youtube advertisingPhoto by Christian Wiediger


With two billion users logging in monthly, YouTube is the world’s second-largest social media platform. If you’re looking to reach a new audience or add a new channel to your marketing in 2021, then YouTube advertising might be a smart move.

This guide will help you get started with YouTube ads. It includes the top tricks and tips to ensure your ad campaigns are successful, even from the get-go.

How Does YouTube Advertising Work?

YouTube has monetized videos for some time now. When a video becomes popular, the platform adds commercials to the content. There are also other types of YouTube ads as well.

Types of YouTube ads include:

  • Skippable in-stream ads
  • Non-skippable in-stream ads
  • Video discovery ads
  • Overlays and banners

Skippable and non-skippable in-stream ads play before or during a video. These placements are known as pre-roll and mid-roll. Skippable ads can be skipped after five seconds, whereas non-skippable ads can’t.

With skippable ads, advertisers only pay if people keep watching past those first five seconds. You pay when someone watches 30 seconds, clicks the ad, or watches the whole thing.

As noted, non-skippable ads aren’t skippable. Bumper ads are non-skippable, in part because they’re just six seconds.

Discovery ads appear in YouTube’s search results. You can think of them like Amazon’s sponsored products or the ads that crop up on Google. They’re recommended to the user on the basis of their search.

Finally, overlays and banner ads are much like the non-video ads you’ll see on other websites. Overlays are text ads that appear floating at the bottom of a video, while banner ads appear in the sidebar.

How to Use Each Type of YouTube Ad

Now that you know the different types of YouTube ads available for you, you need to think about how you’ll use them.

Most brands choose skippable ads. They tend to be cheap, especially since you only pay when someone watches the entire ad, 30 seconds, or clicks the ad. About 65 percent of people claim they skip video ads when given the option.

Skippable ads can work for raising brand awareness, but they’re not necessarily great for getting engagement. Many brands pair their skippable ads with TrueView banner ads, which crop up in the sidebar. These ads stay even after the user skips the in-stream ad.

Other brands prefer to use non-skippable ads. These are better for getting people to watch to the end, but most users dislike them. Use them if you’re sure your creative will hold people’s attention for 15 seconds.

If you’re not sure your creative will command attention that long, then the bumper ad might be a good choice. These are ultra-short ads, clocking just six seconds. You’ll need to get your message across quickly.

Discovery ads are also a type of TrueView ad, because users have to choose to watch them.

Discovery ads are some of the least intrusive on the platform, but they may not yield as many views or clicks. Overlays and banner ads are also considered TrueView, because users must opt to click them.

Developing a YouTube Advertising Strategy

Your next step will be to develop your strategy for advertising on YouTube. Think about the demographic you’re trying to reach. Build an ideal “viewer” profile.

Next, think about the types of ads these people are likely to engage with. Not everyone uses YouTube as a search engine, so some users will never see discovery ads. If you choose to use skippable in-stream ads, then you may want to pair them with overlays and banners as well.

Now it’s time to think about the creative itself. What kind of message do you want to send to viewers? What do you want them to do when they see your ad?

Video ads need to be engaging, even if they are a six-second bumper ad. What will hook the viewer and get them to watch the entire ad? Many brands choose to make their YouTube ads humorous or otherwise entertaining.

Keep the viewer profile in mind here. Not everyone will think the same things are funny or entertaining. You’ll need to adjust your creative for each type of ad, as well as each user demographic you want to reach.

Setting Up Your Campaign

Now it’s time to get started with your YouTube advertising. Your next step will be to set up a campaign.

You’ll need a Google Ads account to get started. From there, you’ll want to select an objective:

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Traffic
  • Brand awareness

Next, you’ll select your campaign type. The form includes all Google ads, so be sure to select “Video” or “Discovery” to get your ads to YouTube audiences.

Discovery ads run across Google’s network, so remember that these are not YouTube-specific. You’ll want to ensure your creative is suitable for audiences on other websites and platforms as well.

If you’re working with video, then you’ll be able to choose a campaign subtype. Now you’ll set your parameters. This includes targeting your audience, budget, and more.

Best Practices for YouTube Ads

These YouTube ads best practices will help you make your ads successful right from the get-go.

The first tip is to ensure you’re following YouTube’s guidelines on formatting and length. You should always get your point across in as little time as possible.

That also means you should brand early in the video. This is especially important since people skip ads. If your goal is brand awareness, get your brand name or logo in front of them at the start of the ad.

You’ll also want to be sure you’re telling a story, and that your branding goes beyond those first five seconds. Finally, show what people should do next, whether it’s signing up or calling you.

Make a Splash With a Better YouTube Strategy

YouTube advertising may seem challenging at first, but it can be an effective channel for many businesses. With these tips in hand, you’re ready to get started on the right foot.

Still not sure how to get your YouTube advertising strategy off the ground? Get in touch with the experts here at Media Shark! If you want to swim with the big fish, we’re ready to help.