How To Advertise On YouTube - Ad Formats Explained!

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Read the transcript of this episode of Giant Wednesday... 👇

YouTube – the home of funny cats, makeup tutorials, gaming videos and… oh look! Giant Wednesday! 

It’s the second largest search engine and it’s an awesome place to advertise – and that’s why you’re here today, isn’t it?

Well, let me take you through the wonderful world that is YouTube advertising in this week’s episode of GIANT Wednesday.

Hi, I’m Yumna from Sleeping Giant Media and today we’re going to be looking at Youtube Advertising, how to get started with it and the different options that you can choose from once you’ve gotten to grips with the basics.

If you like what I have to say in today’s video then make sure to subscribe to our channel where we release digital marketing skills-based videos every week! 

Let’s delve in, shall we? 

So, did you know that 78.8% of marketers say that YouTube is the most effective video marketing platform, even beating Facebook?

Youtube also accounts for 27.1% of digital video ad spending with 62% of marketers planning to increase their video ad spend on YouTube!

So yeah, by thinking about giving YouTube advertising a go and being here listening to me, you’ve made a great choice!

We’ve all used YouTube at least once. Yeah, even you, I know you’ve been watching Vine compilations in secret! 

Like most things, if you’ve never done it before, YouTube Ads can feel a bit… complicated.

But, it’s important to recognize that Youtube has a large reach and a very impressive targeting capacity. 

Video content is typically the best performing content which is why so many companies end up leaning toward the visual medium. 

However, when it comes to video ads, most platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram only really offer one or two options. 

YouTube, as one of the giants of visual entertainment on the internet, has several options that you can choose from, depending on what you’re trying to achieve. 

When you’re ready to make your YouTube ads and campaigns, you’ll want to head to the Google Ads interface where you can start by selecting the ‘Video’ campaign type.

You can select specific video ad formats depending on the goal that you’ve selected for the campaign. Today we’re going to be covering the four main types of video ad formats:

Skippable in-stream ads

Non-skippable in-stream ads

Video discovery ads

Bumper ads


We’ll start with skippable in-stream ads.

These are the ads that play before or during a video, you’ll notice which ones they are by their defining feature which is the option to skip them after the first 5 seconds. 

If you select this ad type, you’re charged depending on the type of bidding you run the ad under.

With Cost Per View bidding, you pay when a viewer watches 30 seconds of your video or the whole video (if it’s shorter than 30 seconds).

With any other bidding, you pay based on impressions.

This ad format is ideal for campaign objectives like product and brand consideration, leads, website traffic, brand awareness and reach, and sales. 


Now we’ll move onto non-skippable in-stream ads.

This ad format works best for videos that are 15 seconds or shorter and they play before, during or after videos.

This is ideal for when you have a short video and you want viewers to see the entire message of your ad without skipping the video.

With this format, you are charged based on impressions, so you’ll pay every time that your ad is shown.

You’ll also only be able to use this format when you select the brand awareness and reach campaign objective. 


Next up is video discovery ads.

This ad format is different from the others as it is made up of a thumbnail image from your video ad, followed by text. 

This ad format, unlike the others, appears only on YouTube search results, alongside related YouTube videos and on the mobile home page.

You’re only charged for this ad format when viewers choose to watch your ad by clicking the video thumbnail.

This format is best for promoting your video content alongside related YouTube videos, making interactions by users much more intentional.

This format is only available with the Product and brand consideration campaign goal.


And finally Bumper ads. 

These are ideal for reaching a wide variety of users with a short but memorable message. 

These ads are 6 seconds or shorter and play before, during or after videos, but there is no option to skip this ad. 

When you opt for this format, you are charged based on impressions and it can only be used with the Brand awareness and reach campaign goal.

How very exciting this all is! 

There is a fifth option when it comes to Youtube Ads which is called a Masthead ad. 

However, this format is only available on a reservation basis through a Google sales representative.

The other enticing element of Youtube Ads aside from the variety of formats is the audience target and ad placements. 

A majority of the ad formats that YouTube offers, with the exception of video discovery ads, display your ad on Youtube as well as across a range of websites and apps that run on Google Video Partners. 

And when it comes to the audience, there’s plenty of choice with targeting.

There’s the option of using keywords that help match your ads to the video content.

You can reach people based on demographics like age, gender and parental status.

You can utilise topics to reach people based on their interest in those topics.

Offline data can even be used to reach and re-engage with your customers, as well as finding similar audiences based on this data.

The possibilities really are endless!

As consumers of the digital age, we love video content and YouTube offers a range of different routes and options that you can opt for to reach your audience in the most successful and meaningful way possible.


So, that was a look through the YouTube ad types, how they work, what they’re best for and how you can use them in your marketing strategy!

If you have any more advice, or if you think we’ve missed anything… or to tell us your successes with YouTube advertising- make sure you leave a comment and let us know! 


Here’s today’s Giant CheatSheet on this topic – click the link in the description to download it, or just take a screenshot if you’re on mobile!

As always, make sure you subscribe to our channel for more great content every week.


Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next time for another GIANT Wednesday.

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