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Which YouTube Ad Type is Right for You?

Whether you want more leads, sales, YouTube subscribers or brand exposure — YouTube advertising has you covered.
There are three main types of ads to choose from on the planet’s second largest search engine. We’ll cover each of them, show you examples and tell you the right time to employ each of these ad types.
Here we go…

Ad Type 1 – In-Stream Ad

In-Stream ads are designed to capture the attention of your prospects in the first five seconds of the ad. After the five second mark viewers have the choice to continue watching your ad or click the “Skip Ad” button and continue on to watch the latest Grumpy Cat video.
These ads are a great way to gain mass visibility and are charged on a Cost-Per-View (CPV) basis. The amount you will pay per view depends heavily on how in-depth you want to target your audience. The ad is free until it reaches 30 seconds or is played in full (whichever comes first), after that you will be charged for the view.
Here is an example In-Stream ad from a company called Wishpond. Their ad promotes a free ebook on seven advanced tricks to optimize landing page conversions.
Example In Stream YouTube Ad
The In-Stream ad promotes a free ebook on seven advanced tricks to optimize landing page conversions. This is the landing page…
Example In-Stream YouTube Ad Landing Page
By using this type of ad they are able to disrupt the viewers attention and force them to focus on the message about their free ebook. The user is then given the choice by YouTube to continue watching the ad or skip it.
ExactTarget is using In-Stream YouTube ads to promote an upcoming event.
Example In Stream Ad on YouTube
When the ad is clicked it takes the user to an early bird pricing offer on this landing page…
YouTube In Stream Ad Landing Page
This ad gets Exact Target cheap exposure to targeted prospects who are interested in relevant content.

Choose the In-Stream YouTube ad type if…

…you want higher impressions in comparison to the two other types of YouTube advertising methods.

Here’s some pro tips…

Craft your script to grab your viewer by the throat within the first five seconds. After the five second threshold, they can skip your ad so it’s important to grab attention quickly.
You can target these ads to show to people that…

  • Are searching YouTube for specific keywords
  • Have viewed similar content
  • Are watching videos on specific YouTube channels (Placements)
  • Have visited specific web page (Retargeting)

Ad Type 2 – In-Display Ad

In-Display YouTube ads are the ones that appear to the side of content you are watching on YouTube. This ad type is shown at the top of the recommended content and can catch users attention as they are viewing other content.
In the past YouTube would highlight this type of content with a yellow border to signify it being an ad. But, with “native advertising” being all the rage YouTube now blends the ads with the other organic listings.
That’s a good thing for advertisers.
BlueHost, a web hosting company, uses an In-Display to promote their Beginner’s Guide content.
Example In-Display YouTube Ad
An ad click takes the viewer to the BlueHost YouTube channel page to educate them on How To Use WordPress along with other tutorials.
Example YouTube In-Display Ad
Notice how they are targeting people who are viewing similar content about SEO and WordPress on YouTube.
On their channel page they include a 7 step video series that covers most of the foundational questions about getting started with creating a WordPress site and in the process describe how easy it is to use their service.
Here is another example for a product in the dating space. This video is over an hour long and acts as a standard video sales letter promoting a dating product.
YouTube In-Display Ad Example 2
The video includes a clickable annotation that acts as the buy button and takes the viewer over to the checkout cart on their website.
Annotation in a YouTube Video
Placing the video sales letter on YouTube allows this company to reach a broader audience.
The In-Display ads do not link directly out to a landing page but instead are designed to keep the viewer inside of the YouTube ecosystem.
Both of these ads function differently than the first ad type we covered, the In-Stream ad. Where the In-Stream ad wants to quickly capture the viewer’s attention, these types of ads are designed to follow more of a natural flow by keeping the viewer inside of YouTube and showing the thumbnail to appear more as native content.

Choose the In-Stream YouTube ad type if…

…you want to build your YouTube channel subscribers or if you want more views on your YouTube content.

Here’s some pro tips…

In-Display ads DO NOT take users directly to your website. You’ll want to build calls to action into your video content to move viewers from your YouTube content to a landing page.
You can include links in the videos descriptions to a landing page and you can include clickable annotations to take them back to your site as well.
Study how popular YouTube channels create eye-catching thumbnail images. Images with bright colored borders or large visible meme style text with a clear call to action are a good way to go.

Ad Type 3 – In-Search Ad

In-Search ads appear in response to a search query typed into the YouTube search box.
These ads are placed above the organic listings and contain a little yellow ad box next to their thumbnail.
Rosetta Stone and Babbel are both appearing in the In-Search results. Notice how they appear above the organic listings when I searched for the term “Learn Spanish.”
In-Search YouTube Ads
The Babbel video is a short Spanish lesson. This video is an interactive lesson that presents clickable buttons to help the user learn. When the lesson reaches the end of the video it then appears with two new clickable buttons that allow the user to visit their main site.
The landing page has the same look and feel as the content on YouTube to preserve the “scent” from ad to conversion page…
When typing in the query ‘workout’ one of the top In-Search results is a before and after thumbnail image for a video called “3 Tips To Lose Belly Fat” from a company called Six Pack Shortcuts.
When clicked on this video takes the viewer to the Six Pack Shortcuts YouTube channel page. This is a great way to introduce new prospects to all of their content and increases the chances of subscriptions as well as clicks back to their website.
When the viewer clicks on either the call to action overlay in the video or the link in the description (see arrows above) the viewer is taken to their landing page with a video sales letter.

Choose the In-Search YouTube ad type if…

… you want to get views on your YouTube content but do not want to have intrusive content interruption as you would with the In-Stream ads. This can also be a create strategy for building up your YouTube channel in the process.

Here’s a pro tip…

Make sure you have a clear call to action in the video, an enticing thumbnail image and a strong headline for your video to entice clicks.

Matt Coleman

Matt Coleman

Matt Coleman is the Video Marketing Manager at You can connect with Matt on LinkedIn or Google+.

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