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A Lawyer’s Guide To Getting Started With YouTube Advertising

by Kevin Vermeulen • November 2nd, 2017 • Search Engine Marketing | Blog

YouTube Advertising for LawyersYouTube is one of the most influential — yet easily overlooked — advertising channels available on the Internet. For businesses, like law firms, that mainly produce text-based content, it’s easy to forget about the power of video. And with nearly one and a half billion users, YouTube wields considerable power. See: A Law Firm’s Guide to YouTube

If you’ve never considered placing video ads on YouTube, here are just a few reasons why you should:

  • YouTube serves over 30 million visitors daily
  • 8 out of 10 people age 18-59 watch YouTube at least once per month
  • 25 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube every month
  • YouTube reaches more 18-49 year olds than any US cable network

No matter what area of law your firm is involved with, you can and will reach your target audience through YouTube. Making the whole deal even better, YouTube video ads can be significantly cheaper than AdWords ads that show up in Google search results.

Following is a brief explanation of how video ads work on the YouTube platform, and how to go about setting up a video advertising campaign.

Two Basic Types of YouTube Ads

YouTube allows you to choose from two basic types of ads: video discovery ads and in-stream ads. The ad type you choose will determine where your video advertisement shows up as viewers browse YouTube.

Video Discovery Ads

YouTube’s video discovery ads show up as static listings on the YouTube homepage, in video search results, and in the related videos that are listed on the right side of the screen when watching a video. They work in a similar fashion to the ads you see on the top and bottom of the results when you run a search on Google. When a user clicks one of the advertisement links, they will be taken to your video.

In-Stream Ads

In-stream ads are probably the YouTube advertisements you are most familiar with. These are the video ads you see at the beginning of, and sometimes in the middle of, many YouTube videos. In most cases, you have the option of skipping the ad and continuing to your chosen video after five seconds.

It is also possible to create non-skippable ads, but they are limited to specific running times. Non-skippable ads must be 15, 20 or 30 seconds, depending on the standards for the region(s) where they will be shown. These ads can also appear “mid-roll” in videos that are ten minutes or longer in length.

Setting Up a YouTube Advertising Campaign

To get started with a YouTube advertising campaign, you’ll need two things; a video to serve as your advertisement, and a Google AdWords account. First, upload your video to YouTube, and then it’s time to head to Adwords.

The process is fairly straight-forward, but here’s what you can expect to see:

Choose the Campaign Type

Once you’ve logged into AdWords, click the downward facing arrow on the right side of the red “+ Campaign” button on your home page. This will bring up a drop-down list of possible campaigns types. Select “Video.”

Give Your Campaign a Name

On the next screen, give your campaign a name and verify that the “Type” setting under the name is set to “Video,” and the selector on the right is set to “Standard.”

Select Video Ad Format

Next, you need to pick the format of your ad, which should be “In-stream or video discovery ads.” This setting will allow you to set up either of the two types of advertisements we outlined above.

Set Your Daily Budget

Similar to standard AdWords campaigns, you’ll need to set a daily budget for your law firm’s video ads. You’ll also have the option of choosing between standard and accelerated delivery methods. The standard method will show your firm’s ad evenly throughout the day. The accelerated method will try to get as many views as your budget allows as quickly as possible.

Select Advertising Networks

You’ll be given the option to select where your ads appear. The two main selections are YouTube Search and YouTube Videos. You can select one or both. If you select YouTube Videos, you can also choose to have your ad displayed on Google partner sites, within apps, and on the Google Display Network.

Depending on how detailed you need your marketing reporting to be, it may be beneficial to set up separate campaigns for each of the network choices in order to make results tracking easier.

Set Location Targeting

You’ll have the option to set the location of users you’d like to target by selecting locations where the ad will be shown, selecting locations where it won’t be shown, or a combination of the two. You can choose as broadly as entire continents or drill down to local towns.

Language, Devices & Bid Adjustments

These options will allow you to further refine your targeting, as well as adjust (if you want to) the amount of your bid for ads to be shown on different devices.

You’ll be able to target your ads to certain languages, or restrict them to certain devices including mobile, tablets and computers. You also have the option of increasing or decreasing your bid, as a percentage, for each of the individual devices.

Advanced Settings

The advanced settings will allow you to tune several options like a start/end date for your campaign, hours that your ad will be shown within, and how many times it should be shown to the same viewer. Careful adjustment of these options can help you be sure you’re getting the maximum reach for the minimum cost.

Creating the Video Ad Itself

Once you’ve got your campaign set up, it’s finally time to set up the actual video ad. Here is where you’ll set the video to be used and further tune your targeting if you need to.

Create an Ad Group and Assign Video(s)

Within your campaign you’ll need to create and name an ad group. The ad group can be one or more videos with the same basic targeting goals. This is also where you’ll assign the video you want to use — the one you’ve already uploaded — by providing the YouTube link for the video.

After you’ve assigned the video, you’ll need to choose whether you want it to be run as a video discovery ad or an in-stream ad.


Next you’ll need to set your bid for how much like you’d to spend for each ad display. Adjustments you make to this number will increase or decrease the projected views you’ll be able to achieve each day.


Drilling down deeper than the targeting options you were given under the campaign settings, the ad targeting settings will allow you to fine tune your target audience using options like gender, age, marital status and more.

Looking through all of the options is highly recommended to get an understanding of just how detailed you can be. You may also be able to gain more insight into higher converting audiences by dividing target groups into specific campaigns rather than including all the groups you want to target under a single campaign.

As you can see, it will likely be a bit time consuming to set up the first video advertisement for your law firm on YouTube, but it is well worth the trouble. It will also get easier and faster with each new ad that you put online. In the end, you get advertising rates much lower than what you’d pay to appear on search results, and exposure much greater than you could ever hope for on television. It’s an unbeatable deal.

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