Post Summary

In this post, we’ll learn:

  • Why understanding your customers’ interests is important
  • How online video advertising can help segment your audiences
  • How to implement this activity on both Facebook and Google

Why understanding your customers’ interests is important

Knowing what your audience is interested in is one of the prerequisites for providing relevant, targeted communications. While targeting everyone in the world (or “blanketing”) can still have its uses, the assumption that absolutely everyone will be interested in buying your product is a time-consuming, inefficient and expensive strategy.

Amongst other things, profiling & segmenting your audiences can help your business:

  • Improve marketing efficiency – Breaking down a large audience makes it easier to identify your target audience and launch campaigns to the most relevant people, using the most relevant channel.
  • Improve your messaging – Once you have identified the interests of your audience, you’ll be able to tailor your communications to them and provide more relevant messaging.

A quick aside on Online Video Advertising

Personally, I find online video advertising gets a fairly bad rap among smaller to medium-size businesses. Most seem to assume that it is the strictly for larger enterprises who invest heavily in brand advertising. But apart from brand-awareness activity – which of course the medium is innately suited for – I find online video advertising has a very useful (but less well-known) purpose: audience profiling.

First off, let’s get one thing straight: online video ads do not have to be expensive. No matter how much people tell you they are the purview of large brands, online video (OLV) can definitely be run at low costs. As a standard, these days I am achieving anywhere between a $0.02-$0.03 cost per view (CPV) across most of my activity now for completed views of 15 second videos. At that cost per view, it’s an incredibly quick and easy way to scale up to large audiences.

How online video advertising can help segment your audiences

So we know that OLV can help us reach large audiences very quickly. And, when done right, we know it can be done cost-effectively too. But how, exactly, does it help us profile audiences?

Quite simply, you observe their reaction to your video content, infer their receptiveness to your messaging, and create audience lists based on their observed behaviour.

Let’s take a look at a very basic example to make this slightly more tangible:

Let’s say you run a sporting goods store, specialising in ski and snowboard gear. You know that video platforms are cluttered, so you want to deliver something that offers entertainment and utility. So you create a short series of 30-second video vignettes, with “how to” tips for beginners on  starting snowboarding. Importantly, the video isn’t about your product, but of course your product becomes a natural part of the narrative.

The theory behind the practice

You create a video views campaign through Facebook or Youtube. The video piece you are using is 30 seconds. Our hypothesis, for this scenario, is that a user who watches at least 50% of the video (or 15 seconds) is a more engaged user than someone who keeps scrolling past it, or who only watches a couple of seconds before losing interest. We want to target our marketing to these more engaged users, as they’ve shown some form of affinity for our product by their interest in our video. We’re assuming, in this scenario, that these more engaged users will have a higher propensity to convert for us.

The second way this can be used is if you offer a wide range of products or services. For example, in the sporting goods example above, they may offer both skiing and hiking gear. So they create two videos: one focussed on skiing, the other on hiking. They then promote the videos to their intended geographic market, and observe how people engage with the videos. Those who engage with the skiing video go into a “Ski” bucket, and are remarketed to with skiing-specific ads. Those who engage with the hiking video, go into a “Hike” bucket, and likewise are remarketed to with hiking-specific ads. See how this practice can help you create audiences of people specifically interested in your product or service, and then even further segment them down into more granular interests?

How can this be used to create audience lists on Facebook?

Here’s a step-by-step instruction on creating this custom audience of engaged users for Facebook.

  1. Go to your Audiences.
  2. Click the Create Audience dropdown menu and select Custom Audience.Note: If you’ve never created an audience, you’ll see a Create a Custom Audiences button, not a dropdown menu. Click this button to create the audience.
  3. Click Engagement.
  4. Click Video.
  5. In the Engagement field, choose the type of content you want to use to create your audience. For example, “People who viewed at least 15 seconds of your video”.
  6. Click Choose videos.
  7. In the window that appears, open the dropdown menu and select Campaign, Page or Instagram business profile.
    • Campaign: Use the search bar to find a campaign (active or inactive). Then, check the boxes next to the video(s) you want to use.
    • Page: Select a Facebook Page and check the boxes next to the video(s) you want to use.
    • Instagram business profile: Select an Instagram business profile and check the boxes next to the video(s) you want to use. You can choose multiple videos from multiple business profiles for one audience.
  8. Click Confirm.
  9. In the In The Past field, enter the number of days people will remain in your audience after they engage with your video(s). People are removed from your audience after the set time period unless they engage with the video(s) again.For example, if you tell Facebook to go back 30 days and a person engaged 29 days ago, they’ll be in your audience. However, if they fail to engage the next day, they’ll be removed from the audience. Anyone new who engages within the time period you choose will be added to the audience. This means that the audience is constantly being refreshed, so you don’t need to edit or create a new Engagement Custom Audience unless you want to change the time period or the type of engagement.
  10. Add an audience name and description (optional).
  11. Click Save.

When you finish, Facebook will start building your Engagement Custom Audience and notify you when it’s ready. You can then use the audience when creating an ad.

How can this be used to create audience lists on Google?

Before you can use remarketing for video campaigns on Google, you need to link your YouTube account to your Google Ads account. You can do this from either the YouTube channel or from within your Google Ads account. Click here to find out more about linking YouTube and Google Ads accounts.

Once you link accounts, you can create remarketing lists that reach people who have done the following YouTube-related actions:

  • Viewed any video from a channel
  • Viewed certain videos
  • Viewed any video (as an ad) from a channel
  • Viewed certain videos (as ads)
  • Subscribed to a channel
  • Visited a channel page
  • Liked any video from a channel
  • Added any video from a channel to a playlist
  • Commented on any video from a channel
  • Shared any video from a channel

You can then use these lists in your targeting settings for new or existing campaigns.

Once you’ve done that, here’s a step-by-step instruction on creating custom audiences of engaged users for Google.

  1. Access your Google ads account.
  2. Click the tools icon  in the top right corner of your screen.
  3. Under the section labeled “Shared library”, click Audience manager.
  4. From the page menu on the left, click Audiences lists.
  5. Select YouTube users.
  6. Create an Audience name.
  7. Choose your List members from the dropdown.
  8. Select the YouTube channel.
  9. Select the initial list size and membership duration.
  10. Click Create.

Once your remarketing list has gained interactions from at least 100 viewers, you can use it for your ads and campaigns. Select the remarketing list you want to use while creating a new campaign or as a target for an existing video campaign.

How to add a remarketing list to an existing ad group/or video campaign

  1. Select Audiences.
  2. Click the pencil icon .
  3. Select Campaign or Ad group from the dropdown menu.
  4. Click Select a campaign.
  5. Select the ad group or campaign you want to add a remarketing list to.
  6. Choose Targeting or Observation.
  7. Select the Audience you want to target and check the specific boxes related to the chosen Audience.
  8. Click Save.


In this post we’ve learned about why you should segment your audience base, and how to use video audience lists to do this, for the purposes of reaching the most qualified audiences with the most relevant messaging.

But this is just the start of what can be done. For example, the above method can be used to create sequential marketing campaigns. Let’s say your path to purchase for your product is a long one, and you know users need to be exposed to multiple marketing messages before they convert. Using the above method, you could “shape” the story, to ensure that once a user has been exposed to your first video, they then see your second video in the series… and the third, and so on. Using this method ensures the customer sees your message in the order you want them to see it.

But that’s a post for another time…

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