News Columns & Blogs

The power of YouTube ads

With every business looking for effective ways to advertise, you have to spend your money wisely. There is no question in my mind that I have seen more people waste advertising dollars than I have any other expense dollars. I think the reason for this is that is just hard to quantify the results of advertising while it is pretty easy with other type of expenses.

Lately, I have seen many businesses start to use YouTube as a way to drive customers to their Web sites. This is especially so for products or services that need to be seen and some education or information is important for their use.

I am interested in getting a new Toyota Prius as it has so many neat new features compared to my older Prius, everything from a lane assist option to warn you if you drift out of your traffic lane to a solar panel that keeps the car cool when it is parked in the sun. While I can see pictures or read about these features, going to YouTube and seeing them in a video is so much better. I can really understand what each feature is and some of the benefits and limitations. The videos on YouTube helped me to decide which features to have on my new Prius once I decide to get one.

There is a relatively new business called Talon Training Group in Tallahassee that specializes in both weapon training by law enforcement officers for the average citizen and selling products related to guns like holsters and magazines. It is owned and run by law enforcement officers who just do not have much time or money for advertising campaigns. What they did, and so many other companies are doing, is using YouTube to raise their visibility.

You can get a look at one of the videos that they have done at or just by typing talontraininggroup into the search box of YouTube. While their videos are not super slick, they convey information in a very clear and honest fashion.

Their videos, like so many other good ones, are primarily educational. However, this is a great marketing vehicle to educate potential consumers so customers can trust you and then move to your Web site.

In order to be effective on YouTube, your video must have a non-commercial feeling. If it feels like an ad, people will not walk but run away from your video.

Having a call to action just does not work very well as the sell has to be soft. Just showing your Web site is probably best as you want the user to be so excited about your video that their next stop is at your Web site.

The video needs to be short, around three minutes long. Much longer than this and people lose interest and move on.

Make the video both educational and engaging. Being a professor for 40 years, I can tell you that education without some type of entertainment is not very successful.

Now go out and see if YouTube might be an effective way for you to advertise your products to potential customers.

Jerry Osteryoung, the director of outreach of the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at Florida State University, the Jim Moran Professor of Entrepreneurship; and Professor of Finance, can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at (850) 644-3372.