How Can In-Stream Ads With Lower-Quality Video Get Better Numbers?

Here at Video Power Marketing we like testing things.  It is the only true way to know what works and what does not.  In our testing we came up with a question that could have profound effects on the outcome of our In-Stream video campaigns: “What kind of video works the best?”  A.K.A. Does the quality of your ad really matter on YouTube?  So like the Curious George that we are, we decided to test it out.

We started testing different video ads in the same campaign. All targeting groups were the same and the purpose of each was to generate leads.  The ad would take people to a landing page, where they would enter their name and e-mail address.  In return they got access to a free video course in which we would later upsell them to an actual product.

Low Quality In-Stream Ads: Shot From My iPhone

• CTR: 3.14%
• Conversion Rate: 14.3%
• CPA: $0.98

The first of the  In-Steam ads was a lower quality video that was actually shot on an iPhone.  We thought, as most of you are probably thinking right now, this would be our worst performing video.  However, life is full of surprises.  This video was actually our best performing ad.

Let’s compare the numbers of the first “low quality” ad with our next “high quality” ads.  This video ad was both shot on a green screen with professional lighting, filmed with a nice DSLR, took multiple takes, and then had an hour or two of post-production work.  Once again, a conversion was getting a name and an email.

The High Quality In-Stream Ads: Shot On Green Screen

• CTR: 1.95%
• Conversion Rate: 3.6%
• CPA: $1.84

This ad performed the worst between the two ads with a lower conversion rate and a higher cost per conversion.  It is funny that this is our worst performing ad, because most people kill for these kind of numbers in their TrueView ad Campaigns.  We must know what we are doing or something.

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But here’s the Twist…

Now that we have looked at the numbers, let’s take a step back.  We were pretty astonished when we saw the results of this experiment.  It went against everything we thought we knew about video marketing.  So we went digging a little deeper to try and understand how this happened.  The purpose of the campaign was to acquire leads, but the ultimate goal of acquiring a lead is to turn that lead into a customer.  So we took a look into our sales funnel analytics to find what the ultimate conversion value of these new leads were.

Although the Video Ad shot with the iPhone had a higher conversion rate and a lower CPA, the conversions (Leads) that came from the “Higher Production Video Ad” were almost 2x  more likely to purchase later on.

Basically, what this means is that the value of a conversion for the higher quality videos was almost twice as high as the conversion value for the iPhone video.  So, based on leads that converted into customers, the high quality videos were the better performing videos.  At the end of the day we want ads that would get us leads with the highest value.   We are more concerned about the quality of the leads, not the quantity.  We would much rather have the video that produced less leads, but would eventually produce more customers.

The Student Becomes The Teacher

We learned from this that quality breeds quality.  While we may be able to obtain more leads from a lesser quality video, they are lesser quality leads. Quality customers come from quality leads. And yes, that last sentence does sound like something Spiderman’s uncle Ben would say.

Every part of a campaign should be focused on obtaining customers, even the video. That is why your entire video strategy should be based on conversions. It is also why we test, so we can help you create a great strategy, because every little thing matters when you investing in your future customers.

In the words of Tommy Calahan (Tommy Boy)  “I could get a good look at a T-Bone steak by sticking my head up a bulls ass, but I’d rather take the butchers word for it.” We are the butcher for TrueView and In-Stream Ads.


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* Important Note: This test was ran for 2 weeks with an ad spend a little over $200 giving us a small sample size to base decisions.  These are the results we saw.

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I manage multiple campaigns for our clients. I also write a lot of the content you read here at Video Power, and head up our social media. I will no-shame invite you to follow us on social media. Just click on the Facebook and Twitter links. DO IT!

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