The Ultimate Guide To YouTube Video Advertising In 2019

The Ultimate Guide To YouTube Video Advertising In 2019

Over 1.5 billion people visit Youtube each month to view more than a billion hours of video content. And the demand of video content is not showing any indication of slowing down.

This makes Youtube advertising a lucrative opportunity for any business to reach a huge portion of their target audience.

The YouTube video advertising platform may look simple to use, but it’s only as simple as Google’s search algorithm itself. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can end up losing a good amount of money with no returns. 

So in this complete guide to Youtube video advertising, you’ll learn how to get started, the different types of ads you can create, and best practices to get the most ROI from your video advertising campaign.

Table of Contents

YouTube Video Ad Types & Specs

When advertising on Youtube, you can pick from 6 different types of ad formats: Skippable video ads (a.k.a. TrueView ads), Non-skippable video ads, Bumper ads, Overlay ads, Display ads and Sponsored cards.

No matter which YouTube video ad format you pick, it can potentially show up on many types of screen sizes, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, desktops and more.

So when planning a YouTube video advertising campaign, it’s important to not just consider who your target audience are, but how and where they may end up watching your video. 

The specifications common to all major YouTube video ad types are:

  • H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 Video Codec
  • AAC or MP3 Audio Codec
  • 640×360 (19:9 aspect ratio) or 480×360 (4:3 aspect ratio) Resolution 
  • 30 FPS Frame Rate
  • 1 GB maximum File Size

Let’s look at each YouTube video ad format one by one, along with required dimensions and specifications.

YouTube TruView Ads

If you want the best way to increase brand engagement, look no further than TrueView ads.  A TrueView ad is a common format which can be skipped after 5 seconds. 

Needless to say, it’s vital to make sure the first 5 seconds of your ad really grab the viewer. Short videos which relate to the viewer and quickly get to the point have a greater chance of success.

TruView ads are also considered relatively safe because you can choose to pick your optimization strategy such that you’ll only be charged when your ad is watched for more than 30 seconds. So you’re paying to reach only those viewers who have some level of interest in your content.

You can also optimize TrueView ads for action or reach. With action optimization, you can add a headline and CTA to your ads, and you are charged when someone clicks on the CTA.

Reach optimization allows you to pay per thousand views of your video ad. But it requires that the duration of your video ad is anywhere from 6 to 30 seconds.

TrueView ads can be further categorized into two formats: In-Stream ads and Discovery ads. In-Steam ads appear to a viewer while streaming video content on Youtube.

trueview instream ads

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Discovery ads show up in search results, related video suggestions and other prominent locations.

youtube discovery ads


For the TrueView ads which show up in YouTube search results or the Display Network, you also have to option to automatically generate thumbnails and pick the one you like best. 

Non Skippable YouTube Ads

As obvious from the name, these video ads cannot be skipped. You pay for these 15-20 second ads based on CPM (cost per thousand views). 

Non skippable ads give you the opportunity tell your full story in 15-20 seconds, but because they cannot be skipped, they can come across as annoying if viewers aren’t interested in watching.

So it makes sense to use these only when you are extremely confident about both your ad content and targeting.

YouTube Bumper Ads

Bumper ads are also non-skippable, but just that they are shorter. A Bumper ad typically lasts only for 6 seconds. And just like non-skippable ads, you are charged per 1000 views. 

You may think 6 seconds as a limitation, and not enough time to put your message across, but it can be done with a little more creativity and focus. 

YouTube Overlay Ads

These are banner ads that often appear near the bottom of streaming video. They can be simply be a combination of headline, text and CTA, or or graphic banners. 

One image is required for Overlay ads. You can also choose an animated image file, as long as it loops for no more than 10 seconds. The required dimensions are 480 px by 70 px, file type is PNG, JPG or GIF, and maximum file size is 150 KB.

One thing to note is that you can run these types of ads only for reservation campaigns. This means that you’ll purchase placements on a reservation basis, and not via Google Ads auction. 

YouTube Display Ads

Display ads are banners that appear on the side of video content and above related video suggestions.  They can be animated GIFs, but only if the animation runs for less than 30 seconds.

Make sure to have a clearly identifiable clicking area and border in your banner, especially with a white background. The required dimensions are 300px by 250 px. 

Your banner image file can be PNG, JPG or GIF, with a file size limit of 150 KB.

YouTube Sponsored Cards

These small popups show up in Youtube videos on Desktop or Mobile. Being one of the unobtrusive video ad formats, they expand to a larger size on clicking, which signals an interested viewer. 

To the viewer, a sponsored card appears as a small information icon, which may show a line of text when hovered upon. When a viewer clicks on the icon, you can reveal ads pointing to pages of your website.

Sponsored cards require that you pick an image which can clearly highlight your product, along with a persuasive call to action. This can be PNG, JPG or GIF, with a file size limit of 2MB.

Creating A YouTube Video Ad

Now that you are familiar with Youtube video ad types, the next step is to set up your YouTube advertising campaign.

But before you head over to Google Ads to set up the campaign, you’ll need to have your video ad ready and uploaded to YouTube. 

Creating a video ad is a large topic in itself, and I have covered the guidance and tools you’ll need in some of my other posts. 

And for the matter of uploading your video ad on YouTube, the process is same as uploading any other regular video.

Starting A YouTube Ad Campaign

To start a YouTube video advertising campaign, log in to your Google Ads account and click on the + button.

Next, you’ll be prompted to pick a goal for your campaign. You would also have to option to proceed without a goal.

Once you have selected Video as campaign type, you’ll be redirected to set up name, budget and other details for your video ad campaign.

youtube video campaign type

You can pick locations and networks for your ads to appear, as well as to exclude from your video ad campaign. Then you’ll be able to name your ad groups, establish bid amount and audiences to target.

With Google Ads for Youtube, you can not only reach a whole new audience but also optimize the delivery of your video ads. Learn more about targeting your YouTube audience here.

You’ll also be able to pick the YouTube video you uploaded as the creative for your YouTube advertising campaign. When you’ve select an ad format, you can save your changes and continue.


YouTube video advertising is an important part of any digital marketing effort. As the demand for videos continues to accelerate on social media, YouTube video ads are going to get even more critical.

I hope the information I have shared with you in this guide will help you make informed decisions as you create and optimize your Youtube advertising strategy. 

John Woo

John Woo is the CEO of Tubloo, a Korean software company with image and video-making apps used by 50,000+ customers. He is currently working on launching the easiest video maker ever. Click here to get notified and claim a 20% discount on launch.