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How to Maximize Influencer Marketing ROI with YouTube Influencer Audience Retargeting

In the world of marketing, retargeting is a well-established strategy. However, what often goes unnoticed is the incredible potential that lies within unconventional retargeting methods that require a touch of ingenuity. One of the lesser-known tactics is retargeting YouTube Influencer's audience who have already shown interest in the brand's content. 

Imagine you're launching a new product and planning to collaborate with multiple YouTube influencers.  Users who chose to watch the sponsored content have already displayed initial interest in your product. Some of them even clicked on the link in the video description, visited your website or online store page, and left. Some didn't make it to your website, perhaps because they got distracted. Wouldn't it be great if you could re-engage them through other marketing channels? That's precisely what you can achieve using YouTube user retargeting.

This strategy not only enhances the campaign's visibility but also seamlessly fits into a broader marketing plan when applied with precision. In this article, you'll find actionable tips for effectively applying this strategy while building stronger partnerships with YouTube influencers.

Benefits of Retargeting a YouTube Influencer’s Audience

Partnering with a YouTube influencer and retargeting their audience can have significant benefits that are difficult to match by other approaches.

Additional touchpoints. Typically, brands would need 6 to 8 touchpoints before they successfully move a customer from impression to purchase. By retargeting a YouTube influencer’s audience, you are increasing the number of touchpoints with the target user.

Improved ROI. Thanks to the prior engagement of YouTube Influencer audience with your brand through sponsored content, a retargeting campaign provides access to users who are ready to convert. This typically results in click-through rates three times higher than with audiences who haven't previously engaged with your brand.

Efficient pricing. Retargeting campaigns via Google Ads can offer competitive rates that meet your projected ROI. With Cost Per View (CPV) bidding, you pay for video views and other interactions, such as clicks on call-to-action overlays (CTAs), cards, and companion banners. This pricing structure provides flexibility for your marketing campaign without breaking the bank.

How Does YouTube Influencer Retargeting Work?

There’s a simple four-step process to how YouTube influencer retargeting works.

Step 1. Sponsor a YouTuber who already has a following to promote your content

This is simple: get a YouTube influencer (preferably one who already plays games or has content related to your game) and have them create a sponsored video. While one video is often enough, one to three sponsored videos can be a good window for their audience to see your game or project.

Step 2. Link the YouTube Influencer’s YouTube Account to your Google Ads Channel

After you’ve established a partnership, have the YouTube influencer accept your brand request to gain access to their YouTube channel. Specific steps in this process will be discussed in the following sections.

The only pathway to accessing the audience who interacted with your sponsored content is securing Influencer approval to connect with their YouTube channel.

Step 3. Integrate audience lists into your Google Adwords campaigns

Now that you have access to the influencer’s YouTube channel data, you can identify and create segments of the audience you want to retarget for your marketing campaign. 

Step 4. Run retargeting ads tailored to the viewers of their videos

Once you've created retargeting lists in your Google Ads account, you can launch advertising campaigns that are tailor-made for these viewers.

Now, let's delve into the details of steps 2-4.

How to Link a YouTube Influencer’s YouTube Account to your Google Ads Channel

The first thing you’ll need to do is to gain access to your influencer’s YouTube account and link it to your own Google Ads account. This is crucial for your campaign—you can’t retarget their audiences without it. Approaches to gaining access to your influencer’s YouTube account are discussed further in this guide.

  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Tools and settings icon.
  2. Click Linked accounts.
Adding Linked Accounts in Google Ads
  1. Under "From Google", find "YouTube", then click Details.
  2. To add a channel
  • First Channel: Click Add channel.
  • Additional Channels: Click the plus button
  1. In the "Link a YouTube channel" dialog, search for a channel or enter its URL.
  2. Select Someone else owns this channel, and enter the email address of the channel owner.
  3. To review the email that will be sent to the channel owner, click the down arrow next to "View request message".
  4. Click Send request. Once the owner of the YouTube channel approves your request, that channel will be linked to your Google Ads account.
Sending YouTube Channel Owner a Request

Refer to Google Ads official guide on how to unlink a YouTube Channel from a Google Ads account and how to link/unlink Google Ads accounts in YouTube. 

Once a YouTube account has been linked to your brand’s Google Ads account,  the YouTube channel owner can choose to make the following features available for Google Ads account:

  1. View counts: view organic (not paid by advertising) metrics for YouTube channel videos
  2. Data segments: create remarketing lists based on the behavior of viewers on the YouTube influencer’s videos
  3. Engagement: From linked channels, view earned actions metrics from video ads and use engagements (for example, subscriptions) on the channel as conversion actions in Google Ads.

How to Add Your Influencer Audience List to Google Adwords Campaigns

Once your YouTube influencer’s accounts and your Google Ads brand account are linked, you can then use Influencer audience lists in your targeting settings for new or existing campaigns.

  1. In Google AdWords, select “Shared library" from the "Tools and settings" menu. Then select "Audience Manager" and “Segments”.
Accessing Audience Manager in Google Ads

  1. Add lists by clicking on the plus button on the Segments page and selecting “YouTube users” in the menu.
Building a New Retargeting List from YouTube Channel Audience
  1. Select the YouTube channel and answer prompts.

How to Run Retargeting Ads: Best Practices

Before running your retargeting campaign, consider following the tips below:

  • Segment based on Engagement Levels

To improve the effectiveness of your YouTube retargeting campaigns, it's essential to organize the influencer audience based on how engaged they are with your brand. For instance, someone who watched a sponsored video two months ago is less interested than someone who watched your content last week. To get the best results, it's a good idea to test different audience groups and exclusion strategies to figure out what resonates most with your target audience.

  • Apply Frequency Capping

Avoid overwhelming your audience by setting limits on the number of impressions or views they see within a given time frame. A commonly used rule is limiting exposure to 2 impressions or 2 views per week per user. This approach helps maintain viewer engagement and prevents ad fatigue.

  • Use Skippable In-Stream and In-Display Ads

Two specific ad formats work well when retargeting YouTube influencer audiences.

  • Skippable In-Stream Ads: In this format, viewers must watch a specific portion of the video before it's counted as a view, and you are charged for the impression. This ensures that you're paying for interactions with users who have demonstrated a genuine interest in your content.
  • In-Display Ads: These ads appear alongside related videos, and users must click on them to initiate playback. Costs are associated with clicks, making this format cost-effective, as you're only charged when a user actively chooses to watch your ad.

These two ad formats give users more agency to decide on how to interact with your content and help keep your advertisements engaging.

  • Leverage Text Ads for RLSA

Leveraging Search Ads (RLSA) can be a powerful complement to your YouTube advertising strategy. By utilizing text ads for RLSA, you can target users who have previously interacted with your content, increasing the relevance of your ads and potentially improving conversion rates.

What Assets Should Brands Use for Retargeting?

There are two approaches to creative assets that brands can consider for their retargeting campaigns.

Creating Specific Brand Assets

Using brand ads when dealing with influencer audiences is a common and consistent retargeting strategy. It’s often run after sponsored content because it creates a halo effect of brand awareness. Audiences will see the influencer’s testimonials about your brand. Your brand ads will then follow afterward, which will keep your brand firmly in their minds. This ensures maximum retention and helps prime the audience for conversion.

One good way to implement this strategy is to use a timed deal, discount, or redemption code in the headline of the brand ad. This can help increase the return on investment of the retargeted brand ad and help drive more conversions.

Repurposing Your Influencer’s Content

Another approach is to repurpose user-generated content from other similar YouTubers. This way, your brand message is amplified by the authentic opinion of another relevant influencer—and it’s already proven that authentic opinions can resonate more than brand messages.

Additional benefits of repurposing content are reduced expenses on asset creation. The average cost per finished minute of a video ad is $3,000 to $5,000 so it makes sense to reuse quality content produced for your brand. Not only does this keep your messaging consistent, but it also leads to a higher overall ROI for your advertising.

How Do You Get an Influencer on Board Your Project?

With all these considerations, how exactly should brands approach YouTube influencers to partner with them on their retargeting campaigns? We recommend focusing on explaining Influencer benefits and addressing their concerns. 

Present Benefits to Partnership

Benefits are undoubtedly the easiest way to convince an influencer to participate in your campaign. These benefits can be a one-off deal with each sponsored video or can be lengthened depending on the success of your campaign and the influencer’s overall contributions to it.

Additional revenue and long-term sponsorships are two of the most effective ways to get a YouTube influencer on your marketing campaign—and more importantly, give you the access needed to interact with their audiences.

Address Their Concerns or Drawbacks

While expanding partnerships with brands can be full of opportunities, not all influencers immediately embrace the idea of sharing access to their carefully cultivated audience. Some will weigh the benefits against the potential drawbacks and risks, and you should be able to address their concerns to secure their cooperation.

Some concerns that they may have (and how to answer them as a brand) include:

  • Duration of partnership and brand access. An influencer only gives access to their account for the duration of your partnership, and once the limited duration is completed, access will be removed. Reassure them that this agreement will always be honored and that you retain no access to their accounts after your campaign is over.
  • Campaign Costs. Influencers should be informed that any costs incurred from running retargeting campaigns for your brand will be covered by your brand.
  • Data privacy and regulatory compliance. Because brands gain access to the YouTube influencer’s audience, brands should reassure them that they’ll handle data according to data privacy regulations.
  • Relevance to their current content. Brands should also ensure that their retargeting efforts are relevant and non-damaging to their audience. Since influencers nurture their audiences outside of brand collaborations, it’s important to stress that you’re committed to ensuring that your retargeting efforts won’t have a negative impact on their own personal brand or their audience.

Brands can amplify collaborations with influencers with strategic retargeting—but keep in mind that this method requires a high level of trust between the YouTube influencer and the brand. By retargeting Influencer audiences, you’re able to promote your project to a highly engaged audience effectively.

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