How To Create and Launch YouTube Ads In Few Easy Steps

YouTube is not going anywhere. A massive 1 billion people are using it and they are watching 50% more video with every year that passes.  You, as a business owner, can take this great opportunity and get in front of your target audience. Don’t be intimidated due to the fact that the platform is relying only on video because you don’t need to be a renowned video director to create a great YouTube ad that is going to bring you revenue for your business.  The video is a great and easy way to entertain, encourage, and educate your audience. People are turning to ads on YouTube to gain an edge over other thousands of videos that are uploaded every minute.

If you already have a video made with great script and storyboard, then stopping at embedding it on your website or sharing it on social media and hoping that someone will watch it is probably a bad move. That’s not to say that great video is not bound to be found, but you also need to be very proactive and put in the effort to get it the attention you need. YouTube ads should be your next step as is a perfect way to get in front of your target audience. Plus, there are different formats to use and you can track the ROI with detailed reports as well.

If you’ve ran PPC ads before on other platforms, then you’ll find that YouTube is quite different. There are creative constraints and lots of options to choose from, and you need to get a base knowledge to make the most of the possibilities.

youtube ads

New Possibilities

There were some updates that rolled out on YouTube this year and one of it was that AdWords will allow advertisers to reach more people on YouTube, especially on mobile devices (where 50% of all YouTube views take place). Soon, there will be an option to target views based on their search history on Google in addition to other viewer behaviours that are already in place.

You’ll be able to target people who recently searched for a specific product on Google and then serve them your video ads. This is amazin because if someone was just searching the exact or similar product or service that you provide, that means that they are very likely to watch your video ad and click through to your website.

If you’ve used AdWords before and found it too expensive (as cost per click costs $1-2 on average), then you’d be glad to know that an average view costs $0.06 per click on YouTube. When these new changes about targeting search history roll out, then it’ll probably be more cost effective to run video ads on YouTube, plus video is always much more engaging than articles.

Different Kinds Of YouTube Ads

Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of ads on YouTube: skippable ads and non-skippable ads.

Non-Skippable Ads

These are ads that are pre-rolled and will force a user to watch your ad. They can be 15-20 seconds long and a person must view the ad to get to the actual video content. These ads get the much better engagement of course, but they tend to have a higher video view abandonment rate. Non-skippable ads can have a bad rep due to the fact that they are forcing someone to watch your ad. But it doesn’t need to be so. If your video ad is good and you target it correctly, then it can be even shared on social media by viewers.

Skippable Ads

These ads don’t force someone to watch your ad. They have to placements: in-stream and in-displayThere’s no exact maximum length for these ads, but 51% of in-stream ads tend to be 15-30 seconds long and YouTube recommends that they are up to 3 minutes long. On the contrary, in-display ads don’t have a suggested maximum length. So, if your videos tend to be very long then in-display placement might be the best for you.

In-stream ads (or TrueView ads) are basically pre-rolled ad shown at the start of a video where people have the option to skip the ad and they are the most commonly used. You can also run them on the Google Display Network and there are options to customize the video with overlay text and calls to action. A study done on them found that 72% of in-stream video ads are watched to the end. They are a great way to start with video ads on YouTube if you are new to the game and can be used in many different ways, from getting people to your website to boosting your YouTube channel subscribers.

in stream ad

If you are sending people to your website, then you need to make sure that it is user-friendly across a variety of video player types and you need to make it clear for the user what he or she needs to do next. The best way to do this is to keep the messaging congruent from the ad onto your website. On the other hand, if you’d like to boost and build your channel using in-stream ads, then you need to make new video content consistently.

In-display ads are the other form of skippable ads and they are shown in the related videos section, in the search listings, or on the YouTube homepage. They are now named video discovery ads.

Very likely you’ve seen them many times when you performed a search on YouTube and noticed them on top of search results.

in display

How To Create And Launch YouTube Ads

The process for creating skippable and non-skippable YouTube ads is different.

Creating Skippable YouTube Ads

First, visit your AdWords account. There, click on the red “Campaign” button and select “Video”.

create new campaign

Next, type in your campaign name and select video from the drop-down menu.

campaign name

Next, select “In-stream or video discovery ads” as this will select the TrueView format which we explained before. In the budget section, you need to input how much do you want to spend per day. Below that, you can select one of the two delivery methods – the first one is standard delivery which will show ads evenly during the day, and the second one is accelerated delivery, which will try to show your ads as quickly as possible. Standard delivery is what you usually want to choose and you can test using the accelerated delivery if you want to use current trend for promoting your video.

In the networks section, you can select where you want your ads to appear.

  • YouTube search: your YouTube video will appear in search results, video pages, and YouTube homepage.
  • YouTube videos: your video will be an in-display ad or in-stream ad.

It is recommended to create two separate campaigns – one for YouTube search and the other one for YouTube videos to A/B test it, so you can know which network performs the best for you.


In the “Locations” section, you can select different locations, countries, cities, etc. where you want to show your video ad. If you want to exclude certain locations, you can do that too.


AdWords gives you the option to select the language, but also a specific mobile device, operating system, or a carrier for your targeting. You can adjust the bid by percentages by how much you want to increase your bid on if someone is viewing your video ad on a certain device.

mobile bidding

After this, you’ll need to create the video ad creative. Fill in the ad group name and paste the link of a YouTube video that you want to use for the ad. Below that, select whether you want this video to be in-stream ad or a video discovery ad.

video creative

If you select in-stream, then you’ll need to write a headline and short description for the ad. Headlines can be 25 characters max and the description is limited to 35 characters. The next important part is the bidding section. This determines how much you want to pay for each view.


Finally, there is the targeting part where you can pinpoint the audience that you want to show your video ad to. There are many different great options to choose from, and some of them include gender, age, parental status, different interest (like comedy movie fans, people who like cooking, etc.), etc. 

The last thing to do is to link your AdWords account to your YouTube channel where you uploaded your video. Clicking “Finish” will create and start your video ad campaign!


How To Optimize Your YouTube Campaigns

When you start running your ads on YouTube, you’ll need to monitor them over time. If you run skippable video ads, then the most important metric to watch is the view rate. This is the number of people who watch your video after they saw your thumbnail. If your video ad suffers from bad view rate, then your headline is not enticing enough for people, your thumbnail is not catching their attention, or your description is bad as well.

To combat this, you’d want to create multiple variations of the same video ad but with somewhat different headlines, descriptions, and thumbnails. Don’t change too many things at once since you won’t know what exact change did contribute to the positive or negative change. If you see that most people just skip your ad, then consider changing the first few seconds of your video to try to hook them.

Non-skippable ads are completely different and the most important metric to watch is click-through rate (or CTR). If your CTR is high, then you’ll know that your ad is shown to the right people, and if it is low, then your ad is irrelevant to the people you are targeting.

If this is the case, simply change your targeting and see if it improves. If everything else fails, maybe your video is not that good and is not delivering your message clearly. To access analytics, go to the Creator Studio and click on analytics. Use the analytics dashboard to improve your results and conversions.


Using a custom and high-quality thumbnail will entice a person to click on your video. If there’s a person on the image, make sure that he is looking into the camera as this will increase the CTR. Sometimes, a red or yellow boarder or flashy colours also work well.

A great idea that you can implement is to create an end screen after your video which will drive subscribers for your channel, promote your social networks, and recommend your other videos. People who watch your video until the end will probably want to watch your other content as well and also become a subscriber if they aren’t already.

If you happen to run your video ad campaign for a long time, then you might want to create a list of people who your ad will not be shown to. This is just so your ad is shown only to new users. To do this, select “Shared library” from the campaigns screen and select “Video remarketing” and “+Remarketing list”.


If you haven’t tapped the potential of video ads and YouTube so far, then it definitely represents a unique opportunity for you. Video content is on the rise and it should be part of your online marketing strategy. With new YouTube ad features rolling out, it’s becoming even more powerful to use. If you are using AdWords as your primary ad platform, then you’d want to consider YouTube since is much less competitive and it’ll cost you only a fraction of the cost per click that you are paying right now. Tracking low performing placements and removing them is a must if you are running in-display ads across the Google Display Network.

No matter which advertising platform you are using, you need to keep an eye on all the important metrics so you are not throwing money away on non-profitable campaigns. This would also include how to create a compelling video. Also, split testing every part of the campaign is always a smart thing to do.