Home / Uncategorized /

The YouTube Guide to In-Stream Ads

The YouTube Guide to In-Stream Ads

by kobura02
Comments are off for this post.

1 – Start Here


From The Author

2dd230d969d13c8888dab27e6f3c56ffHey everyone, I’m Matt Coleman, Video Marketing Manager at Digital Marketer and I’ll be guiding you through the vast opportunity available with YouTube ads.

I have been with Digital Marketer close to two years and have worked with Ryan Deiss on creating compelling marketing videos that produce sales. We have created talking head videos, animated videos, screen capture videos and VSL’s that have produced a tremendous amount of sales.

We have also generated tons of leads using YouTube and I can’t wait to show you the process we use to create these compelling videos so you can implement them in your own YouTube advertising strategy.

In this Execution Plan you will learn how to craft your video message based on the end goal you want to achieve and you’ll create a YouTube ad campaign of your own so you can begin generating leads from online video.

Let’s get started!

Why YouTube?

You might be asking yourself why you should spend the time to advertise on YouTube? Here’s the big reason we are starting to move ad budget to YouTube.

  • YouTube is huge – “Huge” is putting it mildly. More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month.  Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth.
  • Clicks are cheap – YouTube is part of the Google AdWords system so we get the ease of use of the AdWords interface without the expensive clicks.
  • Video is easier than ever – While it will require some work there are now many tools and resources available to make the process flow with ease. You can use resources like FiverroDeskPowtoonVeeRollVideo Maker FX and many others out there to take care of the video making process.

The fact is that YouTube has a lot of unused ad inventory for the taking and right now.  Our guess is that the barrier that’s created (the making of a video) has advertisers hesitating to use YouTube ads. That means cheap clicks for those of us willing to make a simple video. Don’t worry — I’ll show you some simple video creation methods in this Execution Plan.


Types of YouTube Ads

Ready to learn the types of ads available to you? Here’s a post I originally wrote for the Digital Marketer blog. You can find the the original post here. It’s a great way to learn about the types of ads and start to assess which will be the right ones 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 7 advanced tricks to optimize landing page conversions.

Example In Stream YouTube Ad

The In-Stream ad promotes a free ebook on 7 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 5 seconds. After the 5 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-Display 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 appar 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 some pro tips…

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.

Now that you’re familiar with the ad types, let’s discuss In-Stream ads a little more


Example In-Stream Ads

This Execution Plan will focus on In-Stream ads.

Remember, YouTube In-Stream ads are the ads that play before a viewer watches a piece of content on YouTube and are the only YouTube ad type that allows you to send clicks to your website.

I want to begin by looking at some examples of In-Stream ads to give you some context.  Some of these examples are for big brands while others are for very small enterprises.


VeeRoll – Build instant videos for YouTube ads.

Powtoon – Easily create animated videos.



2 – Get Prepared


Create a Google Account

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to create a Google account. Creating a Google account simultaneously creates accounts for a number of Google services like Gmail, Google+ and… of course… YouTube.

Create your Google account here.


Set Up AdWords Account & Link YouTube to Google AdWords



Understand the TOS

YouTube is owned by Google and therefore the same rules apply to your YouTube landing pages as apply to your traditional AdWords landing pages.

There are elements that must be present on these landing pages that are not necessary through other forms of advertising.  I encourage you to read the YouTube Terms of Service, YouTube and AdWords policies included as resources below.

The easiest way to ensure you are compliant is to use a Google Compliant landing page template from a reputable landing page software company like Lead Pages.

In this video, we’ll look at a Google Compliant landing page and the elements necessary to keep Google happy and approving your ads.



Create and Edit Your Landing Page

In this step, the President of Digital Marketer, Richard Lindner, will walk you through using Lead Pages to build your opt-in landing page (often called a “squeeze page”) and get it hooked up to your email autoresponder.

Most of you will want to run traffic from your YouTube In-Stream ads to a landing page that makes a Lead Magnet offer.  You’ll learn how to build that landing page in this video,


Add a Conversion Pixel

The “Conversion Pixel” is a small piece of code that you’ll place on the “Thank You” page that a lead will see after opting in to your Lead Magnet.

The prospect’s flow looks like this…

  • A prospect is surfing YouTube
  • They see your In-Stream ad
  • They click on your ad
  • They see your landing or “squeeze” page
  • They opt in to your lead form by entering their email address
  • They land on your “Thank You” page

Once they have landed on your “Thank You” page they have converted.  If you have a “conversion pixel” on this page it will communicate a conversion to the Google AdWords reporting suite and (if you’re wanting to optimize your ads for conversions) Google will adjust the way it is serving your ads based on this conversion information.

Here’s how to get it done…


3 – Create Your Video


Fill Out the YouTube Ad Checklist

There are many goals you can achieve with YouTube ads.

You might want to…

  • Generate Leads
  • Grow their YouTube subscriber base
  • Sell low-dollar offers
  • Promote a webinar
  • Build brand recognition.

The goal of this Execution Plan is to generate leads – something that In-Stream ads are particularly good at.  Let’s get busy planning our goal, ad targeting, and video ad.


YouTube Ad Checklist


Choose a Video Type

There are many different ways you can go go about making your video but the big thing is that you must take action!

In this step, you’ll choose the type of video you’ll use for your ad and find the tools you’ll need to make it happen.

Remember, this is about ACTION!

Animated Videos

Not comfortable in front of the camera?  No problem, create an animated video ad.


  • Powtoon.com – Create animated videos as easily as you would a PowerPoint presentation.
  • VeeRoll – Create whiteboard style videos with ease.


Need to record your screen?


Head-On Video

Looking to record a sales message of yourself or someone else?


  • Your smartphone – Remember, this about taking action.  It doesn’t need to be perfect if you’re just getting started.
  • A small studio – If you’re getting serious about shooting videos you might consider upgrading to a studio set up.

Here’s what we use (but remember, we’ve been doing this a long time)

Remember, this about taking action.  If you need outsourced help, check out…

If you want to use a video that you have recorded from a camera then you can use editing software that comes with your computer such as Windows Movie Maker for Windows users and iMovies for Apple users.

In the next step, I’ll show you a simple way to use low-cost software like Screenflow to edit a head-on video for your YouTube ad.

Edit a Head-On Video Using ScreenFlow

If you have a head-on video and want to add some effects, you don’t need expensive software.  You can use something like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie to add simple effects.  Just keep it simple and you’ll be fine.

In this tutorial, we’ll add some simple effects to our video ad using Screenflow.


Create an Animated Video Ad with PowToon

We love using PowToon to create YouTube ads. It’s simple, inexpensive and professional.

I begin this tutorial by exporting the audio from my head-on video but you don’t even have to do that.  PowToon makes it easy to record your voice from within their tool.

Here’s how to create your PowToon ad.



Upload the Video Ad to YouTube

4 – Create Your Campaign


Understand the Types of Targeting

There are many different types of targeting options available when creating your campaigns.

1 – Keyword Campaigns

You will want to use the keyword campaign when targeting videos that are using specific keywords related to your video.
If you have a video about fishing, you could use fishing as a related keyword to target. The more broad your keyword the less relevant your viewer might find the content. If someone is looking up fishing techniques but your video is about where to buy a goldfish you might not have a successful match. Keep in mind another benefit to using keywords it that typically people are very diligent about using proper keywords to describe their videos but they might not care as much about uploading their videos to particular categories when compared to interests or topic based targeting.


2 – Interest and Topic Campaigns

You will want to use interests and topic based campaigns when you want to broaden your viewership of your ad.
Interests refers to the previous content someone has watched overtime and thus has an interest in the content. Google will note your content viewing habits and place you in particular segments of interest based behaviors. Topics refers to the content a viewer is seeking at that moment. Though someone might have an interest in dogs they could be looking up a topic of health. The pros to using this type of targeting is that you can get a lot of views but that coincides with the cons in that they will not be as targeted as placements or keyword based targeting.

3- Placement Campaigns

You will want to use placement campaigns when first getting started as you will have full control of where you video ads appear.
Placements are very helpful in that you can screen what specific videos or video channels in which your ads will appear. This is certainly a pro because when using keyword based or interest based targeting you are at the mercy of Google to decide what is considered a relevant fit for your content. The downside to this method is that it is very difficult to scale for most markets and the search volume isn’t as high.

4- Retargeting Campaigns

You will want to use retargeting campaigns to get your message in front of people who have visited your website.
This is a great way to filter out the cold leads and focus on people who have already shown some type of interest in your marketing message. Another benefit to using this type of marketing form is that it’s another touch point on people who might have seen your message from say Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn advertising efforts. The downside is that this method does not expand your net in terms of awareness outside of people who have already heard about your product or service.


Sneaky Trick: Put Your Ads on Competitors YouTube Content

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could play your video ads before your competitors’ main video content?

It’s possible utilizing YouTube Ad Placements.

If your competitors’ video allows monetization, you’re in prime position to steal a spot for your video ad.

Before you begin digging through YouTube videos, be aware not every channel allows for video ads to appear before their content. If they do, you might have struck a gold mine — I’m going to show you how to find these hidden gems.

First, go to the main page of YouTube and type in a keyword.

As an example I’ll search for keyword “diy” and see what comes up. This is a very broad based search term with over 19,600,000 results.


Simplify the process by hovering over the YouTube channel name to get quick insight as to their subscriber base. In this example you see the YouTube channel Make has over 700k subscribers.

This information is valuable if you want to get a broad idea as to the amount of traffic their videos receive when they upload a new piece of content.


Next, click on the “Filters” tab and check out the options. Default settings filter by “Relevance”, but when I filter by “View Count” we now see the most popular results for “diy”.


Notice that the top result below the In-Search ads is a YouTube channel for Bethany Mota with a subscriber base of over 7 million. She has over 400 videos and was active 1 week ago. We can assume she is a consistent YouTuber and could be a valuable resource for our ad placement if we want to target this market.

Below her channel page link we see a video “Play doh Scoops ‘n Treats”. It has over 62 million views! By clicking on this video I can see if there is advertising available.


The advertiser for Kinetic Sand has done a great job of placing their advertisement on this particular video. In most cases, the people who are watching video content about Play-Doh are interested in a similar product and thus make for a relevant ad experience.


What’s really important here is the “More” tab under this video — the included “Statistics” option gives a ton of useful information for your search.

In particular you are able to see daily stats about the amount of traffic this video receives. This will be valuable when you’re considering exposure to your ad with placement. If you decide this is a good video to add to your list of placements, simply copy the URL and add that link to a placement document for your list of potential video placements.


What if you want to broaden your net and find other influencers on a mass scale?

Let’s go back to the main results for our search term “diy” and this time filter by “Channel”. Now YouTube filters channels that we can potentially target with our ads. The default results will appear under “Relevance” but we can also filter by “View Count” to see channels that have higher viewership.


Once you find a potential channel simply click on their channel page and perform the same tactic of making sure they have recent and relevant content to determine if they are a match for your video ad placement.

If they appear to have content relevant to your offer then click on some of their videos to see if they have monetization available.


Check out this DIY Backpack tutorial.

Because monetization is enabled, this channel would be a potential location to place our ads.


Related Channels on the right side of YouTube channels is another gold mine aimed at stealing your competitors’ audience.

Assuming the YouTuber hasn’t hidden this section, you can go through and look for similar channels to the one you are evaluating. In this example I am on the DIYReady YouTube channel and YouTube has determined that Steve Ramsey is a similar channel based on the types of people who watch both content.


His YouTube channel shows us that we could continue the search by looking at other channels similar to his content by performing this same method. For now I’ll click on some of his content to see if he has monetization available.


Since this video does have monetization enabled, we could add it to our placement document as a possible location to advertise.


Once you have a list of different videos you want to use for your placements, it’s time to create a YouTube Ad campaign.


When you sign into your AdWords account click on “All video campaigns” and create a new campaign.


Give your campaign a name and set your budget.

Under “Delivery Method” select “YouTube Videos”.

I left the location open, though you might choose to focus on the United States and Canada.


Next, choose the video you are using for your ad placement.

Make sure you include the destination URL — ideally it has tracking and includes a URL that is visible to the user.


I chose to leave the ad schedule blank as I want it to run all times and days of the week.

The Ad rotation depends on if you are using multiple ads and Google finds a winner or best performing ad. It will then choose to favor this ad variation.

Use the Rotate evenly so it can collect more data between your variations. For the ad frequency you can decide how many times you want a single person to see your ad.

Most users should decrease the “Mobile” views by 100%. Devices such as iPads and iPhones are not capable of clicking on your ad. If your purpose is to simply run a branding campaign, leave it as is. If not, decrease the feature by 100%.


Next, choose your Target. Use “Narrow your targeting (optional)” drop down feature and select “Placements”.


Now copy all the URL links you added to your placement document earlier.


Paste them into the Placements section of your targeting.

Save your targeting and let the ad run.

Once you do this you can go back to the bidding and determine how much you are willing to pay per view.

Keep in mind you will want to bid a few cents over to help ensure you gain visibility over your advertising competitors.


Once you begin to collect enough data you will see trends on what placements channels are best performing and you can choose to either keep them running or turn them off.

Depending on the niche, you will want to check weekly to see if new YouTube channels are being created that are ideal for your video ad placements.


Create Your Campaign and First Targeting Group

Now the fun part… ready to create your campaign? Get started!


Create More Targeting Groups

So you have your campaign set up, great! Use this video to create targeting groups for your campaign.

Create a Remarketing Campaign

5 – View Results and Optimize

The Day After Results

The Last Word

Congratulations!  You’ve come a long way.

Now, get out there and create some YouTube ads!

And, if you have questions or comments about this Execution Plan, let us know in theDigital Marketer Engage Facebook Group.

Share this article

Comments are closed.