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YouTube Video Action Campaigns: Everything You Need to Know

These days when I see VAC, I immediately think of vaccines – but Google has another VAC you should care about. It stands for Video Action Campaign, and we’re here to tell you all about it….


As marketers, one of the most frustrating parts of running paid YouTube campaigns is driving (and proving out) direct conversion attribution for our clients. All too often YouTube campaigns, specifically Trueview for Action, are held to the same goals as a search campaign. Although that is an unfair standard to set for YouTube campaigns, Google is trying to get us closer to those highly set KPI standards with Video Action Campaigns.


According to Google, “video action campaigns take the best features of TrueView for action and scale them to more places on and off YouTube – all in a single automated campaign.” These additional placements include YouTube home feed, watch pages, and Google video partners. Google promises it to be “a simple and cost-effective way to drive more conversions across YouTube.”


While it does deliver on the claim of scaling, does it actually help performance? After following Google’s best practices and creating A/B tests using the Video Experiment feature in Google Ads, results have been…well, fine.


At similar spend levels, VAC really does outpace standard Trueview for Action in terms of impressions served. In some cases, impressions were up to over 300% more! So if eyeballs are what you are after, VAC gives great value.


But does the additional inventory actually mean additional conversions? Well, kind of! In our experiments, VAC saw increases in conversions of around 10-15%. However, in some cases, there were no increases in conversions compared to the standard campaign.


So if you are still wondering if Video Action Campaigns are the right choice for YouTube campaigns, the answer is a soft yes. It’s all about managing expectations and testing. VAC will not magically make YouTube campaigns conversion driving machines, but it has the potential to give it a lift. Just don’t expect conversions to increase at the same rate as impressions.


But you may not have to hem and haw over which conversion driving YouTube campaign you’ll need to run. Rumor has it that Google will be phasing out Standard Trueview for Action campaigns and moving 100% to Video Action Campaigns later this year. Be on the lookout for that starting this summer.


Some things to keep in mind when setting up a VAC:

  • Be sure to select the “Responsive” Ad Group Type
  • Once that is selected and you start creating your ad, you’ll need to include:
  • Long headline (max 90 characters)
  • Description (max 70 characters)
  • These are in addition to the display URL, Call-to-Action, and Headline already required for Trueview for Action.
  • Those are the only differences between VAC and Standard for Trueview for Action.

Andrea Duffy-Cabana, Senior Search Analyst


Reach out to us at marketing@directagents.com to learn more about how the experts at Direct Agents can help launch a killer YouTube campaign strategy that’s right for your brand.