Types of YouTube Ads

29 Aug 2019 | Sukhesh Vadavil

We all might have caught a whiff of the Despacito frenzy that spread on YouTube with the music video surpassing 1 billion views in just 97 days of its release. It still remains as one of the most-watched videos on YouTube. This colossal number of views means that a lot of eyeballs are glued on to YouTube for significant periods of time.

The world’s second-largest search engine is more than just an online concert hall for Latin Pop music; it is also an ideal place for marketers to promote their brand. Advertising on YouTube offers the advantage of enormous reach coupled with better targeting and higher conversion rates. All these could work in your favour only if the ad you create can engage and sway the audience. Now that’s a good topic for another article, but today let’s take a look at the various YouTube ad formats and where they can be used.

The following are the three main types of YouTube ads:

  1. TrueView ads

The viewer can either choose to watch these ads or not. Therefore, there is no limit on the length of the video enabling brands to get creative in telling their story.  Most TrueView ads are under 3-4 minutes.

According to Google, it so happens that millions of people actually view these ads. These people are 10 times more likely to become a subscriber of the channel or share its content. 

These ads allow targeting based on demographics, interests and topics. TrueView ads are the preferred option for most advertisers as it is cost-effective; you pay for the ad only if someone chooses to view it.

They can be further classified into two:

  • Skippable in-stream ads

In-stream ads are shown at the beginning or during video playback and can be skipped after 5 seconds. The advertiser will be billed only if the viewer interacts with the ad elements or watches it for 30 seconds or towards completion, whichever comes earlier.

  • Video discovery ads

These ads can be seen when you search for a video on YouTube. Suppose you enter ‘smartphones 2019’ into the search box. The first few videos on the result page will be labelled ad. These are video discovery ads and are used for increasing brand awareness. TrueView video discovery ads can also appear on the homepage of the Android and iOS YouTube app alongside video recommendations.

Source: blog.hootsuite.com
  1. Preroll Ads

These are basically non-skippable in-stream ads. Here, the viewer has no choice but to watch the ad to completion in order to continue watching the original video. These disruptive ads are quite unfortunate for the viewers but advertisers can benefit from it by making sure that their ad gets seen. They can be 15 – 20 seconds long and the cost is calculated per click. Non-skippable ads are aimed at achieving brand awareness and reach goals. 

  1. Bumper ad

Bumper ads convey a short and concise message about the brand. The ad length is less than 6 seconds and they are non-skippable. The bidding is CPM and these ads are used to extend brand reach or in tandem with TrueView ads to augment its impact. 

Apart from these, Desktop and Mobile Video Masthead is a type of ad that can be found on the YouTube homepage. This ad is significantly different from the others in the sense that they are not targeted towards a particular audience; only the preferred country where the Ad will be shown can be selected. These ads are also bought on a reservation basis. This way, your ad is guaranteed to be visible on the top of the homepage. To run a campaign with video masthead, you need to first contact a Google sales representative. They can now be bought on CPM basis. You can also test how your ad might look as a masthead by visiting this site.

In addition, YouTube supports other ad formats such as overlay ads, sponsored cards and display ads.

Overlay ads can be a text or an image or both and they pop up at the bottom of the video window when the video starts playing. It is not an obstructive ad and the viewer can close it by clicking on the ‘X’ button. The advertiser will be billed only if the viewer clicks on the ad and navigates to a landing page that lies outside YouTube. 

Display ads can also be found alongside overlay ads and this space is usually allocated to the same advertiser. They are available only for the desktop site and are placed to the top right of the feature video.


Unlike display ads, Sponsored Cards are usable on both mobile and desktop. These cards show promotional information related to the feature video and will be visible for a designated period of time following which they can be viewed by clicking on the ‘i’ icon at the top right corner of the video. 

A new format that became trending in 2018 was the TrueView for Action ads. In contrast to creating brand awareness like the other ads on YouTube, these ads aim at bringing about a direct action from the viewers by incorporating a CTA into the video ad. The viewer can be prompted to take a specific action such as check out the product details page, share contact information, sign up etc. Here’s an example of the same:


Clicking on “Join Now” will expand that section revealing a form which has already been filled for you. You just need to click send. TrueView for action campaigns are made with the objective of generating leads, conversions or boosting website traffic.

YouTube presents advertisers with an array of ad formats to choose from. Even though creating video requires a lot more effort when compared with text or image ads, advertisers are keen on making the switch towards more video content in pursuit of engagement from the right audience. 

 

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