6 Things Financial Advisors Should Know About YouTube Advertising
Most Steep clients know me as “The Facebook Guy.” Yes, we’ve spent 8 figures on Facebook traffic. Yes, we’ve generated hundreds of thousands of leads on the network. Yes, we’re Certified Marketing Partners and are Blueprint Certified. Yes, we lead the industry in lead generation and event promotion through Facebook.
But if 2020-2022 has taught us anything it’s that the world turns rapidly, and things are changing. That’s why we’re diversifying our traffic strategy with YouTube.
In this post I’ll share 6 reasons we’re going all-in on YouTube advertising and why you should too.
1: Why Financial Advisors should pay attention to YouTube
YouTube is the #2 search engine and the #2 most visited website in the world (second only to its parent company, Google). Today the world as a whole will spend 1 Billion hours on YouTube, more than Facebook video and Netflix video combined (source). As network TV viewership declines, people are opting for the more-personalized viewing experience that YouTube provides.
With this massive engagement, you’d think that YouTube would be at the top of the list for Financial Advisor’s marketing plans, but strangely enough it’s not.
So why aren’t most advisors using YouTube? In my experience, it’s because advisors fundamentally misunderstand their place in the YouTube universe. The mere mention of YouTube triggers responses from most advisors like, “If I use YouTube, I’ll need to buy a camera, hire a video guy, prepare some content, work on editing, learn optimization and dedicate more time to it than it’s worth.”
To illustrate why this line of thinking is inaccurate, let’s understand how advisors have found success with YouTube’s much (much) older uncle – television. Most advisors on television aren’t creating their own shows. They’re not investing millions into casting, scripting, and creating an entertainment spectacle. Instead, they’re buying ads anchored by the viewership drawn by other (perhaps more entertaining) personalities.
In the words of Digital Marketer’s CEO, Ryan Deiss, “You need to make the conscious decision whether you’re going to try to become the next Kardashian or if you’re going to be an advertiser.” You see, the ability to make an influence on YouTube can take one of two different paths: (1) You spend years trying to become the kind of influencer who draws people to the site, or (2) You invest your marketing dollars into immediately reaching your ideal audience through paid advertising. Your audience is on YouTube, and advertising is the fastest way to reach them.
2: How to use YouTube to generate leads & appointments
Before we can have an in-depth conversation about how YouTube works for advisors, you’ll need some context to understand our approach to YouTube. Many of our campaigns use events as their primary conversion mechanism. We took a different approach with YouTube, seeking to generate inbound, automated, pre-set appointments set passively for you through an automatic process. Here’s how we do it.
- Video: News flash – to advertise on YouTube, you’ll need some videos. Thankfully for our clients, we do all the content creation for them. We’ve created dozens of video ads on YouTube, and it didn’t take long for us to “crack the code” on what works best. Without exception the best performing ads on YouTube are funny. Humor is an inexpensive way to purchase people’s attention. Because prospects can skip most ads after 5 seconds, we leverage humor to make our ads interesting and keep people watching. We’ve also learned that a good campaign will have 20+ videos. Giving the powerful YouTube algorithm as much ammunition as possible is a critical part of achieving success.
- Lead Magnet: The call to action in all our ads is a lead magnet, a simple PDF that helps people tackle the tax challenges they’ll face in retirement. This value-add represents a low commitment way for people to begin engaging with us. Because we’ve got a specific strategy for turning lead magnet downloads into qualified pre-set appointments, we use this tool as a way to lower the barrier to entry and maximize leads generated.
- Landing Page: In the simplest of terms, landing pages are websites that have limited functionality. They’re devoid of exterior navigation giving visitors the option to convert for an offer or leave. Effective landing pages can convert 10-25% of their visitors into actual conversions. Our landing pages prominently feature the value-added lead magnet with a simple offer – download the guide to learn how to save on retirement taxes.
- Upsell: Once someone downloads our lead magnet, we immediately ask them to take the next step of engagement. We do this with an “upsell page”, another landing page that relies on a succinct video call to action. On this page we thank people for requesting the guide, tell them how to receive it, and give them an opportunity to meet with us directly for more information.
- Self-Schedule: After clicking our call to action on the upsell page, clients are directed to an online calendar page. This calendar is linked directly to your schedule and allows prospects to self-schedule a call with you. This call is their opportunity to ask questions about the tax content in the lead magnet and get insight from you on how they can personally implement these strategies in their plan. Usually by the time someone reaches this page, they’ve self-identified as a good prospect for your services and the conversion rate is very high. Roughly 10-15% of YouTube leads self-schedule on this page. The total appointment set-rate can be even higher as people schedule through follow-up emails or because of a call.
- Follow-Up: Giving people the opportunity to self-schedule an appointment initially is a great first step, but the real long-term opportunity is in follow-up. In this stage of the campaign, we’ll send prospects additional emails, text messages and reach out to them with phone calls to turn even more YouTube leads into appointments. Each phase of the follow-up increases the total number of appointments your campaign generates.
3: What you can expect from a YouTube campaign
Any time I talk about marketing performance expectations, I like to say, “People are erratic, but herds of people are predictable.” This is where our position as an agency has an unfair advantage. We have the benefit of observing hundreds of campaigns that allows us to identify trends that may not be visible in a smaller context.
Here are the averages of our YouTube campaigns over the last 9 months:
- 118 New Leads
- $74 Cost Per Lead
- 13% Appointment-Set-Rate
- 15 First Appointments
- $595 Cost Per First Appointment
Of course, campaign performance will vary from market to market, but the range of results with YouTube is relatively low. The best markets for YouTube ads have high population density (urban areas). Because many advisors are accustomed to spending $1,000 or more for a new first-appointment through traditional marketing, YouTube provides a welcomed lower cost per appointment.
4: What you should know about lead quality from YouTube
Lead quality can be somewhat of an arbitrary metric. Agencies often lack the ability to track specific asset levels and engagement rates further down the sales process. Thanks to our hands-on approach to lead management with appointment setting calls for YouTube, and our deliberate efforts to get feedback from clients, we’ve been able to establish a great persona for the leads we’re generating on YouTube.
Here’s what advisors have to say about their YouTube leads:
- “These leads have a very high level of intent. They clearly understand their problems, and they are very solution oriented.”
- “After analyzing all the leads in our new-sales pipeline, YouTube is generating the highest average net-worth compared to all our other lead sources.”
- “Our first sale from YouTube was a client with over $2.5M in total assets, and we were able to bring over all their assets.”
Another way we’re able to get information about YouTube leads is from our call services team. Because each advisor using YouTube has access to done-for-you appointment setting, we’re able to get data on assets for each person we talk to. We’ve set appointments with dozens of clients whose net-worth exceeds $1M, and many others in the $500k+ range. Overall, the prospects who engage with our YouTube ads are among the highest net-worth prospects we’ve encountered.
5: How YouTube compares to other traffic sources
2020 marked a noteworthy change in online traffic. Apple implemented sweeping changes to their devices and software in an effort to protect user privacy. These changes blocked the tracking tools most ad platforms use to measure user behavior. The result was a massive reduction in reporting accuracy, and as a result, a reduction in the underlying algorithm’s ability to optimize paid traffic.
Google (and YouTube) emerged from the iOS changes unscathed. Rather than relying on third-party cookies like the Facebook Pixel, Google’s advanced ad network tracks conversions at the domain level. In simple terms, Google is impervious to hardware manufacturer’s attempts to protect user privacy empowering advertisers to leverage their industry-leading ad network without the impacts other ad platforms experienced.
6: How to Target Your Ideal Prospects on YouTube
Another change to most social ad networks from 2020 and beyond is the self-imposed targeting restrictions. In response to accusations that culminated in multiple hearings in the US Senate, Facebook implemented restrictions that blocked advertisers from targeting users with ads based on anything other than first party data. This means if Facebook knows something about you based on information you provided to them directly, advertisers can use this for ad targeting. These data points include basic things like age, gender, and location.
Google on the other hand has not implemented targeting restrictions. Instead, they leverage their broad understanding of their users based on queries and online behavior to empower advertisers to reach their ideal customers with deadly accuracy. It’s estimated that Google uses more than 7 million different psychographic and demographic characteristics to tailor their ads. Google advertisers now possess a distinct advantage when it comes to delivering traffic to highly targeted audiences.
Financial Advisors rely on highly-targeted campaigns with efficient results to acquire new customers. With so many online traffic channels available – and with a high degree of technical knowledge required to implement them – many advisors have failed to engage with the internet’s primary channel that can generate ideal clients on-demand. YouTube will continue to grow in popularity, and the advisors who adapt to these marketing channels now will have a distinct advantage for years to come.