Home > Blog > The Lowdown on YouTube Advertising

You want to be where the people are, right? ????

Everyone’s heard the phrase “YouTube is the second biggest search engine” – and while it’s become a bit of a marketing cliche, you can’t argue with it. YouTube usage has grown massively since the first video was uploaded back in 2005 – with more than 30 million visitors now hitting the site each day. 

As a result, video marketing has soared. Stats show that 8 out of 10 18-49 year-olds watch YouTube in an average month, with the number of hours people spend watching videos up 60% YoY – and it’s not showing any sign of declining any time soon. In fact, by 2025 it’s predicted that half of viewers under the age of 32 won’t subscribe to a pay-TV service – relying solely on platforms like YouTube for their viewing pleasure. 

With such growth, and such engagement, it’s inevitable that marketers and brands want to make the most of these switched-on audiences. Enter – YouTube advertising.

What’s the deal? 

YouTube advertising offers a chance to “be seen where everyone is watching” – maximising brand awareness and increasing the reach of your ads. There are a few different types of ads, offering a variety of placement options, from your ad playing before a user views a video, or showing up in YouTube search results. 

Advertising on YouTube 

Managed through Google Ads, YouTube ads offer a whole host of different formats – suited to different types of content, different budgets, and different goals. 

There are six main types of YouTube ads:

  • TrueView ads
  • Non-skippable instream ads
  • Bumper instream ads
  • Sponsored card ads
  • Overlay ads
  • Display ads


Here, we’re going to explore three of the most popular types in a bit more detail: 

TrueView ads

The main advertising format on YouTube, where you only pay if a user watches at least 30 seconds (or the duration, if the video isn’t 30 seconds long), or if they interact with your video in some way. There are two options for TrueView ads: In-stream ads play before a viewer’s chosen video, while Discovery ads appear on the right hand side above suggested videos. The videos for these ads must be between 12 seconds and 6 minutes long, and can be created using the “Video” campaign type. 

Pre-roll ads 

These are in-stream ads that are non-skippable, and can play before, mid-roll, or after the main video that a user is watching. They’re good for when you want to make sure that users see your whole message – without the option to skip. These in-stream options can be up to 15 seconds in duration, and are charged on a CPM basis – so you pay each time your ad is shown 1,000 times. 

Bumper ads 

Bumper ads are another non-skippable video ad format, which plays before a viewer’s chosen video. However, they’re super short, at less than 6 seconds long, so make sure you’ve got short, memorable messaging if you want to make the most of these. Again, they use a CPM bidding system, whereby you pay a fee per thousand views. Make sure that your targeting is on-point to make the most of this short format.

Benefits of YouTube advertising 

YouTube advertising comes with a host of benefits. If you know that your audience responds well to video content then YouTube could be a great platform to show your ads – although the cost of YouTube advertising can be off-putting for small companies. However, YouTube has said that “the number of small- and medium-sized businesses advertising on YouTube has doubled” in recent years – so don’t be off-put if you’re just starting out. 

Another benefit of YouTube advertising is the potential to reach a large percentage of the population quickly and effectively, at a time when they are actively looking to engage with content. YouTube says that “most businesses start with at least £6 per day for local campaigns”, so explore the options that work for your budget.

Targeting options are also strong on YouTube, making use of the wealth of information that Google possesses. Don’t get too sucked in by such granular targeting capabilities, though – you don’t want to limit your reach too much. 

Flexibility is another big strength, with the option to change up your ads in real-time depending on what’s working and what isn’t – helping you to get the most out of your budget. This can sometimes make it less daunting to have a play around with YouTube ads – knowing that you can tweak or remove elements as and when you need to. Plus, if you never try, who knows what you might be missing out on….

Have you had a go with YouTube advertising before? Let us know how you got on over on Twitter, or check out some of our other YouTube related blogs – including how to navigate your way around YouTube’s Creator Studio.


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