5 Tips for Creating a Great YouTube Fan Finder Ad

by Elizabeth Blessing

YouTube Fan Finder is the newest tool to help channels reach potential fans. It's no secret that many channel owners have struggled to establish and/or maintain a fan base for their fledgling channels. This is especially true now that the number of channels and uploaded videos has multiplied. With limited time and money to promote their channels, some video creators have found it difficult to get their content viewed by the very people who might become their biggest fans.

YouTube created Fan Finder to address this problem. Specifically, it helps channel owners reach their fan base by connecting them to targeted viewers who are more likely to enjoy their channel's content. 

Channel owners simply create a short promotional ad for their channel. YouTube will run it as a skippable TrueView ad prior to video content from another YouTube partner. As a "skippable" TrueView ad, viewers can opt to stop viewing the ad after 5 seconds if they prefer to go straight to their originally selected video content.

YouTube Fan Finder uses what they call "matching science" to look at what people are already watching to find viewers who might enjoy a particular channel.  These are the people YouTube selects to show your promo ad to. All this, at no cost to you, the channel owner.

Using YouTube Fan Finder is fairly simple: Create your video promoting your channel. (See below for tips on how to create a great ad). Upload it as you normally would to your channel. Then go to YouTube Fan Finder (under your Channel Settings tab) and choose "Select Your Channel Ad." From here, you'll be prompted to select which of your uploaded videos you'd like to designate as your Fan Finder ad.

Take a look at this Fan Finder ad by Indy Mogul, a channel dedicated to providing tips for low-budget filmmakers. YouTube says this promo has all the elements of a well-produced ad:

YouTube Fan Finder Tip #1: Start with a Script

Writing a script for your channel ad is an important part of planning a video project. It's crucial for keeping your message on target and developing an effective ad. Writing your script doesn't need to be a difficult task, however, if you keep the following points in mind:

  • Your script is your ad's outline. In addition to writing any dialogue in your script, you'll also want to use the script as an opportunity to write down instructions for what you want included in your video. Include notes for camera shots, graphics, visual effects, music, sound effects, voice overs, and post production editing instructions.

  • When writing your script, make sure your ad reflects your channel's brand. Do you have a comedy channel? Then make sure to include clips that show off your channel's type of humor. If yours is a how-to channel, then be sure to show clips of some of the things people will learn on your channel. 

    The important thing to remember is that you only have a short time to get your message across to your potential fans, so make sure you use that time wisely. In a clear and entertaining way, you need to explain what your channel is about and why your audience should care.

And speaking of how quickly you need to engage your audience's attention, this brings us to our next crucial tip...

YouTube Fan Finder Tip #2: Remember the 5 Second Rule!

The first 5 seconds of your YouTube Fan Finder ad just might be the most important. Why? Because after 5 seconds, the viewer can skip your ad and go straight to the video they originally selected. 

Think of it this way: Your ad is your commercial for your video. It's not the content the viewer selected, but something they might feel is getting in the way of the content they really want to see. They might even be annoyed that your ad is taking up their time. If the first 5 seconds of your commercial are boring or don't engage your viewer in some important way, then as soon as the option to skip appears, you and your ad are history.

So ask yourself this question: What can I do to make my ad interesting enough for viewers to watch the entire thing? Here are some tips:

  • Keep it short and sweet. Less than a minute is best. It's a commercial and people expect these to be short and to the point. 

  • Start off strong. Because of the 5-second rule, you need to start off with your most riveting sequence and build from there.  

  • Keep your message simple. You may be able to think of 20 great benefits of why folks should become fans of your channel, but you're going to have trouble fitting all that into your ad. Instead, take your top 2 or 3 benefits and highlight them in a fascinating way. Keep your message focused  on your channel and why people should check it out or subscribe.

  • Show 'em the goods. Now is the time to showcase your very best clips from previous videos or create a brand new video with the best footage you can muster.

  • Engage your viewer's emotions. The best commercials grab and hold onto their audience at an emotional level. What feelings or reaction do you want your ad to evoke? Humor, outrage, empathy? Include these in the tone of your ad, but just make sure these emotions truly reflect your channel's content and brand.  

YouTube Fan Finder Tip #3: Add Music and Graphics 

Music is a fabulous way to bring emotion to your video. It sets the mood and helps tell your channel's story. It can also attract the right audience for your channel.

You'll want to make sure you align the music with the video and adjust the volume as needed so it doesn't drown out the dialogue. Lucky for you, YouTube Audio Library contains hundreds of free music tracks for use  in your videos. Combine this with the no cost audio editing tools available online and you'll have everything you need to add great sound to your ad.

Depending on how creative you want to get (or what your budget and time will allow), you might want to add graphics to your ad. Cartoon figures, animation, charts, titles or special effects added with your video editing software are examples of this.

One graphic you should clearly display onscreen in your ad is your channel name. It can appear as a watermark in the top right corner of your ad. Your channel icon and name should also appear prominently in a graphic at the end of your video. Your audience needs to know how to find you on YouTube, so make it easy for them by including this info in your ad.

YouTube Fan Finder Tip #4: Select Your Video Footage Carefully

There are three basic ways for obtaining footage for your ad:

  1. Use footage from your previous videos.
  2. Create entirely brand new footage for the ad.
  3. Use a combination of previous footage and new footage.

Whichever method you use, be sure to choose your footage carefully. Use only those clips that really tell your channel's story. Choose memorable moments, those that have an emotional and/or visual impact.

If your video is a mashup (sort of like a quick montage) or several clips, you might consider muting the sound and doing a voiceover for the audio along with some background music. In your video editing software, you might experiment with adding transitions between clips for a more polished look.

To add momentum and a bit of excitement to your video, try using a series of short clips (2-5 seconds each) in your ad. Short, interesting snippets are more likely to keep your audience engaged. For proof of this, count the number of shots (separate film cuts) in your favorite commercials. You might be surprised how many distinct shots comprise your average commercial.

For more info on how to create a video comprised entirely of short shots, read our article "How to Edit Video Using Short Shots." 

YouTube Fan Finder Tip #5: Don't Forget Your Call to Action

With standard TV commercials, the advertisers hope that at some time in the future the viewer will take action and buy their product. The success of your channel ad, however, is dependent upon viewers taking action now, not at some point in the future.

That's where your "call to action" comes into play. Your call to action is your personal invitation to your viewer to either subscribe to your channel or visit it to view more content. Either way, you want your viewer to respond immediately.

The wording for your call to action needs to be something you plan carefully and write into your script. You need to give your audience both spoken and visual cues, and you need to give them time to take the action requested. 

This part of your video should be direct and simply worded. If you want people to subscribe to your channel be sure to define what you mean by subscribe. For example, say and show on the screen the following: "Want to see more content? Subscribe here."

When ending your video with your call to action, make sure you've given your viewer time to respond. Don't just flash your channel name and logo in your ad's last frame and leave it at that. 

A good tip is to record a personal message asking for viewers to respond. Let the viewers see or hear your enthusiasm for your channel's content and your desire to have them enjoy future videos. Make this part of your ad less like a commercial and more like a personal invitation.

Remember, you're asking for a direct, immediate response from your viewers. That's a big thing. You need to tap into your viewers' emotions and desires and persuade them to take a chance on you. Your well-crafted call to action and YouTube Fan Finder ad is your opportunity to do just that.

Other Popular Groovy Videos' Articles: 

Now that you've finished reading about YouTube Fan Finder, why not check out more articles on YouTube marketing

Also, check out the Groovy Videos' home page for info on how to use video marketing to help your business gain more customers and greater profits.

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