Best Practices: How to Improve Brand Metrics with YouTube

Four Lessons From Citrix on Using YouTube Video Ads for B-to-B

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Software company Citrix, which makes GoToMeeting and other web-conferencing software, has been upping its video-ad strategy in an effort to expand its reach with its business audience and engage with users in a more entertaining way. And it's using YouTube video ads to get results.

"As [ad] rates for TV have increased, it's been more challenging to reach the business audience," said Melissa Leachman, senior manager-media and campaigns for Citrix. "Even though we're a b-to-b marketer, a lot of our audience acts like b-to-c, so we wanted to look to other spaces to broaden our reach."

Citrix has also been trying to reach younger business decision-makers, and it thought video would be a more effective way to reach them.

"In essence, we are looking at millennial decision-makers," Ms. Leachman said. "If we're using video, and video reaches a younger audience, then we needed something that reaches them where they are consuming media."

So at the end of last year, Citrix decided to use Google-owned YouTube -- through its TrueView video ad platform -- to reach a younger business audience. It started out by simply running an existing 30-second TV spot, "Building Relationships with GoToMeeting," on YouTube.

"We saw this as a TV extension program, so it felt sufficient to go with the TV spot we had been running on air," said Becky Dellar, manager-media and campaigns at Citrix.

However, Citrix was not pleased with the metrics, so it turned to Likeable Media, New York, to develop a series of custom video ads to run on YouTube. So far, Citrix has run seven spots, including "Awkward," a spoof on having to celebrate your birthday at work; "Zombies," about a business exec who has to work at home during a zombie apocalypse; and "Weekend Warrior," about a young professional who breaks his arm biking over the weekend and uses GoToMeeting from his hospital bed the following Monday morning.

So far, Citrix has achieved good results from the video spots on YouTube. Since it first launched the campaign, the company has seen a 22% lift in consideration, a 52% lift in brand awareness, and an 88% lift in brand recall.

Here are some lessons Citrix learned from its video ad strategy on YouTube:

1. Use brand metrics to measure ad effectiveness, not click metrics. "One of the biggest lessons was to broaden our view from looking at traditional online metrics, such as click metrics," Ms. Leachman said. "We had to look up at global metrics, such as total cost-per-acquisition and overall lift, instead of looking down at click metrics."

2. Don't use the TV model for YouTube video ads. "We started with the traditional mindset that we could repurpose our TV spots," Ms. Dellar said. "You really have to look at YouTube as a specific platform and build content for that world. YouTube is way more conversational and social, so we needed content that would live nicely with the content our users were consuming to surprise and delight them."

3. Make the videos short and sweet. "These are 15-second spots," Ms. Dellar said. "They give the problem and the payoff really cleanly. You can watch without sound and still get the sentiment."

4. Use third-party research to develop your video strategy. "We used eMarketer and some other third-party resources to understand how people were digesting video and how many executives were viewing videos to give us some backup, as well as tell us what kind of video to go with," Ms. Leachman said.

"We really leveraged YouTube as a learning platform. We got some learnings we wouldn't have gotten from other platforms," Ms. Dellar added. "We feel like we have a tight partnership with our partners at YouTube to bring us metrics as well as a report -- by Millard Brown Compete -- we wouldn't have thought about unless YouTube brought it to us."

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