So you want to make a video ad for YouTube, but you’re not sure how your ad will stand out in the 300 hours of video that are uploaded to YouTube every minute? The good news is that along with the endless stream of video content, there’s over 30 million eyeballs fixed on YouTube every day too.
In this blog, we’ll cover how to make and upload a YouTube ad, the ins and outs of YouTube advertising targeting, the types of YouTube ads to choose from, and more.
With this handy info, you can clear any doubt in your mind if YouTube is the right advertising platform for your business.
Let’s go! (oh, and, don’t skip!)
How YouTube ads work
If you didn’t already know, Google owns your soul YouTube - so advertising on YouTube is done through Google Ads and maximises your reach by placing your video ad either on YouTube or in Google search results. If you’ve ever used Google Ads or Facebook Ads - YouTube Ads features will look familiar to you.
To get started, simply link your YouTube Channel to Google Ads.
Tip: Set up Google Ads here if you haven’t already.
And, you’re going to want to set-up and link Google Analytics to your YouTube account too - for access to handy campaign analytics and retargeting.
Okay, now that all the account admin is taken care of - get ready to make your YouTube ad!
Types of YouTube ads
Let’s take a look at the difference between the main types of video ads on YouTube.
Skippable in-stream ads
Key points:- play before or during a video- users can choose to skip after the first 5 seconds- As an advertiser, you only pay when a person has watched the first 30 seconds, or the whole thing, or if they interact with your ad by clicking: whichever comes first.- Your ad must be at least 12 seconds long (though under 3 minutes is recommended)Note: What’s ‘TrueView’ - this is YouTube’s pet name for when you only pay for an ad impression when a user chooses to watch it - i.e. they don’t skip!
Non-skippable in-stream ads
It probably comes as no surprise that 76% of people skip ads. So, some advertisers get around this with ads that don’t have a skip button. For these, you pay per impression.The question is - When should you do this? Only if you want to ‘go big or go home’ and your creative is strong enough to go up against your audience’s attention span.Then, there’s bumper ads (aka pre-roll ads) - the shorter, Danny Devito twin of the non-skippable Arnold Schwarzenegger in-stream ad. At 6 seconds long, they’re identical in that they are also non-skippable and you pay for impressions.
(formerly known as in-display ads)In-stream ads are thought of as traditional TV-style commercials, whereas discovery ads are more like the ads that come at the top of a Google search. Which, when you think about it - YouTube is just as much a search engine as it is a social platform).- Show up alongside organic search results- Include a headline (max 25 characters)- Description of 2 lines (max 35 characters)- The image is chosen from 4 generated thumbnails- When someone interested clicks the ad, they’re linked through to your video or YouTube channel. Note: they also considered a type of ‘TrueView’ ad, because people must actively choose to watch them.
How to make YouTube ads
Just like any other successful video ad - you want it to be short, sharp and grab the viewer’s attention in the first 5 seconds.
YouTube ads best practices
Follow these YouTube ads best practices for more handy tips.
Get your branding to appear in the first 5 seconds, as well as throughout the ad
Have a CTA - you want to get click-through! Put an overlay in the ad / add a companion banner
Make it easy - use a template!
YouTube ad specs
Skippable and non-skippable in-stream video ads must first be uploaded as regular YouTube videos. So, essentially, your ad specs will be the same as for any YouTube video. Except for:
Video Codec: H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4
Audio Codec: AAC, MP3
Aspect ratio: 16:9 or 4:3 is recommended, but YouTube will automatically adapt the file depending on the aspect ratio and device
Frame Rate: 30 FPS
File Size: Max. 1 GB
Bumper ads and in-stream ads
JPG, static GIF, or PNG
Follow Google’s image ad policies
Now you’ve made your ad, you need to know how to put ads on YouTube.
How to put ads on YouTube
This process is called a Campaign.
Go to your Google Ads dashboard, and on the Campaigns tab, click the + button and select ‘New Campaign’.
Next, choose your campaign type - as you know, there’s several types of ads you can run (see above) here’s where you select the ad to match the campaign goal.
What is your ad goal?
Leads and Website Traffic
The best options for driving traffic and generating conversions from your YouTube ads)
Product and Brand Consideration
This provides opportunities for creating broader brand awareness -putting your products in front of big audiences and influencers.
Brand Awareness and Reach
This helps generate brand buzz and includes more options for ad types)
After determining your campaign objective, select ‘video’ as your campaign type and click ‘continue’.
Choose your Ad Format i.e. TrueView, In-Stream etc, then set your Budget, Schedule and Bidding Strategy ...
Wait ... how much do YouTube ads cost?
The answer is: it’s hard to say definitively. The price of YouTube ads involves you bidding for ad placement - YouTube ads have an average cost-per-view of 10c-30c, and the average cost of reaching 100,000 viewers is around $2,000.
Maximum CPV used with TrueView ads = the most you want to pay for each view of your ad.
Discovery Ads, it = the maximum you’re willing to pay for users to click on your ad.
Target CPM = the average you’re willing to pay for your conversions.
Get it seen
YouTube search results (this option is available for discovery ads only)
YouTube videos (considered the best option for most ads for the best balance of price and quality)
Video Partners on the Display Network (these ads will run on partner sites outside of YouTube. While it may reduce your cost, it can also reduce the quality of your campaign outcome)
You then also select the preferred language and locations you want to target.
Just when you thought you were done ...
Time for the Inventory
Inventory is important as it ensures your ads run alongside quality content. For example,
Expanded Inventory: will help maximise your viewing potential, but your ads run the risk of being aligned with potentially sensitive content. Consider avoiding if you don’t want your ads to run with mature content.
Standard Inventory: This is the option YouTube recommends and it’s deemed appropriate for most brands
Limited Inventory: If playing it safe is best for your brand, Limited typically excludes most sensitive content.
Though, you can refine further with Excluded Content which allows you to signal that you want your ads not to appear in conjunction with certain types of content - such as sensitive social issues or shocking news.
Refine further still - Excluded Types and Labels - this allows you to further drill down - for example, you can opt-out of live-streaming videos - because they’re happening in real-time, categorising is a challenge.
Prevent the eye-roll - set a Frequency Cap - this means you can limit how many times your ad can be shown in the same user.
Define your Target Audience
YouTube advertising targeting could warrant an entire blog of its own - if you want to geek out on demographics: further reading here. And while you’re at it, check out our Guide to Creating a Video Marketing Strategy.
Keywords, Topics and Placements
These are the 3 settings to narrow your reach.
Forget what you know about keywords - in this instance, you’re not looking for what people are searching for - rather the keywords that appear in the YouTube videos where your ads will be displayed. YouTube takes the titles, tags and descriptions of the video and matches them against the keywords you’ve added to place your ad in the most relevant video.
Oh, you’re so close… just
Set the Bid Amount for your campaign
Remember, the higher your Maximum CPV, the better. Give your campaign a head start by first setting your Maximum CPV at 3-5x above the average price, see how it performs, then adjust it after you’ve got some data on how the ad is going.
Lastly, upload your Ad!
Now you know everything about how to make video ads for YouTube!