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case study

Veteran Awareness Video Marketing Campaign on YouTube Reached 8.7M Views and 91% Completion

In this video marketing case study we showcase how Llama Lead Gen partnered with the Ad Council and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to launch a “Veteran Crisis Prevention” campaign on YouTube. The YouTube marketing campaign aimed at encouraging veterans to leverage the resources available through the VA to reach out for help if they are struggling. 


The marketing campaign focused on driving mass reach of the video messaging with an awareness objective. The landing page featured a short quiz to guide the veterans to resources most relevant to their struggle. The campaign wrapped with 30M impressions, 8.7M video views, and 27K clicks to the landing page. Audiences were broken into All Vets, Young Female Vets, and Mature Male Vets, and the All Vets broad audience group ended the campaign with a 91% video completion rate.



The United States Department of Veterans Affairs is a department of the federal government charged with servicing eligible military veterans in matters involving healthcare, housing, education, and rehabilitation assistance. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was established to care for those who have served as well as their families. According to the National Center for PTSD, veterans are more likely to develop PTSD than civilians. The rate of PTSD amongst female veterans (19%) is higher than male veterans (10%), according to one study in 2021.  


With the “Veteran Crisis Prevention” campaign, the VA aimed to increase awareness of the resources available to veterans and to encourage those who are struggling to reach out for the help they need. The creative asset included generic crisis messaging as well as versioning that focused specifically on male and female veterans. The campaign targeted all veterans broadly as well as honed in on younger female veterans and older male veterans with more tailored video creative. The primary goal of the campaign was to drive mass reach and awareness by maximizing video views. A secondary goal of the campaign was to encourage veterans to take the resource quiz on the landing page to be directed to the help they need.


The Challenge

While the campaign targeted a broad set of audiences with All Vets 18-65, the VA team had also wanted to specifically reach Young Female Vets ages 18-34 as well as Mature Male Vets ages 45-65+ to serve them audience-specific creative. One of the main challenges we foresaw in the campaign was to ensure that there were even distributions of budget amongst both the broad and narrow set audiences. 


Additionally, the team was also challenged to achieve a balance between video views as a primary KPI as well as driving veterans to the landing page to engage with the available resources. 


The Ad Council looked to partner with Llama Lead Gen to solidify their media approach and set up to ensure that we segmented out the audiences. With the past success of campaigns between Ad Council and Llama Lead Gen, we were able to leverage this existing trust and relationship to collaborate on a marketing plan.


Our Video & YouTube Marketing Strategy

The Ad Council and Llama Lead Gen chose YouTube as the main platform for this campaign as our primary goal was to drive mass reach for our messaging. There was a secondary goal of driving users to the website to engage with the quiz that can guide a veteran to the relevant VA resources. 


Across YouTube, we targeted All Vets 18-65+ and two sets of narrowed-set audiences: Young Female Vets and Mature Male Vets. The VA and Ad Council team had provided a variety of creative assets ranging from more general veteran crisis messaging to those featuring specifically female veterans as well as older male veterans. For the All Vets segments, all creative versions were allowed to freely rotate while the Young Female Vets and Mature Male Vets segments were served only their respective video versions. Within the All Vets segment, there were only shorter-length videos of 6s and 15s, while the videos for Young Female Vets and Mature Male Vets leveraged 15s and 30s versions. 


We hypothesized that this tactic would allow us to achieve a balance between our primary and secondary goals. As we leveraged Skippable videos, the shortened video mix within All Vets would allow for maximizing video views, while the 15s and 30s videos in our narrow-set audiences would compel those users to click out to the landing page. 


We monitored the campaign performances and made weekly budget optimizations, moving budgets based on audience performance. Given the test we had with our broad and narrow-set audience, we also monitored the spending carefully to ensure that sufficient media spend was going to all audiences. Llama Lead Gen worked together with the Ad Council to ensure that the ad copy aligned with the nuance of each video.   


Solution & Implementation

After we aligned on the strategy and audience setup of this campaign, we started by collaborating with the Ad Council and VA team to align on finalizing ad copy for the ads. The Llama Lead Gen team took full ownership of the execution of the campaign set up within the YouTube platform. 


The campaign was launched after careful QA to ensure that the campaign, audiences, and ads were set up properly. Our team monitored the performance daily and adjusted the budget accordingly based on what ads and audiences were performing well. 


Overall, the campaign paced well throughout the flight. As expected, the broad audience of All Vets was favored by the algorithm, and the team manually adjusted the bid strategy and tCPM to ensure that all audiences received sufficient media spend.


Performance & Data

The Veteran Crisis Prevention campaign on YouTube had the objective of driving awareness of the message by maximizing video views. The campaign leveraged Skippable placement with varied video lengths from 6s to 30s. The creative assets and audiences were set up in a way that balanced our primary goal of video views and a secondary goal of getting users to engage with the crisis prevention resources on the landing page.


Overall, the campaign received 30M impressions, 8.7M video views, and 27K clicks to the website. When looking at performances by audiences, as anticipated, the All Vets audience was favored by the algorithm making up 50% of overall impressions. The team had to manually adjust for tCPM to ensure that the Young Female Vets and Mature Male Vets audience also received media spend. The All Vets audience received the highest rate of Video Completion at 91%. 

Our audience and creative split strategy worked well in terms of achieving the balance between video views and click-throughs. While the All Vets audience wrapped with a 0.4% CTR, the Young Female Vets and Mature Male Vets audience both received a 0.15% CTR, 3x higher than the All Vets audience. The two audiences combined made up 75% of the 27K clicks to the website.