How to Use Video and YouTube to Advertise to Millions


YouTube is one of the world’s largest platforms for advertisers. This video sharing platform is owned by Google, and is second only to its parent company in total active users. YouTube has an astounding 1.3 billion active users who watch nearly 5 billion videos per day. If you want to get serious about advertising to the largest audience possible, YouTube is a platform you should consider seriously.

Different Ad Types

Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish with your ads and your budget for creating content, you have a lot of options for your ads.

Linear Video Ads

Linear ads run in line sequentially with the content. They take over the entire area of the video. Linear ads can play before, after or during the content, like traditional TV commercials.

If you want to use linear video ads, here are some best practices:

  • Linear ads are usually 15-30 second clips.
  • Do not allow fast forward.

Pre-roll ads run before video content is viewed. Mid-roll ads interrupt the video to show your ad. Finally, post-roll ads play after video content has stopped playing.

Non-Linear Video Ads

Non-Linear ads run simultaneously with video content. When users click these ads, the video content will pause.

Here are the best practices for non-linear ads:

  • Keep the ads short, so users don’t lose patience.
  • Provide button to close the ad.

Overlay ads are shown on top of the video content. They are often used as a persistent brand or product reminder while the content is played.

These ads run concurrently with the video content in the video player instead of overlaying. These ads give your potential customers an opportunity to interact with your brand or view more of your content.

Out-Stream Video Ads

Out-stream ads can fit anywhere on the page and they are the least obtrusive type of video advertising.

The best practices for out-stream video ads capitalize on their unobtrusive nature.

  • They should always display a logo or icon, so viewers know at a glance what business they represent.
  • They shouldn’t tell a story; users may only see them for a few seconds.

Out-stream ads launch only when a user takes an action such as starting a video. These actions cannot easily be faked by bots which reduces the chances of ad fraud.

Interactive Video Ads

Interactive ads are arguably the best way to encourage your potential customers to engage with your brand. They encourage users to do anything from clicking for more information to visiting your store in person.

These are the best practices for interactive video ads:

  • Keep the ads short; 30 seconds is plenty.
  • Interactive ads shouldn’t interrupt the content.

Interactive video ads can be as simple or as complex as you choose. The modern web browser puts a great deal of computing power at your disposal.

Though YouTube offers a variety of ad types, for the purposes of this article, we’ll be focused on pre-roll ads, which appear before a video plays. Users aren’t able to skip these ads, and they can be up to 20 seconds long. 20 seconds may not seem like a long time, but it is actually enough to tell a nuanced story if you communicate well.

Your video ads should communicate your message both visually and audibly. This way, even viewers who don’t watch your video may still hear your message.  See other helpful tips in How Craft a Killer YouTube Ad Campaign.

Targeting Your Customers on YouTube

One of the most attractive things about advertising on YouTube is the ability to choose exactly who will see your advertisement. You’ll have exhaustive list of targeting options, including detailed demographics, interests, search history, and what device they’re using. There is virtually no limit to how specific you can be when it comes to marketing on YouTube.


Advertising on YouTube requires a certain set of skills. You must be able to produce compelling video content or pay someone else to produce the content for you. However, once you get past the barrier to entry, the potential impact is enormous.

Advertising on YouTube isn’t for everyone. Let us show you how YouTube and other online advertising platforms can make a positive difference in your business. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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