5 Best Practices to Elevate Your YouTube Advertising Performance

YouTube is the world’s second most visited website, right behind Google, and boasts more than 2.70 billion monthly active users. YouTube is an incredibly dynamic and powerful platform for reaching a vast and diverse audience.

Check out some of these statistics on who is using YouTube and why:

YouTube Stats Marketers Need to Know

YouTube is not only one of the biggest platforms, YouTube users interact and engage with brands.

5 Best Practices to Supercharge Your YouTube Advertising Performance

1. Optimize Your Video Content

Video content is at the heart of YouTube, and it’s crucial to create compelling and engaging videos that resonate with your audience. Here’s how to optimize your video content:

  • Hook Viewers Early: Grab viewers’ attention within the first few seconds. Use captivating visuals, a compelling narrative, or intriguing questions to pique their interest.
  • Tell a Story: Storytelling is a powerful way to connect with your audience emotionally. Craft a narrative that relates to your brand or product and keeps viewers engaged.

2. Choose the Right Ad Format

YouTube offers a range of video ad formats to engage viewers in different ways. When choosing ad format, consider your goals and objectives.  Are you trying to increase brand awareness or encourage purchases?

YouTube offers great guidance to help you choose a format based on brand awareness, consideration, and action such as making a purchase.

YouTube ad formats include:

  • Skippable In-Stream Ads: Skippable in-stream ads are one of the most common ad formats on YouTube. These ads play before or during a video and allow viewers to skip the ad after the first five seconds. Advertisers are only charged if viewers watch beyond the 30-second mark or interact with the ad in some way. This format is great for brand awareness and capturing viewers’ attention early.
  • Non-Skippable Ads: Non-skippable ads are short video ads (typically 15 seconds) that viewers must watch in full before accessing the video content they intended to watch. These ads are ideal for delivering concise messages and ensuring viewers receive your full message.
  • Discovery Ads: Discovery ads appear alongside YouTube search results, related videos, or on the YouTube homepage. They consist of a thumbnail image and headline and are labeled as “Ad.” When viewers click on a discovery ad, they are taken to your video or YouTube channel. This format is effective for driving engagement and encouraging viewers to explore your content.
  • Bumper Ads: Bumper ads are non-skippable, six-second video ads designed to deliver a short and memorable message. They are excellent for creating brand awareness and sharing concise information in a brief timeframe.

Different ad formats serve different purposes. Skippable in-stream ads are great for longer messages, while bumper ads are ideal for quick brand impressions. Non-skippable ads ensure that viewers see your entire message.

However, your audience’s preferences matter. If you force viewers to watch non-skippable ads, they might become frustrated, impacting their perception of your brand negatively. On the other hand, skippable in-stream ads give viewers control, which can lead to a more positive experience.

3. Consider Using TrueView Ads

TrueView are skippable ads that bring the power of choice to viewers. TrueView was the first in-stream skippable YouTube ad format to demonstrate to advertisers that viewers who chose to watch their ads were more likely to consider the brand or product being advertised.

There are two primary types of TrueView ads:

  • TrueView In-Stream Ads: TrueView in-stream ads are video ads that play before, during, or after other YouTube videos. These ads can vary in length, but viewers have the option to skip them after the first five seconds. Advertisers are only charged when viewers watch the ad for at least 30 seconds (or the full duration if the ad is shorter than 30 seconds) or if they engage with the ad, such as clicking on a call-to-action overlay.

    The key benefit of TrueView in-stream ads is that they allow advertisers to reach a broad audience, and they provide valuable viewer engagement data.
  • TrueView Discovery Ads: TrueView Discovery ads appear in places where viewers discover content on YouTube, such as search results, the YouTube homepage, and related video suggestions. They consist of a thumbnail image, a headline, and a brief description.

    When viewers click on a TrueView Discovery ad, they are taken to the video’s YouTube watch page or the advertiser’s YouTube channel. Advertisers are charged when viewers click to view the video.

    TrueView Discovery ads are particularly effective for driving engagement, channel subscriptions, and encouraging viewers to explore more of your content.

4. Leverage Targeting Options

YouTube offers a range of audience targeting options to help advertisers reach specific demographics, interests, and behaviors. Here are the key ways you can target audiences on YouTube:

  • Demographic Targeting: You can target audiences based on demographic factors such as age, gender, parental status, and household income. This helps ensure your ads are seen by viewers who match your target demographic.
  • Interest-based Targeting: YouTube allows advertisers to target viewers based on their interests and online behavior. This includes categories such as technology, fashion, travel, and more. Advertisers can select specific interest categories relevant to their products or services.
  • Behavioral Targeting: Behavioral targeting involves reaching viewers based on their online activities and engagement with YouTube. You can target viewers who have previously interacted with your videos, channel, or website. Remarketing lists allow you to re-engage with past visitors to your website or app.
  • Affinity Audiences: Affinity audiences target viewers who have demonstrated a strong interest in specific topics or industries over time. Google identifies these audiences based on their online behavior and preferences.
  • Custom Affinity Audiences: Custom affinity audiences are created by advertisers to target viewers with specific interests that align with their products or services. Advertisers provide a set of keywords, URLs, and other details to create custom affinity audiences.
  • Life Events Targeting: Life events targeting allows advertisers to reach viewers who are currently experiencing significant life events such as getting married, moving, or graduating from college. This targeting helps advertisers tailor their messages to viewers going through specific life stages.
  • Remarketing Lists: Remarketing allows you to target viewers who have previously interacted with your website, app, or YouTube channel. You can create customized messages to re-engage these past visitors and encourage them to take desired actions.
  •  Custom Intent Audiences: Custom intent audiences enable advertisers to target viewers who are actively searching for specific products or services on Google. These audiences are based on keywords related to what viewers are currently researching.
  • Placement Targeting: Placement targeting allows advertisers to choose specific YouTube channels, videos, or websites where they want their ads to appear. This precision ensures that your ads are shown in contexts relevant to your audience.
  • Keyword Targeting: Keyword targeting involves selecting specific keywords related to your product or service. YouTube then displays your ads on videos or search results pages that are relevant to those keywords.
  • Companion Banner Targeting: Companion banners are display ads that appear next to a video while it’s playing. Advertisers can target viewers with companion banners based on various criteria such as demographics, interests, and keywords.
  • Geo-targeting: You can target viewers based on their geographic location, allowing you to reach audiences in specific regions, countries, or cities.

5. Utilize Ad Extensions and Cards

YouTube offers ad extensions and cards that can enhance viewer engagement and drive actions. Here’s how to leverage these features:

  • End Screens: Use end screens to promote other videos, playlists, or your website at the end of your video ads. Encourage viewers to continue engaging with your content.
  • Cards: Add interactive cards to your videos with links to related websites, products, or videos. Cards provide a seamless way for viewers to take action while watching.


Ultimately, the success of your YouTube advertising campaigns depends on your ability to track and optimize for conversions. Be sure to set up conversion tracking to measure the actions viewers take after interacting with your ads, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up, or visiting your website. With a strategic approach and a commitment to improvement, your YouTube advertising efforts will be more effective than ever in reaching and engaging your target audience.

YouTube Advertising Solutions

Ready to get the most out of your YouTube advertising dollars? Learn how our robust data and targeting solutions can help deliver your campaign to the right audiences.

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