How to Make YouTube Videos that Attract Advertisers

If your goal is to make money with your YouTube channel, you need to appeal to advertisers just as you appeal to your audience. Of course, you want to present an authentic persona that viewers will like and can relate to, but you need to balance this with considerations of what your advertisers are looking for. Fortunately, this balancing act is often pretty straightforward, as many of the things viewers and advertisers don’t like happen to fall along the same lines.

For example, advertisers will steer clear of videos that promote a competing brand. Regular viewers are also likely to be turned off by an overly-promotional video that makes them feel too much like they’re being “sold” to. In this case, the preferences of the advertisers and the viewers line up perfectly.

You’ll often find that the types of businesses that want to advertise on your videos are consistent with the tone you use to appeal to your viewers, but you still need to consider what makes your content attractive to advertisers in general.


What YouTube Advertisers Want

Brands have different views as to what they consider an appropriate voice or subject matter for their advertising to be associated with. Every brand has its own voice, so advertisers will prefer videos that have a similar voice to their branding. Voices can be nearly anything, including serious, casual, humorous, friendly, soothing, or even sarcastic depending on how the brand presents itself, but every brand is likely to use a voice that helps it appeal to its target customers. This means you have some freedom with your own voice and the way you create your content — in other words, you don’t need to look like a documentary just to attract advertisers.

This also relates to the advertiser’s target market, meaning the type of customer they want to reach. Advertisers don’t want their ad spending to be wasted on people who aren’t going to be interested in what they have to offer. Advertisers will want to show their ads on videos that attract the same types of viewers that make up their target market.

A brand doesn’t want its advertising to seem out of place or vastly different in tone than the video it’s shown with, as viewers aren’t likely to be interested and may even think negatively of the brand if it’s too different in tone from the video. For example, viewers would probably dislike a comedic advertisement and see it as tone-deaf or out of touch if it played in the middle of a sad or serious video. Maintaining a consistent overall mood in your content can help advertisers feel more confident about displaying their ads on your videos.


How Advertisers Relate to YouTube’s Policies

YouTube maintains a list of content policies that describe the types of content that fall under restrictions on YouTube. Restriction doesn’t necessarily mean a subject matter is forbidden completely — check out the first policy “The importance of context” and you’ll learn how sometimes the way a topic is presented makes all the difference.

YouTube’s guidelines for advertiser-friendly content discuss how these policies help content creators produce the types of videos brands will feel comfortable advertising on. Even though the brands themselves may have looser criteria as to what’s suitable for them, YouTube itself enforces overall policies to ensure brands in general will be comfortable advertising on the platform.

Near the beginning of this lesson, we mentioned how overly “salesy” videos can turn both advertisers and viewers away. YouTube’s product placement and endorsement policy is in place to keep both advertisers and viewers comfortable with the ways content creators can promote products within their videos. Competing brands will not have their advertising shown, and viewers will know up-front that the video involves paid product endorsements.

As a content creator with an eye on earning an income from your channel, you should view YouTube’s policies not as restrictions on your creativity, but as a very helpful set of tools that will guide you toward creating content both viewers and advertisers will love.


Checklist for Making Ad-Friendly (and Viewer-Friendly) YouTube Videos

When you get right down to it, your two main goals with your YouTube channel are to attract viewers and to attract advertisers. This checklist will help you plan your content to reach those goals.

  • Know your audience. Who are your ideal viewers? What are their interests, locations, and age group? If you don’t know these things, your content will suffer — and advertisers won’t know who you’re trying to reach.
  • Understand the types of brands that would want to advertise on your channel. Just as you need to know your audience, you need an idea of the types of ads that would work well with your content. This will help you produce videos that are more appealing overall, because if you can’t figure out who would advertise on a video, chances are it’s lacking in other ways. For example, it might come across to viewers as boring, off-topic, or pointless, and would benefit from a tighter script or better editing.
  • Avoid age-restricted content. This doesn’t mean you have to target everything at kids, it only means don’t include content that kids aren’t supposed to view. You can still create your videos exclusively for adults without including any “adult” content. Sticking to this rule will broaden the number of advertisers you appeal to. (You can choose to create age-restricted content as long as it still adheres to YouTube’s policies, but ads may not show up on your videos very often.)
  • Always be authentic. As a content creator, you’re many things. You’re a video host, a real person, a character on the internet, and a brand. It’s important for you to develop a unique voice that you can maintain even once your channel starts to grow. Fans don’t like seeing their favorite YouTube persona morph into someone else, so keeping it consistent will help you keep and earn more long-time viewers. Authenticity comes into play for two reasons: one, it’s just easier to be yourself especially since you need to keep this up for the foreseeable future, and two, people can often tell when a creator is acting “fake” and strongly dislike it. Authenticity and consistency help your viewership grow, and the more viewers you have, the more attractive your channel is to advertisers.

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