YouTube Ads

Great video is, well, great. However, you need to get your video seen in order for it to be truly great. Is it time you start advertising on YouTube? Never done it before and don’t know where to begin? Already doing it but looking to optimize your YouTube ads? You’ve come to the right place.

Module Outline and Objectives:

  • How to link your Google Adwords to your YouTube channel

  • Creating a complete ad campaign from start to finish

  • How to identify people who will be purchasing a home soon

  • Placing your ads on competitors videos

  • Increasing your reach and expanding your business

Setting up your YouTube Ads

Google Ads launched a new interface that makes managing your YouTube ads easier than before. The new features have many similar resemblances to Facebook and Google ads. So let’s get started:

Step 1: Link Google AdWords to your YouTube Channel

All YouTube ads are run through Google ads, the owner of YouTube. You must link your Google ads account to your YouTube channel.

First, log into your Google Ads account. Next, click Tools at the top and choose Linked Accounts under the setup column.

Follow through the prompts to connect your channel and give your account a name.

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Step 2: Link Google Analytics to your YouTube Channel

In order to run remarketing campaigns and measure campaign analytics you’ll need to add your Google analytics ID to YouTube.

Similar to adding your YouTube channel, click Tools then Linked Accounts. Next, follow the prompts to add your Google Analytics ID to your YouTube channel.

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If you don’t have a Google Analytics property set up for YouTube, follow these prompts:

  • Navigate to Google Analytics

  • Click the Settings Gear and click Create Account

  • Follow the prompts to give your account a name, add your URL (this is where your YouTube URL goes) and more

  • Once finished, clicked the blue ‘Get Tracking ID

  • Finally, navigate to your YouTube channel advanced settings, paste your Google Analytics property tracking ID and click Save

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Step 3: Upload a Video to YouTube

In order to use a video in any YouTube ad, it first must be uploaded to YouTube. When uploading a video, make sure the video is fully optimized to reach the most amount of people.

Here’s an example of a short video I would upload to YouTube talking about Facebook Retargeting that I then could use as an ad for people to get more info.

Step 4: Choosing an Ad Campaign Objective

Navigate back to Google Ads. Under the Campaigns tab, click the + icon and choose New Campaign.

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You know have several campaign type to choose from based on your goal. Each campaign type will determine the type of ads you can run, different placement options and more.

You can choose between one of the following:

  • Sales: Drive sales online, in app, by phone, or in store.

  • Leads: Get leads and other conversions by encouraging customers to take action.

  • Website traffic: Get the right people to visit your website.

  • Product and brand consideration: Encourage people to explore your products or services.

  • Brand awareness and reach: Reach a broad audience and build awareness.

  • App promotion: Get more installs and interactions for your app

  • DIY Option: Use any available campaign type and construct a campaign step-by-step without a goal's recommendations

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Step 5: Choose a Campaign Type

Once you choose an objective you will see all of the available campaign types available for that objective. Choose Video to run ads on YouTube.

Step 6: Choose an Ad Format

There are multiple ad formats available, however, they are available based on your campaign objective.

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Here’s a quick summary of each ad format:

  • Skippable in-stream (Also known as TrueView)

    • Run before, during, or after the video and work best for creating initial awareness of your brand. After 5 seconds a user can skip the ad.

    • You pay only if the user watches at least 30 seconds of your video (less if the video is shorter than 30 seconds).

    • YouTube will publicly display all of the video views regardless if the user skips the ad.

  • Bumper

    • These ads can be 6 seconds or shorter.

    • Unlike other ad types, bumper ads don’t change the view count of your videos.

    • Users can’t skip bumper ads.

    • You are charged based on the CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions).

  • Non-skippable in-stream

    • Can be used with videos ranging from 6-15 seconds long.

    • Like skippable in-stream ads, these can run before, during, or after the video content.

    • The main benefit to these ads is you are guaranteed that viewers see your entire message.

  • Outstream

    • Help extend the reach of your video campaign by sharing your ad with a wider audience of mobile and tablet device users.

  • Ad sequence

    • Similar to the Facebook Ad Funnel, you can tell your story by showing ads in a particular sequence to individual viewers with skippable in-stream ads, non-skippable in-stream ad, bumper ads, or a mix.

Step 7: Set a Name, Budget, Schedule, and Strategy

Advertising on YouTube does not cost as much as you might assume. However, this all depends on creating the right strategy and setting up your campaign properly.

First, give your campaign a Name.

Next, either enter your Daily budget or the Campaign Total.

Select your Start and End dates.

Step 8: Choose your Bid Strategy

Your bid strategy is how you optimize bids to meet your advertising goals.

For example, your bid strategy lets us know if your goal is to get views (CPV), get impressions (CPM), get as many conversions at the target cost-per-action you set (CPA), or get the most conversions within your budget.

Note: Not all bid strategies are available for every campaign. The available options are determined based on your campaign goals.

Here is a quick summary of each bid strategy:

Maximum CPV: Your bid amount is the most you want to pay per view.

Maximum CPM: Your bid amount is the most you want to pay for every 1,000 times your ad is shown (cost-per-thousand impressions).

Viewable CPM: Your bid amount is the most you want to pay for every 1,000 viewable impressions of your ad (cost-per-thousand impressions). For video ads, an ad is considered "viewable" when at least 50% of the ad shows on screen for two seconds or longer.

Target CPM: Your bid amount is the average amount you want to pay for every 1,000 times your ad is shown (average cost-per-thousand impressions).

Step 9: Determining where your Ads will be shown


You have three Network options to determine where your YouTube ads will be seen:

  1. YouTube search results

    • Only available when you use video discovery ads.

  2. YouTube videos

    • Ads can appear on YouTube videos, channel pages, and the YouTube homepage.

  3. Video partners on the Display Network

  • Select this option if you want your video ads to run on partner sites outside of YouTube.

Languages and Locations

Next, choose which Languages and Locations you want your ads to run in.

Content Exclusions

You are given several options to ensure your YouTube ads are shown parallel to other quality content. Don’t rush through this section, as you don’t want your videos shown on sensitive videos.

Here are your three options:

  1. Expanded Inventory

    • Choosing this option will maximize the amount of views you can receive, however, your ads may run alongside sensitive topics.

  2. Standard Inventory

    • This is the recommended option by YouTube and shows ads on content that’s appropriate for most brands.

  3. Limited Inventory

    • If you want to be extra selective on the type of content your ads are seen on choose this option, however, this will limit your total available audience.

Excluded Types and Labels


YouTube also give your further options to opt out from showing your ads on content types that do not fit your brand. For example, you many not want to show your ads on a game because it more than likely is not relevant to your video content.

Additionally, you can restrict your videos from being seen on specific digital content labels, like mature audiences.

Additional Settings


Devices: Allows you to limit or select eligible devices (computers, mobile, TV, etc.)

Frequency capping: Allows you to limit how many times the ad will be shown to the same user.

Ad schedule: Allows you to limit specific time limits when your ad will be shown.

Step 10: Define your Target Audience

This is a very detailed section with a lot of different options. To make things more “confusing/difficult” for most people is the fact that all of the data from YouTube, Google and the Display Network are used in these sections. However, don’t be scared, because the abundance of data allows for very powerful ads.

Note: Every filter you add to your ad campaign is a filter. Although more filters allow the audience quality to improve, the more filters you add, the higher the cost. Avoid a very selective audience if you are just getting started with YouTube ads.

There are several options to identify your target audience, including, Demographics, Behavior, Interests and more. However, unlike other social media platforms,

YouTube viewers aren’t required to log in, so YouTube won’t know the data for everyone (this is the “Unknown” option).


With demographic targeting, you can reach people who are likely to be in demographic groups that you choose, including age, gender, parental status, or household income.

Word of Caution: If you are running real estate ads, be sure to abide by the Fair Housing Act.



You can further define who sees your ads based on life events, in-market audiences, employment and other detailed demographic options.

With Facebook ads, each level can act as an AND or an OR. Meaning if you select ages 21-44 and Current College Students, on YouTube BOTH of those would have to apply. On Facebook you could choose and/or options.


Affinity and Custom Affinity

These options allow you to choose interests and habits based on Google’s predefined categories.

Additionally, you can create a custom affinity audience, which is similar to Facebook retargeting. However, with YouTube custom affinity audiences, you are also getting all of the data from Google. Combining the top 2 (Google and YouTube) search engines in the world and these ads are backed with a lot of data.

Think of a custom affinity audience like you would a custom audience on Facebook. This type of audience is based on people searching specific keywords on Google, a URL, places, or apps.

Cool Tip: The URL does NOT have to be your own URL. Meaning you could add your competitors URL and anyone searching that site could potentially see your ads (if they meet the other specifications).

In-Market, Life Events, and Custom Intent


These filters allow you to show YouTube ads to people who are actively researching or planning (for example, purchasing a home soon).

Similar to a custom affinity group, you can create a custom intent group to further define your customer profile and the products they may be searching for.

In the pop-up window, choose keywords that a client may use. For example, someone ready to hire a real estate agent would likely search for “City Name Real Estate, Competitor Name, etc.”

Custom intent targeting is a very powerful targeting option because it combines interest targeting (Affinity) with in-market targeting (Intent). Users in this category show relevant interest and are ready to buy, which makes them an ideal target audience for you.

Step 11: Keywords, Topics, and Placements

Once you’ve identified your target audience, these three options will allow you to further refine your YouTube ads.


Keywords: In this section you are not looking for the keywords that people search for, instead the keywords that appear in the YouTube videos your ads will be shown on.

  • YouTube will scan the keywords from titles, descriptions, and tags, match them with the keywords you select here and then insert your video into.

  • Add a related website, your own URL, and more to get ideas.

Topics: Like keywords, if you choose the Real Estate topic, for example, your ad will appear in other real estate-related videos.

Placement: This is where you can choose the EXACTLY where you want to place your ads. Choose a specific channel, video, website and more.

Potential Use: Create a “Who Is….” video and insert it directly on your competitor’s YouTube channel.

Step 12: Set a Bidding Amount

If you set your bid too low your ad may not run at all. The higher your Maximum CPV, the better ad performance you will have.

Cool Trick: To get your ads to show up higher at the beginning of the campaign, set your Max bid to 3-5x the average. This will get your ad placed in front of other’s running the same criteria, and once you pick up momentum you can adjust your bid lower.

Step 13: Select your YouTube Video

Did you make it this far? If so, congrats, this is the final step. Use the search box to find a video or paste the URL from YouTube here. (We recommend pasting the URL to ensure you choose the right one.)

In Conclusion

YouTube ads can be very powerful if you know how to run them correctly. Since there are many factors, filters, and options, understanding how they all work is vital. However, if you are just starting out with YouTube ads we recommend NOT adding too many filters. Why? Not only will your cost go up, but if you make a mistake it will be hard to track.

You can always add more filters and change up your strategy in the future. The way to do this is through experimenting with different audiences, sequences, videos, and more.

What are your thoughts? Are you currently running YouTube ads? Do you have any other tips or advice to add? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

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