Want to grow your Facebook group membership? Looking for a strategy that works? In this article, you’ll discover how to use an underutilized Facebook ad campaign type to attract new members to your Facebook group. Why Use a Facebook Page Likes Ad Campaign to Grow Your Facebook Group? Attracting new group members with Facebook ads […]
The post The Unconventional Way to Grow a Facebook Group With Facebook Ads appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore Instagram scheduling and messaging tools with special guest, Alex Beadon. Tune In to the Social Media Marketing […]
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Do you want more foot traffic for your local business? Wondering how Facebook ads can help? To explore what local businesses need to know about Facebook ads, I interview Allie Bloyd on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Allie is a Facebook ads expert who specializes in helping local businesses. She’s the founder of Allie Bloyd […]
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Are you ready for the biggest fundamental change to Facebook advertising in years? Did you know Facebook is making campaign budget optimization (CBO) the default for Facebook ads? In this article, you’ll discover how to use the new CBO setting to create Facebook advertising campaigns and when CBO will become your only option. Facebook Campaign […]
The post Facebook Campaign Budget Optimization: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.
Do you use LinkedIn ads? Wondering if you’re making costly mistakes? In this article, you’ll discover four LinkedIn advertising mistakes and learn how to avoid them. Why Use LinkedIn Ads? In the past, reaching people with your messaging on LinkedIn was almost easy. Compared to quickly growing platforms such as Facebook, the LinkedIn feed was […]
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Want to do more with Instagram Stories? Looking for a useful guide to help plan your Instagram stories? In this article, you’ll learn how to plan, create, optimize, and schedule Instagram Stories content for your business. #1: Establish a Theme and Style for Your Instagram Stories Content As with most of your online marketing efforts, […]
The post How to Create an Instagram Stories Content Plan: A Guide for Marketers appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore new shopping ads for Facebook and Instagram and Facebook Dating with special guest, Amanda Robinson. Tune In […]
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Do you want to build a personal brand? Wondering how to create a viable business around your personal brand? To explore what marketers need to know about building a personal brand, I interview Rory Vaden on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Rory co-founded the Brand Builders Group and is the host of the Influential Personal Brand […]
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Google’s ad network is one of the largest in the world, and it’s been a popular choice for advertisers for over a decade. Google ads are great, but it’s also very easy to spend a lot of money for very little in return.
How can you level up from mediocre ads to Google Display Ad Pro? Here are my top tips.
First, Learn the Basics
I’m writing the majority of this post with a particular kind of audience in mind. If you’re already a PPC pro, you will know most of what’s in this post, though I won’t tell you not to read it; there may be a tip or two you can try out. On the other side of the coin, if you’re still a novice, the first thing you need to do is learn your way around the Google Ads system. Luckily for you, Hubspot has an incredible guide to get you rolling. This post, meanwhile, is aimed at the intermediate users.
Remember that the purpose of the display network is different from the purpose of the search network. Google display ads typically have a lower CPC, but also lower click rates and lower conversion rates. Display ads work best for awareness and remarketing campaigns, while search ads are better for when you’re capturing active audience intent.
Get Familiar with Targeting Options
Google’s display ads have a variety of different ways you can target them.
It’s not the same sort of targeting options Facebook has; rather, they’re more systematic.
Keyword targeting is your basic targeting based on words and phrases. This is the most typical and allows your ads to display on pages that are contextually similar to the content of your ads.
Topic targeting is like keyword targeting, but more broad-focus. You choose a broad topic such as your industry and run ads that display on sites in that industry. This allows you to reach a wider audience more easily.
Remarketing allows you to target specific custom audiences made up of people who have entered your sphere of influence, such as via visiting your website or from watching your YouTube videos.
Demographic targeting allows you to create groups of interests and demographics to target, similar to how Facebook ads work, on a more limited basis due to Google’s lack of similar levels of personal data.
Audience targeting allows you to specify groups of people, such as “in-market” audiences made up of people who are ready to purchase in your market, and “affinity” audiences who are interested but not quite ready to buy.
Automatic targeting is more of a hands-off option for novices and people who just want data without worrying about the costs.
Learning the right kinds of targeting to use and when to use them is crucial. You go into it with an ad in mind, and you know what that ad is supposed to accomplish – like getting new website visitors, getting new conversions, getting new subscribers, or what have you – so you need to pick the right targeting format to reach the people most likely to perform that action.
Make Heavy Use of Remarketing
Remarketing is one of the most incredible and most useful kinds of advertising to come about in our modern era. No longer are you limited to reaching out blindly in the dark, trying to find people who might care about your brand. Remarketing allows you to reach out specifically to the groups of people who have already entered your sphere of influence and draw them yet further in.
The core of remarketing is simple. When someone visits your website, they are added to the list of people who have visited your website. Now you have this new list of people who are already interested enough in you to have visited your site. You can run new ads targeting these people with the “next step” in the sales funnel process. You can draw them in further with ads that take advantage of this new level of familiarity.
If you think of a sales funnel, the top is getting people aware of you in the first place. You can’t do this with remarketing ads; by default they are already people who know of you. The second layer is remarketing to draw people into the third layer, which is converting.
A good analogy would be trying to get a job. If you just walk into a company and try to talk to the hiring manager, they’re as likely to throw you out for trespassing as they are to listen to your application. But if you have sent them a resume and application, followed up with a phone call, and are now showing up to chat, they know who you are and are a lot more likely to give you that second glance.
Use the Similar Audience Target
One of the innovations Facebook brought to the world of PPC marketing – or at least popularized – is the idea of the lookalike audience. Facebook has so much data about people that it can compare people on a broad scale. You can take a list of people – like, say, the list of people who visited your website, or the list of people who bought your products – and tell Facebook to create another audience that looks like that audience. Facebook will then create a new, lookalike audience. This new audience is people who have not bought your product, but who share many of the same demographics and interests as the people who do. In other words, they’re more likely than average to become customers.
Google has something similar in their targeting options, called the Similar Audience feature. With Google display network ads, you can enable this targeting option and it will use your existing remarketing audiences to produce lookalike audiences for display ads to reach.
Learn the Negatives
There are two kinds of negatives you need to learn how to use to be a true pro at any kind of PPC advertising, but Google in particular.
The first kind of negative is the negative keyword. Negative keywords are keywords that are commonly associated with your search queries or topics, but which disqualify the traffic. For example, maybe you’re advertising video games, but all of your games are family-friendly. You might put “adult” as a negative keyword, so if your ads are going to run on a site with “adult video games” as a theme, they will not. If you sell shoes, but you don’t sell athletic shoes, you can add keywords like “athletic” and “sports” and “tennis” as negative keywords to prevent those kinds of topics from draining money from your ads.
You can read our more in-depth guide on negative keywords here.
The other kind of negative to use is site exclusions. These are like negative keywords, except they exclude sites as destinations for your display ads. There are two ways to use this: proactively and reactively.
Proactive use of site exclusions means knowing sites that are in your topic but are not going to be a good fit for your ads. Your competitor’s sites are good options. Maybe you have a site about camping, but you focus on family outings; you can exclude sites that focus on more extreme outdoor adventures. For a more modern and political take, you can exclude sites that express political opinions you don’t share, to avoid associating your brand with their site.
Reactive use means looking at your ad analytics after your ads have run for a while. Google will tell you the sites where your ads have been running, and give you performance for those ads. You can find sites that are getting a lot of impressions but no clicks, and exclude them from ads that require clicks to be effective.
Structure Your Optimization
There are a ton of different kinds of optimizations you can make to ads, but you shouldn’t just slap at them blindly until something works. You can break down optimizations by category and treat them as priorities.
Priority One is your functional optimizations. Are your ads displaying properly? Are they animating properly if they animate? Does your landing page work, do your forms work, does your phone number work? Fix these kinds of errors before even looking at other optimization paths.
Priority Two is accessibility. Google has been pushing for accessibility over the last few years, so make sure your ads work in a variety of forms. Do they work for responsive sites? Are they readable at different sizes? Can you make them more accessible to a wider audience?
Priority Three is your user experience. This is where you’re optimizing elements like the ad relevance, the intrusiveness and disruptiveness of your ads, and how legible your ads are to the widest audience possible. Optimize your ads for user experience before you move on to the next.
Priority Four is intuitiveness in your ads. Particularly, this is how well your ads jive with the user’s expectations. This tends to go hand in hand with ad quality scores, among other metrics, and requires you to know both your audience intent and their place in the funnel.
Priority Five is persuasiveness. This is where you start to optimize things like your value proposition, your ad images, and your copy itself. Reduce friction and encourage your users to click at this stage.
You can read more about these priority levels here.
Make Sure to Use Your Unique Advantages
Does your brand have any unique advantages you can use to get ahead in the ad market? I don’t just mean the ability to under-cut your competitors. I mean things like:
If your business has a local presence, running ads locally or hyper-locally can make sure you’re gaining and advantage in your local market. This is how small businesses can out-sell Amazon, you know.
If your business primarily focuses on mobile or is able to uniquely take advantage of mobile traffic, advertising with a focus – or exclusively on mobile – can capture more of an audience for lower prices.
If you’re a widely recognized brand, you can skip a lot of the basic awareness ads and run ads that take advantage of that recognition.
Thinking about where you stand – realistically – with your audience can give you some great insight into how you can run your ads.
Always Be Testing
If you’ve ever decided that an ad is good enough and just let it go, you’re doing it wrong. Always, always, 100% of the time always be testing. If you don’t think you have the budget to test ad variations, then split your initial budget. If you don’t have any idea of where to start with testing, just flip a coin and change something randomly. Anything can change, from the tint of an image to the whole of the image, from a single keyword to the entire copy, from a single site exclusion to an entirely different topic. There are literally infinite variations for your ads, and you should be trying to test them all.
The true secret to success with advertising is simply having the experience to test and iterate on those tests without drawing yourself into a corner. It’s all too easy to test ads in increasingly small circles, testing more and more minor details in hopes of an increase in growth that is probably statistically insignificant. Knowing when to dial back and change something major is crucial.
The post How to Properly Optimize Your Google Display Ads appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.
Want to market your products or services on YouTube? Wondering how to set up a YouTube video ad campaign? In this article, you’ll learn how to run ads on YouTube via the Google Ads dashboard. #1: Link Your YouTube Channel With Google Ads Before you start your YouTube video ad campaign, you must link your […]
The post How to Get Started With YouTube Ads appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.
Do you want to connect with ideal clients and prospects on LinkedIn? Have you considered a LinkedIn group? In this article, you’ll learn how to create a valuable and engaged group on LinkedIn. Why You Should Manage Your Own LinkedIn Group Starting your own LinkedIn group can be a great way to increase your thought […]
The post 5 Steps to LinkedIn Group Success: How to Create and Manage a Successful Group appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.
Do you need a better way to report on your Instagram marketing results? Are you looking for ways to measure your Instagram posts and stories? In this article, you’ll learn how to combine data from Instagram Insights and other third-party tools to get a complete picture of your Instagram marketing activities. #1: Compare Your Instagram […]
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Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore changes to business tools for Facebook Messenger with Kelly Noble Mirabella and YouTube updates. Tune In to […]
The post Facebook Messenger Changes Bot Rules appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.
Wondering how artificial intelligence (AI) will impact your marketing? Looking for AI tools you can begin using now? To explore what marketers need to know about artificial intelligence and marketing, I interview Paul Roetzer on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Paul founded the Marketing AI Institute, the Marketing AI conference, and PR 20/20. He’s also […]
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Using a shorter URL with your ads can seem like a good idea, but is it really? Sure, the link might look better, but that might not be a huge concern. Also, depending on the method you’re using for shorter URLs, you might run afoul of some pretty nasty implications. Let’s talk about the pros and cons.
The Types of Short URL
Before we dig in, I want to discuss the different kinds of short URLs you can use. There are three kinds, though the boundaries between them are a little blurred.
First up, you have the naturally short URL. For example, if I were to link to the pricing page for this very blog, I’d be linking you to https://growtraffic.com/pricing. That’s a pretty short URL on its own! It’s not the shortest possible URL out there, but it’s still short. It doesn’t have a ton of extra baggage, like UTM tracking or a blog-format set of date parameters.
The second type of short URL is the custom shortlink. You can see this on many major sites today. For example, if you visit Forbes, you might see a page that has a URL looking like this: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2019/08/06/the-highest-paid-female-athletes-2019-serena-and-osaka-dominate. However, if you check their Twitter account, the link they post to lead to that URL is much smaller: http://on.forbes.com/6012E0goi.
This kind of custom shortlink is branded, which means it has Forbes in the domain and is owned by Forbes. In this case it uses a subdomain of the full forbes.com, but that’s because forbes.com is already pretty short. Some other companies use even shorter versions, like the New York Times using nyti.ms as their shortlink domain.
Obviously, this second type has a bit of overlap with the first type, because it’s still a branded link on your domain – or a domain you own – and can have a similar appearance to a naturally short link.
The third kind of shortlink is using a third party service for a shortlink. Services like Bitly allow you to turn a link into a shortlink that looks like https://bitly.is/1g3AhR6. In this case, it’s a shortlink for their own URL, which is shorter, so that’s a little ironic.
This has some overlap with custom shortlinks, because you can often use a third party service coupled with a domain you own to create a custom shortlink.
So now that you know the three main types of shortlinks, let’s talk about the pros and cons of using them, both in general and specifically for PPC ads.
Pro: Short Links Aren’t Truncated
If you’ve ever tried to run an ad, or even post a longer link on social media, you’ll often find that the longer link is chopped down to fit. Many services do this. Your longer link, like the Forbes link above, might instead look like “https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2019/08/06/the-…” instead. It still links to the proper place, it’s just chopped down to a specific character limit for display purposes.
Short links of any of the three varieties don’t get truncated down like this, because they’re naturally under the character limit. In fact, this is why shortlinks were invented; because sites like Twitter, and old-school pre-smart mobile phones with SMS messaging, had strict character limits on the messages you could send.
Con: Some Ad Systems Already Allow Display URLs
Many PPC ad systems don’t require you to use a shortlink, because they already handle short display URLs for you. For example, if you go to Google and type in Nike, you’ll see an ad for Nike, because they’re paying to advertise their own domain. The display URL for that ad is nike.com/official. However, if you actually click it, the real URL is https://www.nike.com/?cp=99736393091_search_%7CNike%7CGOOGLE%7C71700000038284603%7CGN_X_X_X_X-Device_X_Legacy_Core-NikeBrand_Exact%7Ce%7Cc&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIsLfo5er44wIVTvDACh0eQQexEAAYASAAEgJoDvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds. That, obviously, looks a lot worse. It has tracking information and URL parameters included in it, but it’s really just Nike’s homepage.
Remember that every kind of short link except naturally short links is going to end up looking like this in the URL bar, since URL shorteners redirect to the full URL. Since the only purpose of a shortlink for PPC ads is generally just making the display URL look cleaner, you don’t need a shortlink service, since the PPC service does it for you.
Pro: Short Links Hide Tracking Code
This one has already come up a time or two, but in fact, I even hid it from you up above. Remember that Forbes link? The full URL from Twitter is actually https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2019/08/06/the-highest-paid-female-athletes-2019-serena-and-osaka-dominate/?utm_source=TWITTER&utm_medium=social&utm_content=2535906257&utm_campaign=sprinklrForbesMainTwitter#609a51862fcc, complete with UTM parameters that tell Forbes where the source of the link click came from.
All of that tracking code refers data, but the shortlink hides it. The user will only even see it if they look at their URL bar once the domain has resolved, and chances are, they’re much more concerned with the content of the article they wanted to read instead.
Con: Short Links Can Muddle Tracking
If you want to track your URLs, you need different tracking code for every URL you post in each place you post it. One landing page can track traffic from five different ads, but you need a different set of UTM parameters for each. That means you need five different shortlinks; you can’t just use the same link for each of them. Taking shortcuts here, or mis-configuring your shortlinks, can mean your analytics gets a little muddy.
Pro: Short Links Don’t Look Suspicious
When you’re presented with two links, and one of them is that long Forbes link with a ton of = and # and ? and stuff in it, the average user is probably going to shy away from it. Longer links can look suspicious, and tracking code makes it look doubly suspicious.
Remember that we live in a world where phishing attacks and URL-based security are very important, and widely varied from institution to institution. Some companies train their employees to be suspicious of pretty much every long URL, while some teach why a URL might have all of that code in it. There are also browser plugins that strip all of that from URLs anyway.
Short links look a lot less suspicious, though modern users often recognize that a shortlink hides a lot of extra code behind it. Naturally short links are the best option here if that’s your concern.
Con: Short Links Can Look Suspicious
Now, I say that short links don’t look suspicious, but in some cases, they actually can. Naturally short links won’t, and branded shortlinks like the on.forbes.com and the nyti.ms domain don’t look that suspicious. On the other hand, things like TinyURL, Bit.ly, and other third party shortlink services can look extremely suspicious. You don’t get to see what the linked-to domain is unless you click the link or use a service to unshorten a URL.
Combine this with how frequently these third party services have been used to route URLs through to malicious pages and you have a decent amount of inherent distrust in specific third party URL shorteners. This is why services like Bitly even offer paid accounts that let you customize the domain, to do away with that suspicion.
Pro: A Custom Short Link Includes Branding
Short links can make your branding clearer, which makes it more trustworthy and encourages clicks. You can read about that in this post from Rebrandly.
Additionally, some URL shortening services, like Sniply, can add something like a top header banner to your destination page, as an additional call to action above and beyond what the user normally sees. This can be great for further conversions, though you have to use it properly.
Con: A URL Shortener can Shut Down at Any Time
If you’re relying on a third party service to shorten your links, you have to be aware that the service can shut down at any time. That doesn’t just mean services like Sniply, even a major service like Google can shut down. In fact, Google closed theirs down in March. The links can still redirect, but you’re best off changing them, because that won’t hold true forever.
Con: A Shortener May Exist by Default
You don’t always need a URL shortener. Did you know that Twitter automatically runs every non-shortlink on their site, both in ads and in organic posts, through their own shortener? That’s why you can link to a site with a 150-character-long domain name and only add a dozen or so characters to your character limit. Those links are being run through t.co, Twitter’s shortener. You don’t need your own shortener on top of theirs unless you want your display URL to look different.
Pro: Short Links Can Include Analytics
Many URL shortening services add their own analytics on top of whatever analytics you’re using by default. So your UTM parameters track data about the link in your Google Analytics, but in addition to that, you might have a dashboard with click-based and volume analytics for the shortlink, provided by the shortlink provider.
Obviously this doesn’t work if you’re just using naturally short links, and it won’t work if you’ve set up your own URL redirects, only if you’re using a third party service.
Con: Often Link Analytics are Public
Third party systems give you analytics, yes, but you’re not the only one. Take a Bitly URL, for example. Any Bitly URL at all, if you add a + to the end of it, will not bring you to the page at the other end. Instead, it will bring you to a page that looks like this.
What is it? Well, it’s the link analytics for that URL. Public, for everyone to see. This can be a pretty big information leak to your competitors; if you’re using Bitly, anyone else can see how well your links are performing. If you have a paid account you can access more detail, even.
Con: Some Ad Systems Ban Short Links
You’re not always going to be able to use shortlinks with your ads. Some ad systems make you verify that you’re the owner of the domain you’re advertising, for example. Since you don’t own the shortlink system, you don’t get to direct users to a shortlink for your ad landing page. This goes doubly true for ad networks that don’t let you redirect from your landing page.
The fact is, a lot of the benefits of shortlinks come from ad systems as well. A display URL allows your links to look cleaner. The ad network can hook directly into your tracking so you don’t need tracking of your own. It’s all there, so why double up with a shortener?
Con: Short Links Usually Require a Redirect
In fact, all short links require a redirect outside of naturally short URLs. This means your users have to pass through a redirect, which is a possible point of failure, and delays loading your destination page. It’s not a great thing to have to implement if you can avoid it.
Should You Use Shortlinks in Ads?
So what do you think? Do you find the benefits of a shortlink outweigh the drawbacks?
Personally, I find that using built-in systems plus a naturally short URL is good enough for me. For major sites like Forbes that want uniform branding on social profiles like Twitter, a shortlink can make sense. Otherwise, it’s just overkill. People care more about clarity of domain these days than they do about the length of the URL.
The post The Pros and Cons of Using Shortened URLs in Your Ads appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.
Need to spec out a plan for a client? Wondering what the core elements of a good social marketing strategy ought to include? In this article, you’ll find a good strategy, workflows, and more. #1: Clarify Your Social Media Strategy to Develop a Clear Path Forward Marketers know that having a documented strategy is strongly […]
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Want more people to click on your Facebook link posts? Looking for hacks to customize your Facebook links? In this article, you’ll discover how to use little-known features in Facebook that will drive more traffic to your site. #1: Hack Facebook Ads Manager to Use a Square Image in Your Facebook Page Link Post Using […]
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Want more traffic from your Facebook posts? Need algorithm-friendly ideas that will get your content seen? In this article, you’ll learn what to avoid and discover ideas that will help you get more Facebook traffic. #1: Avoid Posts That Don’t Play to the Facebook Algorithm Facebook marketing has never been harder. What used to be […]
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AdSense is the publisher half of Google Ads, where you implement the code on your website, in your apps, or elsewhere to allow Google to run ads on your content. You can make money with it – decent money, in some cases – but there’s more to it than just display ads.
AdSense for Video, also known as AFV, is an AdSense product that allows you as a publisher to monetize web video content, app-based native video content, and other video formats. You know how you can just run AdSense on YouTube videos, and Google will place ads within the video itself? AFV lets you do the same with videos you host in other formats you control.
Now, before you can start using AdSense for Video, you need to make sure you’re eligible and that you qualify for it, and then you need to apply for it. This can be a lengthy process, though it helps if you already know some technical details. Let’s start at the beginning.
AdSense for Video Requirements
Before you can begin, you have to make sure you meet all of the requirements to use AdSense for Video. I’ve gone over each of the requirements below, but if you want to make sure they’re still the same, or want to read alone, Google keeps their reference documentation up to date.
Make sure you’re compliant with general AdSense policies. The general AdSense program policies can be found here. You probably know what most of these are, since they’re fairly standard rules. You know, don’t refer invalid clicks, don’t monetize offensive content, don’t publish stolen copyrighted material, and so on. We’ve covered them before in posts like this one.
You also need to make sure you’re compliant with Google’s video-specific policies. Since you’re going to be a video publisher and you’re not hosting video content on YouTube, Google can’t simply process your video with their algorithms the same way. You have to make sure you’re following these requirements.
In-stream ads have to use Google’s SDKs or an official Google Beta program.
You cannot embed a YouTube video and then run AdSense for Video ads next to that video.
Out-stream ads must use official Google SDKs as well.
Meta data for your video content must be high quality and accurate.
Videos must be either audible by default, or declared properly as a muted placement.
You cannot run video ads in placements where video content is not present.
You have to accurately declare the video size in referred data, and videos must be a standard aspect ratio.
You cannot obscure, hide, or otherwise disrupt ad content rendering or ad control buttons.
You cannot run more ads in duration than you have video content in duration.
Ads cannot auto-play below the fold or on hover.
Only one ad can play at a time.
These are also pretty standard. Make sure you’re not trying to use non-standard ad units, make sure you’re not misrepresenting your ad inventory, make sure you respect your users and the advertisers, and so on. There are more specific rules than what I listed above, and there’s a lot more detail about them. Read through these and make sure you comply.
Your video content cannot be hosted on YouTube. Monetizing YouTube videos simply uses AdSense, you don’t need to use AdSense for Video. YouTube has all kinds of rules of its own to content with, so keep those in mind.
Your video content must be family safe. As with all internet content, you cannot target users under the age of 13 due to legal reasons as well. No adult content allowed in AdSense for Video.
You must have a sufficient volume of content. More specifically, you must have a volume of content with a certain level of views. Google’s exact quote is “Have a high volume of video content, i.e., greater than 40% video content with over 2 million video impressions monthly.”
This is a roadblock for a lot of smaller sites and app owners. AdSense for video, as it turns out, is largely aimed at wide-spectrum ad agencies monetizing a lot of different apps, or sites that offer a lot of video content with a lot of impressions. A small blog with a few videos each month, each of which gets 10,000 views or so, is not going to be sufficient volume to apply.
Then you have the technical specifications. You must use a video player integrated with the Google IMA SDK, or be compliant with VAST 3.0 and VPAID 2 JS. If you don’t know what those are, talk to whoever is in charge of implementing your video content. You can read more about this entire system here.
Additionally, your video player must be HTML5, Android, or iOS-based. No Flash-based web video players or other custom solutions are allowed here. This helps Google ensure that there’s a certain minimum level of technology compatibility and security involved in their ads.
Out of all of this, the video content volume restriction is the one most likely to disqualify you. If not that, then it’s probably an issue with following AdSense policies. Most third party video players already integrate the technologies necessary to run AdSense for Video ads, or already have AdSense compatibility built in.
Applying for AdSense for Video
The actual process for applying for AdSense for Video is pretty easy. I’ll walk you through the steps here.
First, go to AdSense and sign into your account. You should be taken to your core AdSense dashboard.
Next, find the “Ads” section in the left menu, and click on Other Products. One of the options under Other Products is video. There will be a button labeled Apply for AdSense for Video. Click this.
Google will present you with an interactive set of instructions to complete, asking you to fill out information about the property you plan to monetize with AFV.
Essentially, what they’re going to do is give you a piece of code that you plug into your video implementation. This is a “control” code and does not start running ads on your content right away. Instead, it harvests information about your audience and their behaviors.
Remember how Google has all those policies about fraudulent traffic and about the volume necessary to run AdSense for Video ads? Well, this is how they check to see if you’re eligible. You run this code on your site for a while, and they measure to see if you have a sufficient volume of non-fraudulent traffic to be worth adding to their program. Unlike base AdSense, this actually has rather strict requirements, so if you don’t make it in, you’re going to need to build up a larger, legitimate audience.
Once Google has monitored your video for a while, they will send you a determination. They will either accept you into the program or reject your application. If you are rejected, they may or may not tell you why, but chances are it’s probably related to either volume of traffic, fraudulent traffic, or some technical issue with placement.
Sometimes, Google will also decide that the content of your content – you know, what your videos are actually about – is not something they want in their program. This usually won’t happen, unless you’re trying to make the next LiveLeak or something. Still, if you’re hosting adult content, violent content, hateful content, or something else in violation with the general AdSense content terms, that’s a reason for rejection as well.
If you’re approved for the program, Google will send you a new snippet of code. This is your unique publisher ID. You will have to follow the implementation instructions in the quick-start guide to use it. You use your ID to request ads, and it allows Google to monitor your performance for analytics purposes. Without it, they wouldn’t know who is who in their network, and thus wouldn’t know who to give money to when you earn a payment. You know how it goes.
Once you’ve implemented the Google SDK into your video player, or provided your publisher ID to the third party system you’re using for video, you’re ready to start running ads and making money.
AdSense for Video Frequently Asked Questions
Now let’s cover some of the more frequently asked questions regarding AFV. Some of these are pulled from Google’s FAQ, but they also cover more, so once you’re done here I recommend checking if their guide has any answers I didn’t provide.
1. What ad formats are available?
You have a fairly standard selection of ad formats for your AFV implementation. Video gives you instream non-skippable video ads, TrueView ads, and bumper ads. You can also use Fullslot ads – more about them in a moment – and overlay ads.
2. Fullslot? What’s that?
A Fullslot ad is a skippable, linear image or text ad that appears in one of the usual before, after, or in-stream content positions.
If you’ve ever used a mobile app and had an ad break that is timed, but only shows a display ad rather than a video, that’s what a fullslot ad is. You can see an example of one on this page, figure 4.
3. What sizes are supported for AFV ads?
Different kinds of ads have different size requirements. Video ads are variable sizes, but must be in one of the standard aspect ratios, such as 4:3, 1:1, or 16:9. Text fullslots also have variable sizes, because text can be wrapped. Image fullslots come in 200×200, 250×250, 300×250, 336×280, 450×50, 468×60, 480×70, and 728×90 sizes. Overlay ads can be 728×90, 480×70, 468×60, 450×50, or 320×60.
4. My revenue peaked and is dropping, what’s happening?
When you first implement AdSense for Video, users will have to get used to your ads. Initially, engagement rates might be high as users experience these ads for the first time, or they click accidentally, or otherwise have to figure out what’s going on.
Eventually, they will get used to it, and your revenue will drop. These fluctuations will smooth out eventually. Just be aware that the performance of your initial few days or weeks is not indicative of your overall future performance.
5. My ad coverage is poor, what’s going on?
If you’re coping with a poor level of ad coverage, there’s generally two main causes. The first is related to your own geographic location. Google may be a global company, but a huge portion of their networks for both advertisers and publishers tend to choose either strictly USA or broad “first world” countries as options. If you’re outside one of these areas, there may simply not be enough advertisers in the ad formats you’ve chosen. You can solve this in part by using other ad formats as backfill to show something rather than nothing at all.
The other possible cause is that you’re using blocking to prevent certain kinds of advertisers from running ads on your content. This is a common and very good idea as a publisher; you don’t want competitors or companies you find antithetical to your attitude being shown to your audience. However, too-broad blocking may mean you don’t have enough advertisers to fill your ad slots. You have to find the right balance.
6. Am I allowed to let others embed my monetized videos?
This is a valid practice that Google allows. If you’re a company providing video and you want to monetize it, that’s fine. If you want to allow other people to embed your videos on their sites, you can allow that, and ads will run properly on those videos as well.
Keep in mind, however, that there are a few rules, restrictions, and guidelines for this.
You are still responsible for the sites your video is embedded on. If you give embed code to a site that also hosts adult content, you may be penalized for it.
You are not allowed to create a revenue share channel for people embedding your videos. Splitting AdSense earnings is a prohibited practice.
It’s also a good idea to monitor what your embeds are doing so you can cut off sites that are, for example, referring a lot of fraudulent traffic.
For other questions relating to the AdSense for Video platform, refer to Google’s documentation or check on the Google product forums for direct assistance.
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