Is YouTube Best for Brand Building or Lead Gen?

YouTube is a key platform if you’re seeking to increase brand awareness and are playing the long game. The nature of the platform and the way users consume the information makes it ideally suited for emotional versus rational advertising.

Humans are driven in two ways to make purchases: rational and emotional. Rational messaging is often price-led and focuses on the urgency of purchasing here and now (think sofa sales advertising on TV). Emotional messaging engages the audience in more interpersonal ways (think John Lewis Christmas adverts).

Nobel-prize winner Daniel Kahneman refers to these two processes as System 1 (automatic, fast) and System 2 (cognitive, slow). This is visualised by Binet and Field, using an iceberg analogy in their renowned work, The Long and Short of It: Balancing Short and Long-Term Marketing Strategies.

body image 1-1

System 1 is the invisible majority. It’s driven by feelings and processes the emotional associations built over time by brand marketing. It drives long-term brand preferences; people are naturally drawn to brands that they feel good about.

System 2 processes the rational pricing and product information ahead of a purchase, but this will still be heavily influenced by System 1, which has established a brand preference.

YouTube offers an excellent platform for driving System 1 messaging in brand-lift campaigns. By utilising YouTube’s superior targeting capabilities (more on that in the next section), brands can plot out long-term campaigns using YouTube’s multiple ad formats to drive brand awareness and recognition.

Research has consistently shown that increasing share of voice increases share of market, so integrating YouTube advertising into your long-term digital marketing strategy will pay dividends: So, while rational messaging (System 2) may drive short-term sales, the biggest benefit will come from longer-term, emotional brand association (System 1) as demonstrated below:

body-image-6Source: The Long and Short of It: Balancing Short and Long-Term Marketing Strategies, Lee Binet and


Source: The Long and Short of It: Balancing Short and Long-Term Marketing Strategies, Lee Binet and Peter Field

Which ad formats should I use?

When it comes to ad formats that are best suited to brand uplift, you should be considering:


While its core strength is in brand build, YouTube is making progress in lead generation capabilities. By using an action-optimised format, brands can connect with relevant audiences through engagement focused creative. If performance is your primary goal, then YouTube will work well if you fit these criteria:

Lead Gen Campaigns

  • Products or services that lend themselves well to video format
  • Your ideal conversion goal is a Lead rather than a Sale
  • A high proportion of your audience are heavy YouTube users
  • You have a high CPA/competitive keywords and are looking to branch out from paid search
  • You utilise similar media channels (e.g. DRTV)

TrueView for Action ads are specifically designed to drive clicks and conversions.

These ads enable you to add custom calls to action (e.g. ‘buy now’), together with a companion banner, end card and overlay.

Campaigns in this format can even be optimised to a targeted CPA with automated bidding.

The key to successful performance campaigns on YouTube lies in the targeting. As YouTube says, “you can leverage the intent of Search with the power of video”. By targeting people on YouTube soon after they have searched specific keywords on Google, you can help to push them down the funnel towards a purchase.


Want to start a successful YouTube campaign to boost lead generation or awareness of your brand? Figuring out where to start can be daunting, but that’s where we come in! Our talented experts in YouTube advertising are on hand to tackle the hard part for you; all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the results! Sound good? Contact us today for a chat about what we can do for your business. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp