YouTube Advertising Best Practices

Last Updated: February 3, 2023

Video is solidly established as the most engaging form of marketing content. Have you incorporated it into your paid advertising strategy? This guide contains some YouTube advertising best practices for any business.

Does YouTube Advertising Actually Work?

When you encounter a YouTube ad, do you click “skip ad” as soon as you can or wait impatiently for your content to begin? People tend to skip. This common impulse, along with the availability of ad-free YouTube Premium, might make you ask, “Do YouTube ads really work?” 

The short answer is yes. Here are some YouTube advertising data points to consider:

These statistics prove the potential of YouTube ads, but marketers must engage in YouTube channel best practices and build on the foundation of an optimized YouTube strategy.

What Are The Best YouTube Ad Practices In 2023?

You can implement several best YouTube ad practices to optimize your campaigns and get the best possible results. The strategies described below are effective and reasonably easy to implement.

Hook People Immediately

Most people will click the “skip ad” button when it’s available to them. This doesn’t mean that YouTube ads aren’t worth the investment; it simply means that you have to grab the viewer’s attention immediately. For skippable ads, you have five seconds to do this. 

What about ads that aren’t skippable? Bumper ads for instance are between 6 and 15 seconds. You may have a bit more leeway with these, but not much so they still need to be engaging early. There’s no guarantee that you will maintain the viewer’s attention that long. You’ll still want to focus on getting your key point across as quickly as possible.

Here are some YouTube advertising best practices for making this happen:

  • Use catchy music at the start of your ad
  • Ask a compelling question or share an interesting statistic
  • Communicate your value proposition first
  • Get an influencer to captivate your target audience
  • Display the brand name and/or a product shot within the first 5 seconds

Go for brand recognition as well. Mention your company name or include a logo. This will create an association between the solution you are selling and your company. Getting the viewer to answer your call to action is the primary goal, but brand recognition is a good secondary objective.

For an example of this, take a look at Geico’s “Aunt Infestation” ad. It was one of the most viewed ads of 2022.

Create Mobile-Friendly Ads

As of 2021, 63% of video viewing time on YouTube was from mobile devices. Since then, mobile adoption has only increased. Additionally, smartphone users are more likely to be interested in making a purchase. It simply makes sense to make YouTube video ads mobile-friendly.

To help with this, YouTube offers vertical ads. These are formatted to work well with mobile devices. You can also implement some of these YouTube advertising best practices:

  • Keep visuals sharp
  • Ensure that on-screen text is easy to read on a smaller screen
  • Maintain tighter framing

Test all video ads on mobile devices to verify that they render correctly regardless of the format you used to create them.

Don’t Be Afraid To Use Templates

You may be feeling hesitant about producing YouTube video ads entirely from scratch. That’s reasonable. It takes time to write a script, film a video, and then edit it. Doing all of this while maintaining your branding and high production values is even more challenging.

How do you accomplish this when you lack in-house video production expertise? Many brands use YouTube video ad templates. These help to automate the creation of video ads. Many even allow you to create animated advertisements. 

Additionally, by using the same templates for multiple ads in the same campaign, you create a continuity that can work with your branding.

Have A Clear Call To Action

If your goal is to use YouTube video ads to generate sales revenue, you must include a clear call to action (CTA). Don’t leave any doubt as to what you want viewers to do next. Then, make sure they see the value in taking that recommended action.

YouTube has truly evolved into a powerful sales and marketing channel. Take advantage of this. You can conclude videos with a request to subscribe to your email list, download a demo or trial, shop for your products, or view additional content. 

It is worth checking out the call-to-action overlay that allows you to place your CTA text directly over your video. Combine this with an audio call to action for even more impact.

Implement YouTube Channel Best Practices For Each Format

YouTube offers advertisers their choice of ad formats. You can select the one you want when you go into Google Ad Manager to create your campaign and set the goals you want to achieve. 

While many YouTube channel best practices apply to all video ads, you should consider some specific details for each specific format. Below are some tips for the most popular formats available.

Best Practice Settings For YouTube Bumper Ads

You will be able to select this option if you choose awareness and reach as your campaign goals. Best practice settings for YouTube bumper ads take into consideration that these are very short ads in which you must make an immediate impact. These ads should be:

  • Appropriate for a wide range of devices
  • Produced to be effective on various Google channels
  • Scripted with a short, impactful message

Keep in mind that you will pay for ad impressions when you use this format, not clicks.

Best Practices For In-Stream Video Ads On YouTube

The best practices for in-stream video ads on YouTube depend on whether you have selected skippable or non-skippable advertisements. However, keep in mind that these videos may be shown before, during, or after video content. In-stream does not necessarily mean that an ad will be shown in the middle of a video.

For skippable ads, stick to best practices for short-duration ads. Include your most important point with impact before the viewer can access the skip ad option. 

With non-skippable ads, you will have more time to communicate your message, but you should still focus on making your key point upfront.

Both skippable and non-skippable in-stream ads are shown on all devices as well as all Google video partner channels.

Use A Holistic Approach To YouTube Channel Best Practices For Marketing

Be careful not to take too narrow of a view when creating your YouTube advertising and marketing strategy. This powerful platform offers you many different ways to reach your target audience — including through a mixture of paid ads, video content, curated playlists targeted to specific customer personas, and other options. 

Your YouTube advertising strategy should be a part of an overall marketing strategy that allows you to launch a plan into action that maximizes the benefits of using this platform to reach your audience. A good YouTube advertising strategy should include:

  • Identifying best practices based on overall advertising and marketing strategies
  • Implementing best practices for YouTube playlist creation and promotion
  • Creating YouTube viewer personas to target both advertising and content
  • Strengthening landing pages and other back-end content

Keep in mind that your advertising strategy on YouTube is just one part of your overall approach to YouTube as a direct response channel.

Which YouTube Ad Strategy Is Most Effective?

While all of these best practices for YouTube playlist advertising are worth following, the most effective strategy is to hook viewers as quickly as possible. 

Out of all of the best practices for in-stream video ads on YouTube, pre-roll ads, skippable ads, and non-skippable ads, this is the one technique that always fits. Additionally, the technique is effective regardless of a viewer’s device and works well anywhere video ads are displayed.


Following are some frequently asked questions on the topic of YouTube video advertising.

How Long Should YouTube Ads Be?

The best-performing in-stream ads are between 15 and 45 seconds long. This is the ideal length for pre-roll and in-stream ads that are skippable with a direct response campaign goal.

However, it’s important to remember there is no single length that is best for all YouTube advertising types. Many brands have great results with six-second bumper ads. Experiment with ad length, but always view it as secondary to your messaging and production values.

What Is A Good View Rate For YouTube Ads?

The view-through rate (VTR) is the percentage of views when compared to the number of impressions. A good VTR is 15%. Keep in mind, this is just for in-stream as bumper ads don’t count views.

Do YouTube Ads Count As Views?

Video ads do count as views. Here are the criteria that YouTube uses:

  • Someone clicks on an in-stream video ad to play it
  • A viewer watches an entire video between 11 and 30 seconds long
  • The viewer interacts with your ad
  • Someone watches the first 30 seconds of an ad that is longer than 30 seconds

Even if you follow best practice settings for YouTube bumper ads, these do not contribute to your view metrics.

Ready To Optimize Your YouTube Ads?

Now that you’ve finished reading this guide, you’re ready to take steps to optimize your existing ad campaigns on YouTube. You’re also prepared to conceive new campaigns that are sure to achieve even better ROI. 

If you’re interested in agency services for this or other PPC campaigns, you can learn more about our PPC services. We also invite you to review these case studies as additional proof of the results we can achieve for you. Finally, if you are ready to level up your YouTube ad strategy, contact our YouTube team for a consultation.


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