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Getting Started: Paid Advertising on YouTube

We’re on a YouTube advertising kick.

In case you haven’t heard – at the beginning of this year we spoke at the Knoxville Chamber’s Digital Marketing Series about YouTube and we’ve been sharing all that content right here on our blog! (If you missed the first two installments, you can click here to see the 8 Things to Get Right on YouTube AND click here to learn all about organic content on the platform).

If you’re ready to take the leap into paid video advertising and make it a regular part of your content marketing strategy, you’ve come to the right place. In addition to driving organic traffic to your content, there are also several paid options for promoting your videos on YouTube to expand your reach. We’re covering all of them right here.

Begin with the End in Mind

Your advertising goal is the foundation of your entire campaign, and it affects the types of video ads and bidding strategies available to you. So, before setting up your video campaign in Google Ads, consider what you want to get out of it:

Leads: Generate customer leads and conversions with video ad formats designed to encourage people to express interest and take action
Website Traffic: Bring interested people to your site and get more conversions with a compelling call to action and other features that encourage people to take action after your video plays
Product + Brand Consideration: Get more people to consider your products or brand with video ad formats designed to encourage engagement.
Brand Awareness + Reach: Increase awareness for your products or brand with video ad formats designed to get more views and expand your reach

The Five Ads Types

Keep in mind – there are other ad types that can be placed on Youtube (like graphic ads); however, we’re going to focus on the video ad formats you can utilize. The video ad content is hosted on YouTube and managed through Google Ads.

1. TrueView Discovery Ads

These ads show up on Youtube via the homepage, search results, and related videos based on targeted keywords, chosen audience or placements. The ad consists of a thumbnail image from your video with some text, and it invites people to click to watch the video. The video then plays on the YouTube Watch page.

2. TrueView In-Stream Ads

TrueView In-Stream ads show up before, during or after other videos on Youtube. They are your most malleable video ad type, and there are three subgroups:

Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads: Only offered to a high percentile of spending users. They are no longer than 15 seconds in the US, and the viewer has to watch it entirely.
Skippable In-Stream Ads: Sometimes called Standard Video ads in Google Ads. Really, you have the most flexibility with this ad type as there is no limit to how long these can be.
Shopping: Allows you to put up to six cards on your skippable TrueView ad to drive consumer action. You must have a Google Merchant Account to be eligible.

In both skippable and non-skippable in-stream video ads, we recommend keeping ads between 60-90 seconds and having your logo or business name show up in the first five seconds.

3. Bumper Ads

These are short six-second ads that are non-skippable. They should be catchy, simple ads that make a viewer want to visit your website. That’s right, you only have six seconds to catch someone’s attention – go watch some Vines (RIP) for inspiration.

4. OutStream Ads

OutStream ads are mobile-only video ads that play on partner websites and within apps. It includes a logo, description (with a CTA), a link to your Youtube video, and a link to your website. These are great for driving traffic to your already existing Youtube account or website.

We recommend only using this ad type when you have a Youtube page that is updated consistently with content, and as for your title – keep it catchy, creative and clear. People may only see it for a moment, so make them stop dead in their scroll.

5. Ad Sequence

This is a pretty impressive ad type because you can actually send a consumer on a step-by-step journey using different Youtube ads. Each step has a distinct goal and can have different bidding strategies. In short, you can use In-Stream, bumper or a variety of both to take a consumer on a trek to purchase.

This will take the most forethought out of any of these ad types.


Yeah, we know that was a lot.

So, we made a chart to help you out!

Keeping all this information in mind, you’re off to the ad races! However, it’s not enough to simply run these campaigns, you’ll want to actively monitor them…

We’ll cover that next in the fourth and final part in our YouTube blog series.

Big Slate Media Team