Google has taken the beta tag off of AdWords for video, opening up the ad platform targeted to small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to run video ads on YouTube. To help drive interest, Google is also offering $50 million of free advertising credits to prospects. I wrote about AdWords for video last September when it was first announced, and I continue to be enthusiastic about its potential to broaden video-based advertising to SMBs for which traditional TV advertising was out of reach.
AdWords for video follows on the same performance-based model as AdWords itself, with advertisers setting their budgets and determining the parameters of where and against which targeting criteria their ads will run. AdWords for video offers the four "TrueView" ad formats - In-Stream, In-Slate, In-Search and In-Display. Users get one dashboard view into both their AdWords and AdWords for Video campaigns.
Recognizing that resource-constrained SMBs need things to be simple and straightforward, Google has developed a streamlined work flow for using AdWords for video (see video below). Once a video has been uploaded to YouTube, the SMB sets their budget, geographies/languages/audiences targeted, selects their video, desired TrueView ad formats, ad descriptions and click-through URL. Google has also introduced a "Traffic Estimator" so that AdWords for video advertisers can understand approximately how many impressions and views their campaign will generate based on historical data.
Google is also releasing a number of tools to support AdWords for video including an "advertiser playbook" that includes best practices and a template developed with American Express called "My Business Story." In addition, Google has created "YouTube Marketing Ambassadors," a group of 9 SMBs that have had early success with video advertising on YouTube and will receive badges and other promotional consideration for sharing their tips and tricks. Last but not least, YouTube is offering $50 million in AdWords for video credits with new AdWords for video users receive a $75 credit when they sign up.
As I wrote back in September, AdWords for video is important for the larger video ad ecosystem because it opens up the market to a huge swatch of smaller businesses that have traditionally been precluded from doing national TV advertising. Because it's all performance-based, there's little risk for SMBs trying it out. AdWords for video gives all SMBs the ability to tap into YouTube's 800 million global users in an easy, low-cost way - that should be a compelling opportunity for many.