YouTube Growth Engine

YouTube Growth Engine Review

I don’t talk about YouTube much, but it’s my top priority right behind Spotify.

Most of my videos consist of music over static cover art, yet I’ve managed to accrue 15.2K subscribers, and I add another 250 or so every month.

Still, I’m no expert. Over years of tinkering, I’ve landed on an ad campaign setup that seems to work for me.

I’m not inclined to spell out my methods because Google Ads is messy and constantly changing. Any post on the topic would demand regular updates or quickly become obsolete.

Fortunately John Gold of Hypeddit has taken on the task through a video training series called YouTube Growth Engine. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks testing out his methods for myself.

YouTube Growth Engine Overview

John starts by walking you through setting up your Google Ads account and YouTube channel, followed by an overview of YouTube ads for music promotion.

Then we get to the meat of the course: the click-by-click creation of two different types of campaigns, which I’ll describe below. The final module is dedicated to troubleshooting.

But that’s not all… (!)

There are bonus videos devoted to maximizing your algorithmic success, monetization, and promoting your YouTube videos through Facebook and Instagram ads.

John offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a private Facebook group where you can get help or just talk shop.

Video Booster Campaign

The first campaign type is what John calls a video booster campaign. It’s a quick and easy way to get views, likes, comments, and even a few subscribers.

The structure is straightforward:

YouTube Growth Engine Video Booster Campaign

You run an existing music video as a skippable in-stream ad. If the viewer doesn’t watch for at least 30 seconds, you don’t get charged.

John walks through the setup of five video booster campaigns at $1 per day each. The only difference between the campaigns is the targeting, which ranges from narrow all the way to the widest targeting possible: no targeting at all.

I was relieved to see that most of John’s videos are also music over static cover art. You don’t need a live-action video or even a lyric video for this to work.

I opted for a 45-minute video of an entire album:

Here are my results (click to enlarge):

YouTube Growth Engine Video Booster Campaign Results
Video Booster Results

After a few days, the narrow placements campaign was the obvious winner, so I paused the rest and upped the budget to $10 a day.

$60 got me 3.7K views at 1.6 cents per view.

I also got 18 likes, 173 views of my other content, and 1-20 subscribers. They don’t tell you exactly how many for privacy reasons, I guess.

I was surprised to see that 4.24% of viewers made it to the end of a 45-minute video! It’s probably safe to assume it was playing in the background, but still…

My cost per view was on par with Drooble YouTube Promotion (my review) but I was able to reach a much more highly targeted audience.

Fan Booster Campaign

The second campaign type is more complex and much harder to dial in. The primary goal of the fan booster campaign is to get subscribers.

It looks something like this:

YouTube Growth Engine Fan Booster Campaign

The way it works is, you run ads directing to a download gate. When the user enters their email address and subscribes to your YouTube channel, they get the reward you offered in the ad.

This is the third of John’s courses I’ve worked through that involved a download gate. I’ve never gotten my cost per conversion below $0.50, probably because I’m not comfortable making the kind of video that seems to perform best, where you make your pitch directly to the camera.

Instead, I opted for a voiceover, but overcompensated with a big reward: a full album download!

Here’s my ad:

And here are my results (click to enlarge):

YouTube Growth Engine Fan Booster Campaign Results
Fan Booster Results

$53 got me 2.5K views at 2 cents per view.

It also got me 4 likes and 17 views of my other content. But that wasn’t the point of the campaign!

The point was to get subscribers, and it looks like I got 8, at a cost of $6.60 per conversion.

If I had let the ads continue to optimize, that cost would’ve surely gone down, perhaps dramatically.

John lays out a strategy to optimize your budget by setting a target price per conversion and dropping it over time. His campaign is at the point where he can literally get as many subscribers as he wants for less than $0.30 each.

I can get Spotify followers for that much, and I’d rather devote my scant dollars there, so I cut the process short. I’m more than happy with my current YouTube subscriber growth.

On the plus side, I learned how to set up a conversions campaign in Google Ads! My past attempts never worked, but John’s step-by-step instructions left no room for error.

Funny story…

At first, my ads wouldn’t run due to copyright violations. Others on the Facebook group experienced the same thing and offered a solution.

All I had to do was upload a licensing agreement! Here’s what I came up with:

licensing agreement

Yep, that’s me, granting the rights to use my material to… me. It worked!

YouTube Growth Engine Conclusion

I’ll cut to the chase. I highly recommend YouTube Growth Engine.

Even if you stop after the video booster module, you’ll get more than your money’s worth.

You could just keep your top-performing video booster campaign running at $5 and get hundreds of views every day, plus likes, comments, and subscribers. When you release a new song, it only takes a minute to swap it in.

Personally, I found a ton of value in the bonus material. I also picked up a bunch of tips and tricks just from observing the way John runs his channel.

Over the duration of the course, I overhauled my channel completely, from my banner to my about section to my end screens.

For the first time, I feel like I’m doing all I can do, or at least all I’m willing to do, to build an audience on YouTube.

To pick up a copy of the YouTube Growth Engine for 90% off just click here. I’ll receive a small commission to support my writing, which is very much appreciated!

Brian’s Tips & Tricks

Since I don’t plan to write a dedicated how-to post on Google Ads, here are two bonus strategies to get even more out of your campaigns.

Tip #1: Location

John runs his ads to all countries, which gets him the lowest cost per view.

I, on the other hand, use bid adjustments to distribute my views across countries that have a track record of generating fans.

Here’s what that looks like:

Google Ads location targeting
Location Targeting via Bid Adjustment

I’m willing to pay 80% more for a US view, 40% less for a Brazil view, and so on. Otherwise, all my views would come from Russia, Brazil, and Mexico.

My ads are running to 29 countries in total, all of which are Spotify countries. I deliberately excluded low CPM countries like India, Indonesia, Ukraine, and The Philippines.

As a result, my cost per view is higher. That’s part of the reason why the cost per conversion on my fan booster campaign was so high!

Tip #2: Retargeting

You can create a custom audience of people who watched particular videos on your channel:

Google Ads custom audience

I cut off the screenshot, but I’ve got the maximum 40 videos selected.

My Synthwave Viewers audience has 7K members going back 90 days. You can opt to keep members in the group for as many as 540 days!

As far as I know, there’s no way to automatically include new videos in your audience criteria, so I update it every three months.

I run my ads to both my Synthwave Viewers audience and an automatically generated lookalike audience, which seems to get the lion’s share of views (click to enlarge):

Google Ads lookalike targeting
Google Ads Retargeting

Unlike with John’s videos, you’ll have to figure out how to do these things yourself. I honestly can’t remember how I set up retargeting back in November of 2019!

Alright, that’s probably all I’ll have to say on Google Ads for the foreseeable future. Except in the comments, that is!

Have you tried running ads on YouTube? Share your questions and strategies below!


  1. Hey mate – great article and review as usual. I’ve been meaning to test John’s YouTube growth course – this will tip me over for giving it a go with some of my artists. Keep up the great writing!

  2. Hugely valuable and greatly appreciated, as always, Brian. I am recommending your blog to all my musician friends, because we all need help focusing in on what works. Best wishes.

  3. Hi Brian, I just discovered your real-life experiments on music promotion! Truly valuable.

    Regarding this post, I don’t understand the huge difference in view rates…

    First values reported in the table “Video Booster Results” are extremely high (51.69 – 68.77%) but in the breakdown by country view rates are a fraction (2.02 – 6.25%).

    What am I missing?

    Thank you for your time!

    1. You’ve got a keen eye Daniel!

      The location targeting screenshot was pulled from a different campaign with a different ad type (discovery vs in-stream). The relatively low percentage is because with discovery ads, people are actively choosing to click on my video rather than having it passively fed to them.

      I used Google Ads Editor, a desktop app, to copy/paste the location targeting to my other campaigns, complete with bid adjustments.

      I can’t remember why I didn’t use an in-stream campaign for that screenshot!

  4. Thank you so much for your quick response!

    I have a similar in-stream campaign running but my view rates are 10% or lower so I really appreciate any insight on how to get to those view rates 🙂

    Which bid strategy did you use? Maximum CPV or target CPM?

    1. If your view rates are 10% or lower, something is wrong with your setup. AFAIK there’s no way 90% of viewers are clicking the skip button. I’m using max CPV as John outlines in the course.

  5. I run a both in feed Discover and I’m stream
    Ad for my new music video on YouTube. It’s a retro Synthwave and 80s pop rock blend. The view rate for my in stream is around 70%. I’m only targeting USA, Canada, UK, and Australia because I find my budget getting consumed fast.

    I’m also using frequency capping. 5 impressions a day, 1 view a week. Seems to be working fine for the in stream, but do you think it’s too rigid of a cap for my in feed? I figured it would encourage “unique traffic”

    1. Your latest video is doing really well with 74K views as I type this! I’m surprised there aren’t more than 7 comments though. That’s one thing Discovery ads are definitely better at, since people chose to watch the video in the first place.

      That 70% figure must be for in-stream. Maybe you should shift more of your budget to Discovery? Adding in some cheaper countries could definitely help, as you’re targeting pretty much the most expensive ones in the world!

      My frequency cap is set to 3 impressions, 3 views per day for Discovery, and 1 impression, 1 view per day for In-Stream. I’m not sure how I arrived there though! Maybe 1 view a week is too strict.

      1. I appreciate that! Yeah the 70% is for the in stream ad. I have around 36% watching the video to 100%. Can’t say if this is a quality metric for in stream, since I know these kinds of ads are geared simply for the view count.

        I don’t have much countries because I figured that since I’m using my budget already, there’s no need to. Maybe I should indeed branch out like you advise. I presume I should target similar countries I use for my Spotify FB campaign?

        I plan to invest more into my in feed Discover and use your advice on frequency capping. Thank you!

        1. I’m always using my full budget, and Google always encourages me to raise my budget. You’ll get a lot more from your money by targeting some of the countries I do, which you can see from the screenshot above or my latest post.

  6. Just a quick update on the licencing agreement point – I’ve run into this just recently and attempted to upload a similar letter certifying that I own all my own content and they refuse to accept it. The most information they’ll give in their email is “document is not appropriate”. Not sure if policies have changed, but I’m currently navigating the seven circles of hell trying to get a clear answer out of Google Ads as to what they exactly need for me to prove I own my own content.

    1. What a nightmare! Did you know you can call Google Ads? It may take some time and/or luck to get to someone who can help, but it’s worth a try! I believe the number is on your dashboard.

  7. This was interesting for me!
    I already run promos via hypeddit for a singer-songwriter and was looking to see what type of YouTube promotion would get real engagement, not just clicks that don’t mean anything.
    Have you tried Marquee on Spotify?
    Look forward to the monthly emails and many thanks for your perspectives!

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