YouTube Advertising Tutorial

YouTube Advertising Tutorial

Content marketers have an itch to tell their brand stories with video. And why shouldn’t they? Video provides a relatively easy and effective method for entertaining, educating and encouraging our audiences with little time required from the audience.

However, there is one ominous impediment staring down at anyone who has ever posted a video to YouTube. It is this: literally thousands of other videos were uploaded at the exact same time (roughly 72 hours worth of content uploaded per minute). Plus, in the next minute, another heaping pile of videos will be uploaded.

Despite YouTube’s sophisticated search and recommendations algorithms, there is still quite a clutter. Marketers looking to give their video content a boost among a desired audience can do so with YouTube Advertising. The following provides a walk-through for setting up a new campaign to promote your videos on Youtube through the Google Adwords interface.

Creating A Video Campaign

The initial step is a little tricky. Adwords doesn’t exactly make it glaringly obvious where to begin. See the screen shot below. Select the “+ New Campaign” button and choose “Online Video.”

YouTube Advertising Campaign

Choosing Video Ad Campaign Settings

If you have any experience with Adwords, this will look familiar to you. Campaign settings are comprised of a few selections:

Campaign Name – Simply give your campaign a unique name.

Campaign Budget – Determine how much you want to spend daily. If you are not sure, I have found that average cost per view rates are in the 10¢ to 15¢ range for most categories. Take the number of views you want to achieve and divide that by 10. The resulting quotient is your campaign budget. Take that number and divided by the number of days you want to run your campaign. That is your daily budget.

Delivery Settings – You have two options here. I suggest Standard so you can evaluate the intervals that produce the most video views during the course of a typical day. Modify settings later on to promote your video during peak hours.

  • Standard – will show ads evenly over time.
  • Accelerated – show ads as quickly as possible. This could result in blowing your daily budget by the early morning.

Locations and Languages – Your ad will only show in the locations designated by ad settings. Choose wisely. You may consider looking at your website analytics to find out what cities, states and countries are driving meaningful traffic. Match up your video targeting accordingly.

Selecting a Video & Creating Video Ads

Select a Video – You have three options for identifying the video you would like to promote:

  • Choose it from a Channel linked to the accounts (you have the option of connecting your YouTube and Adwords accounts within the interface).
  • Search for the video by keyword or title.
  • Find the video by URL – simply enter in the unique ID for the video (e.g. the unique ID for is 0987654321).

Once you have identified your video, you can select what kind of ads you would like to run. There are three primary ad types from which to choose:


  • Your video will auto play as a preview for the users chosen video for at least 5 seconds.
  • Pay if the user watches for 30+ seconds or until the end of the video.

YouTube In-stream Ad


  • Your video will appear as a sponsored search result on YouTube.
  • Create ad text to accompany the video thumbnail.
  • Pay when user clicks to watch.
  • You can choose whether you would like to send the user to the video Watch page or your Channel Page.

YouTube Search Ad


  • Your video ad will either display on the on right hand side of the page as a suggested video or as an overlay on top of the user’s current video.
  • You can also choose to upload a display ad to accompany the in-display option. Both the 300×250 large rectangle and 300×600 small banner sizes are available.
  • Pay when users clicks to watch.

YouTube Display Ad

YouTube Overlay Display Ad

Advanced Settings

Ad Schedule – Start and end dates. You also have the option here to modify your flights to show during certain times of the day or days of the week.

YouTube Ad Schedule

Ad Rotation – Adwords gives you the option to modify your settings to garner more views or more conversions. Going the “views” route will split your ad impressions automatically based on when visitors are most likely to watch.

YouTube Ad Rotation

Frequency Caps – If your audience is very finite, you might not want to overdo it by inundating them with your video. You can limit the daily ad impressions by user here. I typically place a cap of 5-8 impressions per day.

Device – This is crucial for app or game developers looking to promote video demos. Choose the devices on which you would like to show your ad. If your pitch is not related to mobile usage at all, or if you find that your audience would be better served to spend some time watching your video in front of a desktop, you can choose to eliminate mobile view altogether.

Targeting Your Video Ad

Be careful with targeting as the audience will be limited to people who fall under all the categories you select. Adwords will only show your ad to visitors who meet all the criteria designated. If your targeting selections produce an audience quantity that is just too narrow, Adwords will alert you and advise you to adjust your approach.

Here is a list of the available targeting options.

Demographics – Select relevant ages and genders

Topics – This method of targeting allows advertisers to pick and choose topic categories with which their ad content aligns. For instance choosing the “Gardening & Landscaping” topic will allow your ad to show before or near other gardening videos.

YouTube Topic Targeting

Interests – Interest targeting shows ads to individuals who have shown an interest in a particular category. For example, selection of the “Blues Fans” interest will allow your ad to show to those who have watch other blues music videos previously.

Placements – This targeting allows advertiser to get very specific with where their ads should appear outside of YouTube. If you only want your ad to show on YouTube, select as a desired placement.

Remarketing Lists – If you have created a list/audience for a remarketing campaign within Google Adwords, you can choose to only show your video ad to those who have already been to your website.

Display Network Keywords – Similar to topics and interests, display keywords help advertisers limit their impressions to a set of similar content based on keyword. While Topics and Interest targeting is managed with predefined categories, keyword targeting is much more open ended. If you use this targeting option, carefully list words and phrases that match up with your content and what your target audience might want to view.

YouTube Search Keywords – Add a full list of keywords for your campaign. These are the keywords the audience will search with when seeking video content similar to yours. Add as many keywords as you like, and consider using the YouTube keyword tool to construct a decent list.

Once you have completed your targeting setup, you can submit your campaign for review. This same targeting criteria will be available for all future video campaigns.

Have you used YouTube ads previously?  What other pointers can you provide?