Thanks to an automated solution, we efficiently set up and run YouTube Discovery campaigns in collaboration with our client Thomann. Since January 2020, we have achieved over 20 million views (as of July 2022) and gained more than 60,000 new subscribers, who can also be reached organically in the future.
Thomann is the largest musical instrument retailer in Europe. With an annual turnover of over one billion euros, the music store is one of Germany's e-commerce giants and among the country's most popular online shops. While Thomann might be unfamiliar to those outside the field, there are few musicians who are not familiar with this brand. With over 90,000 products and a presence in more than 23 countries, Thomann consistently presents us with challenges that Sunlab embraces with great dedication.
Founded in 2008, Thomann's YouTube channel underwent a thematic shift focusing on guitars and basses in 2019 under the new name "Thomann's Guitars and Basses" Additionally, the new "Thomann Music" channel was established, focusing on news and updates from the world of musical instruments, as well as general company information and Thomann events. Further channels were created for synthesizers, drums, and various in-house brands.
To strategically manage the growing number of Thomann YouTube channels, Sunlab was brought in as external support. Initially, Thomann requested various ad campaigns through Google, primarily aimed at increasing video views. The resulting reach was also expected to lead to a rise in subscriptions.
After several test campaigns, Sunlab, in collaboration with Thomann, found the sweet spot for campaign duration, budget, and views. The goal was to generate around 10,000 views on a video over seven days for approximately 400 €. Discovery ads were created, which have the advantage of being displayed in YouTube search results based on specific predefined keywords. This requires a minimum level of user interest, encouraging proactive clicks on the ad. Unlike the in-stream pre-roll ad format, this approach avoids overwhelming Thomann's users with excessive advertising and its associated negative effects.
As more Thomann stakeholders became aware of the success of Discovery ads, the demand for these campaigns grew across the music retailer's other YouTube channels. This resulted in a shortage of personnel and resources for the creation and monitoring of campaigns, as they were still manually booked through Sunlab upon request at that time.
Automated campaign creation
Due to the steady increase in the number of Thomann YouTube channels and accompanying Discovery Ads campaigns, Sunlab decided to develop an automated solution. This solution would enable the Thomann marketing team to independently book campaigns with little onboarding, even without Google Ads expertise. Simultaneously, Thomann's marketing experts could input the relevant keywords based on their industry knowledge, rather than having them determined by a Sunlab employee unfamiliar with the musical industry sector.
Using Google Forms, Sunlab developed a minimalist and functional frontend for the Thomann marketing team. Here, they input the video link and corresponding keywords. Budget, start date, duration, and description text can also be specified. If the employee is unsure, fields can be left blank, and the automation will apply standard best practice values. After submitting the Google Form, the campaign is automatically created. A Sunlab SEA employee receives an email confirming the successful creation. If an error occurs during campaign booking, an email notification is sent to Sunlab, allowing a member of the SEA team to either rectify the error directly or liaise with the Thomann Marketing Team to resolve the issue .
Centralized performance monitoring
All planned, ongoing, and completed campaigns created through this system are consolidated into a central report in Looker Studio. This report provides insights into key campaign metrics, individual channels, and overall performance.
Results and achievements
Since January 1, 2020, the automated Discovery campaigns have generated over 20 million views across various Thomann YouTube channels. Although the cost per view has steadily increased since then and YouTube has gained more prominence as an advertising platform, the outlined strategy has maintained a consistent level of paid views.
Additionally, nearly 61,000 users found content on one or more Thomann channels that prompted them to subscribe. Thomann can now reach these users organically in the future.
Moving forward, Thomann's own brands are planned to be more integrated into the process. As part of this, the automated solution will be expanded based on a platform model, allowing Thomann's brands to independently book video campaigns. Their own data sources can be incorporated, allowing for a more targeted approach to their audience.
On Sunlab's side, the aim is to further expand the automated campaign creation tool to include relevant campaign types, such as Video Action campaigns. Furthermore, the technology will be made accessible to additional advertisers. This encompasses B2B advertisers from collaborations between Thomann and various manufacturers, as well as B2C advertisers, such as companies with similar high demands for YouTube or video campaigns, finding the technology intriguing.
„With Sunlab's assistance, we've established a successful multi-channel strategy on YouTube, generating approximately 55 million views and 2.2 million hours of watch time within a year. This engagement spans six Thomann channels and allows us to directly address our target audience and broadcast our content through an automated ad process.“
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