A Guide to YouTube Ad Options

As a business owner it is important to align your overall objectives with your advertising strategy. Whether your objective is to increase brand awareness, sales, or even followers, YouTube offers different advertising options to help you achieve your business goals by reaching the right audience at the right moment.

There are two advertisement options available on YouTube.

Ad Option 1: In-Stream Ads

Why bother viewers with ads they don’t want to see? With the In-Stream ad option, only viewers who are genuinely interested in your video ad will receive your message. These types of video advertisements are placed before a specific YouTube video is watched. Your ad will be played for 5 seconds then viewers have to decide whether they would like to continue watching your ad or click the “Skip Ad” button and continue watching Beyoncé’s latest music video.

The brilliant thing about this advertisement option is that you will only pay when someone chooses to continue watching your video ad for at least 30 seconds or interacts with your video by clicking on call-to-action overlays, cards, or companion banners. As a result, only viewers who are interested and engaged will watch your video ad.


Be creative when writing your script to grab your viewer’s attention within the first 5 seconds. It is important to do this since viewers can skip your ad after 5 seconds.

These ads can be used to target viewers, who are searching for specific keywords on YouTube, watching videos on specific YouTube channels, have visited specific web page, or who have viewed similar content.

Ad Option 2: In-Display Ads

The In-Display ad option stands out because it offers a handful of placement opportunities. In-Display ads can be placed in response to YouTube search results, on the YouTube homepage, at the top of the recommended content list, and can catch users attention as they are viewing other content. Below are a few examples of where In-Display ads could be placed. These types of ads are designed to invite users to click on the thumbnail and watch your video ad.

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In-Display ads do not direct viewers to a landing page but instead sends viewers to your YouTube channel. These types of ads are intended to blend in with organic search results or recommended videos by strategically targeting your audience and delivering content relevant to what viewers are currently watching or searching. Similarly to the In-Stream ad option, you will only pay when a viewer clicks on your ad and begins watching your video.


Since In-Display ads do not direct viewers to your website or landing page, it is important that you include a call to action in your video content that moves viewers from your YouTube channel to a landing page. One way to do this is by providing links to different landing pages in your videos descriptions.

Create an eye-catching thumbnail image and a strong headline for your video to entice clicks. Images with bright colored borders or large visible text with a call to action are a good way to do this.

This ad option is great if you want to drive more traffic to your YouTube channel and increase your following. Since this ad option places your content near organic results, try to tailor your ad to relevant search queries of your target audience.

How to Measure Success?

YouTube is unique from other social media platforms because it incorporates sight, sound and motion, which helps create emotional connections with viewers. YouTube’s combination of video access, sharing, and community makes it an ideal place to engage with your audience.


The best way to track the success of your video ads is through YouTube Analytics. As shown in the image above, this measurement tool can help you track your audience demographic, levels of engagement, performance compared to similar videos, among other insights Studying insights from your video ads is important because it can help you improve you video advertisement strategy to better reach your audience.

Why YouTube?

As the second largest online search engine in the world, YouTube is a great platform to communicate with your target audience. YouTube offers many ways to strategically target your audience whether it is by demographic, geographic location, age or search history. Through insights on YouTube Analytics, you can better tailor your ads to effectively communicate with your viewers.

Throughout this post, I pulled information from YouTube’s Help Center. Feel free to refer to this resource for further guidance!



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