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Can you pay to promote YouTube videos? The short answer is: Yes, with a paid YouTube video promotion strategy. The longer answer: Let me show you how it works exactly.
Step 1: Create and publish your video
Create your video as usual, then upload it to your YouTube channel. That includes regular videos and YouTube Shorts. For one-take videos, you can also record them directly on the platform.
If you need help creating your videos, thumbnails, or other related tasks, consider hiring freelance help here.
Step 2: Set up a Google Ads account
If you don’t already have a Google Ads account, set it up here. You’ll have to add a credit card for payments.
Step 3: Identify the video you want to promote and have a goal
Before throwing money after content, consider the purpose. Do we want people to engage with the content and click over to the website, or maybe you want to grow your reach? Whatever the goal, consider what videos you already have and which would work best for your goal.
For example, two of my campaigns had vastly different goals.
I created this video discussing the proposal to add traffic cameras in Marion, Iowa, because the police department doesn’t have enough officers. To raise awareness around the issue, I geofenced it for Marion and set the audience to adults. The goal is: Raise awareness about what our city government is doing.
I promoted a YouTube Short in which I discuss whether or not you need a marketing degree. That audience is very different from the one in Example 1, and my promotion here had another goal: I want to drive awareness and, hopefully, sales of my new book on whether or not marketing is a promising career. This campaign was geofenced as well, but much broader. I targeted all of the United States and added audience interests. I also set the age to 18-mid-30s.
In both campaigns, I considered the goal and why it would be worth spending on them.
Read next: YouTube: Why everyone should stop dumping raw video on YouTube now
Step 4: Paid YouTube Video Promotion setup
When prompted, head to the YouTube Ads platform and log in through your Google Ads account.
From there, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Click on the goal of the campaign:
- Video views and website clicks
- Engagement with video and channel
Then find the URL to the video you want to promote and add that to the landing page field.
On the subsequent screens, you can set your budget and runtime for the promotion and targeting – including geolocation, interests, and audience ages.
Keep working through the process until you can submit it. Once submitted, it will be listed as pending, and once it is reviewed, it will start running. If there’s a concern, you’ll get an email telling you what it is, and you can fix the setup.
Read next: [Step-by-step guide] How to make a YouTube watermark
Where to see the results of a paid YouTube promotion
There are two places where you can see results and costs.
One is in the Google Ads account. The cost was updating for me there, but the clicks and viewers were not.
The other place is your YouTube Studio; you can click on the video and then analytics.
Promoting your videos on YouTube might make sense. After all, it all depends on your goal and even workflow. Do you have videos already that you could promote, for example?
It also doesn’t seem to be an expensive way to reach more people. I’ve spent $30 for a couple of thousands of views.
But at the end of the day, it’s important to weigh it against your overall marketing strategy and see if it has a place.