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A beginners’ guide to YouTube video ads: Drive action with video advertising

August 1, 2023 Article
a women looking at a device surrounded by merchandise



Getting started with advertising on YouTube is simple with Google Ads. From creating engaging assets to supercharging your marketing performance, here’s what you need to know.

The power of YouTube video advertising with Google Ads

Gone are the days when advertisers needed big-budget productions and ample time to manage and measure campaigns. Integrating video advertising into your marketing mix has never been more straightforward or effective.

Google Ads provides easy access to YouTube, the world’s most popular digital video platform, and with it a thriving marketplace of potential customers. You can create and manage video ads, target specific audiences, and track results, all from your Google Ads account.

Whether your goal is brand awareness or driving sales, Google Ads has a wealth of tools, AI-powered solutions, and ad formats to ensure your video campaigns reach the right audience at the right time - and drive the results that matter to your business.

Why use YouTube for advertising?

Holiday ideas, car reviews, make-up tips, home makeovers… it’s all on YouTube. More than two billion people across the globe use the platform to find and watch the content they love, share videos, and shape culture.

By advertising on YouTube with Google Ads, you can reach valuable audiences and engage with a community of passionate people who are looking for what you have to offer.

And, as YouTube ads use Google data, it helps you reach shoppers with relevant messaging who are most likely to convert as a result.

Creating effective video ads

Anyone can create a successful video ad for YouTube. In the Asset Library of your Google Ads account, you’ll find free video creation tools and resources to help build quick and effective video ads.

Simply upload your assets, such as product shots and a logo, choose from a range of templates, and start creating your first YouTube campaign.

You can also upload your own finished video ad. This offers the most creative freedom, but it requires a bit of know-how. From how to shoot ads on your phone to crafting powerful calls to action, check out YouTube’s ABCD guide to effective video ads for tips and best practices.

Selecting the right YouTube ad format for your business goals

There’s a wide variety of YouTube ad formats that you access and manage through your Google Ads account. Each carries different benefits to suit any marketing strategy, connecting with potential customers at different parts of the marketing funnel.

Here’s how some of the key YouTube formats can help your business:

  • Masthead ads: Take over the YouTube Home feed with your ad to reach a massive audience and drive brand awareness.
  • In-feed ads: Build brand consideration by showing your ads when viewers browse related videos, scroll through the YouTube Home feed in the app, or search for content.
  • Bumper ads: Make a big impact with a short, non-skippable ad that’s only 6 seconds long - perfect for increasing brand awareness and getting customers’ attention.
  • Skippable in-stream ads: Reach a targeted audience with your ad that plays before, during, or after a YouTube video. Viewers can skip after 5 seconds, so it’s important that your ad is engaging.
  • Non-skippable in-stream ads: Get your message across with a longer ad that viewers can’t skip - ideal for building brand awareness or explaining your product or service in detail.
  • TrueView ads: Pay only when someone watches your ad for at least 30 seconds or interacts with it. TrueView ads can be used to achieve a variety of goals, including driving traffic to your website, generating leads, and boosting sales.

Marketers looking for an easy-to-manage but effective presence on YouTube should also consider using Performance Max. This AI-powered campaign type enables advertisers to access all of Google from a single campaign, including YouTube.

Setting up your YouTube ads for success

Now you know how easy it is to create video ads and the wide variety of ad formats available, you’re ready to get going with your first YouTube campaign.

Within your Google Ads account, you can set up and manage key campaign elements, including:

Setting your goals:

When creating a new video campaign, you’ll be presented with a list of goals, such as leads, website traffic, or local store visits. Simply select what would make the campaign successful for your business, and Google AI will optimise ad placement, budgets, and performance accordingly.

Targeting your audience:

You can use Google’s targeting options to show your ads to people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services. You can target shoppers based on their demographics, search history, and interests, such as fashion or cooking.

You can also connect with individuals by selecting keywords and phrases that describe your product or services and match the terms people use to search for content on YouTube.

Additionally, you can re-engage people who have interacted with your business in the past, such as users who have already visited your website or interacted with your YouTube channel.

Choosing your budget:

As with all Google Ad campaigns, budgeting is flexible and simple to manage. Google Ads allows you to set your budget for YouTube video campaigns on a daily or monthly basis. You can also set a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) bid. This gives you flexibility in how you control your spending.

Measuring your success:

There are a number of ways to measure the success of your ads on YouTube. You can track how many people saw your ads, how many people clicked on your ads, and how many people took the desired action (such as visiting your website or making a purchase). Which metrics are most important to you will depend on your specific business goals for the campaign.

With YouTube campaigns, just as with other Google Ads solutions, you can start small. Consider testing different audiences and various ad types, and begin with a modest budget. Once you see how your campaigns are performing and what works for you, you can start scaling up your activity and unlock the full potential of YouTube for your business.

Sign yourself up today

Create an account, set your budget, then write your first ad and decide where you want it to show up.