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It’s easy to see why many people view YouTube advertising as a great equalizer among brands and businesses that want to grow. It’s unlike advertising in traditional media like TV or print. With YouTube advertising, you have the opportunity to introduce new products or services and boost sharing, engagement, awareness, leads and sales across all budgets.

After Google, YouTube is the second-largest search engine, with close to two billion active users every month. Learn more about exactly why it can become an important strategy for your brand to advertise on this video-sharing site.

What Is YouTube Advertising?

YouTube advertising is when brands, marketers, institutions and businesses create video ads using Google AdWords and put them on YouTube. The ads are targeted and designed to appeal to specific audiences that have certain interests and/or demographics among YouTube’s vast numbers of viewers.

One of the great things about YouTube advertising is that brands can use it to grow globally or locally. And, they can target audiences as broadly or as exactly as they want. Small businesses that have far more limited advertising budgets than corporate giants do can reach their audience goals in the same ways, too.

The Benefits of Advertising on YouTube

Before you commit to a new ad strategy or begin laying the groundwork for that first campaign, learn more about how YouTube advertising is beneficial.

Flexibility: You can tailor your YouTube ad formats, trying everything from how-to videos to product demos to fit your goals. You can also choose the format that’s best for the length of video you want to produce. Your YouTube ads can stay up for as long as you want. Make changes as you see how your market reacts to them.

Trackable Metrics: Your ad’s performance metrics are trackable when you advertise on YouTube. You can track numbers for things like views, click-through rates, unique viewers, average watch times and engagements. These help you get a better idea of what your target audience responds to.

Affordability: YouTube advertising is cost-effective. You only pay when viewers watch your ads.

Shareability: YouTube ads are shareable. You can easily expand your reach with a video that gets attention as viewers send it to loved ones, friends and colleagues.

Precision Targeting: In addition to targeting audiences by demographics like income, age, location and gender, you can target viewers based on what they’ve watched and searched for. You can also target based on life events, like buying a home, getting married, starting a business and graduating college.

Reaches the Mobile Market: YouTube advertising reaches an enormous mobile market. The average person spends more than four hours a day on his or her mobile phone. Mobile ecommerce sales are forecast to exceed $420 billion by 2021, notes Statista.

Different Types of YouTube Ads

There’s a number of different types of YouTube ads for brands, businesses, institutions and marketers to choose from. They include Video Discovery ads, TrueView in-stream ads, Sponsored Card ads and Bumper ads. Here’s how they differ:

Bumper Ads: Bumper ads are short—six seconds long—and they play before the viewer can watch a YouTube video they’ve selected.

TrueView In-stream Ads: Viewers can skip TrueView in-stream YouTube ads and view the videos they’re interested in after the ads have played for five seconds.

Video Discovery Ads: Viewers can choose to click on and watch Video Discovery ads. These run on Google Display Network websites, in YouTube search pages and next to YouTube videos.

Sponsored Card Ads: Sponsored Card ads are a little subtler than some of the other YouTube ad options. They’re small ads that pop up on the right side during a video. Viewers can click on them to find out more about a product or service seen in the video.

Think carefully about which ads your target is likely to interact with or view in order to get the most engagement for your campaign. For example, if you think your target audience prefers to control which ads they see, Video Discovery ads give you and them that option.

Who Should Use YouTube Advertising?

Anyone who wants to reach a specific audience that’s loyal to YouTube — from giant multinational corporations to small businesses — should use YouTube ads. Your target audience can vary widely, depending on your product or service and brand. When you’ve researched the market you want to reach, you can choose from YouTube’s many different audiences to find the ones that best match it.

Best Practices for Advertising on YouTube

Brands and marketers are seeing success with YouTube advertising by following some key guidelines:

Be Compelling Right Away: Grab your audiences’ attention quickly, within the first five to eight seconds of your YouTube ad, for the best results. Attention spans on the Internet are short, so go after them with something they can’t ignore.

Use the Right Format: Test different YouTube ad formats so you can find the one that’s most effective for your ad content.

Target Carefully: Choose your AdWords targeting options carefully so your ad reaches the right audience.

Be Interactive: Include interactive options like calls to action in your ads to engage viewers. When viewers engage within your ad’s comment section, respond to them to show them that you value them. This is also a great way to get feedback on what is and isn’t working.

Remarket: You can boost your ROI on YouTube by remarketing. This involves showing your ads to viewers who have already interacted in some way with your videos or YouTube channel (or someone else’s).

Send the Right Message: YouTube viewers are savvy. Create an ad that’s authentic and that speaks to them, addressing their interests and concerns in a way that reflects their values.

Examples of Successful YouTube Advertising

Some brands and marketers really hit it out of the park with their YouTube advertising, racking up views in the multi-millions. Here are some examples of successful YouTube ads that brands have created, ranging in length from six seconds to over four minutes:

Bounce Dryer Sheets: Bounce created a funny and unforgettable six-second YouTube ad for its dryer sheets that packed a powerful punch. It featured a man stating that he didn’t use dryer sheets to prevent static cling. When he turned around, the ad showed his small son grinning, stuck to the back of his father’s shirt.

Christian Dior’s Miss Dior: Christian Dior’s Miss Dior perfume YouTube ad had the impact of a short, dramatic film. Starring actress Natalie Portman, the ad grabbed its audience immediately. It boasted gorgeous visuals, emotional and sensual intensity, a stunning star and a powerful song, all neatly packaged into a stylish 45-second video. The ad has racked up millions of views on YouTube.

Hyundai’s Celebrating 20 Years of Brilliant Moments: Longer YouTube ads can be powerful too. Hyundai’s Celebrating 20 Years of Brilliant Moments ad clocked in at over four minutes and attracted more than 200 million views on YouTube. This ad celebrating Hyundai’s 20th anniversary had strong emotional appeal and a compelling narrative that resonated with viewers who identified with the story.

Viewers watched a man discover his memories associated with the Hyundai his family had owned for 20 years. They were powerful enough to make him decide not to sell the car. The ad invited viewers to share similar memories and stories for the chance to win a Hyundai.

With YouTube ads, it’s possible to pack a powerful punch that resonates with viewers, even if it’s only seconds long. You can make those seconds count by understanding your audience and choosing the appropriate ad format for them — and for your content.