What To Expect (And How To Benefit) From Youtube Video Action Campaigns

It’s the end of an era.

On September 30th, 2021, Google Ads will no longer allow you to create Trueview For Action Campaigns, replacing them with Video Action Campaigns.

In case you’re not sure what’s the difference – Trueview For Action ads are the video ads that show at the beginning, middle or end of a video being watched on Youtube. Google calls this placement “instream”.

You set a target Cost Per Acquisition, and viewers can click a button that brings them to your landing page of choice.

For many years, this has been the most effective video campaign type available to direct response video marketers on Youtube. However, the campaign type is being sunset and replaced by Video Action Campaigns.

Video Action campaigns continue to show at the beginning, middle or end of a video being watched… and can also surface in other places:

  • Youtube Home Feed
  • Google Video Partners
  • “And More…”

That all sounds good at first glance. Until you realize that you’ve always been able to target these other surfaces if you decided to select them during your campaign creation.

So, rather than adding features, the move to Video Action Campaigns is removing a layer of control. It makes things “easier” at the expense of options.

But as with all changes, there are still ways to profit.

After months of testing the new campaign type in preparation for the transition, my team and I have a good idea of what to expect… and how you can continue to reap profits in a Post Trueview For Action world.

Expect lower CPMs

The new surfaces that your ads will be hitting aren’t new, but they aren’t targeted as often as the usual Trueview For Action surfaces. This is because some of them – particularly Video Partners – have historically been less effective.

What you’ll notice with the new ad format is your CPMs will go down, because you’ll get impressions from surfaces that have less competition.

Lower CPMs Won’t Always Mean Lower CPVs, CPCs, or CPAs

Despite that, you won’t always see lower numbers for the key performance indicators that matter – cost per view, cost per click or cost per acquisition.

This may be because some surfaces, such as the Home Feed, historically considered a click on your ad as a view while Trueview For Action surfaces see every impression as a view.

So, your ad may be getting impressions from the Home Feed (and from the “and more…” surfaces) that don’t click through. These extra impressions, on those less competitive surfaces, may not be getting charged by Youtube Ads.

Note that this is conjuncture. I’ll report more as Google releases more details on how this campaign type handles charges.

You Can’t Split Data Between Surface Types

I imagine they haven’t enabled this since you can’t exclude by surface. Still, it’d be nice to be able to see, for example, the conversion rates for each surface type so you could optimize your video creative accordingly.

With the negatives out of the way, let’s talk about the positives…

More Scaling Potential

This is especially true if you weren’t targeting the other surfaces previously.

More surfaces will mean more potential viewers. Get a Video Responsive campaign profitable and you have a bigger impression universe to scale it up.

It Can Convert As Well As (And Sometimes Better) Than Trueview For Action

The best time to have started testing this format was when they announced the sunset of Trueview For Action.

The second-best time is today.

From our testing, the format can convert as well as Trueview For Action. And we’ve had several that are outperforming their Trueview For Action counterparts. Google’s internal data reports that others are getting a 20% bump in conversions for the same spend.

You can’t yet break your data into surface types. But my current hypotheses are that either:

  • Google Ads has started vetting Video Partners with more care (thus lowering CPAs for optimized campaigns)
  • Or they’ve gotten better at video attribution between the surfaces (viewer watches your ad on a low CPM Video Partner site and then converts on a Youtube video view).

Creativity Pays A Bigger Premium

Artificial Intelligence is eating the direct response marketing world. The last things machines will do well are the creative elements – copywriting, video creation, and audience selection.

Action Responsive highlights this. Unlike Trueview For Action, you now have to include a long headline and a description with your video ad.

Quality copywriting will play a more important role in your video marketing after the transition.

Moral Of The Story

Marketing tools will continue to evolve, sometimes for better and other times for worse. But there will always be new ways to use them profitably as long as you’re watching for changes and testing aggressively.