Video consumption on YouTube has been on the rise for quite some time, however, the concept of advertising on YouTube still remains foreign to many businesses. Unlike traditional channels of advertising, such as radio, TV and print, running an ad on YouTube allows you to connect with potential customers in a visually memorable way at the exact moment they perform a keyword search related to your business, product or service.

YouTube has over 300 hours of video being uploaded every minute and has the potential to be even more powerful than Google in terms of getting the right stuff in front of the right customers.

Your audience

The audience reach for video on YouTube is vast, with 58% of all internet users in the US owning accounts, and 45% of UK users with accounts. There are over 1 billion unique visits to YouTube each month with visitors watching over 6 billion hours of video, and YouTube outranks Google as the world’s top search engine. Because of this, YouTube has the largest global reach of all the marketing channels!


YouTube now influences the purchasing decisions of 53% of all internet users. While YouTube’s overall reach is vast, reach means nothing if you are not reaching the right people. With YouTube advertising you can use precision targeting based on demographics, location, interests, viewing devices (like your laptop or phone) and even the time of day to ensure that your message gets in front of the right people.


Google Adwords gives you the option of establishing a start and end date for your video campaign. However, unlike other advertising campaigns that require an expiration date, YouTube ads can run forever, and you can create as many as you want!


You do not need a large marketing budget to advertise effectively on YouTube. Google’s flexible pay per view (PPV) system allows you to set a weekly budget and even determine the maximum amount you want to pay per view (max cost per view).


The combination of video access, sharing and community within YouTube (and particularly with your target audience) creates an opportunity for audience engagement, and consequently business growth. If a viewer finds your video to be informative or entertaining, they have the option of sharing it with others, therefore significantly expanding the reach of your video.


One of the greatest benefits of YouTube advertising is the ability to measure the success of your ad campaign. With traditional advertising channels it is almost impossible to determine if you have really reached your target audience, but with Google you have free access to analytics reports. These reports include the number of people who have seen your video and the number of new customers that have connected with your business through your video.

YouTube Ad Formats

YouTube, with it’s 4 billion views every day, now offers businesses the opportunity to capture their audience with creative ads displayed in a variety of ways. Let’s have a look at the different types of ad formats you might come across.

Below is an example of our tv commercial for Oak Tree Mobility being targeted by Sky Atlantic with an In-Stream ad. We’ve allowed this advert to be monetised for the sake of this article, but monetisation is an option you can turn on or off in your ad settings.

TrueView In-stream ads: This full screen ad is designed to capture the attention of your prospects and hold it throughout before their video plays. In-stream ads have the challenge of capturing your audience’s attention in the first 5 seconds because when your time is up, your viewer has the option of skipping on to the main video. These ads are the most popular choice for businesses, 75% of whom opt to let their audience decide whether the ad is engaging enough.

Non-skippable in-stream ads don’t have the option of skipping and viewers must watch the entire thing before their video plays. These types of ads are charged on a Cost Per View (CPV) basis, and the first 30 seconds of viewing time is free. In-stream ads are designed to gain the service or product maximum exposure by targeting relevant audience groups. For example, Pantene hair products might choose to use keywords such as ‘hair tutorials’ in order to target viewers who are clearly interested in hair and beauty.

TrueView In-display ads: In-display ads show up at the side of your content as a suggestion, or as an overlay banner in the video you’re watching. This type of ad acts to catch the attention of the viewer by showing relevant links to similar content. YouTube used to highlight this content with yellow borders but since the advent of native advertising, these ads now blend in with organic listings.

In-search results ads are another type of In-display advertisement. They also show up to the side of your video, but will look like organic search results. Think sponsored videos. The In-display banner ads link directly out to a landing page or product page where the viewer then has the option of buying a product, whereas the In-search results ads will link the viewer through to another video to keep them within the YouTube eco system.

How to optimise your In-Stream video ads

As you can target your ad by demographic or keyword, knowing what will resonate with your audience is key when opting for In-stream ads.

Create compelling product or service demonstrations

A great tip is to show off your product’s features and benefits as much as possible in the ad. Many new tech product rollouts will include three or more videos showing off the product in question. Each video will demonstrate key benefits or features of the product, and of course the most successful video will be used to piggyback new marketing campaigns for the product. For inspiration, check out Apple’s extensive list of videos demonstrating the iPhone 6’s capabilities (although these videos aren’t paid ads as Apple don’t need to advertise online)

End the right way

Always include a call to action in your videos, to ensure your audience has instructions on how to proceed with your brand after watching the video. This could take the viewer to an online shop, landing page or it could encourage them to watch more of your videos. It depends on what your goals are. If your goal is to attract more subscribers, then ask for it at the end of the ad. Remember: keep it simple!

ReelSEO have a great article on optimising both In-stream an In-display ads if you’d like more information on how to get the most out of your ad.

Advertising on YouTube is not for everyone, and it will essentially come down to what your product or service is. There are many avenues of commercial advertising, some much more expensive than others, but the most important thing to consider is where your key audience is, and how often they consume the medium on which your advert will display. The beauty of YouTube advertising is that it caters for most products and services if you are creative and employ proper thought (and a proper company!) behind it.

Written by Bella Organ at Skylark Media.

Jo Jan 26th, 2016

About Jo Haywood

Jo is the Managing Director at Skylark Media. Before starting Skylark in 2005, Jo ran the BBC Lifestyle website and prior to that directed science documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. To switch off she can be found on the tennis court, at yoga, or planting trees in the forest garden.