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  • Writer's pictureNtende Kenneth

A Beginner's Guide To Advertising On YouTube

While Video is taking over media, the only king is YouTube. Brands marketers are going away from traditional means of communication and employing more video to convey their message in what is a more appropriate way.

YouTube has undoubtedly taken over as the medium for video with videos of kittens, to tutorials, sporting events and explainers. While most social media platforms have so much dwelt on text, with visual and video coming in secondary, YouTube went full-blown since founding in 2005.

With 2 billion monthly logged-in users, YouTube has the attention of at least 79 per cent of internet users worldwide. It is no wonder that 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool — up from 63% over the last year.

A video marketing strategy with attention to YouTube is paramount because 78% of all internet users do watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day. There is a prediction that by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times more than the figure from 2017.

Types Of YouTube Ads

Before you make up your mind on what to exactly advertise and how to go about it, let us understand the ways YouTube can allow you to advertise.

Skippable Ads

These ads appear at the start of a video or within the ad. The beauty about them lies in the name, skippable. You can skip after 6 seconds of play, and this is good for the viewer, but not beneficial for the advertiser.

As an advertiser, you are charged when the viewer goes beyond those default 6 seconds of play. Your skippable Ad is supposed to be at least 12 seconds long.

Non-Skippable in-stream Ads

Just like the name, you cannot skip past this kind of YouTube ad. And since 76% of YouTube users have confessed to religiously skipping ads, advertisers have always opted for this kind, the non-skippable kid. Non-skippable ads provide the best ROI if you are looking at brand awareness because the viewer is going to pay attention to the 12-second or more extended ad that is playing.

NOTE: with non-skippable ads, advertisers pay per impression, at CPM (i.e., per 1,000 views). Or up to 20 seconds if you’re in India, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore or EMEA in general.

Non-skippable ads are quite unpopular among viewers and subscribers of YouTube, and this pushed YouTube to cut the 30-second limit to 20 seconds, the most. The ad will play at the beginning of a video or somewhere within the said video, if the video is at least 10 minutes long.

Bumper Ads

These are the “trailers” of YouTube Ads because they are so short. They are unavoidable, and that somehow makes them non-skippable ads. They can be 6 seconds or even less.

They require extended creativity to confine creativity and information in the 6 seconds or less and are suitable for brand awareness.

True View Ads

These ads have the option that lets the viewer skip. The shortest TrueView ad is 12 seconds, although it can go as long as 6 minutes.

Advertisers only pay for True View Ads when users watch for at least 30 seconds, an entire short video, or interact with an ad by clicking on a call-to-action.

If the ad got skipped before it to 30 seconds, that view isn’t billed.

TrueView Ads can either play before the user’s chosen video (TrueView in-stream ads) or within YouTube search results.

Non-Video Ads

YouTube is a video platform, but they understand the fact that not every advertiser will have the budget for video. Hence, non-video ads.

These can be in the form of sponsored display cards. These come with a CTA (Call To Action) and expand when clicked on.

They could as well appear in the form of overlay cards that appear on your video when it is playing.

How To Advertise On YouTube

The setup is straightforward for YouTube, given the fact that the parent company is Google. By virtual of the fact that you have a Gmail account, you get a YouTube channel.

Some of the objectives you might target include:

  • Building brand awareness to reel in more clients and customers

  • Increasing brand loyalty among your current and previous clientele

  • Increasing sales

To advertise on YouTube, you must have accounts set up on YouTube and Google Ads. These come with the Google account.

Upload the video to your YouTube Channel and make sure it is public.

Create your campaign

Sign in to your Google Ads account and select New Campaign. Google will then redirect you to choosing your goals of this particular campaign.

Define the campaign type

Your campaign parameters, the identifiers unique to your campaign, will be defined here.

  • Name of the campaign - for easy follow up.

  • Budget - to determine the cost of the campaign.

  • Duration - How long the campaign will go on.

  • Networks - where your ad will appear. (YouTube search, the Youtube homepage, on YouTube videos, or your ads could appear across Google’s other advertising services.)

  • The audience, language and location

Finally, it will be time for your campaign to go live.

Specifics of YouTube Ads

Skippable and non-skippable, in-stream video ads on YouTube must first be uploaded as regular YouTube videos. Their specs will be the same as for any YouTube video.

True-View (Discovery) Ads are subject to the specs below:

  • File format: AVI, ASF, Quicktime, Windows Media, MP4 or MPEG

  • Video Codec: H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4

  • Audio Codec: AAC-LC or MP3

  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 or 4:3 is recommended, but YouTube will automatically adapt the file depending on the aspect ratio and device

  • Frame rate: 30 FPS

  • Maximum file size: 1 GB for Discovery ads

YouTube video ad length guidelines

Minimum length

  • Skippable Ads: 12 seconds

Maximum length

  • Skippable Ads: 3 minutes

  • Skippable ads on YouTube Kids: 60 seconds

  • Non-skippable ads: 15 seconds

  • Non-skippable ads in EMEA, Mexico, India, Malaysia and Singapore: 20 seconds

  • Bumper ads: 6 seconds

Cost Of YouTube Ads

On average, YouTube will charge you $0.10 to $0.30 per view or action, with an average $10 daily budget.

YouTube advertising costs rely majorly on the length, complexity, and words in the video script.

This will be determined by the payment mode you choose for your campaign because YouTube gives you four options:

  • Maximum CPV (cost-per-view) is where you pay, depending on the number of views the video has received. Engaging and well thought out videos are bound to receive a lot of viewership.

If you post engaging video content and capture this target audience’s attention, your YouTube advertising cost will go up. This is because prices are determined by the number of views and interactions a video received.

  • Maximum CPM (cost-per-mille) is where you pay per 1000 impressions accrued by your YouTube advertising campaign. A successful ad will have many impressions.

  • Viewable CPM (cost-per-mille or vCPM): Here, you pay per thousand impressions derived from directly seeing your ad. For an ad more than 2 seconds long, a user must view it for more than 50 per cent of its entire length for that to count as a view.

  • Target CPA (cost-per-acquisition) where you pay based on viewers’ actions such as clicking on your ad.


The direction the world has taken calls for you as the marketer to have a video marketing strategy. Video has become so much part and parcel of our online experience. It has also broken into mainstream social media, with

58 views1 comment

1 Comment

Jul 30, 2023

Great guide. I would like to supplement it a little and give the reader a list of applications with which you can create a good selling video for advertising.

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