• By Diana Tavares

The Marketer's Guide To YouTube Ad Formats


Learn how to choose the best YouTube ad formats for you and achieve your marketing goals.


Grey background with a vintage-style TV displaying YouTube's logo

This post was last updated on May 7, 2021.


YouTube has over two billion logged-in visitors a month and is the most used social media platform in the UK (Digital 2021 UK).


YouTube advertising is definitely worth including in your digital marketing portfolio as it offers a way to target customers at every stage of their journey.


In this article, we will focus on the different types of YouTube ads and how they can help you best achieve your marketing goals.


Jump Ahead:


In-stream vs Outstream Video Ads – What’s The Difference?


YouTube in-stream ads play before (pre-roll), during (mid-roll) or after (post-roll) video content that you watch on the platform.


YouTube outstream ads run outside the YouTube platform, across websites and apps. Outstream ads run across Google video partners – a collection of high-quality publisher websites and mobile apps.



The Best YouTube Ad Formats For Achieving Your Marketing Goals


YouTube ads formats for each stage of the marketing marketing funnel

YouTube Ad Formats For Brand Awareness


Marketing goal: Keep your brand at the forefront of the customer’s mind or introduce a new brand, product or service.


Video ad formats for brand awareness

Available bidding options: The majority of YouTube’s video ad formats for driving brand awareness are sold based on target CPM (cost per thousand impressions).


Outstream video ads are sold based on vCPM (viewable CPM). With vCPM you only pay when more than 50% of your ad is watched for at least two seconds.


Mastheads can be bought based on CPM or CPD (cost per day).


Video ad formats for brand awareness:

  • YouTube bumper ads are six-second non-skippable in-stream ads. This video ad format works particularly well when combined with longer creatives. For example, you can launch a longer ad to tell your brand story or introduce your product or service to users and then use bumper ads to reach those same users again.

  • YouTube TrueView for reach are skippable in-stream ads that play before, during or after other videos. After five seconds, the viewer has the option to skip the ad. There are four YouTube TrueView ad formats. TrueView for reach is the one you should choose when your goal is brand awareness, since you pay per CPM, unlike the other TrueView ad formats.

  • YouTube non-skippable in-stream ads are available through auction buying or as a reservation buy.* These allow you to share your message with ads of up to 15 seconds.

  • YouTube outstream ads run outside the YouTube platform, across websites and apps. Outstream ads run across Google video partners ­­– a collection of high-quality publisher websites and mobile apps.

  • The masthead appears at the top of the YouTube homepage. These ads are only available on a reservation basis through a Google sales representative.

*Reserved media placements on YouTube: Reservation campaigns let you buy impressions at a fixed CPM or CPD for masthead ads.


Reservation campaigns are available through a Google sales representative and have minimum spending requirements. Although this option offers guaranteed impressions, it usually has a higher CPM and more limited audience options than auction ads.


YouTube video ad sequence campaigns: When creating a campaign, you have the option to create a video ad sequence, which shows ads in a particular order to individual viewers.


You should think of each step as a chapter in the story of your product or brand. If you'd like to know more, check out this article from Google on how to create a video ad sequence campaign.


YouTube Ad Formats for Consideration


Marketing goal: To drive consideration of your product or service during high-intent, opinion-shaping moments.

Video ad formats for consideration

Available bidding options: YouTube’s video ad formats for driving consideration are sold based on CPV (cost per view). With CPV, you only pay when someone watches 30 seconds of the video (if the video is shorter than 30 seconds, you pay when someone watches the entire video) or engages with any interactive element of your ad. For example, CTAs (calls-to-action), companion banners, etc.

Maximise lift is available for TrueView in-stream ads. This bidding option allows you to optimise consideration lift, showing your ad to people who are more likely to consider your brand or product.


Video ad formats for consideration:

  • With YouTube TrueView discovery, users have to click on the ad to watch it.

  • YouTube TrueView in-stream are skippable in-stream ads that play before, during or after other videos. After five seconds, the viewer has the option to skip the ad. Unlike TrueView for reach, this type of ad allows you to optimise per view rather than impressions.


YouTube Ad Formats for Action


Marketing goal: To drive conversions by reaching audiences in their decision-making moments.


Video ad formats for action

Available bidding options: YouTube’s video ad formats for driving action are sold based on target CPA (cost per acquisition) or maximise conversions. With target CPA, you decide the average amount you are willing to pay per conversion, while the goal of maximise conversions is to get the maximum number of conversions possible with your budget.


YouTube TrueView for action includes a customisable call-to-action to drive clicks and website actions, such as sign-ups, referrals, bookings, subscriptions, leads or purchases.



Conclusion


Before jumping into campaign creation take a moment to think carefully about your marketing goals. As you can see there are many different types of YouTube ads, so it is important to choose the ones that will best help you achieve your goals.


One of the most effective ways to achieve results is to combine ad formats and create several campaigns curated for each stage of the customer journey and adapt your message to suit any audience.


We hope this article gave you a better understanding of video ad formats and when to use them. If you have any questions or need assistance with YouTube ads, don't hesitate to get in touch.