How to Create and Use YouTube Ads to Grow Your Business

Updated: May 26, 2021

YouTube, the video hosting platform turned social media giant, has over 2 billion users; for marketers and small business owners, this represents an opportunity to get in front of a huge audience.

Because the YouTube ad format relies solely on video, the platform can seem a little daunting at first.

You don’t need to be a talented movie director to create a YouTube video ad that is going to generate revenue for your business, though.

In this article, I’m going to take a look at how you can use a YouTube ad format to grow your business.

We’ll take a look at how the platform works, including pre-roll ad ideas and the process you need to go through in order to get a return on investment for video content.

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The Four Different Kinds of YouTube Ads In broad terms, there are four main kinds of YouTube ads:

  • Skippable video ads

  • Non-skippable video ads

  • Bumper ads

  • Overlay ads

Non-Skippable Ads These ads can only be 15-20 seconds long and can also be considered “in-stream ads” (more on that later) since the ads play at the beginning and throughout the videos you advertise on. These are pre-roll ad campaigns, which means that to view the desired video content, the ad will appear. These kinds of ads get better engagement, but they also have a higher video view abandonment rate. See How My Agency Can Drive Massive Amounts of Traffic to Your Website

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These ads also tend to get a bad rap because they seem forceful. However, if you create engaging and efficiently targeted ads, your campaigns are likely to succeed.

Skippable Ads

Skippable ads are also known as TrueView ads. These are ads that don’t force people to watch. These can be shown in two ways: ‘In-stream’ and ‘In-display.’

YouTube doesn’t really say that there is a maximum length for TrueView video content ads.

What they do provide, however, are some suggestions — especially for the In-stream ads. 51% of In-stream ads run for 15-30 seconds.

If you want to make your ads longer than this, you may want to keep your video length at around 3 minutes (as YouTube has suggested).

In-Display Ads

In-display ads don’t exactly have a suggested maximum run time. These ads can be used to take people directly to your YouTube video, so you can get away with them being long.

If the video you want to advertise is long and of value — In-display may work best for you.

In any case, if you’re creating a YouTube ad from scratch, you might want to keep it short so that it’s easy to create.

You don’t have to stick to the suggestions provided, but doing so will reduce the chances of your ad being rejected.

In-Stream Ads

In-steam ads are a pre-roll ad shown at the start of video content. These are some of the more common ad types that people use when advertising on YouTube.

People don’t necessarily mind watching ‘In-stream ads.’ A study once found that 72% of ‘In-stream video ads are watched to the end. If you’re new to YouTube Ads, In-stream ads can be a great way to get in on the video view game. In-stream can be used to achieve a variety of goals.

If you’re looking to send traffic back to your website, you need to make sure that your website is set up so that it can handle this incoming traffic from your video content and ads.

You need to make it user-friendly across multiple video player types, but also very clear, in terms of what visitors need to do next. This is especially important if they want to take action on the information in the ad that brought them to your site.

If you’re not sending people to a full-blown website and you’re using a landing page instead you need to make sure that it’s been optimized for conversions and doesn’t confuse leads who found your site via your video content.

You can do this by keeping the messaging the same on the ad and the landing page.

In-stream ads can also be used to boost YouTube channel subscribers. This is a great way to build a loyal audience that engages with your content on a consistent basis.

Zagg, a company that supplies screen protectors, managed to improve conversions by 65-70% on product pages, by using YouTube a pre-roll ad campaign.

Their In-stream YouTube campaign also generated 13 million views on a product-specific YouTube Channel.

Their ads worked so well because they targeted them well for social media engagement, which can boost video views.

They focused on certain geographical locations and certain demographics. They could only do that because they knew their target market very well.

If you want to get similar results, you’ll need to be sure that you can also describe your target market clearly.

Consider generating a buyer persona of your ideal customer. This will help you to accurately fill in the targeting options when you’re creating your ads.

Zagg’s videos also did a lot of indirect selling This helped to keep the conversion rates high on their product pages; the video already showed viewers that the product could perform.

They showed a video of a key scratching an iPhone. They also showed what happened when an iPhone, using their technology, was placed under 1,000 Ibs of weight.

People might not worry about 1,000 pounds of weight being placed on their phones, but a lot of people worry about scratching their phones with keys, such as in a woman’s purse.

These videos showed that there was a way to prevent this problem from ever affecting them.

Once people were done with the video view, they already knew that the product was worth the money.

All that they had to do was go to the product page and purchase. The pre-roll ad format worked.

If you can advertise a video that can convey value as clearly as the one that Zagg used, then your videos may also connect with your target market and produce high conversions.

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In-Display Ads

You can also create a form of YouTube Ads called In-Display Ads. These are ads that are shown in the search listings, related videos section, or as video overlays. You’ll notice there that there is a box on the far right that mentions ‘On partner websites.’

Because we’re only advertising on the YouTube site, this option is not open to us.

In-display ads aren’t as invasive as the other types of ads that we’ve discussed so far. That doesn’t mean that they’re not any good, though, as they can still generate results for your campaigns.

YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine in the world (next to Google).

If it costs too much for you to advertise in the Google search listings, there is a different ad format. You can advertise in the YouTube search listings instead.

Using Keywords for YouTube Ads

Very Pink, a company that offers knitting instruction, did just that. They ended up paying around 3 cents per view. That’s a pretty good result! This wasn’t for ‘junk traffic’, which can often happen with a social media ad campaign.

The ‘view-through-rate’ on their videos was around 10%. This means that 10% of the people who clicked video view on this ad format, watched it all; it was relevant to them.

Very Pink improved its ad strategy by creating YouTube videos specifically for certain keyword terms.

For example, if there were a lot of people searching for the term ‘how to knit a spiral scarf,’ but Very Pink had no video to match this keyword; so they created it.

They did their research through various social media channels to get the desired high video view results, eventually converting sales.

The In-display format allows your ad to appear in the search listings when people searched for the keyword ‘how to knit a spiral scarf,’ for instance.

Because In-display videos appear at the top of the search listings and their titles match the search terms people use, they appear highly relevant, even if they are outright ads versus traditional user content.

When viewers see how relevant your ad is based on their search words, they are likely to click your video instead of the videos that appear in the SERPs.

An added benefit when using this method: when there are more people viewing your videos, you are more likely to get subscribers to your YouTube channel. Better still, a percentage of those would eventually become customers.

If you want to quickly find some popular keywords that are related to your offering, do a search on YouTube.

For example, let’s say that we also wanted to create some knitting ads, but didn’t know which keywords to target.

All you need to do is type in ‘how to knit a scarf,’ and then look at what results appear in the drop-down list.

Most of these results would make for great keywords to build your ad and web content around. Overlay Ads

Similar to In-stream and In-display ads, overlay ads can also be used to grow your YouTube channel. Overlay ads appear as a bar along the bottom of a video.

If your Tube channel is already populated with a lot of great content, you want to get visitors to keep engaging with it. Overlay ads help with this.

The more videos a user watches, the more deeply engaged they became with the brand and are potentially more likely to click on an overlay ad.

You might also want to create a great welcome video. Welcome videos are sometimes referred to as a trailer, just like the previews you see at the movie theater.

If want to create a welcome video of your own, it helps to follow a few rules.

One is that you want to keep it short; preferably under a minute.

It also needs to hook viewers in as soon as possible. You can do this by quickly explaining what you have to offer, or by talking through the benefits related to using your channel for your audience’s video content needs.

You also want to remind people to subscribe and share on social media. If you’re looking to build up your YouTube channel, getting noticed on your other social media channels is important.

Of course, if you want people to take a different action, that is fine; just make sure you tell them what to do.

Notice that when you watch a welcome video, you’re presented with a description that describes the video and may provide links based on the contents of the video. The description used for a welcome video should also contain a call to action, just as your video does. The video view should not be the only selling source.

There’s also some branding on the channel page. You might not think this is essential, but it can be helpful for reminding visitors they’re in the right place, especially once you start a social media campaign.

It works in a similar way to clicking on any ad format and then being taken to a landing page that has the same look. It helps to build trust.

If you don’t have a great welcome video, or if you don’t have a decent amount of content already populating your channel, people might not want to subscribe. You may get a video view, but no social media shares or views on future video content.

Give your users a reason to stay by creating compelling content, running engaging ads, and offering a seamless payment solution (if applicable).

How to Create Videos for Your YouTube Ads

Videos are essential for YouTube ads. After all, if you don’t have a video, you can’t run any ads.

If you’re really nervous about creating video ads, you can hire someone to help you.

A company like Demo Duck can help you get the job done in any video format.

For videos, the raw material tends to be a script for the video content.

It is important that you create the script, because you know best how to sell your product. Video companies will not know your product as well as you, so they won’t be able to explain its benefits as well. They know the ad format and how to create video content.

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If you’re working with a small budget, then you might not be able to afford companies that make explainer or ad format videos.

That’s okay, though you might need to put some skin in the game in other ways. That means that you might have to get used to being in front of the camera, sharing on social media, and farming every video view you get with engagement.

YouTube has an ‘Adbuilder’ tool that can help you to create your own video Ads.

YouTube will take you through the process of recording your ad. The tool will also help you handle each of the steps that are involved when recording an ad.

When you use YouTube’s help to record a video ad, the first thing you do is pick a theme.

When on this page, you’ll be presented with a variety of layouts. As an example, select the “Create a Promotion” theme.