Many entrepreneurs already know about Google AdWords, Instagram advertising, and Facebook advertising. But do you know about the different YouTube ad types that are available that can help your business prosper?

At first glance, you may think video branding on YouTube is only a gimmick. However, it’s more than that. YouTube is currently the third-largest platform that marketers are currently investing in, and more than 62 percent of companies are planning to increase their ad spending in the next year. So it’s to pay attention to this amazing platform. But before you do, you first have to know the various YouTube ad types that are available and determine which fits your brand best.

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What Are YouTube Ads?

Over 30 million people flock to YouTube every day to watch videos. Users have become highly addicted to the platform because it allows them to watch videos for free. But if that’s the case, how does YouTube make money? You guessed it right – advertising.

Just like other digital platforms, YouTube advertising occurs through Google AdWords. Small, medium, and large businesses are all taking advantage of this cheap alternative to traditional advertising.

YouTube Ad Types

We believe that it’s important for you to discover the different YouTube ad types so you can navigate the complex advertising options available on YouTube.

Youtube ad types for content

TrueView ads

TrueView ads allow brands to link to external sites, so they are effective for video views and branding. For example, music videos are an awesome fit for this YouTube ad type. The platform also optimizes these ads automatically for views rather than clicks. Meaning, it is more expensive per click compared to other types.

A Trueview video ad can include royalty-free music or copyrighted music used with permission, dialogue, and people. However, it is recommended not to run a usual standard promotional commercial on this type of YouTube ad. Because these videos can easily be skipped by the audience, they need to be presented with a good enough reason to keep watching. Instead of standard commercials, you must use this ad to tell a story. People love watching stories of people who face a problem or struggle they can relate to.

With this type of ad, advertisers can have a lot of information about how their ads perform for testing and optimization purposes. Through AdWords, account managers on YouTube can collect information on the ad’s completed and partial views, if it motivates people to subscribe to a channel, whether or not they are motivated to share the content, view the brand’s other videos, and if it drives click-through rates. Thanks to this data, advertisers can understand the value of their video ad investment and where to allocate their future budget to meet their goals.

There are two forms of this type of ad, discovery ads or in-display as well as in-stream ads. Both ads can be any length since it’s up to the viewers to decide if they want to keep watching. Get to know these two ad types below.


This type of ad shows up on the platform’s search result pages, homepage, and related videos on watch pages. For this type of ad, a view is counted as soon as the audience clicks to watch it.


A TrueView In-stream ad plays before a person watches a video they have selected. Viewers usually have the option to skip this ad after they have watched it for five seconds. It can also be played anywhere in the Google Display Network (GDN) and other sites that have purchased Google video ad placement.

This ad type allows business owners to customize their ads with various calls-to-actions as well as overlay text.

Bumper ads

These ads are only six seconds long and are non-skippable. Bumper ads combine the elements of the other ad types on the platform. It works best for branding campaigns and is cheaper than TrueView ads. The best part is that it drives a good amount of ad recall. Just like TrueView ads, these ads also include a click-through option. However, it is optimized and most effective for views.

Although it’s a great type of ad, this ad is still underutilized by entertainment and music companies and therefore presents a missed opportunity for quick and effective teaser campaigns and branding efforts. While it would be impossible to tell an intensive story in six seconds, it is a great complement to longer video campaigns. Just make sure to keep the aspects of your brand you want your target audience to remember.

Pre-Roll ads

This pay-per-click option is one of the most effective YouTube ad types since an audience cannot skip these videos. These ads can be played before, in the middle, or after the main video. It can last for 15 to 20 seconds.

Pre-roll ads give advertisers a lot of freedom, similar to TrueView ads. These ads can include people, dialogue, audio, and other elements that can represent the brand fully. Since these ads are unskippable, they need to be created with a clear call-to-action. Meaning, you have to encourage the viewers to click on the ad and get something in return. For example, if you are organizing a music festival and want to drive ticket sales, use the pre-roll to link people to the site where they can purchase tickets at discounted prices. Remember that since the platform sells this ad on a pay-per-click basis, you have to make the most out of it.

Other ads

Here are some of the non-video ad formats on the platform.

Overlay ads

These banner advertisements run along the bottom of a video, and they can be visual banners or catchy texts. For this ad, impressive graphic design is a must.

Cards and sponsored cards

Cards are the tiny CTA pop-ups that appear within a YouTuber’s video and are used to increase interactivity. This type of ad is very effective since it gives watchers a non-obstructive way to advertise. It also drives action. However, these cards only expand when they are clicked.

Display ads

This type of ad can be seen above the video suggestions list. It is managed through AdWords and allows brands to double up with their Display Network to achieve maximum reach.

Setting Up YouTube Ad Types

Once your video is uploaded on YouTube, you need to set up your campaign effectively.

Take advantage of the connection between Google Adwords and YouTube to hit two birds with one stone. When choosing your demographic group, prepare the answer to its filters, which include parental status, household income, age, and gender identity. The more specific you are about the information and interests of your target audience, the greater the chance your campaign will succeed.

Make sure to target your ads to a network of channels, sites, and videos that are relevant to your offer. YouTube also offers the ability to target people based on search terms. For instance, if you offer plants, you may target those who are asking Google how to get started with gardening.

After this, you can select your target device, whether it’s desktop, smart TV, or mobile, before you can set the campaign live.

Youtube ad types guide

Helpful Tips You Should Know

Keep these things in mind to ensure your video takes off.

Choose the ad format carefully

The first thing you have to worry about when it comes to advertising on this platform is choosing the right YouTube ad type for you. For this, consider your goals. If you want to increase brand awareness with your video ad, it would be wise to run a TrueView discovery or in-stream ad. For brands who want to gain more leads, sponsored cards are a good choice.

Add an element of surprise

People are bombarded with many ads every day. Unfortunately, most ads are very predictable. Think about it; how many times have you watched a headphone ad with a beautiful girl listening to music in her room? Have you ever seen a jewelry ad that does not involve romance? The issue with these ads is they do not make a heavy impression on the viewer. Your ad should break free from the mold. It should surprise people a little in order to become unforgettable.

Use emotion

Every once in a while, you may see a very impactful ad that will make you laugh or cry. While it can be tough to incorporate emotion into image ads, the video ads played on YouTube are a different story. Thanks to this incredible format, you have the opportunity to tell your story that is both visually and emotionally pleasing. There is a wide array of emotional triggers you can use. Just choose one and build a story around it. This is where good writing comes into play.

Inspire people to take action

One of the most effective ways to create an ad that viewers can relate to is to present a problem and show them that through your business, they can solve it. Outline the issue and share gripping testimonials and statistics. Only then can you shift your message to show how your company is eliminating this problem. When people see this, they become more motivated to buy your product since it gives them added incentive by making them feel good about their purchase.

Be unique

When an ad is quirky, people remember it. This is exactly why extremely convoluted movies such as Birdman stick to your mind. Employ the same strategy in your ads. This tip does not encourage you to go over-the-top crazy but to simply implement unique aspects in your ad that will make your stand out. Even one weird twist can turn your boring ad around.

Use the power of nostalgia

Nostalgia is one of the major techniques used in marketing. People have a strong emotional connection to their past, so you can infuse these elements to tap into their emotions. This way, they’ll develop a positive relationship with your brand faster.

YouTube Ads Are the Way to Go

After you’ve spent months and thousands of dollars on your ad, it’s time to get it out to your audience. The different YouTube Ad types will allow you to gain the attention of your current customers and attract prospects that remain unfamiliar with what you are offering. Whatever your ad budget is, you can connect with people through this effective platform effectively.