Watch Your Ecommerce Returns Soar with the Right YouTube Attribution & Audiences

Derek Fujinaga

by Derek Fujinaga

Aug. 03 2021

We’ve all been there …

Brand awareness stalls. Customer acquisition costs skyrocket. And, new growth flatlines.

In response, you either cut spend to improve efficiency or frantically pump more money into Facebook campaigns, influencer marketing, and new social-media creative.

Anything to move the needle.

What if you could drive awareness and find a measurable way to increase cross-channel returns solely through Google advertising?

YouTube has always been a controversial channel, especially when it comes to ecommerce prospecting on the world’s largest video platform.

Part of the challenge is it tends to not get the attribution it deserves. The other has to do with audiences — something very few people (even YouTube advertisers) utilize well.

In this article, we’re going to tackle both challenges so you can “watch” your YouTube returns soar by looking in the right places!

Fair warning: These YouTube tactics are advanced …

If you want something more foundational, then grab our YouTube Ecommerce Guide + Case Study.

There, you’ll get guidance on how to setup and scale YouTube prospecting — backed by a behind-the-scenes look at one of our most successful clients.

YouTube Ecommerce Ads for Prospecting: 202% Revenue Increase PDF Download
Download the full case study and all the steps to win YouTube here

YouTube Attribution + ‘Creative’ Analytics

If you’ve ever been on YouTube, you likely haven’t clicked a video ad. At least, not very often.

You already have a video in mind and just want to watch it. Even if the creative looks interesting, you tell yourself, “I’ll look it up later.” Or, you open another tab to check it out there. 

When you do this, poor YouTube doesn’t get credit for the eventual conversion.

As an ecommerce business, the question is: What should you measure? The answer: You have to get creative (literally).

Watch Times & Emotional Connections

In a world of skips, emotional efficiency makes or breaks YouTube ads. First, establishing an emotional connection with your audience. Second, balancing that with the ad’s effectiveness — its results.

Put simply, people don’t skip ads that affect them: whether pure entertainment, tear-jerkers, or something in between.

From an analytical perspective, 30-second views are the holy grail. They’re also rare. Instead, pay close attention to “Views” and “Video played to.” The higher the percentage of people at each quarter benchmark, the better.

YouTube Video Ads: Video Played to Percentages and Views

Raw view count alongside percentages also lets you assess under-performing videos and cross-apply wins.

If one video has 30% of the users hit 50% and another only has 10%, it begs the question: What made them stay (an emotional connection) versus what made them leave (no connection)?

View count should always be referenced as well because creative fatigue runs rampant on YouTube. Thankfully, we can get even more analytical.

Full-Funnel Metrics for YouTube Creative

Number one rule: You get five-seconds before someone can skip your video. Make them count! Content should be attention grabbing with a strong value proposition coupled with eye grabbing imagery.

Measure the success of your YouTube creative stage-by-stage with AIDA and ask …
  • Attention: View rate of 25% or higher
    Did they watch past the “Skip” button?
  • Interest: Number of Views and Video Played to % benchmarks
    Did you establish an emotional connection?
  • Desire: CTR of +0.80% for prospecting
    Did you make them want more?
  • Action: ROAS of 1.0 or greater for prospecting
    Did you move them to a measurable outcome?

AIDA Metrics for Measuring YouTube Ad Creative

Marketing Efficiency Rating; or, You Know, Revenue 🤑

Marketing Efficiency Ratio (MER) is a holistic way to analyze the impact of your paid advertising: total revenue ÷ total ad spend.

Rather than targeting ROAS on a channel-by-channel basis, you’re looking at the overall revenue effect.

This becomes critical when determining the results of a YouTube campaign that doesn’t show conversions in-platform.

By measuring campaign spend and impressions against site revenue, you might notice something that almost got past you.

YouTube Ads and Overall Revenue for Ecommerce

Above: YouTube’s cost versus impressions and Shopify’s sales; below: Statlas’ MER, our ecommerce analytics tool

A trend that’s going in the very direction you want it to; up and to the right. How can your business do the same?

YouTube Audiences that Make All the Difference

Custom Intent Audiences is our first stop towards YouTube domination.

The starting point to any good audience is to think about what your existing customers are doing and looking up:

  • Who are they interested in?
  • What brands or products do they already use?
  • Where do they consume content on and off of YouTube?

YouTube New Custom Audience

For instance, one of our clients knew its customers were interested in a certain podcast. This resulted in an audience created around that podcast, its guests, and the guests’ websites.

They also knew what other brands they wore and purchased, which resulted in a custom audience targeting people interested in those brands and websites.

YouTube Custom Intent Audience Parameters

The second method for an effective but simple audience is through the use of In-Market audiences.

These audiences target people who are actively searching to purchase items in your categories. Sort of. You may notice that Google’s idea of “In-Market” doesn’t necessarily translate to in your market.

As funny as it might feel: trust Google! Time and time again we’ve found that Google’s algorithm is much smarter than us.

At the same time, if you have an existing base, you can already see what the top converting In-Market audiences are for your product.

Inside Google Analytics, navigate to Audience > Interests > In-Market Segments. There, you will find a list of each In-Market audience and how many conversions they received and the conversion rate for each type.

Google Analytics Audience for YouTube Ecommerce: In-Market Segments

These contain a wealth of information and you can use as many as you want.

Kick things off with the top ten by conversion volume. Drop those into your YouTube audiences and you’re good to go.

Congratulations, You’re Almost at 100% ‘Viewed’ for This Article: What’s Next?

Despite its reputation, YouTube can be a powerful source of ecommerce growth. How? Let’s recap …

First, set your goals and metrics around emotional efficiency: (1) total Views and Video played to percentages; then (2), AIDA — attention, interest, desire, and action — as well as overall revenue.

Second, build your audiences around Custom Intent and In-Market.

When you begin running campaigns, you might notice that they don’t get many (or any) conversions. Stay calm! You may go three to four days without a conversion. Within a week, they’ll start trickling in and you’ll soon have consistent wins every day.

In fact, for the most exciting part of our examples, here are real results from a recent launch.

With this account, we started YouTube on the 19th of May. Even though the campaigns themselves were only running around a 0.50 ROAS, you can see consistent revenue growth parallel to scaling YouTube spend.

Watch Returns (MER) Soar with YouTube Ads for Ecommerce

Lastly, if you haven’t yet, be sure to grab our full YouTube strategy and case study!
YouTube Ecommerce Ads for Prospecting: 202% Revenue Increase PDF Download
Download the full case study and all the steps to win YouTube here

Derek Fujinaga

Derek is a Paid Search Buyer for CTC with over 7 years of experience in starting businesses, growing companies, and ad buying on multiple platforms. With millions in revenue made for clients each year, Derek is a Google nerd who loves to talk shop and the benefits of Paid Search. Self proclaimed ‘expert at networking,’ he’d love to connect with you on Twitter or LinkedIn to find out how you can all grow together.