Episode 32 | Posted on

Leveraging YouTube as an Ad Platform with Tommie Powers

When starting an ad campaign, most businesses turn to Google Adwords, but marketing on YouTube is not only equally successful, it’s also more cost effective. There are several ways to take advantage of advertising on YouTube, and Tommie Powers shares how he’s helped his clients generate nearly eight figures in revenue in the last three years through this underutilized platform. Tommie is a digital marketing expert, mentor, investor and YouTube ad expert. We discuss how to market on YouTube, the benefits of A/B testing your ads, Tommie’s favorite tools and more!


Hello, and welcome to Marketing Speak! Today’s guest is Tommie Powers. Tommie is a digital marketing expert, a mentor, and an investor with 15 years of experience. He’s a YouTube ad expert so I’m super excited to have him on. He’s going to share some of his brilliance with us about how to leverage YouTube as an ad platform. He is highly sought-after trainer and speaker. He’s helped his clients generate nearly eight figures in revenue in the last three years. That’s pretty impressive! He’s also a proud husband and a father of three and when he’s not pouring over data and driving tons of traffic on the interwebs, he’s probably hanging out with his family or watching sports so Tommy, it’s great to have you!

Thank you! I appreciate it, man! Glad to be here!

Awesome! So, let’s start just by defining some terms here because there are different ad types-there is in-stream and in-display; and there are different use cases. They can be helpful in different kinds of ways or more appropriate in certain situations so, could you just describe these different types of ads on YouTube?

Sure! There are two ad units. Basically, the way ad works for video explains that there is in-stream and then there’s in-display. First, in-stream, everybody knows these. You’re on YouTube, you’re about to watch the video, and an ad pops in there, right? And you have to wait for five seconds to skip it. Well, those are called in-stream because they play in the stream of other people’s videos-that’s why they call those in-stream. The other ad unit, in-display, actually breaks down two ways. There’s two ways you can target people in-display: You can target people who are actually watching videos. If you have ever been on YouTube and watching a video, on the right side of the screen, there are recommended videos. You’ll see sometimes an ad there at the top, in there, and right above where the other recommended videos there. That’s how you can target people in-display watching videos or you could target people in-display that are searching YouTube. If someone actually goes on YouTube and they’re searching something like a specific phrase, you can actually show your ad to those people specifically. That also is in-display but it is targeting people who are searching. That’s basically how those two main ad units break down. That makes sense?

Yup, perfect! There are also in-stream ads that can’t be skipped, right?

That’s true.

So, you have to watch the whole darn thing and it can be really annoying.


So, what’s the typical length of one of those non-skippable ads?

A non-skippable ad is fifteen seconds, I believe it is. But you can’t, as of right now, this will change because YouTube is creating a new ad unit that’s six seconds long that is unskippable. They haven’t rolled out to everyone yet but that is coming. That will be a reality where you’ll be able to run these little six-second video ads in-stream that you can’t skip. Right now, there’s unskippable ads and the way you run those is actually through the Google Display Network and not through the AdWords for video so you wouldn’t actually set up a video ad campaign in your AdWords account, you would have to do that under the Google Display campaign set-up.

Got it!

It’s kind of weird how it works or whatever but honestly, we don’t run a lot of the non-skippables. Mostly, people you’ll see doing it are brands and trying to create brand awareness and that kind of thing. I haven’t had a lot of success with them to be honest. I would rather run an in-stream app that someone can skip because if they skip-if within the five seconds they click skip? It doesn’t cost me anything. Basically, I’m given five, free seconds anyway so I rather run that. If they want to skip it, let them skip it, but the ones who want to pay attention, I would rather pay for someone who wants to pay attention than just forcing my ad on someone because of interruption marketing. You know, people want to watch their cat videos, man!

I would rather pay for someone who wants to pay attention than just forcing my ad on someone because of interruption marketing.

That’s right!

But we haven’t had a lot of success with the unskippable so I don’t really use them. I am interested in this shorter six-second one that they’re coming out with though so we’ll see how they go. We absolutely are going to test them pretty heavily so we’ll see how it goes.

Awesome! Do you get more performance out of mobile ads or desktop ads?

Your mobile ads, YouTube ads, have not, historically, done well for me. Most of our ads run on tablet and desktop and that’s what we get 90% of our results. We do run some mobile stuff but if it’s mobile-specific then, yes. I’ve worked with some companies who have apps that have done really well with app download stuff.


But just like lead gen, driving sales, and things like that-not really. They do have mobile app promotion ads that you can run on YouTube and those will run on mobile devices-those actually do work. I’ve worked with several companies that I’ve mentored through various programs that I’m involved in that that have had some success with the mobile app installs, but just as a lead gen or strictly generating sales kind of a thing, there’s not a lot of success, not in my experience.

Oh, I see! Okay, if you were to allocate a client’s YouTube ad budget, would it be mostly into the in-stream or mostly into the in-display? Is it kind of half-and-half or would it completely depend on the type of company?

I would say, completely, it does depend on what their objective of the campaign is, what type of business it is, and so forth. I would probably ask, “What resources do you have available?” The reason why I say that is because the biggest challenge that most people have and why they don’t use YouTube, which is such a huge opportunity, is because to run their paid ads in general, you have to test a lot. It’s a lot of experiments that you have to run to get it right. YouTube has added fuel on that where you have video creators that you have to be creating. It’s not just finding images, right? It’s not just writing text ads with Google Display, or Google Search, or BetterAds, or whatever. You have to actually create multiple versions of your video if you want to test the way that we test so if you don’t have the capability to really test the creatives, that’s going to have a real impact on how we would do anything, to be honest, and that’s really the biggest challenge. If you’re already doing video in your business or heavily using video in your business, which is what I’m tending on leaning more towards, people who are already sold on video and they’re so sold on it that they invest a lot of money and time into creating video in their business already because I don’t have-that’s not a challenge. Whereas, a lot of people who want to get in to YouTube because they see the opportunity and yet, video is not a huge part of their business-that becomes the challenge-and really, I’m going to test everything. Honestly, here’s how I would do it. This is the advice that I give anybody who wants to go to YouTube. Number one, you probably should already have traffic coming to your website. If you don’t, then I don’t really know what to say because that’s kind of like not the lane that I’m in anymore. I want to work with people who kind of already have some sort of traction. The first thing you have to do, I’m going to say, is remarketing. That’s like the lowest-hanging fruit that you can go after.


The second thing that I would do is, I would target people who are searching YouTube and who are actively looking for solutions. What we found is, on average, there’s a wide margin, but 10-20 times cheaper the same keyword targeting on YouTube if you would target it on Google Search. It’s the same type of intent and the same type of solutions that they’re looking for so, if they’re doing that on YouTube? It’s way cheaper to get in front of those people than it would be to target them on Google Search. That would be the second thing that I would do because these are people who are actively looking for a solution.


Your value proposition doesn’t have to be rooted in convincing, it just have to be, “Here’s my solution!” and people can make a decision of whether it’s right for them or not versus trying to get them to know who you are, what your business is, what you do, and that whole conversation. The quickest way to do that is to get in front of people who are already looking for it. That would be the second thing that I would do-number two. Number three is, I would do in-stream, and I would target some very specific videos that people are watching that are relevant to what I offer. One of the ways we do that is, if you go to YouTube and you put any keyword in, whatever those top ten videos are that rank for that keyword, half of them probably allow ads on them, I would actually go target all of those videos and put my ad in front of those because those people are already searching, right? That’s just a secondary way to get in front of people looking for solutions, or looking for something relevant to what you’re doing, and then I will put my ad in front of those videos. What I would do is to just have hundreds, even thousands, of keywords in some instances, and then we would grab all of the video relevant to those so we end up with thousands of videos in some instances. When you’re starting out, you probably don’t want a thousand but maybe a couple hundred videos that you can get in front of people who are about to watch some content that is highly relevant to what you do. That would be the third thing that I would do. If I went through those three progressions and I couldn’t get any traction, you probably got a whole lot bigger problems with your funnel, conversions, and things of that nature. It would be to traffic source because it’s a great traffic source. Remarketing, targeting people who are searching with in-display, and then in-stream targeting other videos that are relevant specifically to what you’re doing-we call that placement targeting-that’s what I would do.

That makes a lot of sense. That’s brilliant! You said that most of those videos that you’d be targeting to add your in-stream ad to would probably allow in-stream ads.


Would you recommend that people turn off that ability on their own videos? That, they don’t allow in-stream ads on their videos?

If your channel is not designed to make money from ads, yes. A lot of people do YouTube-most of the biggest channels on YouTube, the biggest videos, that are driving the most views and things like that are people who are creating content because they want to make money with their content from advertising. The people who are not doing that, who don’t want ads on their videos-I mean, there’s not a lot of people who have huge channels who are doing that. That’s just the reality. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely, I think, almost every business probably should have a presence on YouTube on some level and that means, actually having content that people can discover and find your business and then, you can funnel them into your traffic but most videos will have that. Actually, I would say, it’s probably 50-60% on average that will so you will have some but I don’t think it’s because people purposely turned it off, I think it’s just probably because a lot of people just don’t know what they’re doing, to be honest with you. Most people on YouTube, I would say, 80-90% of the channels on YouTube are designed to be monetized from ads.


So, you’ll find a lot of traffic there like that.

Right, and with the second stage or step in the process where you’re targeting YouTube searchers with in-display, how big of a keyword portfolio do you want to have? Are we talking about hundreds of keywords, thousands of keywords, or tens of thousands of keywords?

It depends on the market you’re in. You know, like, “diet” is huge, “beauty” is huge. Those are really freaking huge verticals on YouTube. I mean, you can get thousands of keywords and you can get a ton of traffic, but you could probably get a ton of traffic with a couple hundred whereas, for something really more niche-focused, you’re going to need as many keywords as you can find because most of them are going to have a handful of searches. It kind of depends on your business. If you have a broad market that you’re going after, ultimately, yes, you would have thousands of keywords, but I wouldn’t start out with that many. I would probably start out with a couple hundred, especially if you are on a huge market like beauty, for example, which is insane, or gaming-huge on YouTube, right? You don’t need these large amounts of keywords starting out, but over time, as you build it, obviously, if you test it and it backs out, you want to scale it up then yes, you would need about thousands, but then, there are some markets that not a lot of people are really looking for like CRM tool or customer relationship management tools-that’s happening on there but it’s not a lot so you got to try to find every keyword you can to try to get in front of that traffic because it’s not going to be as much traffic there for that, but someone in that market, the custom of value is really high so you don’t need a ton of traffic to actually make it worth your time so it kind of depends on the market.

Yup! What tools do you use to check to see which keywords are popular with YouTube searchers? I know that Google retired the YouTube Keyword Tool so that’s not available anymore so you can’t use Google Trends. Most people don’t know that underneath the web search option, there’s a choice of YouTube search so you can put in keywords in that and see what Google trends what’s popular with YouTube searchers, but are there other tools that you use to check popularity with YouTube search queries?

Two things. You said one already-Google Trends, and TubeBuddy. TubeBuddy doesn’t tell you about volume and numbers but what they will tell you is, they have a bar that kind of shows you like, the low searches to high searches, right? At the far end of the bar is, to the high-end, you’ll get a good indication if there’s volume there. TubeBuddy is-I really like it. T-U-B-E-B-U-D-D-Y dot com, I think it is. They have a free thing that you can play around with, but even if you pay, it’s only around $20 a month or something like that. It’s really cheap, man! It’s so worth it!


I really like TubeBuddy.

Awesome! Speaking of tools, any other YouTube specific tools that you really like? For example, I really like Voot-voot.net-that will track search rankings in YouTube. It will track other YouTube engagement metrics for your videos like likes, dislikes, video replies, comments, and all the important engagement metrics. TouchStorm, which is the makers of Voot, also has a new tool out. It’s a separate tool called VideoAmigo. Those are two great tools that I use. What would be some others that you would recommend?

vidIQ, I use that one. V-I-D-I-Q.


I used to use-I don’t use it anymore-keywordtool.io. I used to use that one basically, just to grab a lot of suggests so you can put in a base term and it will pull you all the YouTube suggested terms. Those are the terms that YouTube is suggesting because people are actually searching them so I would use that. Then, there’s Veeroll-V-E-E-R-O-L-L. I don’t know if you know Gideon Shalwick.


He’s the one behind that. That is built for video ads because they have a video creator thing in there where you can create these little short, 30-second type videos and stuff like that and they have a keyword tool thing in there or whatever so, Veeroll, I think the lowest one is about $47 a month and they have up to $297, which is like an agency level or something like that or whatever, but I like Veeroll. That’s about it. I used to use this one called Videocent but it seems like they haven’t updated it in a long time. It used to give me really accurate numbers in terms of search volume, but it hasn’t worked in forever. Oh, and there’s one more-FreshKey, which is, I think, is a digital marketer’s thing. It will give you some data on YouTube as well.

Got it! Oh, and there’s another tool that I’ve forgotten that tracks rankings, not just Voot tracks YouTube search rankings but also RankRanger. RankRanger tracks Google, Yahoo, Bing, and YouTube so that’s kind of an all-encompassing rank checker tool.


I really like that one. Oh, and for vidIQ, we should probably mention what that tool does. I use that tool as well. It’s just like a plug-in, a browser plug-in, that will show a bunch of kind of behind-the-scenes data for a video that you’re on in whatever YouTube you’re at. Is there some sort of equivalent to what runs where for YouTube ads?

I’m glad you asked that because I just recently found out that SEMrush has a beta video tool where you can get data on video ads. I literally just signed back up at SEMrush because I used to use it back in the day but it was always been more of an SEO type of thing and obviously, you can get Google Search stuff or whatever but I’m a big display guy so Adbeat and WhatRunsWhere have always been the kind of tools that I use to kind of see what other people are doing on display. However, if I was going to do Google Search, I will use the SEMrush or SpyFu or something like that. SEMrush actually has a beta version and it’s actually pretty good. It’s actually pretty decent so I literally just signed back up for that recently where you can actually go in and do some spying on people’s video ads.

That’s awesome! Yeah, I use SEMrush. I really like the tool.


I use SEMrush and I use Searchmetrics to kind of spy on what the competitors are doing so, awesome! I’ll check that new tool out! What about other kind of free suggestion tech tools like maybe pull from YouTube suggest-for example, I really like Soovle. It’s just a really fun, little, free tool. It pulls from, not just Google suggest but YouTube suggest, Yahoo search assist, Bing suggest, Wikipedia, the whole Amazon, and a whole bunch of different search suggestion tools simultaneously, so as you’re typing it will pull from those and display them on the screen, which is really quite cool. Let’s say, you’re trying to find, I don’t know, baby furniture-type related keywords, but not just on Google Search, but across multiple sites so you start typing the word “baby” and it starts filling in the ten suggestions across each of these different sites and there are about ten of them like I said, Amazon, Answers.com, Wikipedia, YouTube, Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Really fun little tool! It’s very interactive. It’s fun to show people because it always gets the “ahhs” and “oohs” going.


People go, “Oh, how did you?” or “What’s that tool?”

What did you say the name of it again because-




Never heard of it.

Yeah, it’s been around for a while. Soovle.com.


And by the way, listeners, all these different tools, we will link to in the show notes so don’t worry if you’re writing them or whatever.


Don’t pull over and try to write them down. Just go to the MarketingSpeak.com website afterwards and you’ll get the show notes and then download the transcript. We’ll make a checklist as well of actions to take from this episode. So, we mentioned Google Trends already. Oh, and back to the keyword suggestion type tools, another tool that I use from an SEO perspective for just optimizing for Google is Ubersuggest.


Is there any kind of equivalent to that with YouTube or do you use Ubersuggest for brainstorming keywords for your YouTube keyword research as well?

KeywordTool.io. It’s basically the YouTube version of it. That is what Ubersuggest would be for YouTube.

Yup, okay.

Yup. I don’t use it as much. Honestly, I haven’t used it in forever but…

Yeah, because you don’t get numbers.

Yeah, you don’t get numbers but I mean, if you just want to find out what people actually are searching for. If you find a keyword that people actually searching for, it’s probably got some volume so we’ll grab it for that reason. However, a lot of times, we’ll test just a keyword and we’ll just let Google tell us when we’re setting up our campaigns. When you’re setting up your campaign, when you go and put your keyword in, you can have them find some of the keywords for you. That’s basically what we use the most and then if we find a lot of traction there, we’ll take those keywords and then maybe go plug them into KeywordTool.io to see if we can pull out others, but usually, what I’ve learned over time is that, YouTube Search is really primitive in terms of Google Search, and when I say that I’m not talking about in terms of the engine itself, I’m talking about in the way that they deliver the ads. It’s not an exact science-they don’t get it right a lot of times. What’s odd about it too is that, you’ll see that your ads have been showing against keywords that are not even relevant to the ones that you told them you want to target. I think they have ways to go so I found that doing the keyword via out of the long-tail suggest versions didn’t really make a significant difference. You know what I mean? What really made more of a difference is having more of just different keywords like, different keyword concepts and just kind of build enough of those concepts instead of just really going after the long-tail because they really don’t do a great job of showing your keywords-at least not compared to Google Search like, if you run ads on Google search and you can do exact match, phrase-matching, broad match modifiers, and all of these things whereas, on YouTube, it has none of that stuff. It doesn’t help you. You can modify like exact and phrase match or whatever but you get so little traffic, it’s just like everything’s better off as a broad match. That’s kind of why I haven’t really used the suggestions as much anymore because I don’t really do the SEO stuff so if it doesn’t fit into the ads and stuff that I’m doing, that’s kind of why I haven’t done them as much.

Okay, so what you are saying is, you focus more on broader concepts.


Maybe an example would be, let’s say that you’re using Soovle, and your typing in the word “baby” and you have “baby furniture” as your main product line.


You’d see that baby names is way at the top of the suggestions list for many of the search engines and you might say, “Oh, well, maybe I’ll create a set of videos around choosing a baby name for your kid that’s on its way,” and then you’re targeting expectant parents with that, you’re providing some valuable content, and that could be in the form of an in-stream ad or could be in the form of an in-display ad that is getting people to a section of your site that’s all about baby names, and you’re bringing in expectant parents, and then you’re going to soft-sell them the furniture and all that sort of stuff because they’re going to be nesting after they pick the baby name so they’re going to want the furniture, they’re going to want the mobile, the blankets, and all that sort of stuff-is that what you’re talking about?

Yes! You nailed it and you just sold me on Soovle because that’s exactly how I would use it.


That’s exactly what I would do. Something like that! I need something like that. I actually haven’t found anything like that. What we do is just go in to Google and we’ll plug in concepts and ideas that we’re pulling from a keyword planner or something like that and then, we’ll just plug-in at a high level that concept “baby names” and then we’ll let Google find other keywords and we’ll add them to the campaign and someone maybe will kick out of whatever the case may be but that’s exactly what I will use something like that for so, thank you for that. I just circled and put asterisk by Soovle.

You’re welcome! What I want to get into now is more about the testing because this is a science and just kind of winging it is not-that’s a great way to lose a lot of money-even though, as you said, it’s 10-20 times cheaper to advertise on YouTube versus Google, if you are not testing, you’re just going to basically be flushing money down the toilet. What sort of testing regimens, tools, and kind of processes do you use and recommend?

I always kind of reverse-engineer everything. I’m always going to start with the end goal, and then I’m going to reverse-engineer it backwards, and then I’m going to try to alleviate as many failure points as possible. I want to get rid of them so what is the most basic funnel or process or flow that I can start with to get to some type of result? Typically, it’s a video, a landing page, and then either you know a lead or you’re selling or whatever the case may be. I’m going to try to simplify that. Obviously, you can always tackle more as you go but that’s kind of how I start. It’s always going to be-I don’t do a lot of variations at first because I’m just trying to prove the concept so for example, let’s say, my goal is to get leads for $10, right? I’ll spend $200-300 to see how many leads I get. If I spent $200-300 and I don’t get any leads, the likelihood of me optimizing that is probably highly unlikely. I probably need to go all the way back to the drawing board, right?


If I do, let’s say, I was to get 10 leads for $20 each then, okay, I’m halfway there now. I could probably tweak what I’m currently doing. That’s when I’ll start testing different versions of the video and I would test different variations of the landing pages so you can use tools like Visual Website Optimizer or Optimizely-either or because they both do the same thing. Those let you kind of change your different landing pages where it will automatically rotate different messagings and things like that. If you want to do that to see which one is better in terms of conversions and things like that, we use Improvely-maybe not on our projects anymore but it’s a really good, basic tracking platform that allows you to track every parts of the funnel and report back because we track based on revenue. Click-through rates are cool and view-through rates and conversion rates on the page. I change the button and they gave me a 40% lift. That’s all great but the reality is, what we really care about is, what significant changes can we make that would give an impact on being able to create more revenue, and sometimes, what you’ll find is, just because you get an increase in your conversion rate on your landing page, it doesn’t necessarily always equate to me making more revenue so I would take a 20% conversion rate over 40% conversion rate all day if the 20% one would give me more revenue.

Yup. That makes a lot of sense. It actually reminds me of an episode I did with Jared Spool and that’s also on Marketing Speak so listeners, check out that episode. Jared talked about conversion rates being kind of a red herring of a metric because if you wanted to double your conversion rate, he could do that for you and it would really hurt your business-like, he could cut off all these different marketing channels and as long as they don’t eliminate your core customers who are going to buy from you anyways because they’re just loyal customers who are happy with you, he’s going to double your conversion rate by cutting all this marketing expense and all this traffic but that’s not good for your business so yeah, that’s a great point that the holy grail is not the conversion rate percentage, it’s the revenue, it’s the bottom line.

Bottom line! Improvely is a really basic tracking tool that allows you to kind of track that because you can put pixels at every point of your funnel. You can report those values and then you can actually look and see by traffic source and by ad, even if you want to do it at that level. That’s what we do. We want to know what specific ad even, what specific landing pages, every part of the funnel, and what part of the funnel. When I say funnel, I’m not just talking about when they get them at website, I’m talking about the minute that someone sees my ad and initiates with that ad, that starts the funnel in what we described as the funnel. Some people say “funnel” and you think about squeeze page, up-sell, or down-sell, but your funnel starts when someone sees your ad. We want to track all of that and try to figure out all the way down to the ad-what drives the most revenue? Improvely is a really good basic tool that will allow you to do that. That’s really not that techie. It’s probably techie in terms of like knowing where to put the codes and stuff but in terms of usability, it’s really not that difficult to learn how to use it so we used it. It will rotate your landing pages as well so if you want to do multiple different versions of your landing page and rather than having Visual Website Optimizer. Maybe I could change the part on the page where my button is or the color of it or something like that versus having a completely different lending page look and feel, sometimes it will create multiple versions of it and then we’ll rotate those. If we find what we like, we might plug it into a visual website optimizer and we’ll have three different headlines. We’re not creating three different pages, we’re just taking the page we have, and tell our visual website optimizer to make three variants, and for these two other variants-let’s put a different headlines on them, test that, and see what happens. However, at that point, by the time we get to use in Visual Website Optimizer, it’s because we found some fundamental process that works and now, we’re just trying to improve up on it rather coming out of the gate doing that, that’s usually not something that we use immediately. That’s kind of some of the ideas-I don’t know if I’m barking up the right tree based on what you’re asking.

No, this is great. This is perfect.


This is the right tree.


Let me just clarify for listeners who are not really that familiar with testing because we’re throwing around some different tools and different approaches and just to clarify here, so an AB test or a split test is just a very basic kind of test that you have like Tommie said-just one version of the whole page for some audience and then for the rest of the audience, you’ll have another version, and you’ll see which one performs better and that’s very simplistic whereas, the tool that Tommie uses, Visual Website Optimizer or its competitor, Optimizely, does more than just split testing. It does multivariate testing and that’s what Tommie was talking about where, he will test headlines and colors and things like that and there are multiple elements on a page that you can test and rather than test them one at a time, if you have enough traffic and enough conversions, you can test a bunch of things simultaneously using sophisticated multivariate testing tool like VWO or Optimizely.


I really like your approach, Tommie, of having the AB split test at the beginning and making sure that you’re on the right track before you start getting into the weeds of, “Do I need to modify the price point, or the button verbiage, or the color of the button, or whatever placement, and so forth?” because you can get kind of caught in the weeds and not have anywhere near the right offer or the right audience.



At first, we’re always buying data, right? We’re just trying to prove in the data that we have something because to me, multivariate testing is more of an optimization and AB testing is more of a basic testing, right? Optimization means you have something that’s working and you’re optimizing it but if you don’t have anything that’s working, you can’t optimize something that isn’t working. At least, in my mind, that’s how I rationalize it. So, if it’s not working, I’m not optimizing. I’m just trying to buy more data to find something that works so AB testing is a really simplistic way of just “Shh!”. Typically, when I AB test, I’m not testing little minute things, I’m testing really big things like my landing page might look totally different and it may have a totally different value proposition one versus the other. It’s not going to be out of the gate, right? I don’t have anything working but I’m testing my headline-to me, that doesn’t make any sense because that’s only going to give you a really small impact. I’m really testing big ideas and big impact things early because I’m trying to find some formula that works. Once I got something working, that’s when I’m going to start doing all of the little things trying to get it because any lift this can be good and, again, I’m testing it but I’m basing it on revenue as well so anything that can generate more revenue, then I want to try to improve and optimize those things. I think a lot of times, people get stuck in the mindset of optimization and you don’t even have anything that’s working. To me, it’s like how can you optimize something that doesn’t work? That doesn’t make sense to me. Some people just say you get misinformation and it’s not your fault a lot of time because you get thrown all of these terms at you so quickly but really, if you can buy into the idea of that, if I’m going to buy ads, I need to buy data, and let the data tell me kind of where I should go and kind of guide me, then you’re going to be better off. So many people are free to do that because they think, “Oh, I’m going to lose money!” but in the reality is, you’re not losing money if you understand and you’re playing a long game knowing that I need this data to really give me and guide me to the right path and find a working model that I can then optimize and then scale, right? That’s kind of how I think it through. I think that conversation just get missed on a lot of people and they just don’t know any better so, if you fall into that trap, it’s probably not your fault, you probably just haven’t been explained properly and made it makes sense to you in a simple way for you to understand at a level that you should.

Yeah. So, for an example of this kind of idea and action, a great example is Taki Moore put out an ad-this was on Facebook but it would apply it to YouTube-he put out an ad for, I think, a four-video series like a full free course.


It was all about webinar marketing. It worked well but then, he had the big idea of, let’s take something out of this video that is really a more compelling offer, and that was a 23-point webinar or a 29-point webinar marketing checklist, which is something he talks more in the videos. He still delivers the four-video series when you opt-in but the thing that he is promoting in his ads is the 29-point webinar marketing checklist and that performed way better than the video series so they’re still getting both things-it’s just pulling something out that’s a more compelling offer and that’s I think a great example of thinking outside the box, thinking laterally, and being ready with a different kind of offer and testing that in a split test versus starting to get caught in the weeds early on with different headlines.

Perfect example.

Cool! So, let’s jump to the first stop or stage in the process you suggested was remarketing-let’s delve a little bit deeper into that. Remarketing, also known as retargeting, is a way that you can get people who are already visiting your website, and you have a pixel on your site the tracks that, you can now advertise to those people on YouTube. Similarly, people do this with Facebook and they do that with Google ads. You go to The New York Times and you see an ad that just seem to be following you all over the web, that’s retargeting or remarketing and it works like crazy so that’s a great first step in the process whether you’re doing YouTube, or Facebook, or Google. Retargeting is easy because they already have been to your website and they’re familiar with your brand enough that you know they were recently there. What sort of kind of advice or, I don’t know, bits of information would be really useful for a listener? Like, in terms of, let’s say that, there’s a certain time period that when you retarget or when you pixel them, they’ve been to your website, you don’t even have to run an ad yet and you can collect all these people-you don’t see who they are but you can, in a few weeks, start your ad campaign to those people who have been to your website over that time period? How long does that last? So, Facebook is different from You Tube versus other retargeting platforms so, what’s the length of time that you can collect an audience, not use it, and it’s still there inside of your YouTube account?

540 days is the max that you can do. I don’t recommend that but 540 days is the max.

That’s a long time.

Yes, it’s a long time.

I think that’s a lot longer than Facebook. I forget what it is for Facebook-it might be like, six weeks from memory.

Facebook is actually 180 days.

Okay, so six months.

Yes. I think it’s a good six months. If I’m not mistaken, it’s 180 days but we never used those to be honest. If someone hadn’t bought from you, I mean, here’s the thing if you’re running ads with that audience-if they haven’t done it in 180 days, they’re not going to do it, right?

Yeah, because they don’t remember you anymore.

Yeah, they don’t remember you anymore. They’re just probably know it by your ads by now. They probably got turned off by then. The biggest challenge I see most people not doing-and I’m guilty of it too-is remarketing this segmentation but the key to that though is, are you driving traffic? Are you buying ads all ready and working, right? If you’re buying Facebook or Google or any traffic I don’t care where you’re buying, if you’re buying traffic and it’s working, you should be retargeting and you should be remarketing. If you are remarketing already and not doing it on YouTube, you leave money on the table. It’s just that simple-plain and simple. The biggest thing that I see a lot of people get wrong, like I said, is segmentation because if someone’s been to your website and took an action or something like that, you shouldn’t have the same conversation with them as someone who didn’t take that action, right? Segmenting the audience so that you can have the right conversation with them, it will feel more natural to them, and they’ll be more likely to convert and perform way higher. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know people that just throw a list and remarketing pixel on their website, retarget people, and it works 100%-it worked like gangbusters but I bet you, and I tell them all the time, if you would have segment, you’ll probably get 3, 5, 10, X of what you’re currently getting because you’re alienating people that have already taken action by sticking a message in front of them that they already seen-like, they’ve already done that, why are you still having that same conversation with them, right? If they opted-in to your 29-checklist thing or whatever, they’ve already opted-in for that. You shouldn’t be having a conversation about them opting-in again-you’re just wasting space. A lot of times people don’t do that so that’s the biggest thing, but again, to me, remarketing is really designed for someone who already has something that works.

Right, and traffic.

Right. That’s what I’ve been saying. If you ain’t got no traffic, it ain’t working, right? You have to be getting traffic and it has to be working, even if it’s SEO traffic and you’re not paying the traffic, you have a business that people are actually giving you money and you should be remarketing. You should absolutely be remarketing. That would probably be, in my opinion, the first thing, someone should do to grow their business. If they have a mechanism to grow their business without buying ads, the first ad-buying thing most people should do is, remarketing retargeting. Google calls it “remarketing” while everybody or some people call it “retargeting” but it’s the same thing. If you have a working business, you should be doing that. You should be leveraging that. You should be segmenting. You should be segmenting based on the action that people have taken through your funnel so that you can have those different conversations and maybe you shouldn’t be having a conversation with someone at a certain point but they should be on a list that is, “Oh, these people get to this point in my funnel, I probably don’t need to be rerunning ads to them anymore!” That’s like the biggest thing that I see people get wrong when it comes to that so that’s kind of like what I normally talk about that.

Yeah, perfect! In fact, you’re inspiring me to do some remarketing for my own SEO consulting business because I’m not doing that and I should be.

You’ve probably got more business than you can handle!

I just need to raise my prices, that’s all.

That’s what I tell people when they say, “Why aren’t you remarketing?” I got more business than I can handle!

Yup. Or, raise your prices.

Right, exactly!

So, if I’m doing remarketing, or if the listeners are doing remarketing, or if they want to, let’s say that, they’re going to start with this-are they going to start driving traffic through remarketing via in-stream or in-display? I mean, they’re going to need to shoot some video and make an in-stream video if that’s the thing they should start with that remarketing audience-what do you think?

Hands down, the most powerful is in-stream, remarketing in-stream.

Got it.

Because you, literally, can-you’ve got five seconds. You can rent unskippable remarketing as well but I don’t recommend that. I recommend you allow people to opt-out if they want to be out and only have a conversation with the ones that want to have a conversation, but you’ve got five seconds to reintroduce yourself so, why should they even care about your ad when it pops up so you should be able to do something to remind them, especially if you’re doing it right. If you’re capturing people 7 days, 14 days after they’ve been to your website within the first 7-I think 14 may be a stretch-but typically, you want to capture them in the first 7 days after they’ve been to your website because they’ll much more likely to remember, even if they were on your site briefly, they’ll much more likely remember than hitting them 3 weeks later, but it’s really powerful, in-stream is, that’s where I would start. You can also do in-display as well, but I think in-stream is the most powerful, hands-down.

Awesome! All right, what kind of video would you recommend because for explainer videos, let’s say, you can do animated, you can do 3D animated, you can do whiteboard videos, you can do like a talking head, so the whiteboard video-I’m talking about where it’s basically, a hand drawing on a whiteboard, but there’s also the kind of whiteboard video like what Moz does with Whiteboard Friday and Rand is in front of a whiteboard and it’s a body shot plus him with the big whiteboard behind him. I guess you could do like talking head kind of videos, you can do man-on-the-street interviews, and things like that, but what sort of videos would be the best performing in your recommendation?

Definitely I’ll say live action meaning, the actual human being in the video. There’s nothing wrong with whiteboard, hand drawing, doodle videos, and all of that, but just in my experience, live action or an actual human being in some way whoever is the brand ambassador if you have a brand or, who’s the primary person like, people buy from people they know, like, and trust, right? They don’t buy from companies that often-maybe Coca-Cola but that’s how many years in the making have they been for them to build that brand? If you are at that level then, yes, maybe you can get away with that kind of stuff but if you’re closer to where we are in terms of just sole proprietor, small business, or anything under fifty million dollars, technically, is a small business so I would definitely say a live action video or an actual person in the video like a talking head, a demonstration video, like you said, Rand is standing at the white board-I call it a demonstration video where he’s either writing something-or even if you’re demonstrating a product, let’s say, you’re selling a physical product-maybe you’re selling blenders-I don’t know, maybe you just stand in the video and show how cool your blender is. That kind of thing but an actual person in the video absolutely works better than anything else that I’ve seen-not that doodle video and stuff don’t, but if you want to know the best performing, in my experience, those outperform everything.

Yup. That makes sense. What about kind of breaking up the video so it isn’t just kind of a talking head. If I have just been talking about-let’s say-SEO. I don’t have some demonstration, I’m not going to jam a two-by-four into a blender to show it doesn’t break.


The demonstration, I guess, could be where I’m sharing my screen and showing some stuff and then it’s back to me is the talking head or whatever so like I could do that or maybe I shoot some Veeroll to incorporate in and talk about the ladder of success or whatever and I’ll have somebody climbing a ladder for Veeroll for a second or so and then switch back to me. What do you recommend in terms of adding some visual variety to the video?

You know, it really depends on the market. I think different audiences respond different to kind of what’s the normal expected thing in their market. I’m not saying that you should do the normal expected thing. I actually like to go against the grain a lot but at least incorporating something-SEO, for example, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of expectation to see a demonstrating video of you walking through something on your computer screen like, we would expect you to show us if you’re getting results. They don’t know how you’re going to show us those results. You can’t talk to me and show me how you get your clients a rank on the first page of Google, you would have to have your screen showing, “Hey, I put this on the first page of Google!” That will lend itself to that. You can definitely use pattern-interrupt or some things like that, which we do use. It kind of depends on the market. I don’t think there’s one way, to be honest. I think it’s more about trying to really understand and knowing who your customer is, and then delivering something based on that experience of what they would consider a good experience so if you don’t know what your customers think as a good experience, you’ve got some work to do. You’ve got some homework to do because you need to go figure that out and that will really give you the fuel to really create better video ad creatives or any type of creatives because at the end of the day, people know, like, and trust you and they going to have a good experience. If you can show people a better experience than what the competitors are doing, they’re probably more likely to do business with you. It’s kind of those “it depends” answers, you know? It depends on your market.

If you can show people a better experience than what the competitors are doing, they’re probably more likely to do business with you. Click To Tweet

Yeah. The idea here of adding a lot of value, not just tell, but show-and-tell, and make it more engaging and interactive. I love pattern-interrupt. That’s a great NLP term. Incorporating pattern-interrupts into the videos, I think, that’s really cool too, but would you recommend that people have these videos professionally shot or should they and do it themselves on their iPhone? It’s a big expense to do a professional video shoot. I mean, I did one recently and it’s thousands of dollars just to have like, four 15-minute videos, and then some 30-second to a minute-long clips as well to add to the landing pages and on the other side on the “Thank you” page and stuff. It’s expensive!

Yeah. Not at first, I don’t. I think most people need confidence first more than anything that this channel is going to be the one for them and I never recommend someone go spend exorbitant amount of money until they are really confident that this time it’s going to work because the reality is, everything doesn’t work. Most people might not want to say that but I’ll be 100% straight up about it. It’s like, it may not work for you. There could be a gazillion reasons why. Maybe, you’re just not that good, or maybe your offer isn’t that good, maybe you’re not targeting right, maybe you set it up wrong-like I said, there’s a million reasons why it may not work, but until you get that confidence that this is going to be a good channel for you, that’s where you want to start really heavily investing in it. First, I would try to do the least amount of work that I can to get something to test and to get some data to determine if this is a viable channel for you and then, you can start investing in those things, but really, honestly, super high-quality professional videos hasn’t worked the best in my experience. The thing about YouTube in particular, which is something that I point out is that, it’s a really personality-driven platform so people are used to people and a lot of people on YouTube actually hate brands, they hate commercials, and they don’t want things shoved down their throats because they just go watch PewDiePie, which got 40 million subscribers on YouTube, and it’s insane. All they do is play video games and talk about it while they’re playing video games. It is so freaking low-quality stuff. It’s probably a little bit better now than it used to be but what got him to where he is now are his really low-quality videos of him talking crap while he’s playing video games and saying stupid stuff and shoving food in his mouth and all this weird stuff and this guy got 40 million subscribers and he’s the biggest channel on YouTube. When you look at that and you notice and you really go look at the biggest channels on YouTube, these are not like million-dollar video production studios and stuff, this is stuff where people are pulling out their mobile devices and recording with their phones. I’m not saying all of them are low-quality, but just not really expensive stuff. Even these extreme sports guys, Go Pro Cameras, they’re worth a couple hundred bucks now. These guys are not spending an exorbitant amount of money on quality in terms of production-wise or whatever. I mean, you can test it, it may work better for you and your market, but I absolutely wouldn’t go spend thousands of dollars just creating videos to go test. I would try to do it as low-cost as possible because at the end of the day, you don’t know if it’s going to work yet, and you need to test it to get some figure out, “Is this channel worth it?” or “Is this channel going to be a good channel for me?” and “Should I invest more here?” However, if you are already all over YouTube, that’s a no-brainer. You already know how to create video if you’re already doing a lot of that, but if you’re not really heavily-involved in that, I wouldn’t go spend too much money to test. I would get some confidence that this channel is going to work for me first.

There’s a million reasons why it may not work, but until you get that confidence that this is going to be a good channel for you, that’s where you want to start really heavily investing in it.

Yeah. So, essentially, what you’re saying is, don’t waste a bunch of money and it may actually go work against you to have an overly-polished video that’s too much like a brand video, and be real.


One bit of advice that I think is important to differentiate for our listeners is that the quality of the audio has to be good, the quality of the video or the visual doesn’t have to be.


Wherever you are, always carry with you a Rode smartLav microphone. It’s just really tiny and it’s $60 so it’s super cheap and then, you’re ready any time. You got your iPhone with you and you just plug this into the microphone jack and you have a lapel mic that will give you high quality audio so just be in the habit of always carrying that just like you always carry your phone with you.

Totally agree.

Yeah, cool. Well, this has been amazing. I’m super excited to start remarketing myself. I’ll do some in-stream ads and, as you said, I’ll set it to seven days so I don’t target people who have already forgotten me and stuff. I’ll report back and let you know how it goes.

That would be awesome!

Yeah. Any last piece of advice-a kind of an overall advice-that you want to share with our listeners?

You know, I just beat it home, man-get some data. Be in the mindset of buying data and understanding that it’s not about losing money, you’re investing in your business, and you want to buy data to kind of figure out what’s the best place to double down or to triple down. That’s kind of how we approach things. Let’s get some data and then figure out where should we double down because I may spend $500 and a day of my time to figure out, “This might not be a good channel for me,” or I might spend a thousand bucks, or whatever the case may be. That’s kind of how I want people to kind of get in a mindset of. Get some confidence that you have something and then you’re more likely to invest in growing and doing whatever you need to do or whatever. I always try to guide people to a point of get some data and then building some confidence because if you don’t have data, you’re not going to make data-driven decisions because you don’t have data to do it so you’re going to make boneheaded decisions. That’s just the reality. The second part is, if you don’t get any confidence, you’re going to give up. You’ve got to find something else. Something else is going to take your time that’s going to be more important. It’s always true that wherever you have the most confidence in is where most of your time is going to be spent so how can you do that? Invest small, understand that you’re buying data, and try to build off of that. If you can’t get any confidence up, the data that you buy, you’ll probably move on anyway and that’s okay. It works like that. Every channel may not work for you, but at least be willing to test it and be willing to understand that I’m not losing money, I’m buying data. That’s like the biggest shift in mindset that I’ve been able to do. The difference between the type of people I work with now and the type of people I used to work with is, people who understand that if they’re having that conversation and we’re talking about buying data and they get that, then I know that that person is a long-term mindset of the way they’re going to build and grow their business, I’m more likely to want to work with somebody like that because if they don’t understand that concept, then they want me to work miracles, and I’m not a miracle worker. I’m just not. I’m pretty good at what I do. I’ll pat my own self on the back.

You are amazing at what you do!

Hey, I don’t brag on myself that much. I’d rather have you say that. See, it carries more weight that you’re saying it instead of me saying it.


I’m not a miracle worker. This stuff is not alchemy. It’s not magic. It is science. There’s a lot of art too. It is work. It’s a craft. To me, I’m like what a carpenter sees himself, or a painter, or whatever. It’s a craft and I put a lot of-I’m a blacksmith-I’ve put a lot of hours into building this craft that I have but hey, I’m not a miracle worker. I can’t build a deck on quicksand. That’s just a reality so if you don’t understand conceptually the part of the buying the data so you can make data-driven decisions, then you have to make foolish decisions that were rooted in your own thinking and 90% of the time, you’re wrong. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been wrong and the data has proven me wrong so I trust that.

Yup! So, let’s say, somebody does get this-that you’re buying the data and this is all about data-driven decision making, how would they reach you to work with you?

You can find me online-TommieTraffic.com. That’s how they can find me. Obviously, I’m on Facebook, Tommie Traffic or whatever it is. I got Twitter. I got all of these social profiles. I’m not too hard to find if you Google me or whatever but that’s how you can find me or reach me. I’m pretty easy to find.

Perfect! And then I will include a link to your website and to your social profiles in the show notes as well.


All right, well, this was amazing. I’m super inspired to start digging into the YouTube advertising side of things. I’ve done a lot of YouTube SEO stuff but the ad stuff is not something I’ve been focusing on so I’m going to start focusing on it. I hope you, listeners, are going to do the same. Again, go to the Marketing Speak website: MarketingSpeak.com, grab the checklist, and of course, check out the show notes and the transcript as well.


Thank you, Tommie! This was amazing!

Thank you!

Everybody, take action and apply the stuff. This is really, really powerful and Tommie knows what he’s talking about. He’s made a ton of money off of YouTube and you can too. All right, guys, catch you next time. This is your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off!

Important Links:

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

☑ Come up with a base ad that you can tweak depending on performance. Come up with three versions to test over a couple of weeks.

☑ Choose 30-50 top keywords for in-display targeting. Use a keyword tool to help youdecide on the best options for your ad.

☑ For in-stream ads, choose the ads that can be skipped. This will save you from spending your budget on people who don’t want to see your ad.

☑ Run the majority of your ads on tablet and desktop, unless the ad is mobile specific.

☑ Research top YouTube channels in your niche and take note of what type of videos they create. Are they mostly demonstrations, or live action?

☑ Use programs like Adbeat to stay on top of what is working for your competitors, and see what they are doing to generate leads.

☑ Solve a problem in your ad. If you’re targeting a certain demographic, capture their attention by mentioning how you can help them right away.

☑ Take advantage of retargeting so that you can market to people who already feel connected to your brand. Just click ‘Video Remarketing Lists’ in your AdWords campaign.

☑ Use Soovle to come up with ideas for a free video series. Use the top suggestions to create an offer that is similar to your brand, and can lead into a mention of your product or service.

☑ Target people who are searching YouTube. It’s less expensive to use the exact same keywords on YouTube than a Google Search.

About Tommie Powers

Tommie Powers is a digital marketing and YouTube ad expert, as well as a highly sought-after trainer and speaker. His specialties are paid traffic, conversion optimization, and online lead generation. You can find Tommie on Twitter @tommiepowers.

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