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AdWords for Video: The Good & The Bad From a Video Ad Junkie

The teams at Google and YouTube have been beefing up the set of tools for content creators and advertisers lately.

In April, YouTube announced AdWords for Video was rolling out of beta and they would be giving away $50 million in free Google AdWords advertising to 500,000 businesses that are ready to get into video.

At first sight of the new AdWords for Video UI features, I was hopeful it would make video ad creation easier. To some extent, AdWords for Video made the video ad campaign creation process simple and in others it threw out the spike strip.

This post will examine the highlights of the platform as well as where it falls short. Let’s start things off on a positive note.

PRO: Remarketing with AdWords YouTube


For some time now YouTube has allowed advertisers to use remarketing lists built in AdWords to serve video ads in YouTube. Recently, YouTube baked the ability to create video remarketing lists into AdWords for Video. Below are the preset video remarketing lists.


Two things about these preset video remarketing lists:

  • They focus heavily on users who engaged with your content with some social action (comments, subscriptions, unsubscriptions, likes, dislikes and shares).
  • The lists require 100 users before they can be remarketed to (same as AdWords remarketing lists).

PRO: TrueView InStream and InSlate Ad Units

TrueView was developed with both the user and advertiser in mind. The advertiser only pays when the user chooses to view the video. It’s that simple.

Within the traditional AdWords UI there is a non-skippable InStream video ad unit, but who wouldn’t want an engaged user who chose to watch a video over one forced to view it? AdWords for Video is the only place to set these two video ad units up.

InSlate Ad Unit


InStream Ad Unit


CON: Reporting Segmented by Day

Many are familiar with reporting from the AdWords UI that allows you to segment data by day, conversions, time, network, click type, device, experiment, top vs. other, and +1 annotations.


AdWords for Video isn’t that robust. In fact, it doesn’t allow for segmentation at all.

Considering many custom ad reports are based on this native output, it’s a real kick in the shin to not have any options here. In addition, there is no email or scheduled reports available.


Day by day segmentation is done by hand. Isolate each day in a desired date range and output the report for each date.


CON: No API Access = Slow Campaign Production

When building out several campaigns, duplicating ads and swapping out ad copy, a third party API tool makes life a heck of a lot easier. Unfortunately, there is no API access to the AdWords for Video platform. This means something that could’ve taken 5 minutes takes 15 minutes.

Work Around

Unless the ads being served are TrueView, InStream, or InSlate, create InDisplay and InSearch in the traditional AdWords UI. This will allow video campaign access from AdWords Editor and transitively quick campaign reproduction, find and replace functionality, etc…


How about you? Have you had any revelations, candles of joy, or concern with AdWords for Video? Sing its praises or air your grievances in the comment thread below.

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