Koozai > Blog > How to Advertise on YouTube

How to Advertise on YouTube

| 9 minutes to read

YouTube AdvertisingYouTube is the world’s second largest search engine after Google, so it’s important to consider it as part of your digital marketing strategy. In fact there are lots of different ways to advertise on YouTube, and since AdWords launched TrueView, it has become more cost effective and accessible for users.

To help you get started this post will answer all your YouTube advertising questions, from targeting types to costs.

If you have an advertising goal such as increasing brand awareness or changing brand perception, then YouTube can be highly beneficial to your digital marketing strategy.

Is YouTube Advertising Expensive?

With TrueView YouTube advertising, which is done via AdWords, you can ensure you only pay when your ads are clicked or when a certain amount of an ad is watched by a user (cost per view). This creates the opportunity for free brand awareness. Generally YouTube adverts are also far cheaper then the AdWords Search Network when bidding on the same terms.

What Kind Of Advertising Can I Do On YouTube?

YouTube Advert Types


In-stream ads are video adverts which play before or during another video from a YouTube partner. After 5 seconds a user can skip your ads, but you will only pay if they watch 30 seconds or more.

You have probably seen In-Stream ads when you are watching YouTube content – lots of big brands use them, which means they are great for building trust as users associate this kind of ad space with reputable brands.


These ads show at the start of YouTube content which is ten minutes or longer. These are the kind of ads where you can chose between three different adverts or you may just be shown one ad. You’ll only pay for these when users actually watch the video.


Much like the style of AdWords text ads, In-Search ads appear when someone searches YouTube. They are placed in the top and right hand side of the video results page. Like all the other True-View ad formats, you’ll only pay for these ads when a user chooses to watch them.


In-display are different to other YouTube ad formats because they don’t strictly serve your ads on YouTube’s website. Ads can appear beside YouTube content which is embedded on other websites which are part of the Google Display Network. Like normal True-View YouTube ads you will only pay if your ad is watched.

Who Will See My Ads And What Kind Of Content Will They Be Served On?

The kind of targeting you can do for YouTube is the same as for general display advertising:

Demographic Targeting (Age / Gender)

Demographic targeting should be used in conjunction with another targeting type like keywords or topic contextual targeting. If your product suits a particular demographic, you can select this in addition to your other targeting.

Likewise if there are particular demographics which aren’t applicable for your product, you can exclude them. You can also increase your bids for specific demographics which might be particularly relevant for your product.

Demographic targeting is ideal if your brand is specific to a demographic type – although beware that Google do get people’s ages and interests wrong sometimes (check out what demographic they think you are here)

Interest Category Targeting

This is different to ‘topic’ targeting because it’s based on the interests of the user, rather than the topic of the content. Like demographic targeting, we would recommend using this in conjunction with another contextual targeting method, such as keywords or topics.

Topic Targeting

Topic targeting is about the subject matter of the page, rather than the interest of the user. For example you could target all pages which are relevant to the topic of beauty. It is a good way to ensure the content your ad appears alongside is relevant to your service or product.

Contextual Keyword Targeting

This is the traditional type of display advertising where you can specify keywords and allow Google to place your ads on all content relevant to those keywords. This is known as Automatic Contextual Targeting.

Managed Placements

If you would like to target specific YouTube pages you could use Managed Placements to list specific pages you would like to have your ads on. This is a good targeting method if you know specific pages will work well or are particularly relevant, however if a page is very popular and lots of advertisers are bidding for it you will need to ensure your bid is competitive.

Excluding certain categories and content on YouTube will ensure that your ad will never show alongside anything you don’t want your brand associated with.

If you’d like your ads to show on the Home page of YouTube you will need a much larger ad spend and you’ll also need to speak to your AdWords rep.

What Devices Will My Ads Show On?

You can choose whether to show your ads on mobiles or whether you just want to advertise on standard desktop, laptops and tablets.

Will People Actually Visit My Website As A Result Of My YouTube Ads?

YouTube ads are best for driving engagement there and then with the ad content itself, however if you include a good call-to-action within the ad content you can drive traffic to either your website or your YouTube brand channel. A click through to your website won’t cost you anything because you are already paying for the view.

Do I Need To Have Videos Already On YouTube To Advertise On YouTube?

No you don’t need to have videos on YouTube already in order to advertise with videos on YouTube, however you will need a YouTube channel which you can easily set up here. However if you just want to advertise with display adverts a channel is not required

How Can I Create Ads For YouTube?

Ad’s for YouTube don’t necessarily need to be ‘high-tech’ you could even film them on your camera phone. If you are filming an ad yourselves, Google highly recommend that you ensure the camera is steady by using a tripod (you can get a cheap one for your camera phone).

Think about the audience and the problem your product or service will solve for them, and crate the ad to illustrate this. Our free video marketing guide has lots more tips on creating your first video.

Before you start planning your YouTube ads, take a look at the technical and editorial guidelines from AdWords to ensure your ad idea complies and your video is the right length to be used for the kind of TrueView ad format you would like to use.

The most successful videos have a little bit of planning behind them, such as a basic story board or a script. You should also think about how the video will fit together when you edit it.

Make sure the end of your video has a clear call-to-action such as ‘visit our website for more information’ or ‘download your free whitepaper today’.

Some ideas for videos include:

  • About your business (how did your company start? What are your values?)
  • Testimonials (film your customers talking about their experience using your product or service)
  • Product demonstrations (these are great if your product has a bit of a technical nature – I’ve seen it work well with everything from BBQs to hair extensions!)

All that is left to do is publish your videos on YouTube!

How Do I Set Up My YouTube Advertising Once I’ve Uploaded My Videos?

You need to set up your TrueView ads within the normal AdWords interface, below the ‘All online campaigns’ tab on the left hand side of the screen, you’ll see ‘All video campaigns’. From here you can click the green ‘+New video campaign’ button. You will then be guided through the setting and set-up process, including the selection of targeting methods you would like to use.

Create New YouTube Campaign

How Will YouTube Affect My Other AdWords Advertising?

YouTube will compliment any other advertising you are doing, and in particular works well alongside Remarketing because you can Remarket to users who have visited your YouTube channel and already engaged with your online video content, such as channel subscribers.

Analysing And Optimising Your YouTube Advertising And Channel

You can get data on your ad performance via AdWords reports and YouTube. The main thing you should be doing with this data is looking at which ads and targeting are successful, and trying to tweek them to further increase success.

AdWords reports:

Data available in AdWords YouTube Reports includes:

  • Impressions (thumbnail impressions are when the thumbnail is displayed  and the user can click to play it – this isn’t necessarily when the video was played)
  • Video impressions are only for in-stream ads.
  • Views: number of times video was actually viewed (these also count towards your public YouTube video count)
  • Video Website Clicks are free of charge because you’re paying for the view anyway
  • Video Played To is a measure of what percentage of your video the user watched (eg 25%)

A really handy feature within AdWords is that you can segment the data by ad format, and decide which kind of YouTube ad format is producing the most engagement (such as Video Played To) and then increase spend and resources for this format.

You can also segment by targeting type, and see which kind of targeting works best for your campaign. Segmentation by devices is also available, so you can see whether it is worth increasing or decreasing your spend on mobile devices.

YouTube Analytics:

To see YouTube Analytics data you just need to sign into your channel . This data is about your presence on YouTube specifically and you might of heard of it previously called YouTube Insights

The key benefit of YouTube Analytics is that you can assess individual ad creatives, so it’s the ideal place to assess the messaging within your YouTube video campaigns.

Data available includes:

  • How they found your video (where is was played, if it was an ad or if they searched for it etc)
  • Which parts of the video are engaging people (you can then improve yoru videos accordingly)
  • Demographic data
  • Viewer trends (did video views go up after advertising – line views, map views etc)
  • Compare views by individual videos
  • Traffic sources: if ads are being showed on GDN sites elsewhere you could then target them as managed placements for other display advertising
  • Track videos which are driving subscriptions to your YouTube channel
  • Analyse likes, dislikes, comments, shares etc and create more ad creative similar to the ones which achieve high levels of social engagement
  • You can even analyse videos you don’t own to see what works well – find your competitors videos and analyse them to see where their audiences are and then target them yourself

The important thing is to continually analyse and optimise your account using both AdWords and YouTube Analytics data so your targeting and ad creative are as effective as possible.

Take a look at this case study of how one advertiser uses YouTube Analytics to improve their advertising:

YouTube advertising has many features which can benefit your online marketing strategy. As a self-serve ad platform it’s very easy to set up and use, and it is incredibly cost effective. Please take a minute to leave any comments below about your experience with YouTube advertising.

Looking for more?

For more information on YouTube advertising or any of our Pay Per Click management services, please get in touch today.

Image Sources

Advert Types via Google AdWords
YouTube logo via BigStock Photo


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  7. Ana Hoffman avatar

    I’ve tried to create an ad for one of my videos once. Looked good to me. I thought it was placed and working. Turned out it was. What a faux pas!

    This tutorial will definitely come in handy – I AM going to conquer you, YouTube advertising!

    Thanks, Tara!

    1. Tara West avatar

      Hi Ana, YouTube can be tricky initially if you haven’t used it before so I’m glad this post helped you! Thanks for your comment.

  8. Tara West avatar

    Hi John, thanks for your comments.

    I’m glad I’ve persuaded you to give YouTube advertising a bit of attention!

    Yes I do believe Google Analytics and YouTube Analytics are very useful and effective tools for evaluating YouTube advertising when used properly, although I’m sure there are lots of other analytics services out there which can help with this task too.



  9. John Gibb avatar

    hi Tara

    I’m a SEO master, I own 200+ niche blogs… been into affiliate marketing for more than 10 years now, and I feel like SEO is still viable and working at it, day in, day out… nothing to boast about thogh, as we both know how hard work it implies and the sacrifices we make to succeed! 

    However, I understand the importance of not puttting all your eggs into one basket, thus traffic diversification is crucial. I’m going to give paid advertising and YouTube marketing speciall attention in the coming months.

    Thank you for your wonderful tips… and I do have a question:

    So you think AdWords analytics and YouTube advertising is ideal for tracking purposes?

    I also use Clicky for tracking my stats, wonder if there’s an advantage in using it as well…


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