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Do YouTube Ads Really Work?

In this blog, let’s take a look at why YouTube Ads work so well and what you can do to take advantage of this unique advertising platform.

I’ll be analyzing some things that make YouTube Ads unique (things that are different about YouTube compared to any other advertising platforms that exists today… or ever) and helping you take advantage of these differences that can help you run more profitable YouTube Ads campaigns. 

Attentive Audience

I could Google statistics about YouTube average session length, or ideal video length compared to other platforms. And I could quote articles that quote other articles that quote other articles that originally misquoted the source material from 8 years ago, because, believe me, if you try to find these statistics, that’s all you’re going to find.

But luckily, I don’t think I need statistics to back up what I have to say here:

YouTube viewers are a highly attentive audience

They’re typically not watching YouTube while driving while waiting in line, or while watching Netflix. When people are watching YouTube, THAT is what they are doing. It’s their primary activity, not their ‘I need to fill every second of boredness’ activity.

When you show ads to people on YouTube, they WILL pay attention, at least as long as they have to.

And this brings us to the next main reason YouTube ads work so gosh darn well:

Powerful Delivery System

There has never been a time in history where you have been able to get ads in front of people so effectively. You are essentially forcing viewers to watch at least 5 seconds of your message. From there, they can keep watching the ad for as long as they want and the ad can be pretty much as long as you want to make it.

If the viewer likes what they see, they can click on your ad to leave YouTube (knowing that YouTube will save their spot in whatever they were watching), they can go to your website, and they can potentially take action immediately.


Now, this delivery system wouldn’t mean much if we couldn’t put our ads in front of the right people. But YouTube has us covered there, with… [drumroll please]:

Robust targeting

I have tons of resources just talking about targeting options with YouTube Ads, so I won’t get into all the details here, but here’s a quick summary of the ways you can target people on YouTube.

  • You can target the person: Age, gender, income, parental status, relationship status, homeownership status, location, interests, hobbies, website browsing behavior, Google search behavior, etc.
  • You can create custom audiences using your own keywords, allowing you to create a virtually unlimited number of target audiences to test. And those are just ways to target the type of PERSON you want to reach.
  • You can also target the type of CONTENT you want your ads to run on, based on keyword, topic, and you can even set your ads to show on specific channels and videos.
  • You can combine different types of targeting.
  • You can exclude different types of targeting.

As far as I can tell, YouTube Ads provide the most robust targeting options available anywhere, ever.

And here’s what takes all of this to the next level…

Artificial Intelligence

Google is a pioneer in the world of artificial intelligence, but this is actually where a lot of people mess up. They try to rely on artificial intelligence. They think Google is going to be able to do everything for them, but that’s just not how it works.

Let me tell you a quick story about artificial intelligence so you know how powerful AI can be.

This story comes from a company that Google owns called DeepMind. DeepMind developed a program called Alpha Go, which is an artificial intelligence mind that was developed specifically to play a game called Go. If you’re not familiar with Go, it’s an ancient game with millions upon millions of possible moves (it’s far more complex than chess). They couldn’t simply program all of the possible future moves into a computer as they did many years ago with chess.

The developers had to use AI to be able to play this game at a high-level and have a chance of beating the best Go players in the world.

They did this by feeding the machine a database of 30 million moves from expert Go matches, and then the machine played against itself, thousands of times. This is a process called reinforcement learning.

Alpha Go was then actually able to beat the number one goal player in the world, Lee Sedol. Again, that was 30 million moves and thousands of games played against itself.

The DeepMind team then took things a step further. They wanted to see if they could develop a new AI that could beat the original AI, but they wanted to do it without feeding the new AI the database of 30 million moves to start with. They wanted to simply teach the new AI the rules of the game, and see if it could learn to play at a high level on its own. 

This new AI was named AlphaGo Zero, and AlphaGo Zero WAS able to beat the previous alpha-go version, and it was completely self-trained. 

How did it train itself? It played 4.9 million games against itself. Then, and only then, was it able to beat previous versions of Alpha Go. 

Think about this. This is extremely powerful. They can program artificial intelligence that can learn a game all on its own, and play at an elite level, better than any human player.

But on the flip side, the number of inputs or the amount of self-training that the AI requires to learn is huge. Millions and millions of inputs are required.  

If your inputs are dollars, and you’re spending money on YouTube Ads hoping and waiting for the ad algorithm to optimize for you, you’re in trouble. 

The YouTube Ads AI is amazing and helps a ton, but we can’t rely on the AI to produce profitable results on its own. We have to train the AI to get the results we want.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be releasing a series on how to do just that.

There’s a framework that I call the AdLeg Arch. 

The AdLeg Arch consists of five crucial components of highly profitable YouTube Ad campaigns. If you’re missing just one of these five components, your ads have a slim chance of working. In fact, the whole arch crumbles.

But if you get these five components right, you’ll be on the fast track to a successful YouTube Ad campaign and you’ll be able to train the AI to help you get better and better results.

Stay tuned to the blog for more information on the AdLeg Arch!