3 Script Templates for High-Converting YouTube Ads (with Examples)
For many brands, YouTube ads are the magic bullet of marketing. About 2 billion people log in every month, and they’re all watching lots of videos.
If you make the right creative choices, shoot a stellar commercial, and target the right audience, your brand could blow up. And you could rake in new customers like leaves in the fall. But video production is complicated, and there’s a lot of room for error.
Cue the late-night, anxiety-inducing questions: “What if I invest a load of money into a video that no one cares about? Worse, what if it hurts my brand and we lose money?” The truth is, either of those could definitely happen. But the good news is there are proven models you can follow for producing successful YouTube ads.
The vast majority of your success will come down to two things:
- The strength of your creative
- The relevance of that creative to your audience
In this article, I’ll analyze three high-performing YouTube ads, break down their scripts, and explain how you can translate the same model to your campaign.
A Brief Overview of Ad & Conversion Strategy
Every advertisement, YouTube or otherwise, has to be relevant to the audience. To be relevant, you need to understand the viewers’ motivations, which include their biases, interests, problems, and so on.
There’s an entire library of advice on how to research your customers, so I won’t digress here. The important thing for YouTube ads is to first grasp those motivations and then work on persuading people to act on them.
The specific actions you’re asking people to do look different depending on your relationship with them. And relationships have different stages, which can be arranged in a funnel. This is more or less how we arrived at the seemingly timeless idea of the marketing funnel.
The three main stages go by many names but more or less look like this:
People in each stage have different goals, and your ad must mirror those goals. Your goal as a marketer is to create a few videos that convince people to move from one stage to the next. At least, that’s how sophisticated marketers do it.
Otherwise, you’ll be asking people who know next to nothing about your brand to buy from you. And yeah, a few might, but the majority won’t. Now, if you’re running ads targeted to people who are more familiar with your brand and are ready to buy, you’ll have a higher conversion rate.
With that in mind, let’s break down the scripts of successful videos at the awareness, consideration, and conversion stages.
3 Examples of High-Performing Ads
76% of all people skip YouTube ads when they can. (Some ad formats aren’t skippable.) That means when someone doesn’t know who you are, i.e., they lack awareness about your brand, you have to work supremely hard to get them to pay attention.
That’s why awareness videos are all about the hook. This is essentially the first couple of seconds of the video, and as the name suggests, you absolutely must do something that attracts the audience. Because people are so eager to skip ads, your hook must not feel like a sales pitch. Instead, make the hook feel surprising, or even strange. Ideally, that will peak the viewer’s curiosity and convince them to keep watching.
Let’s look at one of the most famous YouTube ads of all time for an example:
Dollar Shave Club’s unforgettable ad opens with just “Hi, I’m Mike.” This might not seem revolutionary now, but that’s because so many people have copied this technique. By just having someone talk like a regular person, this ad disarms the viewer and piques their curiosity.
Because this is an awareness ad, it immediately launches into what the commercial is about: razors shipped to your house for an affordable price each month.
At the time, this was a revolutionary product, so there’s a lot of time spent on educating the audience about why they need this. This also correlates to the viewers’ position in the funnel: they’re just being made aware of this, so they need to understand why.
Dollar Shave Club’s pitch is essentially a combination of convenience and affordability. “Stop paying for razor tech you don’t need.” It’s unlikely that people will buy straight away so the ad just closes with a link to the DSC website — albeit with some sweet dancing in the background.
The audience has gained an awareness of the product through a combination of a great hook, consistent sarcasm, and clear script writing. Mission accomplished. If we were creating a template or outline, it would go like this:
- 5-second hook
- High-level explanation of product / service
- Why product / service is relevant
- CTA about what to do next
Someone in the consideration phase knows your brand, but isn’t quite sure they want to give you their money yet.
In YouTube terms that means they’ve probably watched some of your videos and perhaps even been to your website. So to convince them that you’re the right choice, you need to give them a better idea of what your product or service can offer — how it will change their lives.
This video from MasterClass (they call them trailers) does just that:
The piece opens with another good hook: it’s just the instructor talking. It’s even a little weird, because he’s talking about turning a dresser draw into a garden. Perfect hook.
But instead of describing what MasterClass is — like an awareness stage video would — the video starts talking about what the viewers will learn, and how the course will change their lives.
The visuals showcase Ron Finley, the instructor, in the midst of a beautiful urban garden. Lush greens abound. This is the meat of the video, and it makes the entire segment noticeably longer than the Dollar Shave Club video. But it’s important because people need to know the details to be convinced that MasterClass is right for them.
In the third act of the video, Ron begins talking about how he learned about gardening and the impact it had on his community. Again, this is an important part of differentiating this particular course from what else is out there.
So here’s how our outline looks for a consideration video:
- 5-second hook (you always need a hook)
- Transition to how the product will benefit the viewer
- More time spent explaining the details of those benefits
- Information on why the company is the best choice
- CTA for signing up
This is where the rubber meets the road. If you’ve used a funnel model to guide people to the bottom, then this is the stage where you go for the sale.
At this point people have a decent idea of what your company does, they just need a nudge in the right direction.
Monday provides us with a good example:
When someone has reached the bottom of your funnel, they’ve probably interacted pretty heavily with your brand. It’s time to show them an ad that will convince them to take that last step and convert.
The first lines in the video are “If you manage a team, you need to use Monday.” And that sets the tone for everything that follows.
Monday is project management software, so the majority of the video is spent going through the features and tying these features to outcomes, i.e., more time for work and the confidence for more complex projects. This one-two punch not only reassures viewers that Monday can do what they need, but also shows them what their work life could be like with this product.
In the end, the video directs people to sign up for a free trial, which is the most direct way to get someone to become a customer.
So here’s our outline for a conversion based YouTube ad:
- 5-10 second hook
- Statement of outcomes about product or service
- Explanation of features / how it works
- Restate outcomes / cover new outcomes
- Call to action with a conversion focus
Over to You
YouTube advertising is a diverse, and sometimes confusing, marketing strategy. The potential is sky-high but there’s also a decent amount of risk.
However, if you take a funnel approach and retarget people who engage with your brand, you eliminate some guesswork and consistently move people towards becoming customers.
And when you’re brainstorming your ads, reference the ads and outlines listed above. Each of those videos has millions of views, because they’ve proven themselves effective at generating ROI.
If you use the scripts as a reference point, you’ll be well on your way to a successful YouTube ad strategy.