Video Essentials

Unlock Untapped YouTube Targeting

Being “the target of all eyes” is the promise of YouTube advertising. Targeting on YouTube is extensive and compelling from location, to demographics, to interests. All of which provide control over your video campaign so that ads are show to the right people.

In today’s media landscape, there’s an opportunity to unlock untapped targeting capabilities, especially on YouTube. Here are four keys to target your campaigns and get more out of your YouTube ad spend.

Viewing YouTube as a Search Engine

YouTube processes more than three billion searches a month, leaving it only behind the search box from its parent company, Google. From an entertainment perspective, YouTube is a lean-back experience. However, when people are searching on YouTube and using it as a reference engine, they are in a lean-forward mindset.

unlockThis presents a unique opportunity to target your campaigns to content that people are searching for. When looking at your video ad placements, think about the path a user would take to find those videos. What is the context and which similar keywords can you target that focus on similar or complementary content, such as competitor brands and their products, as well as interests that are based on your brand characteristics?

Unlock your YouTube video targeting by extending your search marketing efforts on the YouTube platform.

Competitive Conquest

Create a distraction mindset by targeting your competitors on YouTube. Find the content your competitors are targeting and conquest those efforts.

For example, if you’re advertising Ford trucks, it makes sense to be in front of Dodge and/or Chevy truck content. For those that are watching or searching for your competitors, they have subsequently shown interest or may potentially be in the market for your product, in this example, trucks, based on their search for competitors’ trucks.

Competitive targeting can push viewers in another direction, yours, by unlocking potential user interests from searches for competitive brands’ products and services.

Complementary and Related

Discover and target other interests of your targeted audiences. If your intended target audience is focused on a specific sport, such as golf, those same people may also enjoy yoga, tennis or fantasy football.

By targeting complementary or related interests, you can expand the reach of your campaign in a targeted way. Test, learn and optimize your brand against similar or related verticals, industries, products or goods by layering demographics and in-market, affinity audiences, plus contextual targeting to drive your YouTube campaigns.

Unlock previously unknown interests by taking a step beyond traditional targeting strategies. Get “interested” in developing new ways to reach your target consumer.

Reach and Scale

Relevant videos to your brand can exist on thousands of YouTube channels. Why limit yourself to only the top 50 to 100 channels to deliver your campaign?

Channels typically fall within a vertical but videos within a YouTube channel are not always surrounding a single subject or topic. For example, a channel such as Dude Perfect offer wholesome, brand-suitable entertainment and sports content, which is great for brand alignment. The problem is that everyone wants to be associated with Dude Perfect, creating additional competition between Google Preferred buyers and auction buyers alike, driving up the cost-per-view when there is plenty of other available and similar sports content in existence on YouTube.

Targeting even the top 100 channels within a vertical can limit your media buy to less than 10,000 total videos. Today, there are technology tools for media planners and buyers to find tens-of-thousands of videos related to virtually any content category on YouTube by searching at the placement level URL. Let technology be your friend.

Unlocking relevant videos from channels outside of the top tier can provide more scale, less competition, and more aligned delivery for your brand. However, it entails hard work to identify videos that are relevant and brand suitable in less frequented channels. That hard work is rewarded with successful increases in engagement with your brand.


Many listen to music on YouTube, but that doesn’t mean they are watching or engaging with your ad in any way. If you use audience targeting alone, there’s a chance you will spend budget serving to kid’s cartoon and toy content because of shared logins and devices that families use for YouTube. It’s not a bad thing to be aligned with these categories but using the lean forward mindset and search capabilities of the platform will lead you to the most positive results.

If a YouTube user is searching for a particular product, service, or offering similar to yours, it is likely that they are the right potential customer for your brand. The dots simply need to be connected to ensure that the user sees your message or offering at the right moment to create the desired customer actions, purchases, or signups.

By taking into account the aforementioned strategies you’ll put yourself and your brand in the best position to maximize your ROI/ROAS for your YouTube advertising budget.

Guest post by David Schnackenberg, director of media strategy and operations at Giant Media where he leverages the media and technology company’s transparent, insight-driven planning tool, VuePlanner, for advertising on YouTube. accepts guest posts based upon their usefulness to our readers.


Comments for “Unlock Untapped YouTube Targeting”

Post a comment

Subscribe to our Newsletter
email address
Online Video Playlist
Online Video Bulletin
Streaming Media Xtra
SM Europe Xtra