Google Ads Video Ad Sequence Campaigns for YouTube Ads

Ad sequencing for video campaigns

In this post, we cover:

What is video ad sequencing?

  • Video ad sequencing is a campaign “subtype” that allows you to show a series of videos in a specific order that you define, to an audience.
  • Here’s another definition. With video ad sequencing, you can tell your product or brand story by showing people a series of videos in the order that you define. You can use a video ad sequence campaign to build interest, reinforce a message, or create a unifying theme.

How does video ad sequencing work?

  • An ad sequence campaign is made up of a series of “steps”. Each step can be thought of as an ad group within the campaign. Each step has one video associated to it.
  • When your ad sequence campaign is live, people will see the first step in the sequence.
  • After a person sees the first step, they are eligible to see the second step, and so on until the person makes it all the way through the ad sequence.

What metric determines if the person progresses through the ad sequence?

  • Each step is based on impressions, so when someone sees an impression of your video ad, they will move on to the next ad sequence step.
  • Google optimizes ad sequence campaigns to show in their entirety which means Google will try to show the impressions relatively quickly which is why you might different video variations back-to-back from the same company.
  • Also, it’s possible for people to progress through your ad sequence by seeing a video ad from a sequence in a different campaign if both campaigns have the same targeting. Why? Because Google optimizes by impressions to try and complete all videos in the sequences for you.

What is “ad sequencing” in the context of Google Ads campaign?

  • It’s a campaign subtype
  • Each step in the sequence is an ad group

What bidding strategies are available?

  • Target CPM
  • Maximum CPM (No longer available for new campaigns)
  • Maximum CPV
  • If you’re not sure which to choose, go with Target CPM because Google optimizes bids to help you get a higher sequence completion rate, AND, your campaign can use several ad formats instead of being limited to one format.

What type of video ad formats are available?

  • if you choose Maximum CPV, in-stream ads
  • If you choose Maximum CPM, bumper ads only
  • If you choose Target CPM, a combination of in-stream, bumper and Non-skippable

Why would you use video ad sequencing?

  • To tell a story
  • To drive deeper awareness for your product or service
  • To reach and engage with a broader audience
  • To use bumper ads to tease, and in-stream ads to reveal
  • According to a BrightCove study, 56% of consumers enjoy seeing videos for personal electronics, 52% for household appliances, 48% for tools, 47% for software, 35% for clothing and makeup, and 27% for personal care. (Brightcove study) So if you’re in one of those industries, that’s a good reason why.
  • Let me ask you a question. Of all the text ads you’ve seen, how many do you remember? OK, now how many video ads do you remember?
    • Video was the most memorable form of content for 21% of consumers and 29% of millennials.
    • Video ranked higher than display ads at 13%, email marketing at 9%, case studies at 4% and text ads at 2%.
    • 45% of all consumers and 56% of millennials find video more engaging than other formats.
    • Video is the preferred form of brand and marketing communication for 36% of consumers overall and 46% of millennials.

How quickly are the videos shown to users?

  • Relatively fast. Google doesn’t know if or when these people will be back online. So they optimize to show ad sequence impressions in-efforts to move people through your entire sequence fast.

What are some creative ways to use video ad sequencing?

  • Telling a story over a period of time
  • Education over time
  • Put the same video in your sequence multiple times
  • Create a bunch of bumper ads and act like you’re trying to tell someone about a product but you keep getting cut off because of the short time.
  • Ad sequences are effective because they tell stories that map to the buyer’s journey. Get more done by mapping your creative to a storyline and then exploring how it can better support a prospect’s transition throughout the buying journey.

What type of results might you expect?

  • In my experience, I achieved CPVs for less than $0.01.
  • I show the results I achieved in my YouTube Ads course

What are some unique features about an ad sequence campaign?

  • Only Audience and demographics targeting methods can be used
  • Frequency capping – which I’ll discuss in a bit
  • Bulk edits to copy and paste or delete don’t work

What networks can ad sequence videos run on?

  • Sequence campaigns can run on the “YouTube videos” network only.

What targeting methods are available for sequence campaigns?

  • Audience and Demographic targeting which is set at the CAMPAIGN level instead of the ad group level like normal.
  • You can only exclude demographics from the campaign level, which can be done on the “Exclusions” page.
  • Sequence campaigns don’t allow keywords, placements, or topics targeting but you can exclude keywords, topics, or placements at the campaign level.

What is the frequency capping for ad sequence campaigns?

  • Frequency capping limits users from seeing the sequence over and over again. A person can only see your entire ad sequence once during a 30-day period.
  • Frequency capping can’t be edited.

What are some advanced strategies?

  • Ipsos lab experiment – 120 video sequences (case study)
    • sequencing a 6-second ad followed by a TrueView had a significant impact on Ad Recall and Purchase Intent, with an average lift of 118% and 40% respectively.

What does Google say ad sequencing is for?

  • Video ad sequences can be used to drive deeper awareness for your product or service
  • And, to tell a story over several interactions.

Where requirements are there?

  • Sequence campaigns can only use videos from linked YouTube channels.
  • Videos have to be uploaded to that YouTube channel (not hosted somewhere else).

Could ad sequencing be a useful way to get move views on your videos?

  • Yes, but you have to be careful and target the right audience.
  • You also need to be aware that it could have a negative effect.
  • People don’t like watching ads. Therefore, they tend to leave the video (skip it) much faster than someone that found your video organically and is genuinely interested.
  • If the YouTube algorithm starts getting the idea that people leave quickly, it might have a negative effect on your video’s key metrics, which may (or may not) hurt your video’s overall ability to rank organically.
  • To my knowledge, it’s not known whether the YouTube algorithm penalizes a video’s organic performance based on how the video performs as a video ad.

Can I adjust or re-order the video sequence steps?

  • The sequence steps can be re-ordered at any time.
  • Go to ad groups > pencil icon > drag to reorder steps

Now for some tricky questions.

What happens if I add a new video to an existing sequence that’s running? OR, what if I re-order the videos while the campaign is live?

  • Some users will become ineligible to see your sequence and others will repeat the sequence to follow the new sequence order
  • Lift measurement for your campaign will be interrupted, which may cause inaccuracies in various Lift measurement metrics
  • Reporting may be impacted and may be inaccurate due to people repeating the sequence, missing steps, or other issues

What if I remove an ad?

  • Step is missing an ad: If an ad is removed from one of your sequence steps, people likely won’t progress in your sequence unless that person sees the removed video as part of some other campaign that also has the same targeting.

Google’s “Official” description of Ad Sequence Campaigns

A video ad sequence is made up of a series of video ads that you’d like to show to a person. Each sequence campaign is made up of a series of “steps.” Within each step of a sequence is an ad group and a video ad.

Most of a sequence’s settings are selected at the campaign level—such as a bidding strategy and targeting—but you’ll select your ad format and bid within each of your sequence’s steps. Once your sequence campaign is running, people will see the first step in the sequence.

After a person sees the first step in your sequence, they can see the second step, and so on until every sequence step in your campaign has been shown.

To help you tell your brand’s story, we optimize ad sequence campaigns to show in their entirety. Keep in mind, progress through the steps in your sequence is based on impressions (not on views, engagements, or other metrics). For a person to move to the second step in your sequence, for example, an impression must be counted for the video in the first step.

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