Ad Sequence.
Now begin adding the basic elements of your YouTube campaign. Select a start date and an optional end date, and set a daily or total budget. Then choose one of the two available bid strategies:
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- Target CPM: With Target CPM, you choose what you want to pay for every 1,000 impressions of your ad. Google Ads automatically optimizes your bid to show the entire sequence, rather than a single ad. This bid strategy also lets you use skippable, non-skippable, or bumper ads, or a combination of the three in your sequence.
- Maximum CPV: With Maximum CPV, you set the highest amount you want to pay per video view. There are a couple of downsides, however. This bid strategy supports skippable ads only, and Google Ads doesn't optimize to show the whole sequence.
#2: Set YouTube Targeting Parameters
Ad sequences aren't compatible with many of the targeting methods you're used to incorporating into other YouTube ad campaigns. For example, you can't upload a keyword list or target by content or placement.
Instead, targeting for sequences is limited to people and devices. Here are some segments to consider when building your audience:
- Detailed demographics, including parental and marital status, education level, employment details, and homeownership status
- Affinity audiences, which are based on their preferences and likes
- In-market audiences, who are in the process of researching or planning something
- People who have engaged with your business, based on your first-party data
- Custom segments based on search terms and purchase intentions
By default, Google Ads shows ad sequences to users on all devices and networks. Under Additional Settings, you can remove computers, tablets, mobile phones, or TV screens from your targeting parameters. You can also select specific operating systems, models, and networks.
Although you can't include detailed targeting beyond audiences and devices, you can exclude some options. Choose the inventory type for your ad campaign and add select content types and labels to exclude.
#3: Add Related Videos
Creating a YouTube video ad sequence gives you an opportunity to serve multiple ads to your target customers. But what if you still have more to say or you want to encourage prospects to keep engaging with your content?
You can choose two to five related videos to show alongside your ad on mobile devices. Paste the URL for each YouTube video you want to add to the campaign. Note that Google Ads automatically determines which videos display and in what order so there's no need to sequence them.
#4: Choose a YouTube Sequence Template
Now you're ready to build your ad sequence. Although you can create your own custom sequence or let Google Ads order your videos automatically, choosing one of the four templates is a smart choice for your first attempt. The templates use research on optimal narrative structures to create the most compelling sequences.
Your YouTube sequence template options include:
- Introduce & Reinforce: Show a longer (more than 30 seconds) video ad to introduce your business, followed by a shorter (less than 30 seconds) ad to reiterate the message.
- Prompt & Inspire: Generate interest with a shorter video ad, and then prompt action with a longer ad.
- Attract & Direct: Capture interest with a shorter ad, inspire consideration with a longer ad, and then drive action with another shorter ad.
- Engage & Differentiate: Use a series of shorter video ads to tell your story over time or from various perspectives.
#5: Create YouTube Video Ad Sequence Steps
After selecting a template, you can add a video to each of the steps. Each represents a distinct ad group with its own video ad. That means you can set a different bid for each step—either Target CPM or Maximum CPV, depending on the strategy you chose.
For each step, paste the URL for the YouTube video and select skippable, non-skippable, or bumper ad format. Then enter the landing page URL and configure the display URL.
To encourage clicks, choose an optional call to action (CTA) from the list. You can also write a short headline to appear alongside your CTA and URL.
To track the results of each step in the sequence, take advantage of Google Ads' URL options. You can use a tracking template to create UTM parameters that identify which step drives clicks and conversions on your site.
After creating the first ad, click Add to Sequence and select the conditions—or interaction rules—for prompting the next step. You can choose Impression if you want users to move to the next step after seeing the ad. Alternatively, you can choose View to prompt the next step after users watch 30 seconds of an ad or Skip to set skipping the ad as a condition.
Then repeat the process until you've completed the sequence. When you're finished, give the video ad sequence a final review and click the Create Campaign button to launch.
#6: Review YouTube Campaign Results
After launching the video ad sequence, use Google Ads to monitor your YouTube campaign results. You can see metrics like views and impressions for each ad group, which can help you understand how your target audience is progressing through the sequence.
If you've used UTM parameters or linked your Google Analytics account, you can get more detailed insights. In Google Analytics, you can see which ads have driven the most website traffic and which have led to the most conversions or completed goals.
Then you can use your insights to continue to improve your YouTube sequences. From changing the order of the steps to launching longer series to testing different templates, you have a lot of options for optimizing your video ad sequences and improving your results.
YouTube video ad sequences give your business a unique opportunity to deliver a series of related messages to your target audience. With this campaign subtype, you can reach key marketing goals while increasing awareness, driving consideration, and creating a memorable experience for your target audience.
Get More Advice on YouTube Ads
- Create YouTube skippable in-stream ads that viewers won't want to skip.
- Run three low-stakes video ads on YouTube.
- Improve your YouTube video ad creative.
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