7 Top Tips to Optimize Your Next YouTube Video Ad

8 min read
Updated: Aug 15, 2019

A YouTube video ad done right can add immense value to your overall digital marketing efforts. Most video-based platforms like Tik Tok have been able to run popular video ad campaigns on YouTube of late.

As the second largest search engine after Google, users spend considerable time on YouTube, most of it viewing ads that run before videos play or while videos play.

Some viewers allow these ads to play out, others don’t. This viewer behavior depends on several factors like relevance, length of an ad, etc, and can impact your YouTube video ads revenue or RoI.

In this post, we’ll discuss YouTube video ads and highlight seven (7) key ways to optimize your next YouTube video ads for more views, clicks, and conversions, but first

What is a YouTube (Video) Ad?

If you’ve ever seen a video played before the main video you clicked on, then you’ve seen a YouTube video ad.

The image above is an example of a YouTube ad by Expert Option. On clicking the original video this ad popped up showing a 3 to 1 countdown timer at the bottom right. After this, “skip ad” appears just in case you’re not interested in the advert.

At the top right is “Visit advertiser”, which contains a link to the advertiser’s website. This advertiser could be you. At the end of this post, you too will be able to start and run your own video ads on YouTube.

Meanwhile, let’s see

Types of YouTube Video Ads

There are 3 main types of YouTube  video ads viz:

TrueView Ads

TrueView ads are the standard type of YouTube ads we see. Skippable TrueView ads are usually 12s to 6m long while non-skippable

TrueView ads are 15s to 20s long.

Advertiser’s only paying when viewers view ads for up to 30s or longer or respond to a call-to-action.

There are two types of TrueView Ads:

  1. Video Discovery Ads (tagged as “Ad”, they show up by the right sidebar after a video search just like ad search results in Google)
  2. In-Stream Ads (these play before the video you click on commences, and may be skipped after 5s)
Pre-Roll Ads

These include non-skippable In-Stream Ads that can come before, during or after the main video, and can be up to 10s-15s long. There’s no option to skip such ads.

Mid-Roll non-skippable video ads can pop up in the middle of a YouTube video which is 10m long or longer.

These ads can run for 15s to 20s and can be optimized to get viewer response since it can’t be skipped.


These are the third type of YouTube ads and are around 6s long and can appear automatically on launching videos.

Because they are this short, brevity and precision are needed to get the maximum message across in minimum time.

Perhaps you can consider combining a Bumper ad with a non-skippable Mid-Roll ad for maximum results.

How to Set Up YouTube Video Ads

There are essentially 3 easy steps to set up your YouTube video ad viz:

  • Select and upload a video (up to 15 minutes long, and you can increase your limit by verifying your account). If you do not already have a pre-recorded video you can always create one.
  • The target audience in a cost-effective manner (by location, interest, search history, etc). This is necessary to reduce wastage and increase conversion from likely interested viewers
  • Set your budget (you decide how much you want to spend on ads). This can always be adjusted anytime during the life of each ad campaign.

And here are

Interesting YouTube Ad Statistics

  • 83% of the time YouTube ads get viewer attention (45% for TV)… (Ipsos)
  • 95% of YouTube ads are reportedly audible (15% for Facebook)… (Google)
  • YouTube ad pods now show two ads for videos, at the start and at the middle (Adage)
  • 39% of viewers say they’re willing to pay for ad-free content (SalesForce)
  • YouTbe video ads increased 17% in 2018 (eMarketer)

7 Top Tips to Optimize Your Next YouTube Video Ad

First and foremost, ensure to understand the basic guidelines surrounding YouTube ads, chief of which is to avoid copyright infringement of any kind. Then

Understand How YouTube Ads Work

Spend some time to study and understand exactly how YouTube ads work. This will include identifying the various types of YouTube ads, their features, length, cost, pricing, average RoI, etc.

This can help you determine if you should be targeting TrueView Ads instead of Bumpers, for instance, which will, in turn, affect every other step to be taken to create your ads.

YouTube has a lot of resources dedicated to helping you succeed with your ads. It is highly advisable to spend some time on this before proceeding, otherwise, you could be throwing money away in random experimentations.

Take a Cue from Few Good Ads

Whereas anyone can create a video, not everyone can create a great video. And with so many videos produced daily: 400 hours of video per day on YouTube, you certainly want to be at your best.

Speaking of best, let’s face it, you may not always be at your Sunday’s best. Some days you may so sulk at what you do best you’d feel like quitting already.

One of the best ways to counter this and be at your best is to understudy and copy from the best you can find. This way you can get inspiration plus fresh ideas to make yours even better.


After understudying other great ads, it’s time to put what you’ve learned to work and it starts with a plan. So, what are you planning for when creating a youtube ad?

A professional YouTube video ad requires

  • A concept
  • Storyboarding
  • Scripting
  • Casting
  • Location
  • Filming
  • Camera
  • Lighting
  • Audio
  • Filming
  • Editing, then
  • Publishing

Each of these stages requires prior planning for maximum results. Overlooking any can have negative multiplier effects on your YouTube video ad.


Speaking about planning, it is a good idea to carry your production team along, throughout the planning process. This will make execution a lot easier because everyone will be on the same page.

It is great to plan, but not enough. It is very important that such plans translate smoothly into reality. Depending on the size and scope of your video ad project, you may need to hire the best hands to help you execute your plans.

For smaller businesses with budget constraints, YouTube ads aren’t so complicated to complete. There are on-screen prompts and a user-friendly UI to guide you through.

Maximize Each Moment

With Bumper YouTube ads, for instance, there’s a lot to say but not enough time to say it. Few adverts or marketers can ever manage to pass a strong message across in five seconds.

Here’s where good planning shows through. With a well written and optimized script this can be a cinch. An experienced copywriter or scriptwriter can make this happen more effectively.

Because they are short, such ads can be used as pointers to the main advert where there’re fuller details, say on the advertiser’s website or landing page, which should be optimized to look like a continuation of the brief YouTube ad.

Play the Audience

When it comes to YouTube, a number of things are important like the right YouTube thumbnails specs and size, background sound, vocalization, and other factors listed above. These have much to do with you as the advertiser.

Even more important is your audience. The whole point of your YouTube ad is to pass a message to your audience. So, who’s your audience, how well do you know them? If you must speak to them, you have to know who “them” is.

A good strategy here is to play the audience. Pretend to be your audience for five YouTube minutes and listen to the message in your ad. Is it convincing enough, remarkable, memorable?

Go Over It Again

If something feels out of place don’t ignore it. The first and lasting impression is often formed in the first few seconds, which may happen to be the length of your entire YouTube video ad. So use it wisely.

From concept to publishing, go over each step a second time just to be sure. And while at it do not forget to include a strong call-to-action which can be as simple as “click the link below”, which means the link should be correct, working, unbroken.

As mentioned earlier, ensure your website can carry on the conversation seamlessly, paying attention to your site loading speed, landing pages, navigation, menus, user interface, user experience, live support (in case they need help).


You can spend your whole day going over your YouTube video ad again and again and not make any meaningful measurable progress. After you have done a few appraisals, edits and gotten feedback, it is time to click upload.

Monitor your analytics and feedback. That way you can see what’s working and what’s not, so you can tweak your approach until it clicks.


Amos Onwukwe

@Amos Onwukwe

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