YouTube Ads Management

Read about some of the strategies we deploy for clients

| Audience Profiling

| Circular Retargeting

| AdSense Optimization

| Engagement Optimization

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Hardly Creative specializes in entertainment growth on YouTube.

We use advanced optimization strategies developed in Python to focus campaign spend on YouTube centric KPIs.

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This allows you to monitor cost and all aspects of your campaigns

Before we get into the actual aspects of YouTube Ads campaign management, we want to briefly discuss what you should expect as a client in regards to expenses and reporting transparency.

In this arena, there are many companies that sell “YouTube Promotion” services, it’s easy enough to find a long list of them on Google. When we have gone ourselves to research these companies, there is a constant theme that we notice, that these outfits charge a flat rate for a certain number of YouTube views. We believe that to be a very disingenuous pricing structure, and also misleading.

And even worse, it completely hides what the actual auction cost within the Google Ads platform was. Based on our extensive experience running YouTube Ads campaigns globally for a variety of record labels and other entertainment brands, we have a good feel for what regional costs are at any given month on Google Ads.

When we look at the pricing these other companies charge, we have found that they are adding a margin equivalent to 3x – 5x what the expense actually should be with a well-run campaign in Google Ads. This results in nearly extortion type rates they charge their clients. And they don’t even provide any backend data to Google Ads for you to see country, demographic, and other exact costs down to a fraction of a penny.

Hardly Creative uses Google Data Studio for all clients, giving you complete access to all data pulled directly from the Google Ads API. We will even build any custom report that you need so you always have full transparency into the video campaigns we manage for you.

This is also why we are able to get exceptionally low rates for you, we only bill for exact usage that is reported by Google Ads.

Learn about how Hardly Creative handles client billing

Billing Process

Audience Profiling for Growth

Campaigns built to develop healthy YouTube channels

Whether your company produces music videos, travel vlogs, documentaries, tech reviews, gaming content, or any content in other entertainment niches, Hardly Creative works with you to find the most appropriate audience for your brand.

Through data profiling of similar brands and extensive A/B audience testing within the Google Ads platform, we work on continually iterating our campaign builds for your brand so that we are placing videos in front of the most suitable audience to effectively grow your YouTube channel.

For creators in the entertainment business, a healthy YouTube channel presents a lot of revenue opportunities, including brand deals with major sponsors eager to find creators with legitimate audiences and content. By partnering with brands this enables growth of healthy marketing budgets that can in turn be used to scale YouTube growth even more with targeted ad spend.

Read more about brand deals

For artists, a strong YouTube channel can present new opportunities for live bookings. YouTube prominently showcases tour dates under all videos which are geo-targeted to the individual user and Hardly Creative is now working with artist teams to leverage these opportunities to sell more tickets for live events using a combination of strategies, including retargeting to their YouTube audience on the Google Display Network (GDN) to showcase a local event to the user.

As a client of Hardly Creative you will get constant communication access to us.

We are always available to discuss strategy, campaign results, growth hacking methods, and more!

Circular Retargeting Strategy

Focusing on the top 5% of YouTube Users

Not all YouTube users are created equal and only a small minority of users who watch content on YouTube will engage with a video which includes ‘dropping’ a like, adding a video to a playlist, subscribing, or sharing your video. These four audience groups can be segmented against viewership that allows us to zone in hard with campaigns which results in massive engagement rates compared to the average.

Hardly Creative uses a strategy we call “Circular Retargeting” which focuses on these exact YouTube engagement audiences.

The idea is to gradually, over time, introduce these top 5% of users who have previously engaged with your channel to a list of what you consider to be your top 20 pieces of content that have been produced. For an artist, this would be what you or your marketing team considers to be the best music videos on your channel.

Circular Retargeting Benefits:

  • Engagement rates that are 5x to 20x higher than average.
  • Cheaper engagement costs despite higher CPV (we use open bidding for this strategy).
  • Powerful long-term branding and recall as the same user is introduced to more and more content across a long period of time.
  • Higher quantities of positive data being fed to all eight YouTube algorithms as a result of high engagement rates across your 10-20 best pieces of content on the channel.
  • Channel wide growth.

One thing with this strategy we need to be careful of is user ad fatigue. To prevent that, Hardly Creative will use tight and very specific impression and view caps so that we never ‘bombard’ a user with the same ad after certain caps are hit.

Also, if you have a major new release which requires bursting, we will strongly recommend allowing us to open bid on these engagement audiences in the first 24 -72 hours of your video release. CPV will be higher, but as mentioned, engagement costs will almost always be lower compared to larger but colder affinity and other audiences/placements we’ll be using for your burst and/or high volume campaign.

Circular Retargeting Requirements

Preexisting Audiences | 24/7 activation | Long-term campaigns | Patience

We need audience lists connected to your channel, people who have previously engaged with your content. If there are none or the lists are too small, we will need to start with campaigns that include cold audiences so we can bring them into this warm funnel of circular retargeting.

This campaign strategy will be segmented separately from all other campaigns we manage.

Properly setting up this approach requires a significant amount of time to build out as we get very specific with hundreds of audience lists that captures all activity on each specific video on your YouTube channel. There are exclusion lists and caps that will be used as well.

Once all campaigns are built and active, they will be running 24/7 for at least six months. This strategy is all part of a long term growth plan for businesses that are serious about building loyal fan bases and continually layering on additional growth strategies.

Need total transparency of data, results, costs, and all other metrics?

With our custom built Google Data Studio reports, you will receive up to the minute results data from Google Ads, Facebook Ads, YouTube Analytics, and all data sources and ads accounts that we manage for you.

Engagement Optimization

Machine Learning System Currently in Development at Hardly Creative

We currently hard at work developing an advanced system that will use the latest in machine learning techniques to optimize for four key YouTube metrics:

Earned Views | Tracked by Google Ads for seven days after the initial ad click*. This number represents who went on to watch additional videos from the same video being promoted.

Earned Likes | This metric tracks every like a user ‘drops’ on the video being promoted or another video on the same channel.

Earned Playlists | YouTube users have the option to add a video they watch to their personal playlists. This metric is a great data signal for YouTube’s algorithms when the same user watches the same video multiple times. When a user adds your video to a playlist they are much more likely to watch the same video multiple times in the future.

Earned Subscribers | Everybody’s favorite metric, right? Well those are tracked, too. We like this metric but in our opinion, we find Earned Views and Earned Playlists to be the most beneficial metrics to over-perform on. Feel free to ask us why in a phone call meeting. The answer might surprise you. Though, new subscribers are of course important to a channel as well!

*All 4 engagement metrics listed here are tracked for 7 days

So What’s This About Machine Learning?

Hardly Creative structures campaigns in a very unique way using hundreds, and sometimes thousands of ad groups within a single campaign. We also segment everything by network and country which leaves us with tens of thousands of ad groups for scaled music video launches.

Up until now we have used Excel formulas and data analysis to optimize campaigns for engagement ratios and costs where we are finding the most ideal audiences globally for the content being promoted.

As you might imagine this is an extremely tedious process. Fortunately it is not only possible to optimize both the time commitment aspects but we can also improve results in this arena via machine learning!

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Just One of Many Strategies Hardly Creative Offers

Growth Hacking is in our DNA

We love to continually work on developing new strategies that combines smart use of ad tech with real, sustainable audience growth. We also have a number of tricks up our sleeve that we deploy for clients if the situation warrants. You can also read about an AdSense optimization strategy we’ve developed on this page.

And of course, our clients have been a big source of knowledge for us and we are always happy to implement ideas you might have. Never know until we try!

About Us

Hardly Creative is a U.S. based marketing agency focused exclusively on entertainment growth on YouTube. We leverage the full depth of the Google Marketing Platform coupled with custom built tools to deploy and optimize scaled Google Ads campaigns for channels within the music and entertainment industry.

Hardly Creative also develops proprietary, data driven optimization solutions with Python, enabling us to process, automate, and act daily on millions of data points generated on YouTube and Google Ads.

THE HARDLY CREATIVE ADVANTAGE

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