Advertising Formats on Youtube

Youtube is the biggest video platform in the world owned by Google, it is increasingly channeling the audience of TV channels to Youtube channels, not surprisingly the number of companies advertising on Youtube is on the rise. As a digital marketer, I’m frequently asked by friends on how to advertise on digital medias like Youtube. Their main questions are very often: “Which ad formats are there on Youtube?” or “How much will Youtube charge me?”. Having those in mind, I decided to write this post in hope I could clarify a little bit about how Youtube ads work. So let’s start it!

There are basically three main formats to advertise on Google: In-stream Ads, Discovery Ads, and Bumper ads. Both In-Stream and Discovery ads are considered TrueView ads, on Youtube, because they charge you only for real viewers. I’ll explain that below.

In-Stream Ads

On Youtube, In-Stream Ads is a type video-ad and it appears before, during or after the user press play on a random video. It works like that, your video-ad will play for 5 seconds, after that time the viewer can opt to skip your ad or keep watching your video. You will be only charged if the viewer watches your video for at least 30 seconds. In case your video is shorter than 30 seconds, you will pay if the they watch the whole video. Note, you also are going to be charged if the viewer interacts with your ad by clicking on it.

The best part, in case the viewer doesn’t skip your video but watch less than 30 seconds or doesn’t watch it completely nor click on it, you aren’t going to be charged by Youtube. That’s why In-stream is considered a True View ad, you don’t pay for skipped videos. You pay only for those who actively wanted to watch your ad. See below an example of In-Stream Ad note the “skip to video” option.

Image retrieved from Youtube

Discovery Ads

This ad format is trigged by searches on Youtube. Your ad will appear whenever someone searches for keywords or topics related to your ad. Discovery Ads are usually the term used to describe videos-ads suggested by Youtube, it is always placed at top of “up next” videos once the viewer starts watching a video on Youtube. Discovery Ads are usually highlighted in yellow with a small footnote saying “ad”, so people can recognize ads from non-ad videos. In this case, Youtube will only charge you if the viewer decides to click on your video or banner.

With TrueView Ads (In-Stream & Discovery Ads) you’ll choose how much you are willing to bid per each viewer clicking or watching your ad, the amount is set in your GoogleAdwords account and it can be changed at anytime. The bid it’s generally cents of Dollar per view, however there isn’t a precise value, you pay how much you believe your ad worths. The higher you bid the higher are your chances of getting your ad displayed, however, bidding isn’t the only one factor which determines your ranking on Youtube against other ads. For now I’ll let this discussion for another post.

Note that regular Google AdSense banners will also pop up on the screen, since they are also set to target people for an specific keyword, geographic location, sex or affinity. Since my gender is set as female on Google and I’m currently in Austria, Youtube is suggesting me female products in German language.

Image retrieved from Youtube

Bumper Ads

Bumper Ads are 6 seconds max videos, which cannot be skipped by the user. Likewise In-stream Ads, it can appear before a user start watching a video, during ( in case the user is watching a long video) or after the user had just watched a video. For Bumper Ads, Youtube will charge you by 1000 impressions, it means by every 1000 times your non-skippable video appeared. Bumper Ads is not considered True View because in this case, it isn’t clear if the user paid attention to your ad or not. Bumper Ads have its pros and cons because this format is quite similar to TV ads, the viewer doesn’t have the opt-out option, hence you may be paying Youtube to display your video to people who don’t want to buy your product. However it reaches people who wouldn’t click on your ad but is actually interested in what you are offering.

That way, it turns out Bumper Ads is a good alternative to increase brand awareness and a bad idea for low budget campaigns, you pay for 1000 impressions; whether or not people watched your video. 
That’s basically it. Advertising on Youtube is not hard at all, but defining your audience, producing compelling videos to deliver the right message and deciding on an ad format are indeed the trickiest part.

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