Four mistakes you make with video ads that cost you time, money and customers

One of the most underrated developments in digital marketing right now is video advertising. Digital video advertising will exceed $90 billion by end of 2022. Businesses increasingly rely on video ads to build brand awareness and drive traffic. The reason is quite simple. Videos can easily inspire, move, and catch people’s attention. It’s an easier way to show your brand personality and share more information in a short amount of time. 

Let’s be honest, Videos are so much more fun than a plain image. But not all video campaigns are created equal. Many businesses make costly mistakes. They run their ads on various placements and platforms as if people lived in silos. 

I watch (my wife would probably use the term “binge on”) YouTube videos. I also like to read the news online. I flip through product reviews (yes, that’s why testimonials on your website work). I do some of it on my phone and some of it on my computer. And I’m not special. This is how we, humans, consumers, and citizens, live. 

To get a solid return on investment with video advertising, you need to consider that your customers live in many different worlds. Here are four mistakes to avoid. 

You don't pay attention to the quality of the supply

The first and easy one is to pay attention to where your video ads appear. Chances are, you don’t want your financial online course advertised on an adult site. Or your cozy beach apartment rental next to violent content. In advertising jargon, this is called brand safety.  

In plain English, you want to ensure that your video ads only appear with content that is appropriate for your brand image. You invest time and effort in building your brand. You don’t want to tank it by repeatedly showing your brand-new video ads next to some obscene content. 

The good news is that there are options available to help you avoid this mistake. Brand safety targeting will be your first go-to solution as it enables you to purchase only inventory that meets or exceeds your brand safety requirements.  

If you don’t pay attention to the quality of your supply, don’t complain if you get hurt. There have been many cases of ads from major brands including Disney+, Land Rover, and others showing up alongside videos of animal abuse or extremist content. 

You waste money on the same audience

Another common, but still misunderstood mistake marketers make with video advertising is wasting money on the same audience. The problem here is that you’re targeting the same people in different places. That’s called audience overlap a.k.a. throwing money out of the window.

Many advertisers spend much time and energy on audience targeting and optimization. There are millions of blog posts and videos teaching you how to refine, test, and optimize your campaigns with fancy targeting. But they almost exclusively take a narrow channel-centric approach. This means you end up paying inflated costs per unique user because you’re showing ads to people more than once on different platforms. 

This leads to another problem: overexposure. I know your product is mind-blowing, and you want everybody to know. But nobody wants to see your ad 15 times a day. When your ad targets the same user repeatedly, you create ad fatigue. If you don’t pay attention, your well-intentioned frequency capping —the amount of time you want your ads to show to someone—becomes useless. Since your target customer lives across platforms and devices, frequency management cannot be done on a platform per platform basis. Why bother with ad fatigue, if you cannot effectively cap frequency?  

What you need is a holistic frequency management to prevent overexposure and overspending. 

You have a siloed approach to channel optimization

Although you know people live on multiple channels, you continue to manage your video campaigns in silos. Let me explain. You set up separate YouTube, premium instream, outstream, and even maybe CTV campaigns. The result?  

You try to optimize them all as best as you can. But in the end, you fail to have an effective in-flight cross-channel optimization. If users convert better on outstream, you should be able to shift your investment there easily. 

If you don’t run your digital advertising in-house, you may well have another problem. Running parallel video campaigns on different channels means managing a variety of specialized partners. If you like being busy, that’s cool. If you care about efficiency and your time, then you’re in trouble. 

You miss out on improving your creative assets

The emphasis on audience and targeting over the past few years led some of us to forget about the importance and impact of our creatives. As mentioned before, people live simultaneously on multiple channels. They shop for new shoes while watching the news online or the Top 10 blind audition on YouTube.  

You need to catch their attention quickly.  Combining strong and personalized ad creatives with the right campaign strategy get results.  

But that’s not what most marketers do. Instead, they either struggle to create the video ad themselves or spend countless hours going back and forth with a freelancer or partner. Then they run the exact same video across all channels. 

The best way to avoid this mistake is by optimizing your creatives based on channel and audiences. That adds a level of complexity, but with the right tools and expertise, you’ll gain better campaign results as you deliver personalized messages and creatives to the right people. 


To avoid throwing money out of the window, you need to master some basics and rethink how you manage your video ad campaigns across channels. Pay attention to the quality of the supply and make sure your ad shows in a brand-safe environment. Avoid overexposure and overspending by adopting a holistic cross-channel frequency management strategy. Implement a cross-platform optimization approach. And finally, get better results by improving your ad creatives. 

Michel Gagnon
If you need help, we developed an Integrated Solution that specifically solves the problems I mentioned above. We’ll help you get there, so reach out to us. We’re always happy to help!