YouTube is becoming more and more popular not only as an entertainment website but also as an advertising platform. With Google AdWords you can easily target YouTube users even with a small budget and with techniques you already know from AdWords. Let’s have a look at the most common ways your business can be promoted with YouTube advertising.

Basically there are two approaches to advertising on YouTube:

  • Promoting your video content (YouTube Promoted Videos)
  • Promoting your website through text, image and flash ads. Ads can appear inside videos and in content as well.

Advertising Video Content (YouTube Promoted Videos)

Promoted Videos are a good way to let YouTube users know about your videos without paying too much per click. All you need is to have an AdWords account and some video assets to advertise on.

Promoted Videos in Search

As one might expect, search advertising on YouTube is most cost effective. With wisely selected keywords and relevant ad copy you’ll get a high click-through rate and well targeted traffic. If you haven’t yet, you should probably start exploring YouTube’s advertising capabilities.

YouTube Promoted Videos - InSearch

See where the Sponsored Videos appear in YouTube Search.

As YouTube Search is a part of the Google Search Network, Google Search has to be turned on along with the Google Search Network.

The basic principles of ad ranking are the same as in Google Search and that is – briefly said – the Quality Score multiplied by the price you are bidding for a particular keyword.

Promoted Videos in Content

Besides YouTube Search, Promoted Videos can be displayed in YouTube content pages. Most commonly on video pages on the right side next to the video.

YouTube Promoted Videos - InContent

Of course, the Google Display Network needs to be turned on in campaign settings. From managed placements you have to select or desired YouTube categories in which you wish your videos to appear.

Good to know

  • Don’t expect the search CTR to be as high as it is for your Google Search ads. The reason is that YouTube ads have usually lower relevancy to the search query due to the fact that search queries on YouTube are not usually of a commercial nature. In this respect, you may wish to review an earlier blog of ours: To What Extent Does Google Match Search Results to Commercial Search Intent?
    But of course there are things you can do to help increase your CTR: Try to maintain relevancy of the ad headline to the search query – exactly as you would do with Google Search campaigns. Also, choose the video thumbnail carefully if possible. Testing different thumbnails will help you to achieve high click-through rates as well.
  • If you have a lot of videos to promote, you may find it a bit messy to search for their URLs. A good idea is to create your own YouTube channel. You can make your work easier by typing the name of your YouTube channel and then select from the videos as shown below:Searching videos within your own YouTube channel

Promoting Your Website in YouTube Content

Besides search advertising on YouTube, you can also make your ads appear in content. If you don’t have any videos to advertise, or simply want to get more traffic from YouTube, there are a lot of placements which you can target with various formats including text ads:

What you need is to turn content network on and select YouTube as a managed placement. Let’s have look at where ads can be shown and how to run them there.

Text overlays inside videos

These are common AdWords text ads showing in the bottom part of a video. Up to 3 text ads can be shown in the overlay. If you want to make sure your ads will be displayed in videos, add (or specific YT categories) to your display campaign managed placements.

YouTube advertising - Text overlays inside videos

InVideo image overlay

Image overlay is displayed in the bottom part of a video as well. The size is 480×70 and – contrary to text overlays – there can be only 1 ad shown at once but it can be accompanied by a 300×250 banner showing next to the video.
YouTube ads - InVideo image overlay
InVideo ad with accompanying banner next to the YouTube video.

To create an InVideo ad go to New ad -> Display ad builder -> Video -> InVideo Static Image

Video ads

InStream video ad is a short (typically 15 second) video ad played inside a YouTube video. If the video is longer than 10 minutes, the video ad can last up to 30 seconds. 300×250. An accompanying banner can be used as well.

To create an InStream ad go to New ad -> Display ad builder -> Video -> InStream Video Ad


As the Text InVideo overlays, banners aren’t a special YouTube format. It’s a common image ad and can be shown on the YouTube video page next to the video player (in the same place where InVideo companion banner is shown) and various other placements. The most common banner format you shouldn’t forget to make is 300×250.

The Placement Tool helps you to decide which other formats you may need to develop in order to be visible for a particular category.

Using the Google Placement tool to find YouTube placements
For each YouTube category, the Google Placement Tool shows available ad formats and the number of impressions you can get.

General tips and best practices

Usually it’s a good idea to create a separate campaign for your YouTube advertising especially for Promoted Videos. Clicks from Promoted Videos are in fact the video views (i.e. these clicks aren’t leading to your site) so it’s not desirable for these to be mixed with other clicks in your AdWords campaign.

To get the most of the price you paid for a promoted video view, it’s very useful to have every video properly described and tagged. You should also think about ways to get the user to view another video or – depending on your objectives – your website.

There are a few tools which can help you in building out your YouTube campaigns:

YouTube Insight can help you monitor things such as video views, demographics and subscribers.

Using YouTube Insights (Discovery) to understand video source traffic

There are also very interesting statistics which tell you what part of the overall video traffic is generated by advertising. You can then work out if there’s some synergy – i.e. if your advertising influences natural traffic to the video.

Do you need help promoting your business on YouTube? We can assist not only with YouTube advertising but also with complex SEO and SEM strategy. Contact us for a no-obligation chat.