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YouTube Advertising and the Five Benefits it Can Provide Your College

If you're a university looking for more engagement with your prospective students, consider YouTube as it has become the 2nd most popular search platform

Published on

Aug 19, 2023

Written by

Mike Wisby

In addition to its growth, video content, in general, is gaining tons of popularity in all forms, with Facebook, Instagram, and even LinkedIn all having some form of video content to compete with YouTube and, more recently, TikTok. 

In today's digitally-driven world, colleges are facing increasing pressure to attract potential students through effective advertising strategies. While higher education has traditionally relied on Google Ads and passive social media ads, the evolving digital landscape demands a more defined and audience-specific approach.

This is where YouTube advertising comes into play. By leveraging the power of video content, colleges can showcase their values, mission, and the people behind the brand, creating a connection with prospective students.

With the ease of creating video content and the undeniable benefits of YouTube, colleges can educate potential students on what they have to offer and build trust and credibility. YouTube advertising allows colleges to reach a massive audience, benefit from cost-effective pricing options, target specific demographics, gain valuable insights through reporting, and enjoy the flexibility of the platform.

However, it's important to note that while YouTube's targeting capabilities are advantageous, they can also present challenges. Despite this, the benefits of YouTube advertising make it an essential tool for colleges looking to attract potential students in the digital age.

Table of Contents 

YouTube Advertising Statistics 

Now that we've explored the benefits of YouTube advertising, let's delve into the statistics that highlight its power as an advertising platform.

Males aged 25-34 are YouTube's biggest advertising audience, and India boasts the largest advertising audience on the platform. With over 500 hours of video uploaded every minute and more than one billion hours of videos watched daily, YouTube has an immense reach.

Additionally, 65% of Gen Z prioritize personally relevant content, and 77% of video marketers use YouTube to host videos. Millennials also exhibit a high level of trust in YouTube compared to other generations.

YouTube Ads and How it works 

Before we get into all the benefits of YouTube, let’s talk about what YouTube advertising is and how it works. 

YouTube advertising is tracked through Google Ads. These ads then appear on the YouTube platform to maximize your college's reach. This can look like a video that plays before a user gets to the video they search, or it can show up on YouTube search for people to watch in full. YouTube ads can range from as short as 6-second videos to more than three-minute videos. 

YouTube advertising is meant to help your establishment show up with video content on YouTube or on YouTube’s search results page to maximize its reach. Ideally, schools will create brief videos that appear to the user at several points while they spend time on YouTube. 

There are a few different types of YouTube ads: 

  • Skippable in-stream ads
  • Non-skippable in-stream ads
  • Video discovery ads
  • Non-video ads

When choosing your ad type, keep your budget, advertising goals, and how you want to pay for any YouTube promotions in mind. Ad payments are based on the ad format you choose. 

While YouTube Advertising can be challenging to work with, it is highly rewarding, and universities tend to see results quickly. 

5 Benefits to YouTube Advertising  

There are countless benefits to YouTube advertising, but let’s focus on the big 5: 

  1. YouTube’s Massive Reach 
  2. Financial Benefits
  3. Targeting 
  4. Reporting 
  5. Flexibility

Benefit #1 – YouTube’s Massive Reach  

People use YouTube every single day. It has over 2 billion active users, which is the equivalent of almost 1/3 of everyone online (source). Investing in YouTube advertising puts your school in a position to reach those 2 billion people! 

But it doesn’t stop at just its reach: 

YouTube’s massive audience is a great opportunity for colleges to share their message, mission, and values with the public to connect with prospective customers. 

Its giant userbase benefits small and large companies with the goal of increasing brand awareness. And they can do this with a relatively low budget! 

Benefit #2 – YouTube’s Advertiser-Friendly Costs 

Secondly, when implemented correctly, YouTube can be incredibly cost-effective. YouTube has several different advertising options like Cost Per Click and Cost Per View. 

If you’re unfamiliar with cost-per-view, it’s when an advertiser only pays when someone clicks on the ad. On the other hand, cost-per-view is just that – an advertiser pays when their ad is viewed. For YouTube, a view is when someone watches the view for 5 seconds or more. However, if the user clicks “skip ad,” it will not count, the advertiser will not be charged, and the ad placement is free. 

In addition to saving money based on ad type, YouTube’s ad price point is also lower. An average Cost Per View ad is $0.10 to $0.30 per view.

Keep in mind that: 

  • “The views that you generate will count towards your overall YouTube viewer count”
  • “The average cost of reaching 100,000 viewers is around $2,000”

The cost of your YouTube ads depends on your video quality, targeting, and goal, but there are ways to make the most out of your YouTube ad spend.

YouTube is a cost-effective advertising option for so many universities because, in addition to a low price point, you can also set your budget and put a limit on how much you’re willing to spend. This will prevent you from overspending! 

Benefit #3 – Get Streamlined & Targeted  

Regardless of where you run ads or how – you want to make sure they reach the right audience, and this all starts with knowing your audience and having a robust targeting platform (Looking at you, YouTube!). 

We want to speak to people who are interested in what we offer and willing to buy. 

What’s great about YouTube is that they have both basic and more advanced targeting options like:

  • Including/Excluding keywords
  • Demographics
  • Category
  • Placement

This way, once you do the research, know your audience, and put together your buyer persona, you can dive in and set your YouTube ads up for success. 

Being intentional and specific about your targeting allows advertisers to save money while still reaching their audience. While it takes research to find your target audience and trial and error to perfect your YouTube ads, it’s cost-efficient and beneficial to your overall ad strategy. 

Benefit #4 – Learn From Your Ads with Thorough Reporting

YouTube advertising is measurable – you can track a video’s success through the clicks, views, engagement, etc. Performance analytics help us determine whether or not a strategy, budget, or advertising avenue is resonating. 

These reports allow you to learn about your consumer’s behaviors and how they engage with your content. This information can help make future content more personalized. 

YouTube metrics help create campaigns and streamline your strategy. Paying attention and referencing back to your reporting can increase the success of your campaign. Through your reporting, you can see what works and doesn’t work for your audience. Additionally, you can see if anyone dropped off your video or how long they watched for. This can help with future content. 

They say, “if you’re not measuring your marketing efforts, you’re wasting money,” and while it’s a little harsh, it’s true. Having insight into your ad performance can help to right any wrongs or optimize your ads. This information can help create more relatable and customized content. If you’re spending money on advertising without researching your audience, looking at your historical reporting, and revisiting your monthly reporting. You could be spending money on ad placements that aren’t beneficial to reaching your goals. You want to ensure that your money is going to the right places, at the right time, and creating content that resonates.  

Benefit #5 – A Platform Built with Advertisers in Mind  

Lastly, the flexibility of YouTube! With so many different ad formats and targeting formats – higher education establishments can do what works for them. 

With YouTube, you have full control over how much you spend, when you spend, where you spend, and you can pause your ads whenever you want. 

Thankfully, the YouTube ad platform is user-friendly and understands that universities and students are always changing. That’s why it’s set up to work with the advertiser and not force the advertiser to work with the platform. 

Nothing’s Perfect, Not Even YouTube

No matter how many benefits a platform has, there are still disadvantages that a school should consider before diving into YouTube advertising. It is YouTube’s targeting. I know. How can targeting be bad? We just said it was good? So, YouTube’s targeting is both a pro and a con. Because while you can get incredibly targeted on YouTube, it’s still challenging. YouTube’s users are choosing the category they want to watch, so it’s not a perfect science. 

Additionally, while you can be strategic on YouTube (to an extent), there’s no way to guarantee where your ad will play. It could be completely unrelated! 

While you can narrow down keywords and even exclude certain keywords, it’s not always guaranteed. 

YouTube advertising is a great option for colleges, but you can’t expect perfection. 

Getting Started with YouTube Advertising

When you look at YouTube’s user base and the popularity of video content, it’s easy to understand why YouTube advertising is essential. YouTube ads are easy to set up, user-friendly, targeted, and cost-effective. 

It’s no surprise that 70% of people have bought a product after seeing it in a YouTube ad! 

Investing in YouTube ads can get your college in front of more people, leading to more clicks, traffic, and sales.

So rather than running traditional advertising like TV or Radio, which can be costly to create and buy ad space on. Consider creating video content and running ads on YouTube. 

Make it a goal to connect with your customers or potential customers in more authentic and intentional ways – like targeted ads catered towards the people who are most likely to work with you, not content that’s shared with little to no strategy behind it like TV or Radio. 

Nowadays, video content is easy to make and consume. People every day are turning to YouTube to learn about products and services. It’s a cost-effective avenue, and there’s no pressure to create a cinematic experience. With YouTube ads, a smartphone and good lighting are more than enough for companies to put their content and personality out there, share their product/service, and connect with their audience. 

While creating content is much easier, putting together an ad strategy can be intimidating. YouTube has diverse formats to pick and choose from, and sometimes, it is hard to figure out which avenue will help universities fulfill their enrollment goals. 

Get in Touch

If you’re interested in getting active with YouTube advertising or improving your current strategy, we would love to work with you – book a free consultation today. 

If you’re not quite ready, join the conversation on LinkedIn, where we have open discussions with other college marketing departments on the challenges we face in digital advertising. 

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