3 Rules to Scale YouTube Ads

CPA Decreased From $1967 To Only $103

One of our clients spends between $200,000 to $300,000 per month for Facebook Ads. They mainly use video ads in Facebook which do very well, but they have been unsuccessful using the same videos for YouTube Ads.

They hired us to build a video campaign for YouTube using one of their successful videos from Facebook to see if we can get better results. We launched this first YouTube ad campaign and the results were not good…

First 9 Days

2 Sales. $1967 Cost / Conversion

The audience was right, the product is good, the landing page has converted great for other channels and the view rates were not that bad…

So why only 2 sales after $1967 in spend?

YouTube Is Not Facebook

Facebook Video Ads:

  • Personal, low quality video ads work because they blend into the Facebook News Feed.
  • Ad copy can be added above the Facebook video ad to get someone interested in watching the video.
  • A Call To Action can be added above or below the video to get someone to take action.
  • Users can interact with the ad by commenting and liking.

YouTube Video Ads:

  • You only have 5 seconds to get the viewer to watch your video
  • You can’t explain what your video is before they play it.
  • Your call to action and offer must be clear in the video.
  • Users can’t interact with the ad except for skipping the ad or clicking the ad if they are interested.
  • Users can’t easily ask questions.
  • If the user does not click on the ad before the video ends, it is gone. No scrolling back to see it again.

Following 9 Days

98 Sales. $103 Cost / Conversion!

We used our client’s old video footage and edited that footage to make a video tailor made for YouTube. Changing the video to something that works for YouTube makes a huge difference.

This was the same audience but different video.

The video engagement numbers were slightly better, but not much better. So why did this ad sell so much better?

A watchable video does not mean it sells

A common mistake is trying to make a viral video. Don’t make a video that is just clever or catchy without showing the value of the product. Don’t forget you want to show what your product does and the problem it solves.

Once someone watches 30 seconds of the video, you are charged for that view. So you don’t want viewers to watch your videos if they are not interested in your product or the solution your product solves.

You don’t need to invest a lot

This does not mean you need to invest a lot of money into video production. Great ads can be created with very small budgets as long at it is decent quality with good audio and a great script.

The 3 Rules

Rule #1: Nail the First 5 Seconds

In the first 5 seconds, you should either ask a question or make a bold statement. For example: “Is this your problem” or  “This fixes this problem”.

You need to nail this opening line. Some of the best sales videos start with the problem or solution in one bold statement.

Let’s look at the opening lines from a few videos made by Harmon Brothers. They have made several great videos over the years that have gone viral. There is no doubt they know how to make great videos, but some videos broke Rule #1.

The Great Opening Line

“What’s a super easy way to tell if your bed is awful? The raw egg test” The problem can’t be more clear. You have an awful bed. Great opening line. People will want to watch to see how to tell if a bed is awful.

The Bad Opening Line That Worked Out

“This is where your ice cream comes from. The creamy poop of a mystic unicorn.” This line just made the video watchable. Viewers watched because of the WTF effect.

Squatty Potty invested $250,000 in this video and after just 3 days of launching the ad, they only received 700 visitors to their site on day 3. They spent $50,000 in the first month before they needed to turn the ad off because it was not generating enough revenue to cover the ad costs.

Luckily for Squatty Potty, the video went viral creating a lot of free traffic which paid off big for them in the long run. It led to a lot of free publicity. The rest of the video clearly explains the product so as it went viral, they started to sell more and more.

Be careful though, most videos that are made to go viral never do. If this video did not go viral, it would not have been able to support itself with just paid advertising.

The Bad Opening Line

“Bad grillin’s a sin. Repent! I’m the grill god.”

OK, bad grilling is a problem, but that is too general especially because this video took over 1 minute and 20 seconds just to get to the point and what they were actually selling. This video really needed to get to the point fast since the opening line just left confusion. This is a perfect example of when you start the video with what you think is a WTF effect to get people to watch, but it never goes viral.


Rule #2: Sell!

Too many YouTube video ads fail to use basic rules of selling. Here is a basic tips to make sure you are actually selling your product.

Don’t tell me show me!

There is an old Chinese saying, “Hearing something a hundred times isn’t better than seeing it once”

Don’t tell me what your product does. Show me. Show the product in action. If it is a service, show the results and the steps you take.

Tell me, I’ll forget
Show me, I’ll remember

Deliver Value

What can you do for me? Can you make my life easier? Can I get something cheaper? Can you make me more money? Can you make me happier? Will I be healthier?

You need to give people a reason why they should buy your product.

Problem & Solution

If you are not addressing a problem or providing a valuable solution for someone, why will anyone buy?

The following video nails the problem. When a redneck needs to fix something, duct tape is the answer. Unless you need something stronger!

“I will never get in a car that is held together with duct tape”

The solution?

“What if you use tape as strong as steel?”


Customer testimonials are very powerful. They have always worked for a reason. I don’t need to convince anyone of this. This is just a reminder to include a testimonial in your video ad or at least in a followup ad. A testimonial does not need to be in every ad.

30 Seconds to show what you are selling

Once someone watches 30 seconds of your YouTube video ad, you are charged for that view. So you don’t want viewers to watch your videos if they are not interested in your product or the solution your product solves. Make sure you show them what you are selling before 30 seconds so they can abandon if they are not interested.

Rule #3: Call to Action

If the user does not click on the ad before the video ends, it is gone. No scrolling back to see it again. You must have a good call to action AND give people time to take that action before your ad ends.

  • Tell viewers what to do. For example: “If you want 5 tips to lose weight go to whatever.com/5tips” or “Click on the link in this video in the next 7 seconds”
  • Don’t just end the video. Give viewers time to actually take action. Give a countdown at the end of the video
  • Give a reason to take action! “Click here to see more styles.” “Click here for more tips.” “Click here and get x% off.” “Click here to get these bonuses.”

By following these rules, we are able to successfully scale video ad campaigns in YouTube.

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