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When it comes to YouTube advertising, marketers have a number of options available to them. From longer ads that introduce new consumers to your brand story to shorter ads that keep you top-of-mind with existing customers or hot leads, if you’ve got a marketing goal, there’s a YouTube ad out there that can help you reach it. Let’s talk about the types of YouTube advertising options that the platform offers and give you some pointers on when and where to use each type of ad.

1. TrueView YouTube Ads

TrueView ads are the cornerstone of YouTube’s video advertising options. When you think of Youtube advertising, you’re likely envisioning a TrueView ad.

These videos can vary greatly in length. YouTube allows you to create ads that are anywhere between 12 seconds and six minutes.

The good news for marketers is that you only pay for these ads if viewers actually watch them. Brands aren’t charged unless viewers watch at least 30 seconds of the ad (or through to the end, if the ad itself is shorter than 30 seconds).

Within the TrueView advertising category, there are two subcategories to consider: video discovery ads and in-stream ads.

2. Video Discovery Ads

Because of television advertising, you might think of all video ads as playing alongside someone else’s content. But that’s not the case with video discovery ads. Brands create these ads as videos that are meant to be watched on their own.

When someone searches for a given term on YouTube, these ads are first to show up on the results page, in much the same way that paid search posts appear at the top of Google results.

Video discovery ads allow you to create longer-form ads that tell a bigger story about your brand and introduce your value proposition or some of the more foundational things about your business.

They’re also great for sharing educational content. If you create a video discovery ad that addresses a major pain point for your ideal prospects and provides them with insights and solutions, this can help you build trust and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field or industry.

Because these ads aren’t attached to someone else’s content, it’s easier for viewers to forget that they’re paid content. Video discovery ads are a great opportunity to solidify trust and tell a compelling story.

3. In-Stream Ads

These types of TrueView ads are played before, in the middle of, or after a video that a consumer’s chosen to watch on YouTube. These videos can sometimes be skippable, meaning that after five seconds, consumers are given the option to move past the advertising and right into their desired content.

Because this content can be skippable, you want to cut right to the chase with your messaging. Running a traditional commercial here is not wise. Instead, within the first five seconds, present a compelling case to viewers”“suck them in and encourage them to hold off on hitting that skip button.

These videos allow advertisers to incorporate customized CTA buttons, which is a helpful tool for marketers. By tailoring these CTAs to whatever conversion you’re hoping to drive with that particular campaign, you can generate even greater results.

4. Pre-Roll Ads

If you want your advertising to run alongside existing content but also want to guarantee that your content can’t be skipped, then you’re looking for pre-roll ads. These ads aren’t allowed to be as long as TrueView ads; YouTube limits pre-roll ads to between 15 and 20 seconds. Another differentiator from the TrueView ads is how the advertising costs are assessed: Pre-roll ads are pay-per-click.

Like with the TrueView ads, you can customize the CTA button in these ads. Because these ads are shorter, these are great for introducing a specific product or service or driving an early conversion.

5. Bumper Ads

The final category of YouTube ads is the bumper ad. Like with pre-roll videos, these ads accompany existing YouTube content and are not skippable. But bumper ads are short; they clock in at just six seconds each.

This means that bumper ads are best used to address an existing audience. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to introduce your business and products to a consumer who’s never encountered your brand before in just six seconds.

But with the targeted advertising capabilities available to you on the YouTube platform, you can direct these ads at consumers who have already interacted with your brand elsewhere on the web. These ads then serve as an additional touchpoint and work to keep you top-of-mind with these consumers.

If you’re interested in getting your YouTube advertising efforts of the ground, check out our primer on getting started with YouTube advertising. Or if you’re looking for a partner to help you produce, manage, and optimize your campaigns, take a look at our solutions.

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