YouTube isn’t just for cat lovers (I Love Cats… Keyboard Cat… need we say more?) Your individual YouTube watch history is as unique as each business’s social ad strategy. For every question answered, there are 85 more questions that come into view. Which social platforms? What types of ads? How do we decide, and then measure effectiveness? While most heads of marketing departments set a clear digital advertising strategy, that strategy doesn’t always provide instant clarity. Well, we can’t answer all of these questions in one blog post but we will try to get you one step closer to clarity with one of social media’s biggest platforms: YouTube. Here’s an overview of YouTube’s ad options, and some YouTube advertising tips. 


Types of Ads

Here are your choices when it comes to ads on YouTube:

  • Skippable In-Stream Video Ads – These ads play pre-roll (prior to a user’s video being played) or mid-roll (while a user’s video is being played). Users don’t get a choice in whether or not they’re played, but they can opt to skip them after five seconds. If they do, you don’t pay for the ad. If they watch at least 30 seconds or click on your ad, however, you do pay. 
  • In-Stream Video Ads That Can’t Be Skipped – Yep, these are exactly as they sound. These ads play pre-roll or mid-roll, and don’t even include a skip button. You pay per impression for these bad boys. 
  • Bumper Ads – These little cuties are only six seconds long, and are also in-stream and not skippable. Just like with the longer in-stream ads you can’t skip, you pay for these per impression, too. 
  • Discovery Ads – If you don’t want your video ads to preempt or interrupt a user’s content experience, you can go for this type. A discovery ad will appear alongside organic search results. If it looks like what the user searched for, there’s a good chance your video will get played. 
  • Non-Video Ads – “What? Isn’t video the whole point of YouTube?” Well, yes. But that doesn’t mean all ads on the platform must be video-based. YouTube is also a search engine, so they provide advertisers with non-video options as well. You can go for display ads or in-video overlay ads, if you don’t have ample budget for high quality video production or simply prefer a non-video strategy. 


YouTube Advertising Tips 

If you have the budget, and creative, for compelling videos, video ads can be a really effective option on this platform. We recommend avoiding the longer non-skippable ads unless you feel reallllllllllllly good about the awesomeness factor of your video. Otherwise, this type of ad can be irritating to viewers, and they can then subconsciously associate this unpleasant feeling with your brand. Bumper ads are kind of sort of an exception because they’re so insanely short. But if you go with Bumper ads, be forewarned: six seconds is fast. Make sure you know exactly how to reach your viewer in a snap, or these can be a waste (and remember, you’re paying by impression). 

Discovery ads work really well for brands in industries where customers seek out tutorials. For example, beauty, home improvement, photography, etc. If you have a product that people would love to see being used in real-time, try this out. Or if you have a product that supports the completion of a visually appealing project (e.g. “DIY outdoor wedding reception with string lights!”), this can work very well. Otherwise, skippable in-stream ads are a good bet for most companies trying out YouTube for the first time.  

A few final tips… aim to make any social ad you create memorable and interactive, if at all possible. Engagement is hard to come by these days, so the more you can make your viewer think or feel, the better. Also, take advantage of YouTube’s segmenting and targeting options (and consider pairing remarketing campaigns with your ads). You’re investing at least some level of spend into this digital advertising strategy, so make sure you’re maximizing its reach. 

Any questions? We’re here to help. Give us a call any time for help with your social media advertising and overall digital marketing plan.