Episode 32 | Posted on

Leveraging YouTube as an Ad Platform with Tommie Powers

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This Week’s Guest:

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.


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.
We Discuss:

  • How to market on YouTube, and the most successful ad types.
  • Why you should always AB test your ads.
  • The tools that Tommie uses to find the most effective keywords.
  • Why retargeting is great advertising, and why you should start today.

Here’s what I learned:

The Different YouTube Ad Types

  1. In-stream is the first type of ad type, which most people are familiar with.
    • You see this type of ad when you’re about to watch a video-an ad pops up in the video and you have to wait for five seconds to skip it.
  2. The other ad unit is in-display, and there are two ways you can target people with this method.
    • The first way is to target people who are actually watching videos-on the right side of the screen, your video will show up as a recommended video.
    • You could also target people in-display that are searching YouTube.
    • If someone goes to YouTube and they’re searching for a word or phrase, you can show your ad to those people specifically by targeting people who are searching.
  3. There are also in-stream ads that can’t be skipped.
    • A normal ad length is fifteen seconds, but YouTube is creating a new ad unit that’s six seconds long that is unskippable.
    • Tommie doesn’t run a lot of the non-skippable ads, it’s mostly for people who are trying to create brand awareness and he hasn’t seen great results with them.
    • With a skippable in-stream ad, if they do skip, it doesn’t charge the advertiser.
    • He would rather pay for someone who wants to see his ad than force his ads on someone because of interruption marketing.

Testing and Creating Your Ads

  1. The biggest challenge that most people have is that they don’t test their ads enough.
    • It takes a lot of experimentation to get it right, and with YouTube there is another layer of creating a compelling video.
    • Writing text and finding images takes much less time than creating a video that is professional.
  2. If you’re already using videos in your business, you may be able to invest more money and time into creating videos because you already know what works for you.
    • A lot of people don’t utilize videos yet and want to create their YouTube channel, and it becomes a challenge.
    • You have to to test everything, and it works better if you already have traffic coming to your website.
  3. When you already have traffic to your website, you can use remarketing-which is effective because you are marketing to people who are already familiar with your brand.
  4. The second thing that you should do is target people who are searching YouTube and who are actively looking for solutions.
    • It’s 10-20x cheaper to use the same keyword targeting on YouTube than if you would target on Google Search.
    • You have to give a solution to a common problem in your niche to generate interest, and the quickest way to do that is to get in front of people who are already looking for it.
  5. Number three is to use in-stream by targeting very specific videos that people are watching that are relevant to what you have to offer.
    • Search your keywords and target the top ten videos that come up, most of them will allow ads.
    • When people are already looking for relevant topics to what you’re doing and see your ad in front of those videos, it has a good chance of grabbing their attention.

The Best Tools

  1. To check which keywords are popular with YouTube searchers, Tommie uses Google Trends and TubeBuddy.
    • TubeBuddy will show you the low searches to high searches.
    • Their service is inexpensive at only around $20 per month.
  2. Tommie also uses vidIQ, which helps to increase organic traffic by first increasing your library of tags.
  3. Veeroll is a great program that was built for video ads, and you can create short, 30-second videos.
  4. RankRanger tracks Google, Yahoo, Bing, and YouTube, so it’s an all-encompassing rank checker tool.
  5. SEMrush has a beta video tool where you can get data on video ads.
  6. Adbeat and WhatRunsWhere are the tools that Tommie uses to see what other companies are putting on display.
  7. Stephan recommends a free tool called Soovle. It pulls from the different search suggestion tools simultaneously, so as you’re typing it will display the top search phrases on the screen.
    • If you were typing in the word ‘baby’ and you have ‘baby furniture’ as your main product line, you’d probably see that baby names is at the top of the suggestions list.
    • With that information, you could create a set of videos around choosing a baby name in the form of an in-stream ad, and then soft-sell them the furniture.

Testing Regimens and Processes

  1. Tommie recommends reverse-engineering-start with the end goal, and then work backwards to try and alleviate as many failure points as possible.
  2. First, you should test your ad or promotion to make sure it’s working.
    • If it’s getting some traction by itself, then you can start testing different versions of the video or change out your landing pages or messages to see what works best.
    • If your original ad is not bringing in any leads, you know that you need to completely start over.
  3. You should be focused on what changes you can make that will give a significant impact on creating more revenue.
    • Just because you see an increase in your conversion rate doesn’t always mean that you’ll be making more revenue, so you want to stick with what makes the most sales.
  4. If something is working, you don’t want to totally re-create it, but just make three variants with different headlines, colors, etc.
    • If you’re going to buy ads, you need that data to guide you as to what is working and what needs to be changed-you aren’t losing money on ads that don’t work, it’s a learning experience.


  1. Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a way that you can market to people who have already visited your website.
  2. You have a pixel on your site the tracks visitors, and you can then advertise to those people on YouTube.
  3. The biggest challenge is that most people don’t use segmentation.
    • If someone’s been to your website and took an action, you shouldn’t have the same conversation with them as someone who didn’t take that action.
    • Segmenting the audience will feel more natural to them, and they’ll be more likely to convert and perform higher.

Creating Your Video

  1. Live action videos are the best type of videos to create.
    • This means having an actual human being in the video.
  2. Other types include whiteboard, hand drawing, or doodle videos.
    • Those are fine, but they are less personal.
  3. For SEO, a demonstration video could include sharing your screen and including a tutorial.
  4. Different audiences respond to different kinds of material, so you can look at the general videos in your niche, but also don’t be afraid to go against the grain and include your own personality.
  5. Tommie doesn’t recommend spending too much money creating videos until you know that YouTube is going to work for you.
    • If you already have a large following, you can go all out-but otherwise, keep the costs down at first.
    • Not every social channel is going to work for every person or brand, and you can still create high-quality content in your video without a high budget.

Step up your marketing game!

  1. 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.
  2. Choose 30-50 top keywords for in-display targeting. Use a keyword tool to help you decide on the best options for your ad.
  3. 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.

Links & Resources

Google Display Network
Google AdWords for video
Google Trends
YouTube Topics from SEMrush
Visual Website Optimizer
Jared Spool on Marketing Speak
Rode SmartLav
Tommie Traffic
Tommie on Facebook
Tommie on Twitter

Thank you for listening!

As always, thank you for tuning in. Please feel free to contact me or leave a comment. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it!

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