No matter how good your video ad content is, without the right YouTube advertising strategy, it can be hard to get good results from your video campaigns.

Unless you already have a big social media following, posting your video on Facebook or YouTube might get you a few thousand views, but if you really want your video ad to be seen, you need to run it on YouTube.

However, while YouTube ad campaigns are set up and run through Google AdWords, YouTube advertising is very different from your standard paid search or even display advertising.

In addition to targeting the right audience and creating killer video content, to succeed at YouTube advertising, you need to know which options to choose and what specifications your video needs to meet.

The good news is, in this article, we’re going to cover all of that. We’ll teach you everything you need to know to start advertising on YouTube today.

Let’s get started!

Why YouTube Advertising?

Creating engaging video content is a lot harder than writing a text ad or putting together an image ad. So why are marketers so excited about YouTube advertising?

The answer is simple: YouTube advertising gives marketers an affordable alternative to television ads.

For decades,TV ads have been the most effective form of media advertising However, when the typical 30-second spot on a nationally televised program can cost upwards of $100,000, all of the benefits of TV advertising have been firmly out of reach for most small-to-medium businesses.

YouTube changes all of that.

In many ways, YouTube is the new TV. While TV engagement has been declining over the past few years, YouTube viewership has skyrocketed. Every day, the world watches 1 billion hours of YouTube videos. That’s equivalent to 100,000 years…more than all of human history—in a single day!

In addition to YouTube’s tremendous reach and viewership, YouTube advertising is also a lot more accessible than conventional TV ads. Instead of paying thousands of dollars to secure a 30-second TV, YouTube advertisers typically pay pennies per view—and only if a viewer watches the ad for more than 30 seconds (or the whole ad if it’s shorter than 30 seconds).

According to Google, people who watch YouTube ads to completion are 23 times more likely to visit or subscribe to a brand channel, share a brand video, or watch more by the brand. Even those who don’t watch to the end are 10 times more likely to do one of those things.

In other words, YouTube advertising works.

Add in high level targeting (including the ability to target people based on their recent Google searches) and you have one of the most powerful advertising platforms in the world. With YouTube advertising, you can ensure that your brilliant video ads are seen by the right audience at the right time—all without breaking the bank.

How YouTube Advertising Works

Google offers several different video advertising options on YouTube: TrueView in-stream ads, TrueView video discovery ads and bumper ads.

Google also allows you to run display ads, overlay ads and sponsored cards on YouTube:

These ads are actually extensions of the display network, not video advertising, so we’ll stick to the video advertising options in this article.

Let’s take a look at how each of YouTube’s video ad types works:

TrueView In-Stream Ads

When most people think about YouTube advertising, they think of TrueView in-stream ads. In-stream ads are the ads that pop up right before the video you want to watch starts playing.

In most cases, viewers have to watch the ad for 5 seconds and then they are given the option to skip the rest of the ad or continue watching

If you set them up directly in your YouTube video, you can create cards or end screens that encourage viewers to do something specific, like click to your website. Alternatively, you can also set up a clickable call-to-action (CTA) that YouTube will display during the first 15 seconds of your video (more about how to set that up later).

For example, here is where Shutterstock’s clickable CTA shows up:

These CTAs are slick and give your audience an easy way to take action after viewing your ad. However, while these CTAs look much more professional than your typical YouTube card, they aren’t very eye-catching as a card or end screen, so it’s often a good idea to set up cards and end screens on your video in YouTube.

In addition to the classic skippable-at-5-seconds TrueView in-stream ads, you can also create non-skippable video ads that play before videos. These ads can also be run in the middle of videos that are at least 10 minutes long and cannot be longer than 15 seconds.

The great thing about TrueView in-stream ads is the wealth of information AdWords gives you on your video performance. In AdWords, you can see how many people are watching your video to completion, how quickly they drop off, click through rates on your CTAs and much more.

If you’re smart during your video creation process and film extra content, you can actually use this information to optimize your video for maximum performance. For example, if you have a lot of fall off right at the 5-second mark, but very little loss of viewers for the rest of your video, your hook (the first 5 seconds of your ad) might need some work.

In this situation, you can try changing up your hook and running a new version to see if more people stick around, click or convert. Let’s see television offer that kind of insight!




TrueView Video Discovery Ads (Previously Named In-Display Ads)

TrueView video discovery ads aren’t as well-known as in-stream ads, but they’re still pretty common. If you’ve ever searched for a video on YouTube, you’ve probably seen a video discovery ad like this one at the top of your search results:

It wouldn’t be Google if there weren’t ads at the top of the search results page, right?

In addition, video discovery ads also show up in the right-hand video side-bar:

Video discovery ads are particularly useful if you’re trying to promote a video that’s longer than 15-60 seconds. Even if they’re interested in your content, most people won’t wait 5+ minutes for your in-stream video ad to finish before they watch the video they were actually trying watch before you interrupted them.

However, if they clicked on your ad after seeing it in the search results or on the right hand video bar, they want to see your video, so they’ll be much more likely to watch even a fairly long video ad.



Bumper Ads

Finally, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum from video discovery ads, we have bumper ads. Bumper ads are short (no longer than 6 seconds), non-skippable ads that are primarily used to build and reinforce brand awareness.

Bumper ads aren’t all that commonly used. In fact, in an effort to find you a screen shot from a bumper ad, I went through literally dozens of videos on YouTube and still didn’t see a bumper ad.

Part of this is due to the way that YouTube works. When you pay for every view, it makes sense that most advertisers would want to run a longer video that has a better chance of producing clicks and new business.

However, bumper ads can be a great way to build familiarity with your business or reinforce a video marketing campaign.