How to Advertise on YouTube: Ad Formats and Setup Tips

The world of YouTube ads is vast and not always accessible to all, but giving it up is a shame. We’ve prepared the guide to help you get started

Alla Taff
May 23 2018

More and more advertisers today tend to invest in video ads because video marketing greatly evolves with each passing day. According to recent statistics, almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube every single day and 63% of businesses use video content marketing. If you want to join that successful community, you need to know how and where to place ads to earn revenue. Let’s delve into the main principles for creating your own ad campaign on YouTube.

About Video Ad Formats

Running video ads on YouTube is possible with creating a TrueView ad campaign. The beauty of this technology is that you pay when a viewer watches your video or engages in the related interactions, including clicks on the CTA overlays, cards, companion banners, etc. All of the promotional videos must be placed on the YouTube server. For advertisers’ convenience, the video-sharing service figured out all the requirements for uploading and choosing the proper content format.

The 3 TrueView video ad formats:

  • In-Stream video ads
  • Video Discovery ads
  • Bumper Ads

With this diversified approach to advertising, you can decide how much to pay for ads, so you can regulate your expenses and coverage on your own! In addition to such a flexible payment system, the duration of your advertising video can exceed 30 seconds. Thus, you have additional time to present your product or service to the target audience. With the exception of YouTube, your TrueView ads can also run on the display networks.

TrueView In-Stream Video Ads

TrueView In-Stream video ads can run before, during, or even after the streamed YouTube video, whether it appears directly on the service or on the video partners on the Google Display Network, including video publisher games and apps. This ad format is great for brand promotion, but it also provides quite a low conversion rate. Effective video advertising is short, impressive, and clear. Your ad message must be understandable from the very beginning and direct a potential client to your YouTube channel or landing page where they can access more information about your offer. When you provide viewers with interesting, additional content, you will engage them and considerably increase your brand awareness.

Due to the company rules and the duration of the ad viewing, there are two main categories of video ads:

Skippable ads

Can be skipped by users after five seconds of viewing. This ad view will be paid only if the user watches 30 seconds of the video. However, the overall duration of this video cannot exceed 6 minutes.

Non-skippable ads

Viewers must watch the entire ad before playing their desired video. This format runs for up to 15–120 seconds.

How should YouTube video ads look? Each video ad on the service contains a title, channel interaction panel, and a channel name. Additionally, it can display a call to action element: for example, a link to your website in the “Go to the advertiser’s site” block (as seen below).

TrueView Video Discovery Ads

TrueView video discovery ads run alongside other YouTube videos, on sites within the Google Display Network, or in search pages of the video-sharing website. If a viewer chooses to watch the video by clicking on the ad, the ad will be paid.

What do you usually do when you need to know how to do something? You go to YouTube for help. For instance, let’s say you need to know how to build a website. When you entered the request, a TrueView Video Discovery ad appears:

Then while choosing a video tutorial on how to create a website using a ready-made TemplateMonster template, you can observe two ad formats: overlay and display advertising.


Appears in the form of an ad text block at the bottom of the video and takes about 20% of the window’s total size. An ad will be paid if the viewer clicks and proceeds to the full ad version. This kind of ad works only for desktops.

Display ad

Display ads look like a banner placed to the right of the feature video. This kind of advertising is accessible only for desktop viewers and is paid only when opened by a viewer.

Bumper ads

Bumper ads are short non-skippable commercial videos that last up to 6 seconds. They occupy the full screen and available on desktops as well as mobile devices. You pay for them beginning at 1000 commercial views. Due to recent Google and Eye Square researchers, TrueView advertising equipped with bumper ads is more effective and creates greater brand awareness for viewers.

To learn more about bumper ads benefits for boosting your brand awareness, check out this article. To achieve the desired effect from your video ad, you need to properly adjust its key elements. It’s important to insert keywords into the video title and description, but make sure the keywords correspond to the content of your video ad.

How to Set Up YouTube Video Advertising

Prior to running an advertising campaign on YouTube, you need to create a Google AdWords account. After successful authorization, you can set up and manage your TruView ads. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Create a promotion campaign

Step 2: Select the campaign type and subtype (TrueView ads are created with the “Video” campaign type)

Step 3: Enter a campaign name and daily budget

To display your ad throughout the day, you need to choose the Standard Display Method. A word of caution: if you opt for the Accelerated Display Method, your ad will be frequented at the beginning of the day, which will quickly exceed your budget.

Step 4: Edit advanced ad settings like launch date, targeting, language, and location

To reach your target audience, enter the time when users watch your ads. With the “Exceptional Content” option, you can restrict your ad display to specific categories.

Step 5: Define your target audience and specify the coverage

To reach more potential customers, it is better to specify your advertising by creating several campaigns targeting different segments.

Step 6: Upload your video advertising or select it on YouTube

After meeting all of the requirements for creating an effective TruView video ad, select the proper ad format and icon appearance, and compose a video description. Prior to running your video ad, preview it using a mobile device or PC.

Step 7: Get access to ad Settings and Management panel

After you launch your ad campaign, you can manage and monitor the number of views with YouTube Analytics. This handy tool gives you a chance to delve into video advertising analytics.

Congratulations! You’ve launched a promotion campaign and now you can link your YouTube channel to your AdWords account to access more stats and add overlays. To add the channel, select and click “My Channel” → “Video Manager” → “Advanced.” In the “AdWords for video” section, click “Link accounts” and follow the provided instructions. In your AdWords account, confirm the link request. With the extremely flexible video campaigns, you can help your business flourish by making use of an engaging and popular format. As you can see, creating an ad campaign isn’t so challenging, but it’s up to you to provide a quality product to promote.




PostFunnel, by Optimove, covers the intersection of data, technology, design and innovation in retention marketing, helping practitioners to excel at their work

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Post Funnel

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PostFunnel, by Optimove, covers the intersection of data, technology, design and innovation in retention marketing, helping practitioners to excel at their work

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