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Youtube Ads - How To Create A Successful Campaign, Optimize, and Scale it

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Google is a massive company with incredibly popular products. They are most famous for their search engine Google, which is the number one search engine worldwide. But do you know what's the second most popular search engine? It’s Google’s video platform YouTube! The platform boasts around 2 billion (that’s 2,000,000,000) visits each month worldwide. With such stats no wonder that the platform is incredibly good for businesses that are trying to capture customers’ attention. 

YouTube is an incredibly massive platform that caters to a variety of audiences that are incredible for brands. With YouTube ads, brands can get incredible advertising potential for a low price. Think about it, it’s like TV, but in your pocket and far cheaper to advertise for. 

Due to these incredible stats, it is no wonder YouTube is such an incredibly profitable platform for Google. On average it makes over 15 billion dollars annually. This stat is even more incredible if you know that YouTube only got into advertising a decade ago. And the whole thing is only getting bigger each year. 

This is why you should seriously consider YouTube as a valid advertising platform if you are trying to promote your products or services. If you already decided to use ads on Youtube then you should probably know a thing or two about it. If you came here to learn how to advertise on YouTube then you are at the right place!

Getting Started

As you might already know, around 80% of the traffic on the web comes from video. That’s an incredible number and enormous traffic that you should try to tap into. YouTube is a leader in the online video industry and most big players, as well as small ones, focus on it solely. 

Companies spend millions on advertising on the platform and they aren’t doing it for fun. YouTube ads have great and consistent conversions. They have one of the highest conversion rates of any social network platform. Currently, the average conversion rate is around 14%, which is incredible. 

These stats sound promising but advertising on YouTube is far from being that simple. It takes some knowledge and hard work to make it as good as possible. 

So let’s get started. What do you need to make a YouTube Ad campaign?

How To Set Up YouTube Ads

First of all, a YouTube channel. You can’t do much without it since it’s a Google-branded site and your Google Account will act as your YouTube account as well as your Ad account (if you haven’t changed something to better fit your situation).

With your account, you can create a channel and choose a name that is appropriate for your brand or company. You can further select which category your channel fits into. After creating your channel it is a good idea to fill in your about section and any social links that you want to have. 

Then you should link your Google Ads account to your channel so that you can use ads as they were intended to be used.  

Now that you have your channel created and linked it is time to start creating some ads. But before doing that we will cover shortly what kind of strategies you should use and what it’s all about. 

Types of YouTube Ads

YouTube offers a lot of varying ad types that you can try out for your campaigns. Most of these offer a similar, yet different approach to advertising. Here are the ones available:

  • Skippable in-stream ads
  • Non-skippable in-stream ads 
  • Video discovery ads (in-display ads)
  • Non-video ads (banners)

It is important to know what makes each ad type good. Learn when to use what type and you should see great success for a low price. 

  1. Skippable in-stream ads

These types of ads play before (pre-roll) or during (mid-roll) videos. The thing that makes these ads different from others is that users get to skip them after 5 seconds of watching. If you are an advertiser, you will only have to pay if the user pays past these 5 seconds. Your ad must be at least 12 seconds long, and it is recommended for it to not be over 3 minutes long.  

You pay when a person has watched the first 30 seconds or the whole thing, or if they interact with your ad by clicking: whichever comes first.

  1. Non-skippable in-stream ads 

Most users skip ads as soon as they can (75+%) so YouTube gives advertisers the option to create non-skippable ads that users have to watch. These ads are short and effective. They are great for raising your brand awareness if you are just starting. Depending on the region you will be limited to 15-20 seconds so use them wisely. 

You can also utilize bumper ads, which are quick 6-second ads that play before, during, or after the video. They are incredibly useful for pushing your message even further and raising awareness of your brand. 

  1. Video discovery ads

This type of ad isn’t as popular as the rest. Discovery ads on YouTube show up within your search results, homepage, or watch page. They have a sponsored marketing so users know right away that it’s an ad. 

  1. Non-video ads 

This type of ad performs the worst on YouTube but it shouldn’t be forgotten completely as it has its place. These are banners or floating ads that advertise something via text and images.

Start Advertising

Now that you know how to set up YouTube ads, it is time to start advertising. 

After signing in to your Google Ads account you will have to create a new campaign. Inside of the campaign tools you should choose your campaign goal or objective.

Your main objectives can be:

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Website traffic
  • Product and brand consideration
  • Brand awareness and reach
  • Or no goal at all

Then you will have to select your campaign type. Since you are advertising on YouTube, you should select Video or Discovery if you want that type of ad. 

Define your campaign parameters including:

  • Bid Strategy
  • Budget
  • Language
  • Countries
  • Brand Safety Guidelines 
  • Targeting
  • Etc...

Bidding and Strategies

Google ads are mostly used for campaigns with CPC (cost per click) bidding strategies. These work well and are usually the best for most people. Their model allows you to only pay for clicks you get on your ads. But CPC isn’t something you can use with Youtube ads.

The default bidding strategy on YouTube Ads is CPV (cost per view) where you will only pay for views that watch your ad for more than 30 seconds (or the entire thing if it’s under 30 seconds). While CPV is better for YouTube even if you could choose CPC, people who are masters at CPC will have to learn CPV from the ground up. 

You will need to decide how large your budget will be. You will need to know how much of a bid you will set. You should also note that the bid you set isn’t necessarily the one you will pay. CPV charges one penny above the second-lowest price. So if you set the CPV bid at $0.30 but the next highest bid is $0.20, you will only be charged $0.21 for the bid. So increasing the bid isn’t as costly as with other platforms. 

It is important to note that CPVs can vary dramatically in price as companies bid for their ads. So keep a close eye out. Of course the higher the bid the more traffic you get, so try striking a balance. 

Audience Targeting

Knowing your audience is the most important thing you can do. Spend a lot of time and effort researching it before committing to your ad. The better targeted your audience is the more success you’ll have. You will have to set proper demographics and interests to get the most out of your ads. If the ad is relevant to the viewer they are much more likely to convert than those who aren't. 

Some Great YouTube Ad Practices

There is a lot that YouTube ad campaign experts know that you don’t, so let’s level the playfield a bit! 

  • Hook people early

A hook can be pretty much anything. From a familiar face to an interesting topic to an interesting shot. Your ad must be as catchy as possible. It is in your interest to not have an ad that people skip but watch. This is why you have to have a powerful start that will hook people to watch it to the end. 

  • Use your branding

Top of funnel awareness is best when your branding appears within the first 5 seconds and then throughout the rest of the ad. 

Audiences further down the funnel respond better to branding appearing later in the ad. 

  • Use emotion 

Emotions are an incredible tool in any campaign. Try to create your ads in a way that conveys positive emotions. Create a compelling story that will hook the watchers.

  • Get people going

Sometimes you just need to tell the users what you want from them. If your campaign goals are clicks, sales, conversions, etc. Set up clickable elements or CTAs that point users in the right direction. 

  • Use templates if you have to

There is a bit of a stigma behind using templates but to be honest they are a great tool. With them, you can pump out more ads with better quality and for less money. A great win-win situation if you ask me! 

Optimizing YouTube Ad Campaigns and Scaling

After you launched your first YouTube ad campaign, it is time to optimize it to make real money. 

Here are some metrics you should take a look at

  • View, view rate, and average CPV
  • Clicks and CTR
  • Engagement and engagement rate
  • Unique cookies, unique viewers, average impression frequency, and average view frequency
  • Video played to 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%
  • YouTube engagement through earned views, subscribers, likes, and shares

The best way to optimize your ad campaigns is to review the stats and do a lot of testing. Adjust your targeting, bids, and ad types. And sooner than you know it you will get a lot more bang for your buck. 

Testing is usually done by running multiple campaigns, keeping the best-performing ones, and changing parameters around the worse performing ones. This way you will get an optimized campaign that will run the best it can for the lowest cost possible. 

When you have the best performing ads it is time to scale. This is usually done by increasing ad spend drastically. A good rule of thumb is to never scale more than 20% per day. This way you limit your risk of overspending. If you notice:

  • Reduction of clicks
  • High CPAs
  • Spending 2x CPA without conversions

Rethink your campaigns and change them drastically as they are not working as intended. Find a winning creative, run it against different audiences. Scale the winning campaigns, cut the campaigns losing money. 


YouTube ads are one of the best forms of advertising out there. Doing them right is a bit difficult but nothing unachievable. Not that you know the basics behind setting up your YouTube ad campaign, how to optimize and scale it, you are ready to try it out yourself. You will quickly learn a lot about how YouTube ads work, how to best use and optimize them. Join thousands of advertisers and start advertising your products and services through YouTube ads today!

Have you tried YouTube advertising campaigns in the past? What were your key takeaways?

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