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The Dreaded YouTube Ads “Other” Category

So, you’re looking at your YouTube Ads data and you come across this line that says ‘Total: Other’. You think, “What is going on here?! This ‘Total: Other’ line is horrible! I’m spending a ton of money here and I’m not getting any results! What do I do!?” In this video, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the ‘Total: Other’ data in your YouTube Ads account.

This question keeps coming up in my YouTube Ads Strategy group on Facebook, so I wanted to answer this question once and for all because I’m sure many people outside of that group have the same question.

Shocked and surprised funny face of Asian man watch the laptop alone at night.

There is one place in your YouTube Ads account where the ‘Total: Other’ line looks alarming. Normally, it actually makes sense. For example, if you’re looking at the audience data for your entire account, you’ll see, at the bottom, a ‘Total: Audiences’ line. This gives you the totals for your targeted audiences. The ‘Total: Other’ line just gives you the total for all of the other targeting that’s in your account.

If you look in the keyword section, the ‘Total: Other’ line will just give you all of the data for non-keyword targeting. If you’re looking at a campaign that only targets keywords, then the ‘Total: Other’ line will just have a bunch of 0s because there won’t be any data for anything other than keywords.

This logic starts to break down and things start to look alarming is when you’re looking at the ‘Where Ads Showed’ report in the placements section of your account. Here, you’ll see a line that says ‘Total: Where Ads Showed’ and another line that says ‘Total: Other’. On the ‘Total: Other’ line, you’ll see a bunch of money spent, a bunch of impressions, and virtually no results. No conversions, no clicks, and not even any views. If there are any clicks or conversions that show up on this line, it will be very few.

Now you’re thinking, “Why am I spending all of this money for no results? How do I turn this off?” Well, you can’t, and here is why. First, let me explain what this is NOT. This is not audience expansion. If you’re using audience expansion, which you shouldn’t be, then you’ll see a line on some of your reports that says ‘Total: Expansion’. It won’t be in your placement reports, but it will be in your keyword, audience, and topic reports.

Audience expansion is something that you can and should turn off, but it has nothing to do with the ‘Total: Other’ line in the Where Ads Showed report.

What you’re seeing on the ‘Total: Other’ line is the total of a bunch of data that Google isn’t going to show you. This line tells you how much you’ve spent running your ad on channels that didn’t make their way onto the Where Ads Showed report. Then, this begs the question, “Why wouldn’t a channel make it on to the Where Ads Showed report?” The channels that don’t make that report are channels where your ad showed but didn’t result in a conversion, a click, or a view. Again, this is data that Google is not going to give us. These are channels where our ads were skipped before 30 seconds, so the only metrics to report are impressions and cost.

I think I need to bust the “You only pay for 30 seconds views” myth right now. While this used to be true and is still true sometimes, it’s definitely not always true. If you’re using CPV bidding, then you will, in fact, only be paying for views. If you look at the ‘Total: Other’ line in a campaign that’s using CPV bidding, there won’t be any cost listed on that line. But, if you’re using Target CPA, or Maximize Conversions bidding, then you do pay for impressions. These impressions that didn’t result in a view or a click or a conversion will make it onto the ‘Total: Other’ line. It’s going to make it look like you’re spending all of this money for no results.

Before you make any changes or think you should change your bidding to CPV, I do not recommend that. If the goal of your campaign is to get leads and sales, then Target CPA is the best strategy. Your results will be worse with CPV bidding even though you’re only paying for views. In fact, they will be worse BECAUSE you’re only paying for views. You’re telling the algorithm to find you the wrong thing. The algorithm is going to optimize for views instead of what you actually want, which are conversions.

What is the solution here? Well, there’s actually nothing to solve. This is solely to let you know what the ‘Total: Other’ line means and now, you can view your data with that in mind and understand it is just part of the game. Unfortunately, I don’t think Google is going to be sharing all of this data with us any time soon, so we just need to live with the fact that we can’t see a list of every single channel that our ads appeared on. That doesn’t mean you should just throw up your hands and give up though! YouTube Ads can still work great even in spite of this inconvenience.