TrueView for Action: Using YouTube Advertising for Performance

At the annual YouTube Pulse event in Toronto, we got a glimpse of a slew of new products — both on the consumer side and the advertiser side.

For Consumers

The platform is partnering with content creators, celebrities, and world-class production companies to develop content exclusively for YouTube. There are two new offerings — YouTube Music, a music video streaming platform, and YouTube Premium, a platform for original video content.

YouTube Music is a new streaming service that incorporates official artist releases with YouTube’s library of live performances, covers, and music videos. The playlists are curated for each user and will cost $9.99 a month.

YouTube Music

YouTube Premium is the new and updated YouTube Red which launched in 2015. The platform will produce original content such as The Karate Kid reboot series “Cobra Kai,” as well as original films and documentaries to compete with Netflix. YouTube Premium will cost $11.99 per month.

For Advertisers

As impressive as the growth of YouTube has been, advertisers are still struggling to ensure digital video advertising is as effective in driving action.

Historically, advertisers have leveraged YouTube advertising as a brand awareness channel in the same way they used a TV commercial. YouTube ads were never seen as performance marketing ads. Thus, without setting the right expectations, they can sometimes seem like an enormous disappointment.

However, in an effort to adhere to their performance-first ideology, Google has created an ad format that is as direct response-focused as possible. What does this mean for advertisers?

YouTube now has an ad format specifically designed to drive people to action or to a site.

TrueView for Action

TrueView for Action is an ad format that makes ads more actionable by displaying tailored calls to actions during and after the videos, such as “get a quote” or “sign up.”

Now, advertisers can reach YouTube users who recently searched for your products on Google with custom intent audiences. You can reach those users right within the YouTube platform.


A real estate developer could reach people on YouTube who searched for “condos for sale”

How to use custom intent audiences:

Create a keyword list for your video campaign in AdWords. What would someone actively researching your product would be searching for?

TrueView for Action: Custom Intent Audiences

Search intent on Google leads to a related YouTube TrueView for Action ad

For best results, pair custom intent audiences with TrueView for action, YouTube’s direct response video ad format. Advertisers can experiment with new ad features that make it easier for users to take action after viewing a video ad.


Instead of optimizing for views, you can now optimize for clicks or conversions. These ads let you customize a prominent call-to-action (CTA) overlay to drive the outcome that’s most important to your business, like leads or referrals. To make it easier for viewers to stay engaged, the CTA appears below the ad, shows on the end screen, and remains after the ad is over.

TrueView for Action ad on YouTube

TrueView for Action ad with a prominent CTA overlay

How to use TrueView for Action ads:

In AdWords, create a new Video campaign and select ‘Drive actions’ as your campaign subtype.

What to test:

Four different elements: Headline (15 characters), Call-to-action (10 characters), Display URL (35 characters), and Final URL.


YouTube automatically optimizes TrueView for Action campaigns with target CPA bidding for the most efficient results.


In summary, YouTube’s TrueView for Action ad format provides a lot of opportunities to test video advertising. This is especially great for direct response-focused companies. If you’ve tried YouTube before without great results, try testing TrueView for Action to see if it performs better. Even the same targeting can have different results now that it’s easier to drive users to take action.

Let us know how you’ve found success with this new campaign type!

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TrueView for Action: Using YouTube Advertising for Performance

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