With an audience of 1.6 billion users logging in each month, YouTube is the most used internet search platform after Google. But audience size aside, you might be wondering: Why should my business advertise on YouTube?

To put it simply, YouTube’s biggest selling point echoes that of parent company Google: It captures intent. In other words, the platform's users are often showing up with a need in mind, like how to change a tire or how to repair a leaky sink. In fact, back in 2015, Google reported that searches related to "how to" on YouTube were growing 70% year over year.

With this intent-ready audience, the number of advertisers investing in YouTube video ads is increasing. However, many brands and business are struggling with the decision of how and where to place ads to drive awareness, leads, and ultimately sales.

By the end of this beginners guide YouTube ad formats, you’ll be familiar with the different types of YouTube ads, the advertising platform itself, and the specifications for each ad type.


Advertising on YouTube is done through Google AdWords; the same platform you use to manage your Google search and display ads.


Display ads on YouTube are created the same way you would create a regular Google display campaign. To have your ads appear on YouTube, just set your placement as youtube.com as well as any other specific YouTube channel URLs where you’d want your ad to show. Learn more about the different display ads options available and those that are best suited for your business in our recent blog.


There are three types of videos ad formats you can run on YouTube: TrueView In-Stream Ads, TrueView Discovery Ads, and Bumper Ads. These are all managed through Google AdWords and are chosen when you create a video campaign. Still with us? Let’s break them down.

TrueView In-Stream Ads

These ads are probably what you think of when you picture advertising on YouTube. TrueView In-Stream ads appear prior, during, or after the video you are about to watch and are skippable after the first five seconds. Advertisers pay on a cost-per-view basis and are only charged when someone clicks on the ad, watches 30 seconds of the ad or at the completion of ad - whichever comes first. The videos must be uploaded to YouTube first and can be up to three minutes in length. These ads can also include an optional companion banner, which is a 300x60 image that appears on the upper right corner of the YouTube page.

TrueView In-Stream ads can also be served outside of YouTube on Google Display Networks’ collection of sites and apps. This can be done by selecting “Video partners on the Display Network” in the campaign settings within the networks section. They can also be embedded within YouTube ads served on other sites and apps.

TrueView Discovery Ads

Trueview Discovery Ads promote a video in places of discovery, including next to related YouTube videos, as part of a YouTube search result, or on the YouTube mobile homepage. If you’re aiming to drive product or brand consideration this the format for you.

TrueView Discovery Ads are intended to promote your YouTube video by directing users to your YouTube channel page. These ads appear on both mobile and desktop on the YouTube search results and watch pages, on the YouTube app homepage, and alongside related YouTube videos. They include an image thumbnail, a headline text, and two lines in the description. You are charged on a cost-per-view bidding when someone clicks on the ad or a user watches the video.

YouTube Advertising

Bumper Ads

YouTube bumper ads are non-skippable ads with a maximum length of six seconds. Bumper ads run on cost-per-thousand impression (CPM) bidding, so you are charged for every one thousand views your ad gets. These ads can appear before, during, or after another video or on partner sites and apps through the Google Display Network.

Bumper ads are best used for driving brand awareness. Use this format when you’d like to reach viewers broadly with a short, memorable message.

YouTube Advertising

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