The Ultimate Guide to YouTube Advertising

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Did you know that the consumers’ attention span has recently been compared to that of a goldfish? Recent studies say that consumers’ attention span is slowly decreasing. Experts claim that people only have about eight seconds to focus on one thing. After that, they move on to another distraction. And this is why video marketing is of the essence nowadays. 

Videos are more compelling compared to long-form content. And videos are an excellent way to explain complex topics or products. Plus, you can be creative with videos that keep viewers riveted to their seats. 

When it comes to creating video content, YouTube emerges as the top platform for advertisers and individuals alike. If you’re not leveraging YouTube for your video ad campaign, you’re missing out. Learn why YouTube is an omnipotent channel to increase video views.

Table of Contents

Why You Must Invest in YouTube Advertising
youtube advertising

YouTube advertising is a good complementary marketing tactic. Aside from the fact that online video platforms potentially increase conversion rates by 34 percent, YouTube also offers a myriad of benefits and features for advertisers. These are a couple of reasons why you mustn’t skip YouTube marketing:

  • Connect with your target audience. Not only can you provide fun and helpful videos to your audience, but you can also leverage ads that run on videos your audience searches for. You can use videos to share tips, create a tutorial YouTube channel, or show how your product or service works. 
  • Provide fast results. YouTube has over two billion monthly active users who watch around 250 million hours of TV screens. That makes the platform an excellent channel to get your videos in front of your audiences. You can choose ads that run on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices to cater to all sorts of audiences. 
  • Offer a highly targeted reach. On top of affordability, YouTube provides incredible targeting features. This enables advertisers to show their ads to the right people, not wasting time and money. You can target people via demographics, topics, customer match, similar audiences, video remarketing, affinity audience, in-market audience, or life events. 
  • Easy to set up campaigns. One upper hand of advertising on YouTube is that the ad manager platform is easy to use. Simply go to your Google AdWords account, set your campaign, select a campaign name, choose the video ad format, set a budget, and choose from many advanced settings.
  • Quickly measure and monitor results. It’s pretty easy to measure and monitor your YouTube ad campaigns. Go to your Google AdWords account and click on Analytics. There you can track video views per day, costs, budget details, and more. 
YouTube Marketing: Types of Ad Formats

As advertisers, it’s recommended to diversify your YouTube ads. Depending on your goal, you can choose from various videos or formats to engage with different customers. Here are the top six YouTube ad formats you can choose from:

1. Skippable in-stream ads

youtub advertising

Image grabbed from Digital Marketer

Skippable in-stream ads, or previously known as “TrueView” ads, are the classic ads you see before, during, or at the end of a YouTube video. Also known as pre-roll or mid-roll ads, users can have the option to skip these ads after five seconds. 

These ads are appropriate for desktops, mobile devices, TV, and game consoles. Advertisers will only have to pay a certain amount when users continue watching the ad after five seconds or engage with the ad by clicking it. Since you only have five seconds to make users take action, the video must be compelling. 

The recommended length of skippable in-stream ads is 12 seconds long or under three minutes. 

You might see the term “TrueView” on these YouTube video ads. This is YouTube’s ad format or payment type that lets users view or skip the ads after five seconds. 

2. Non-skippable in-stream ads

youtube advertising

Image grabbed from Oberlo

Non-skippable in-stream ads, as the name suggests, can’t be skipped. Instead, users must watch these ads in their entirety. And advertisers pay via a CPM (Cost-Per-Impression) system. This means advertisers only pay per impression. For example, when the impression reaches a thousand, advertisers pay a particular amount.

Like skippable in-stream ads, this type of format is also played before, in the middle, or at the end of the video. The recommended length for non-skippable in-stream ads is 15 seconds or shorter. The length is also dependent on the location and according to regional standards

Some advertisers prefer non-skippable ads because studies show that 76 percent of users skip ads right away because it has become a “habit.” And since you only have 15 seconds to hook users with your value proposition, you must make these ads captivating and persuasive. 

Estimated cost: For non-skippable and skippable in-stream ads: Between $0.10 and $0.30

3. Bumper ads

Bumper ads are excellent if you want to get your message across to massive audiences. Bumper ads are a facet of non-skippable in-stream ads and are displayed when both skippable, and non-skippable ads are turned on. 

The advantage of investing in YouTube advertising is you can have the option to create either longer or shorter videos. And this type falls on the shorter category — six seconds long, to be exact. Furthermore, these videos are played pre-, mid-, or post-roll, without the option to skip. 

That means users would have to be patient to watch the entire ad before the video starts. That said, an advertiser must ensure that they create a clear and memorable message that will increase brand awareness. Additionally, advertisers pay every time bumper ads appear. 

Check out these fantastic bumper ads on YouTube. 

Estimated cost: Between $1 and $4 cost per 1,000 views

4. Video discovery ads

Video discovery ads are another excellent format in YouTube advertising. Unlike the previous YouTube ad formats, this type shows up on the search video ads or watch results. 

For example, when a user types a query, video discovery ads are displayed on the first spot. However, these video ads must also be relevant to what the user is searching for. Therefore, these ads may appear in several ways:

Search Results:

youtube advertising

Image grabbed from WebFX

Watch Results:

youtube advertising

Image grabbed from HubSpot

The user can choose to ignore the video or play it, depending on how appealing it is at first glance. These ads will show a video thumbnail, heading, description, YouTube channel name, and video views. The headline must be a maximum of 25 characters, and the two-line description must be a maximum of 35 characters per line. Finally, advertisers are billed when a user chooses to play the ad. 

Estimated cost: About $0.30 per click

5. Masthead ads

youtube advertising

Image grabbed from Instapage

Masthead heads in YouTube marketing appear as native ads on top of the YouTube home feed. These feed video ads are displayed across all devices bearing your brand’s information through the form of a video. 

If advertisers want to reach a massive audience, this ad is recommended as it’s displayed on a prominent area on YouTube channels. This video ad format can either be in a 16:9 ratio or widescreen. 

These ads are mostly 30-seconds long or more and are auto-played without sound. Advertisers also get billed depending on the costs per day or cost per impression. However, advertisers will have to reserve a slot with a Google sales representative and submit the creative 48 hours before the campaign launch. 

Estimated cost: At least $5,000

6. Responsive display ads

youtube advertising

Image grabbed from WordStream

Responsive display ads offer the most reach among all the display ads in YouTube advertising. It provides maximum reach for brands as the ads automatically adjust in appearance, size, and format. It will be displayed on the available ad space on the Google Display Network. 

Google’s algorithm identifies the most proper combination between your uploaded assets and headlines, including images, logos, and videos.

YouTube Advertising: How to Set Up Your Campaign

YouTube advertising is quick and simple. It takes four steps before you can launch your campaign. Here’s how:

1. Create your campaign

Log in to your Google Ads account and click the New Campaign button. Select one of the listed campaign goals:

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Website traffic
  • Product and brand consideration
  • Brand awareness and reach

You may also select “Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance.” 

Select Video from the “Select a campaign type.” Remember, the campaign subtype depends on the goal you select. Here are the different subtypes you can choose from:

  • Drive conversions
  • Custom video campaign
  • Non-skippable in-stream
  • Bumper
  • Skippable in-stream
  • Influence consideration
  • Outstream
  • Ad sequence
  • Shopping

Click Continue.

2. Set up your campaign budget

Choose your bid strategy so you can optimize your bids in YouTube advertising. Enter a budget and choose between total budget or daily budget. The former is the budget you set for the entire campaign. The latter is the daily budget for your ads. 

When you choose the campaign total budget, it’s recommended to set start and end dates for your campaign.

3. Set up audience targeting

First, choose which network you want to run your ads. These are:

  • YouTube search results
  • YouTube videos
  • Video partners on the Display Network

Then select the language and location you’re targeting. This way, ads will show to users with matched languages and locations. Then choose content exclusion settings, and finally, narrow down the device targeting by selecting the Additional settings button.

4. Organize ads with ad groups

To target specific audiences, you can create ad groups based on a common theme, product, or category. 

Then define the audiences you want to reach with your YouTube ads. For example, choose from Demographics specifying the gender, age, parental status, or income. Or you can set targeting in Audiences to determine people with particular intents, demographics, interests, and more.

Pro Tip: When creating YouTube advertising campaigns, make sure the ads are relevant. Additionally, ensure that you optimize your ads with relevant headlines, URLs, calls to action, and other creative elements. 


Marketing on YouTube is a way brands can reach more of their audiences. With the way users consume information nowadays, it’s no surprise why videos are efficient avenues to get your brand out there. Plus, it doesn’t take rocket science to set up YouTube advertising campaigns. The process isn’t only easy, but it’s also affordable for all types of businesses. 

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