A checklist for setting up performance-based video ads in Yandex.Direct

Video ads are an integral part of any brand’s marketing strategy, regardless of scale. They can be used to solve tasks at all levels of the sales funnel. Yandex.Direct (and Ya.Display) display campaigns work by raising brand awareness and loyalty. And pay-per-click video ads in Yandex.Direct increase engagement, resulting in more clicks at a lower price. In this article, we will examine the features of performance-based video ads in Yandex.Direct and break down the steps for how to set them up effectively.

First, let’s take a look at what PPC video ad formats are available in Yandex.Direct. There are only 3 formats and none of them require an outsized budget. They are closely related to Text & Image campaigns and the videos all last 15 seconds. Here are the differences between the 3 formats:

Video ads are a separate type of ad. You can create campaigns exclusively with videos, set a separate bid for them, and write your text and heading. You can either use your own video or take one from the Yandex library.

Video extensions are additions to Text & Image ads. As with video ads, you can use your own videos or take one from the library. The bid is set by adjusting the base amount. The video text is taken from the Text & Image ad.

Default video extensions are extensions to Text & Image ads that are created automatically from the image itself. The bid is by adjustment and the ad will display in the Video Network if the bid is high enough. The video text is taken from the Text & Image ad.

These ads display in the Yandex Video Network — more than 300 Yandex Advertising Network sites that are viewed by 37M people per month. These sites tend to have their own unique, loyal audiences.

Now let’s break down how to create an effective PPC video ad in Yandex.Direct:

Put together your creatives

  1. Creatives for default video extensions
  • Add relevant images for default video extensions (the system will automatically create an animation from an uploaded image). Choose an image without a logo or text since it the ad text that will be layered on top of it and must be legible.
  • Make sure that your ad text articulates your unique value proposition and that your target audience will understand it.
  • Add relevant and understandable sitelinks (they will appear on top of the image under the ad text.

  1. Videoclips for video extensions and video ads
  • Add a videoclip that is relevant to the ad subject. If you don’t have your own content, you can take something from the library. However, your ad will display more frequently if you use your own clip. This is because if different advertisers use the same videoclip from the library in their ads, those ads get distributed between users.
  • According to our data, the CPA for video ads where the video content reflects the item being advertised is lower than for video ads that use abstract video clips.

  • Therefore, if you want to increase your conversion rate, it’s best to upload your own video clips.

Likelihood of converting

  • For topics subject to licensing, add videos (either your own or from the library) that contain the necessary legal information. The default clips for these topics will not display on the Video network.
  • Ensure that your video was edited properly using the preview feature. All important elements should be in the visible area. The clip should not get cropped at an important moment. In Yandex.Direct, you can upload clips up to 30 seconds long, which get cropped at 15 seconds.
  • Use a relevant heading and text, which will appear on top of the video. Add a Call to Action like “Order now,” or “Find out more.”

  • Add a sound track to your video ad. Our statistics show that advertisers pay a lower CPA for ads with music or speech than for ads without sound. You can select a sound track from the library.

  • Explain what you are advertising within the first 3 seconds of the clip. That way the user can quickly figure out if they are interested or not before they get distracted. Ads that try to slowly intrigue users tend to have a higher CPA, according to our data.
  • Add running text to your clip. That way users can still absorb all your information even if their sound is turned off.
  • For topics subject to licensing, check that you ad contains all legally-required information.
  • Keep the so-called post-view effect in mind (i.e. the fact that users may convert later on without clicking directly on your ad).

Currently there is no way to independently evaluate the post-view effect, but don’t forget about it after you launch your campaign. Sometimes the effect may be obvious if, for example, you only launch one display campaign over a given time period and see a marked uptick in certain KPIs. You can track this by comparing different time periods in Yandex.Metrica. You can also observe the post-view effect by looking at search term dynamics using Yandex’s Wordstat tool.

Set up targeting

  • To increase conversions, use retargeting lists (i.e. goals and segments in Yandex.Metrica and segments in Yandex.Audience).For example, let’s say you are advertising real estate. Create a segment in Yandex.Metrica made up of users who have already visited your site. Show this audience a videoclip with new information (if you are selling space in a new development, for example). Since this audience is already familiar with your services, they are likely to be interested in your offer. One advertiser working in real estate was able to lower their CPA by 67% and raise their CR by 278% by enabling retargeting in their Yandex.Direct video ad settings (whereas before they had just used keywords).
  • Set up retargeting

Retargeting allows you to set up your sales funnel. First you will work on brand recognition by using display campaigns to increase interest in your product. Then you will set up CPC ads with a concrete Call to Action in Yandex.Direct. These ads will target users who are already familiar with your brand and are, thus, more likely to convert.

Set up your ad campaign

  • Just as with typical Text & Image ads in networks, we recommend using automatic strategies. Enter a weekly budget maximum and make sure that your expenses don’t go over your limit.
  • If you want more flexibility managing your video-network impressions, create separate campaigns with video ads. That way you can manage your budget and bids for Video Network impressions independently of one another.
  • For narrow topics with a small traffic volume, you can create video ads in your current Text & Image campaigns and set separate bids for them. That way you will gather more useful statistics in you campaigns that will help you manage automatic strategies focused on conversions

Bid adjustments

In addition to the standard bid adjustments (such as those for device type or demographic), you can add bid adjustments for video extensions. Analyze your statistics for ads with videos in the Report Wizard and enter bid adjustments in proportion to their deviation from your target CPA.

Managing sites

  • Use the Report Wizard to analyze sites where your video extensions or video ads were shown. We recommend that you only exclude sites after carefully analyzing the data. The system will factor in statistics by site and try not to display ads on ineffective ones.
  • Review your list of disabled sites monthly or quarterly. Publishers are constantly working to improve their content in order to attract more visitors and improve audience quality.

It’s easy to measure the effectiveness of pay-per-click video ads in Yandex.Direct. The Report Wizard gives you detailed statistics by campaign, as well as by keyword and ad.

For one advertiser in real estate, the cost per conversion for video ads decreased thanks to the high conversion rate these ads get:

Another advertiser in the medical field was able to lower their conversion cost for video ads thanks to the low click price and narrow targeting:


If you need help setting up video ads, feel free to contact your Yandex manager or email the customer service department. Or, if you have your own lifehacks for performance-based video ads, please share them in the comments. Good luck with your ad campaigns!