By Laura Jones

Over one billion hours of video is played on YouTube each day, providing advertisers with a vast platform to promote their products or services. If you’re looking for opportunities to convert viewers to customers, the newly-released ad format, TrueView for Action, drives on-site actions at your desired CPA with the help of prominent call-to-action buttons and headline overlays. In this blog, we explore some key points to consider before creating your campaign, from conversion tracking to choosing your CPA target.

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What is TrueView for Action?

TrueView for Action is a new campaign format available on YouTube designed to drive leads and conversions for your account. Typically, YouTube campaigns are optimised towards a cost-per-view (CPV), where you enter the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for someone to view your ad. This new format allows advertisers to input a target CPA for the campaign; Google’s machine learning algorithm will then find customers who are likely to convert at your target. The automated bidding element saves on manual optimisations, making more time for testing and strategic planning.

This campaign’s format looks slightly different to a standard in-stream ad - see the comparison below; there’s the addition of a customisable headline and a call to action button, shown in blue in the below images. This button expands during the ad, providing users with the opportunity to visit your site to convert by displaying text such as “Shop Online”, “Sign Up Now” or “Book Today”.

Example of a TrueView for Action ad with a call to action of ‘Shop Now’ on mobile:

TrueView for Action ad with a call to action of ‘Shop Now’ on mobile

Example of a TrueView for Action ad with a call to action of ‘Shop Now’ on desktop:

TrueView for Action ad with a call to action of ‘Shop Now’ on desktop

Example of a standard in-stream ad with a call to action of ‘Shop Now’ on mobile:

In-stream ad with a call to action of ‘Shop Now’ on mobile

Example of a standard in-stream ad with a call to action of ‘Shop Now’ on desktop:

In-stream ad with a call to action of ‘Shop Now’ on desktop

A companion banner also appears alongside the ad on desktop. Here, you can upload your own image or allow Google to auto-generate images taken from your YouTube channel. Uploading your own image provides more control over the creative you’re serving and, upon clicking the banner, users are sent to your homepage. If you choose to use an auto-generated image, a click on the banner sends the user to the YouTube watch page instead.

Considerations

Before setting up your campaign, there are a few key points to consider as discussed below:

  1. Conversion Tracking
    TrueView for Action campaigns rely on good conversion volume to optimise your campaign towards the target CPA. Conversions in a YouTube campaign are attributed to clicks on an ad and/or an engaged view (watches 30 seconds of the ad or its entirety, depending which comes first). Without conversion tracking, we’ll only be capturing conversions that occur after a click; this limits conversion volume and Google won’t have enough data for the algorithm to work effectively.
     
  2. Conversion Volume
    As with any conversion-based bid strategy, Google’s algorithm needs enough conversion data to effectively work; the more data it has, the better the performance. Google recommends ensuring your campaign will receive at least 50 conversions per week before trying out this format.
     
  3. What to Set as Your Target CPA?
    YouTube campaigns perform very differently from Search and Display campaigns, so simply using your average CPA across non-YouTube campaigns risks poor performance. If you have previously run a YouTube campaign with conversion tracking set-up, we’d recommend using the average CPA over the past 30 or so days of that campaign as your initial target. If you have conversion tracking set up but have never ran YouTube before, we recommend starting initially with CPV (cost per view) bidding. Let this campaign run for a week or two, or long enough to accumulate conversion data, then switch to target CPA bidding and use that CPA as your target.
TrueView for action flow chart
  1. Learning Period
    The target CPA bidding strategy will initially go through a one to two-week learning period, during which we can expect performance to fluctuate whilst the algorithm learns. If you’re planning on launching the TrueView for Action campaign for a specific event e.g. a Christmas sale period, it’d be beneficial to complete the set-up as far ahead of your event as possible, allowing the bid strategy enough time to settle beforehand.
     
  2. Audiences
    As discussed above, this YouTube ad format needs a good conversion volume (at least 50 per week) for the algorithm to work effectively. It’s therefore recommended to target lower-funnel, high intent audiences here that’ll guarantee volume. Combining the format with your cookie-based remarketing lists will likely work extremely well as these users have already shown interest in your products or services having previously visited your site.

    You could also test out the new custom intent audiences; choose keywords related to your product or service and group them into similarly-themed ad groups as you would with a search campaign. Google will then look at different signals across the web, finding people who are actively researching products or services related to the keywords you choose. If a person fits this criterion, they’ll be placed in your audience and are eligible to be served your ad on YouTube. These audiences have shown high intent by displaying signals they’re in-market for what you offer and are likely to yield good conversion volumes.

Creating a TrueView for Action Campaign

Now the conversion tagging and CPA target considerations have been discussed, we can move on to the campaign set-up.

Firstly, head to the Video Campaigns section in your account and go to the Campaigns section. From here, you can click the round, blue + icon to create your TrueView for Action campaign.

Select either Leads or Website traffic from the list of goals below, depending on which is best suited to your advertising goal.

Select a goal

Next, make sure to select Video as your campaign type in the below section and press Continue:

Select the campaign type

Work through your campaign settings preferences, selecting a campaign name, allocating budget, setting up audiences and so on. When you reach the Bidding section, be sure to select Target CPA as your bidding strategy and input the target you want Google to optimise towards, taking into account the considerations discussed earlier:

Choose a target CPA

When you reach the Create your video ad section, copy in the URL of the ad and fill out the fields below, making sure to choose a clear call-to-action to bring people to your site:

Create your video ad

Conclusion

There are many points to carefully consider before setting up your TrueView for Action campaign, particularly around conversion tracking, conversion volume and choosing your target CPA. Once the campaign’s live, the automated bidding element saves time on bid optimisations, allowing more time to be spent on testing creatives, audiences and calls-to-action. The prominent call-to-action button and customisable headline will add a direct response layer to your ad, helping drive your viewers to on-site converters.

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