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A Beginner's Guide to YouTube Ads in 2022

Jack Boulton

Plunging head first into the world of YouTube ads can be a pretty daunting decision for a business owner to make.But when executed correctly, advertising on YouTube can be an extremely fruitful marketing tactic, and when you take a closer look at some of the numbers, it's no wonder why…The video sharing platform is the second most popular website on the internet, second only to Google, with data from Hootsuite revealing that 30 million daily users are chomping through a staggering 5 billion videos every single day.That adds up to an eye watering (quite literally) total of 1 billion hours of video watched on a daily basis – now that's a lot of cat videos.And these numbers are growing…With more and more people across the world becoming obsessed with consuming content on YouTube, it soon becomes very clear why a growing number of marketers are getting in on the act and capitalising on the site’s ever-increasing popularity.If people are spending hours everyday searching for things like ‘tasty recipes', ‘back pain exercises' or ‘soccer boot reviews', they are basically telling YouTube “I like cooking”, “I have back pain” or “I need new soccer boots”.Which, for business owners and marketers, is the dream.It's your golden ticket to getting your product or service in front of the eyeballs that count.

Hopefully you’re starting to develop an understanding of why YouTube ads can pack such a powerful punch when it comes to getting exposure for your brand or business.But before we get ahead of ourselves, successfully getting your ads in the faces of your target audience is just the tip of the YouTube advertising iceberg.Beneath the surface lies a whole world of ad options and optimisation opportunities for you to get your teeth into before you can start calling yourself a YouTube ad expert.We’re going to dive into the nitty gritty of advertising on YouTube soon, but first let’s start by looking at the different types of ads available as this is arguably the most important aspect to running a successful campaign.

What are the different types of YouTube Ads?

As you can imagine, since YouTube first introduced ads to its platform way back in 2007, things have come a long way.In fact, you’ll probably be able to remember the days when you could watch hefty chunks of content on YouTube without being interrupted by advertisements.But while those early years may be looked back upon as the platform’s glory days by many users, it is in the years that followed when YouTube really exploded into the video sharing phenomenon it is today.Much of this can be put down to the variety of different advertising options that have been introduced and fine-tuned over the years.Today, there are four video ad categories on Youtube.

  • Skippable video ads
  • Non-skippable video ads
  • Bumper ads
  • Overlay ads

1. Skippable video ads

Also known as TrueView ads, skippable video ads are your bread and butter for advertising on YouTube and a great place to get started.These are the ads that usually pop up before a video starts, giving you the option to skip after 5 seconds.Skippable ads are so popular because they bring benefits to the table for both users and marketers.For users, they’re favourable because of the skippable element. As much as we like to think our ads are being watched intently and digested accordingly, a whopping 76% of users skip ads out of habit alone.Being able to bypass these ads after just 5 seconds brings some solace to the impatient internet consumer (all of us) and provides a more enjoyable all round user experience.In other words, people will be less annoyed with your ads if they can skip through them :DBut how can this be a good thing for the marketer?!Well, the good news is that you only pay for your ad if the user:

  • Watches it for 30 seconds or more
  • Watches it until the end
  • Interacts with it (for example clicks on your CTA)

This means that you’ll only end up paying for views from users that are somewhat interested in your ad, rather than just anyone and everyone.To highlight just how significant this is, Google ran a study that revealed users who watch skippable ads to the end, or at least 30 seconds, are 23X more likely to take action.Yikes!In fact, even people who skip ads are 10X more likely to visit or subscribe to a brand channel than those who aren’t exposed to them altogether.So even the skippers (which remember, you won’t pay for) are being influenced by your skippable video ads.

You only pay for views on skippable video ads if the user watches 30+ seconds, until the finish or clicks on the ad.

Before we move onto the next category of ads, let’s really break down the 3 different formats of skippable video ads there are.We know, this is a lot to take in, just breathe…

1a) TrueView In-Stream ads

TrueView In-Stream ads play during YouTube videos and can range from 12 seconds to 3 minutes in length.There is no ad copy word limit for TrueView In-Stream ads and you can also choose to make them appear anywhere in the Google Display Network like on mobile sites or other apps.

An example of a TrueView In-Stream ad from Banggood with a clear CTA in the bottom left hand corner.

1b) TrueView Video Discovery ads

Video discovery ads are promoted throughout YouTube and can be stumbled upon in multiple different places – hence the name ‘discovery’.They can show up either on the homepage, search results pages or in the related videos section and have no video length limit as they must consciously be navigated to in order to be seen.

A Mailchimp TrueView Discovery ad found on the YouTube homepage.

1c) TrueView for Reach

This is the latest addition to the TrueView family after being introduced in 2018.TrueView for Reach is more of an optimization option than an actual ad type, but it’s an important term to be familiar with because it enables marketers to reach large audiences quickly.With TrueView for Reach, ads must be between 6 and 30 seconds long, but instead of paying for each user who watches your entire ad or clicks through, you’re billed per 1,000 views – also known as Cost Per Impressions or CPM.

2) Non-Skippable YouTube Ads

  • Pre-roll ads, which show before a video plays.
  • Mid-roll ads, which show midway through videos that are 10+ minutes long.

If you’re thinking about running non-skippable ads, it’s worth ensuring that your advert makes sense exclusively via audio.That way if people do physically leave their screen they’ll still be able to make sense of your messaging without watching your ad.Non-skippable ads are, you guessed it, unable to be skipped…Mind blowing stuff right?As you probably already know, these can be kinda irritating when you’re in a hurry.But people are getting used to seeing non-skippable ads and often just preoccupy themselves while they’re playing.There are two different types of non-skippable ads you need to know about, both capped at a maximum length of 20 seconds:

A non-skippable ad from Google for their Google Nest product.

3) Bumper Ads

Bumper ads are the short, sharp adverts that play at the beginning of videos.Yes, they may be unskippable, but lasting a maximum of just 6 seconds in length means that if you can get your main message across concisely then you’re onto a winner.Bumper ads are great for targeting mobile users and they also work well in combination with longer video campaigns.For example, by trimming down a non-skippable advert to its core elements, you can run a shortened bumper ad campaign that still includes all the juicy bits and retarget users who’ve already seen the longer version.This’ll help hammer home your message without getting on viewers’ nerves!

An example of a bumper ad from Mercedes just 6 seconds in length.

4) Non-Video Ads

If you’re working with a bit of a shoestring advertisement budget then non-video ads could well be your best friend when it comes to advertising on YouTube.There are two different types to be aware of, display ads and overlay ads.Display ads can be found above the ‘Up next’ section and feature an image, text and a CTA that links to a specific site.

To the right of our glowing testimonial you can see a display ad from Smile Direct Club.

In-video overlay ads are the thin banners that appear at the bottom of a playing video. These pop up automatically when watching content on a monetised channel and can be exited by the user.

A classic example of a banner ad accompanied by a classic Indian dish.

Now that you know all about the different types of YouTube ads it’s time to explore how to kick off your campaign – how exciting!!

How to set up a successful YouTube ad campaign?

So you’ve finished filming and editing your piece of shiny new marketing content, now what?It’s time to create your video ad campaign.

Step 1: Upload your ad to YouTube

Just login to your YouTube account and hit the small video recorder icon in the top right hand corner.Make sure you fill out all the corresponding form fields like title, tags and description.

Step 2: Set up your goals

Head to your Google Ads account and hit the button that says “+ New Campaign”.You’ll then be asked to choose your campaign’s goals, with these different options to greeting you:

Once you've chosen your goal, select "Video" from the campaign type options (note, not all goals allow video campaigns).

Step 3: Select a budget

Now you’ll see all the different ad options we spoke about earlier, like skippable and bumper etc.Pick the one you’re looking for and then enter in your campaign name.

This is also where you can enter your bid strategy and budget. Note, you can choose to pay for every view of your ad (Maximum CPV) or every 1,000 impressions (Target CPM).When it comes to budget, you can either opt for a daily limit on your ads or choose a budget for your entire campaign.

Step 4: Decide on where you want your ad to appear

Remember earlier when we touched upon ads showing up in Google’s Display Network?Well this section is where you can choose whether your advertisements appear there, in YouTube’s search results or during videos.

Step 5: Choose your audience

This is a really important step in determining the success of your campaign as you’re making sure the right people see your ad!You can target users based on virtually anything including interests, age, gender, marital status and way more.

Another tip is to make the most of affinity audiences to capture the right viewers.Affinity audiences basically lets you target people who have shown an interest in a product or service that’s similar to yours, increasing the likelihood that they’ll re-engage and click on your ad.Remarketing your ads to users who’ve already interacted with them in the past is a great way to nudge them in front of people who you know resonate with your brand.Adding in keywords will also make sure your ad is seen by users who’ve searched for relevant terms on Google.With all these targeting options, it’s a good idea to set up multiple campaigns for the same ad and target different audiences.That way you’ll be able to learn what type of user is best receiving your ad, enabling you to then laser focus your campaign on them.

Step 6: Time to bid

This is pretty straightforward, just set the maximum price you’re willing to pay for each view.You can always adjust this later on to increase the exposure of your ad!

Step 7: Get creative

It’s time to put the finishing touches on your advert.Insert the YouTube link for the video you want to advertise, choose the format and thumbnail.You’ll then be asked to enter a headline, description 1 and description 2 as well as a name for your ad.

Before you move on, double check the preview of your ad given on the right hand side of your screen.

Step 8: Create your campaign!

Congratulations!Now you can hit that big beautiful blue button…

So, all the groundwork has been done.Your campaign is up and running.But before you put your feet up and grab a cold one, there are a few things you need to know about tracking and optimising your campaign to make sure it hits the heights it’s capable of!

How to track and optimise your campaign?

The number one place to track your campaign is with our trusty old friend, Google Ads.By linking your YouTube channel to Google Ads you'll be able to track key metrics and develop a deeper understanding of where your campaign is coming up short.Here are some of the key metrics you should keep an eye out for:

  • Views - How many people have watched your ad until the end or for at least 30 seconds?
  • Impressions - How many people have been shown your video?
  • View rate - What percentage of people that were shown your ad actually watched it?
  • Cost Per Click (CPC) - How much have you paid for each click?
  • Cost Per View (CPV) - How much have you paid for each view?
  • Earned actions - How many people either clicked through, subscribed to your channel, visited your site or like your video?

For reference, here are some important KPI averages:

  • Average view rate: 31.9%
  • Average CPV for In-Display Ads: $0.30
  • Average CPV for In-Search Ads: $0.10
  • Average view CTR: 0.514%

If your ad is running across the Google Display Network, don't forget to check in and see how it is performing across different sites too.You can do so by heading to your Google Ads Campaigns dashboard and navigating to Video Targeting > Placements > Where ads were shown > Display network.If you're getting no clicks on a particular website, then simply exclude them from your campaign and you should see a rise in your average CPV.Just like you do with all other areas of digital marketing (or should be), test, test, test!

Top Tip #1: Make your CTA pop

If you’re running an ad that can include a CTA, like in-stream ads, then you better make the most of it.Make sure your CTA is clear and punchy.Good examples include:

  • Buy Now
  • Download For Free
  • Sign Up Today
  • Start Now

Whatever your goals are, choose a CTA that aligns with it and make it pop!

Top Tip #2: Build a memorable channel

If you’re putting all that time and effort into running a successful YouTube ad campaign, then it seems only right that your channel is given a bit of TLC too.Once you’ve got a campaign up and running, the chances are more people are going to be landing on your channel page too, so you want to make sure it looks nice and tidy and offers plenty of value.You want to try and keep users (that you’ve tried so hard to capture) eating up content up from your channel for as long as possible, and they won't do so if it's as bare as a student’s fridge.Behind-the-scenes footage, how-to videos and client testimonials all give viewers a closer look into what you’re all about, and remember, they’re already in watching mode so you just gotta keep them ticking along nicely.

Top Tip #3: Content is king

With so much to take in about setting up and running your campaign, it’s very easy to forget how important the quality of your video content is.As we know all too well, people are impatient. So that limited window of opportunity you have to work with is so, so important.Boring, dry content isn’t going to encourage action. Instead, it’s going to have users longing for that ‘Skip Ad’ button to appear, and that’s not what you want.

Let's wrap this baby up

There we have it guys, you’re now a YouTube Ads maestro.You know your in-stream ads from your bumper ads and you can set up a campaign, track and optimise it, all with your eyes closed.Wait, you can't?!Only kidding...But the time has come for you to get your campaigns up and running.To get your ads seen and clicked on by the YouTube community.To get those conversions rolling in!

Next: How to learn webflow within 30days

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Jack Boulton
Jack is the conversion copywriter at Local Digital. With a background in journalism and reporting, he specialises in getting to the crux of the issue when it comes to writing high-converting sales copy. You can typically find him in his copy cave writing pretty much anything from ad copy and landing pages to website content and B2B emails.

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