GE 107: The Simple Blueprint Gideon Shalwick Used To Grow A YouTube Channel to 36M Views & 360K Subscribers

gideon shalwick photoHi everyone, today’s interview is with Gideon Shalwick, founder of Veeroll, a company that simplifies creating and targeting true view video ads on YouTube. Their software helps you not only create videos, but figure out how to get traffic to your site that’s relevant and that actually converts.

Immigrating from New Zealand to Australia for Entrepreneurship 

Nine years ago, Gideon was working in a good job, but had that itch we’ve all felt to go and do his own thing.

He quit his job, moved from New Zealand to Australia, and wrote a book to sell online.

He quickly realized, however, that he didn’t have a clue about online business and how to drive traffic… and traffic for him (and any other business online) is a big deal.

So, he set out on a journey to figure out how to get traffic to a website.

For two years while he was figuring it out, he didn’t make much money at all.

But once he nailed it, he launched a program with his business partner and they got 10,000 subscribers to their email list within two weeks… and had 1,000 paying members within the first month of that business.

Since then, he’s taken on a number of different business projects, and every single time, one of the key drivers has been to figure out new, better, and faster ways to get really good, quality traffic.

He got interested in YouTube as a means of traffic, set up a YouTube channel, and grew it to 36 million views and 360,000 subscribers.

His most recent business project is Veeroll, which is all about using paid video ads to get traffic.

The True Benefits of Veeroll

At its core, Veeroll addresses three main pain points that most people experience when they start thinking about running video ads online:

  1. Finding the right target audience
    • Most viewers on YouTube notice a lot of pre-roll ads that have nothing to do with them… which shows that the people advertising on YouTube are getting it completely wrong.
    • For this, Veeroll built an advertising tool to help pin point exactly the people you want to target based on the videos they watch, and only show your ads to those people.
  2. Video creation
    • This is one a lot of people get stuck on… should they create a video themselves, or hire an expensive video production team to do it?
    • Instead, Veeroll offers some effective templates for new advertisers to use, which only requires adding 5 lines of text and a few images.
  3. Setting up campaigns
    • Veeroll’s built a campaign builder that simplifies the entire process of setting up an AdWords campaign within YouTube. With this tool, there’s no need to go into AdWords directly, you just do everything within Veeroll’s interface and then upload it to AdWords.
    • In addition, there’s a campaign audit tool to let you know how your campaigns are performing, and pinpoint things you should change.

Helping a 12-Year-Old Singer Become Famous

One of Veeroll’s clients is an agency that does paid advertising for clients.

One of the agency’s clients was Emily Faith, a talented, 12-year-old singer who wanted help getting the word out about her talent.

With Veeroll, the agency built an audience for her really quickly, and built her YouTube channel from a few hundred views to 76,974 views in only 10 days… on just two videos.

The Big Opportunity With YouTube Ads

Right now, says Gideon, there’s a massive opportunity to advertise on YouTube.

Even though Facebook is trying to take on YouTube, YouTube is still bigger than Facebook.

In fact, in June of last year, YouTube overtook Facebook with the number of unique visitors, and this trend has been increasing, even though many people don’t realize it.

Another interesting statistic, which Gideon saw on Business Insider, is that there’s 500 million hours of video watched every single day on YouTube.

If one person were to try that by himself, it would take him 57,000 years to watch the amount of video that’s seen in one day.

Opportunities in Facebook Video Ads

Though Facebook isn’t as big as YouTube, it does have a very easy interface for first-time video advertisers to get involved with, and offers three levels of video advertising engagement:

  1. Put videos on your timeline and pay to promote them
  2. Use the normal Facebook ads interface to set up ads without them going to you timeline. Here is where you can do pixel tracking, etc.
  3. Use Facebook’s Power Editor if you’re more advanced.

Mistakes People are Making With Video Ads

The most obvious mistake, says Gideon, is the YouTube targeting.

When the ad is totally unrelated to the video being watched, most people will just click Skip. And because of all these “skips,” people assume YouTube videos don’t work.

The key thing is getting the targeting right, which can make a massive difference on your ROI. In fact, Veerolls seen click through rates as high as 200%.

Another thing people get wrong is the messaging of their videos.

Along with targeting the right people, you also need to tell them the right message. When you do that, conversion rates for the whole process shoot through the roof.

Beginning Budgets With Video Ads

Though it depends on the industry, Veeroll sets their defaults (which can be adjusted) at $20 per day and $0.20 per view.

If you’re in a competitive niche, you might need to raise your budget to $0.50 to $1.00 per view. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll end up paying that much per view, but it will at least get you in the bidding game.

Advice on In-Display vs. In-Stream

I’d always heard (and practiced with my own YouTube ads) that you should avoid in-display options like they’re the plague and go for in-stream.

But Gideon says that’s not necessarily the case.

He says they do have some in-display ads running, and that they’re easier to get set up.

The nice thing about in-display ads, he says, is that you’re not required to have an AdWords-compliant landing page. With an in-display ad, the traffic doesn’t go to your landing page, but to a video on your YouTube channel.

Audience Targeting Priorities 

If you already have a retargeting list, says Gideon, then retargeting will probably get you faster and better results than anything else.

Video placements, though, are number two. (Number one if you don’t have a retargeting list.)

The number three priority is keywords.

Helping a Channel Grow to 360,000 Subscribers & 36 Million Views

This was back before Veeroll, when Gideon was working on a partnership with a YouTube channel called FreeMagicLive. (It’s not something he’s involved with anymore.)

Back in 2009, a Brisbane-based magician approached him and said he was having a hard time getting gigs. He wanted help trying to expand his business and presence online, so they went into a partnership together.

The magician performed the magic tricks, and Gideon did the marketing. They went into the streets of Brisbane, recorded people getting awed by different magic tricks, and then recorded the magician showing the people how the trick was done so they could then go and impress their friends.

It worked extremely well, because they gave people exactly what they wanted , and got some really good traction within a month.

And by doing paid ads, they were able to get to their target audience instantly so they could start growing the online following right away.

Customer Acquisition

One thing that’s really helping Veeroll acquire new customers and increase cash flow is hosting webinars.

They also like to guest post on other high-profile websites or blogs that have access to the same audience they want access to… which works really well.

On top of that, they have their own content marketing strategy where they fill their own blog with high-quality content.

The Struggle of Growing a Business: Work/Life Balance

Though Veeroll’s had relatively quick success, Gideon says he’s had to work many, many hours on it.

And since there’s only 24 hours in a day, spending time on business means not spending time on other things, like family.

Advice to His 25-Year-Old Self

“Hey Gideon, start a business way sooner than you did.”

He started his own business when he was 27, but wishes he could have started one at 16 or even younger. Whatever kind of business… just something to learn how it works and how to give people what they want.

The Structure of His Day

Because of the international aspect of his business being spread across so many time zones, Gideon says he doesn’t have a real structure, but he does have rituals he’s designed to help get him in the flow and get things done.

For example, if he wants to write a video script or a blog post, he gets out of the office, goes to his favorite coffee shop, and tunes up some vocal trance music to block out other distractions.

This gets him into the flow state for the kind of productivity and creativity he needs. He sits down and pumps out content until the tap stops.

One Must-Read Book

Gideon recommends Napoleon Hill’s Law of Success.

It was written nine years before Think & Grow Rich, which he feels was slanted just towards money making.

Gideon says he tries to read through Law of Success at least once per year, and every time he reads it, he re-discovers something new.

(And if you’re going to buy it, try to get the version from the Napoleon Hill foundation.)

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