3 Killer Targeting Strategies for YouTube Ads

So, you have a new, beautiful video ad that is optimized for YouTube and you’re pumped to plug it in and watch those conversions start rolling in.  Have you considered yet where you are going to place this ad? (No, “on YouTube” is not an acceptable answer).  You need to know who you are going to target and where on YouTube these people are looking so that you can place your ad on their computer screen.

All online platforms have a different way of targeting.  YouTube ads are no different.  You can’t just copy and paste your PPC campaign into YouTube. It will fail.

Let’s take a look at a couple of things you must know before setting up targeting for your YouTube ads…

1) What Targeting Options Do YouTube Ads Provide?Trueview YouTube Ads Targeting Keywords

Content Keywords:

This is one of the most important targeting options. It will place your ads based on relevant keywords. These are the keywords found in video titles and descriptions  You’ll want to do good research and a lot of keyword testing.


These areRemarketing YouTube Advertising generally the best converting targeting groups so make sure you have them! There are two ways you can set up remarketing for your YouTube Ads.  The first is website remarketing, where ads will be placed in front of anyone that has been to your website.  The second is video remarketing, where your ads will be placed in front of anyone who has seen your YouTube videos.

Placements:Placements YouTube Advertising

This can also be a very strong targeting group if you do it right.  But it takes the most amount of prep time and research to create. You can take your ad and place it on relevant videos and channels that you choose (as long as they are monetized/allow ads). Hint: this can (and should) include your competitors videos.

Topics and Interests:Interests and Topics YouTube Advertising

When your YouTube ads target people based off topics and interests, it uses information YouTube has acquired about a persons video watching habits.  Interests are shown to people who have been frequently watching videos that fall under a category that you specify. Topics will be shown on videos that are related to a Topic that you specify. These have usually been our worst performing groups. But they have been successful in some cases so always test them!

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2) What Should You Consider When Creating Targeting Groups For YouTube Ads?


Each targeting group that you make for your YouTube ads can be further segmented by demographics.  It is important to know your customer and turn off the demographics you know will not buy.  If you don’t you could end up trying to sell diapers to elderly men.  Which, come to think of it, they might actually need…


My advice is to prepare first. Research your customer, the value of a customer, keywords, placements, and know your desired CPA (cost per acquisition). Here is the formula you should think about while doing your research…

Right Message + Right People = Right Results

Don’t ever just jump into your campaign and start making targeting groups without doing the research and putting some good thought into it. These campaigns are your money-making machines and you don’t want to start them up without knowing how to use them.  They will most likely fail miserably and you will miss out on a possible gold mine.  Maybe one like Scrooge McDuck’s on Duck Tales (that’s a young person reference).

The Most Important Thing To Remember!

You have to be patient and you need to test.  These campaigns usually do not work right off the bat because there is no way of knowing what works and what doesn’t until you start trying.  You will most likely be ad spend negative for the first month or two. That’s OK! Just remember to always optimize your targeting groups towards conversions and you will start to see results.

Need More YouTube Advertising Help?

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3) What Do Our YouTube Campaigns Look Like?

We usually start with all of the targeting groups and work from there. Because, like I said, when it comes to targeting for YouTube ads you have to test.  You don’t know what will work and what won’t.  Don’t be afraid to have variations of these different targeting group options.  This allows for A/B testing between different categories of placements, or different sets of keywords.

Targeting Groups

Click To See What A Campaign Looks Like

Comments 12

  1. Pingback: Which Targeting Methods Can Be Used with True View Ads?

  2. Pingback: The Ultimate Guide To Setting Up Your YouTube Advertising Campaign | VPM

  3. Pingback: 3 Killer Targeting Strategies for YouTube Ads… | The Make Money Site

  4. It is really a great and useful piece of information. I’m happy
    that you shared this useful information with us.
    Please stay us up too date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Hi Jake,

    I’m not using YouTube advertising right now so i would like to understand how ‘webiste remarketing works’. People visit your site and then when they go to youtube they see your ads, right? My question is where does those ads show up?


    1. When people go to your site, they get tagged by google. So when they go to youtube your ads can play to them on any video they are watching, because google knows they have visited your website.

    1. Steve, this blog post was written to educate people about the targeting abilities and strategies of YouTube advertising. Our first goal is to educate people. (for free) If you’re interested in advanced and more customized training we have the option as well. There’s no “secret ploy” here. Did you have a specific question that we didn’t answer?

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