YouTube Advertising for Nonprofits

YouTube Advertising for Nonprofits

In the last few years, digital marketing has become increasingly popular in the nonprofit sector. The Google Ad Grant has made creating professional, effective ads in a digital space accessible to nonprofits across the world. But your digital marketing strategy shouldn’t stop there. 

When it comes to digital advertising in the nonprofit industry, Cause Inspired understands that the most effective strategies tend to involve an integrated solution, where a consistent message is implemented across multiple communication channels. A major component of an integrated marketing strategy that often gets overlooked in the nonprofit sector is YouTube Ads.

Why Advertise On YouTube?

It may be surprising to hear that YouTube is actually the second most visited site and the second largest search engine in the world after Google. This means that you can target your YouTube ads to people who are intentionally looking for products/organizations that are similar to yours.

Data from 2019 shows that there are approximately 2 billion unique users on YouTube each month, making it one of the most popular social media platforms. Not only that, but YouTube actually reaches more consumers in the United States between the ages of 18 and 49 than all cable television networks combined. 

Advertising on YouTube is a very cost-effective and low-risk option for nonprofit organizations. In fact, it’s possible to run an ad campaign with just $1.00 per day on YouTube and still get clicks to your website with at least 20-50 video views per day. While our team at Cause Inspired wouldn’t necessarily recommend that strategy, this is a good example of how the cost per click on YouTube Ads is typically very low, and cost per view is often even lower. This and more make this channel hard to ignore when developing your integrated marketing strategy.

What Exactly Are YouTube Ads?

Created and managed through Google Ads, YouTube advertising is an effective method of showcasing your compelling video content on YouTube to an interested and qualified audience. YouTube advertising allows your organization to display videos to audiences watching specific content that you choose, videos your target audience might be watching generally, and videos that your audience might be searching for. For example, let’s say you’re running ads for a Disaster Relief Fund. If someone searches “hurricane Dorian documentary” your ad can show up at the top of the search listings with a strong call to action to donate. YouTube ads give your organization the opportunity to tell your story while offering flexibility with different video formats and pay per view options that cater to your marketing objectives.

There are four main types of ads on YouTube that are video, image, or text-based:

example of a skippable truview ad
A skippable TrueView ad example from YouTube.

Skippable Video Ads: These are ads that play before, during, or after a video. As the name suggests, these ads can be skipped by viewers after the first 5 seconds. But fortunately for advertisers, they will only be charged when a viewer has watched their ad for at least thirty seconds or has clicked directly on their ad. These ads must be at least twelve seconds long, but it is recommended that they do not exceed three minutes in length.

Non-Skippable Video Ads: These are fifteen-second ads that play either before, during, or after a video. They are unique in that they cannot be skipped by the viewer. Some advertisers choose to use these types of ads because they can have a positive effect on brand awareness if the video is compelling enough to hold the viewer’s attention. For these types of ads, advertisers are charged per 1,000 impressions (CPM). 

an example of a trueview discovery ad
An example of a TrueView Discovery ad from YouTube.

TrueView Discovery Ads: These ads differ from the types listed above because they appear alongside the organic YouTube search results, rather than functioning like a traditional commercial you would see on television. Discovery ads include three lines of text as well as a thumbnail image. When interested users click on the ad, they will start watching your Youtube Ad or if chosen could be sent to your channel

Non-Video Ads: If your nonprofit doesn’t yet have video content but is still interested in utilizing YouTube as an advertising platform, you can consider using the following non-video ad formats for image-based ads:

Display Ads will appear on the right-hand sidebar and include an image, text, and a compelling CTA that links to your website.

Overlay Ads will appear on videos from monetized YouTube channels. They are semi-transparent and appear on the lower portion of a video.

How Do I Create Video Ads?

The first step when creating a successful YouTube marketing strategy is to craft a strong audience definition and determine your ideal audience persona(s). Consider your target audience’s demographic data and their specific interests. By defining your audience upfront, you can ensure that your messages are targeted and effective throughout your campaign. 

Once you have solidified your target audience, you should then develop specific messaging that will resonate with the audience you want to attract. Without appropriate messaging or a compelling call to action to your target audience, your video content will fall flat. 

As an added tip, make sure your landing page calls back to the ads you’re running. Try to view the landing page as if you were a potential lead, and evaluate if it’s relevant and clear enough to lead to the conversion you’re looking for.

When all of these details are finalized, you can begin to create your new campaign through your Google Ads account. To create a campaign, you’ll start by selecting a campaign goal based on your marketing objectives. Be sure to choose the marketing objective that aligns with the specific type of video ad you want to run (non-skippable or skippable). Most marketing objectives lock you into a certain ad and bidding strategy that you are required to use, so pay close attention to your options. After that, you’ll choose your appropriate campaign types, define your campaign parameters, and finally determine your target audience before going live with your campaign.

Here at Cause Inspired, when it comes to the YouTube strategies we create and manage for nonprofits, Strategy Lead, Sarah Symoens, states that, 

“We’ve always known that donors are more compelled to give when they can visualize a need. Youtube allows us to showcase the amazing work nonprofits are doing, while also gaining more brand exposure than most social media platforms can offer.”

If you are interested in having Cause Inspired create and manage YouTube ads for your nonprofit, contact us today.