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What are Video Ads best practices? An in-depth Guide to Advertising on YouTube

On our Whatsapp Training Group dedicated to digital marketing Q&As we’ve discussed earlier in July what are the key ingredients of a successful YouTube ad. We listed the importance of setting your campaign objectives first, defining your audience and closing the loop with a suitable content your given audience is more likely to react to.

We’ve learned that in order to generate engagement or create quality leads you’re after the content needs to be professionally executed and first and foremost be CREDIBLE.

No matter how good your video ad content is, without the right YouTube advertising strategy, it can be hard to get good results from your video campaigns.

Unless you already have a big social media following, posting your video on Facebook or YouTube might get you a few thousand views, but if you really want your video ad to be seen, you need to run it on YouTube.

In addition to targeting the right audience and creating killer video content, to succeed at YouTube advertising, you need to know which options to choose and what specifications your video needs to meet.

Good news is – in this article, we’re going to cover all of the above. We’ll teach you everything you need to know to start advertising on YouTube today!

Without further due – let’s get started!



VIDEO LENGTH: The most effective YouTube pre-roll ad length is between 15-30 seconds. 20 seconds is the industry standard but ads as short as 6 seconds and as long as 1 minute are both good options as long as they are engaging. 

Google recommend having 2 variants for each video length so you can test different sequencing or go live with both and allow Google to optimise towards the stronger performing one.

We would recommend having at least 1 of the following lengths: 1 minute, 45 seconds, 25 seconds, 15 seconds.

The more variants we can go live with, the longer the sequence will become and this will allow you to get very technical with your audiences.

One key thing to note here is that you can film a full cut video that ranger from 45 seconds to 1 minute and then you can take cuts from this to form the other video lengths.

Creative recommendations:

First 5 seconds of the film needs to capture the brand, message essence and/ or context to hook the viewer.

Storyline View: Establish a USP and cinematic context upfront;

Brand View: Place the logo as a channel bug on top left/right of the frame throughout – Google recommends your logo occupy at least 8% of the mobile screen frame.

Audio View: Mention the brand name in the voice over upfront and use the brand signature music if available.

Product visible: Ensure that the product is visible within the first 5 seconds as they can skip the video after this time period.

USP: You need to have a clear USP : it needs to be apparent and relevant.

One USP at a time: ensure you include all USPs for the product one at a time and also explore creating bumper ads to follow up and highlight the USP of your product or brand to help drive impact.

Audio Cut Through: Make sure you get your consumer. to hear and not just see these USPs, it is important there are audio cues in the video to reaffirm the brand.

Clear Call to Action: You need to ensure the video ends with a clear call to action (ie. using this suggestively in a form of a manual search at the end (within the search bar)

Closing Frame: Have a link, visual cues or offer to further enhance an action. Here you have an opportunity to generate leads using CTAs (Calls to action) such as Subscribe Now, Book a Session Now or Shop Now.

Video File: A YouTube Link or a video file is required to complete all video editing requests. Video files should be in. one of the following formats:

MPEG-4 (.M4V, .m4v, .mp4 in H.264) ; QuickTime (.MOV, .mov) ; AVI (.AVI, .avi). ; MPEG (.MPG, .mpg)


Sequence your videos to tell a story and to continue to retarget your audiences.

By sequencing your videos you will be able to keep retargeting your audiences with key UPSs and creative messaging. This will also help with brand recall and informing your audiences more on the brands you stock as well as give them a further reason to visit the website.


This In-stream format is designed to drive lower funnel actions on YouTube such as tangible leads (sign-ups, bookings or sales);

Most common CTA Examples: Check now, Browse Now, Book now, Learn More, Shop Now



Sitelinks are a great addition to your YouTube campaigns to help increase clicks and conversions. See below an example:

Adding Sitelinks to your YouTube campaign can increase conversions by up to 23% and clicks by up to 50%

Please note sitelinks will not serve if you have < than 2 sitelinks. Minimal number of sitelinks is 2 and maximum number is 6.


These are
relevant, personalised shopping cards shown alongside all advertised YouTube creatives.

When you build out a shoppable cards YouTube campaign the main goal here is ‘Product and Brand Consideration’:

When you select the campaign subtype you will need to select on ‘Shopping – promote relevant products and get people to shop on your website with skippable in-stream ads

You will also need to select your Merchant Centre Account as you will be using SKUs to select the products you want to use for the Shoppable Cards:

Please note,for the shoppable cards you can choose up to 10 skus to show in each campaign – first you will need to select ‘choose specific products’ and you can type in the skus here:


Campaign Structure helps allocate budget – each campaign should be set for each part of a sequence.

It’s also recommended that each audience type has a different Ad Group.

This enables you to maximise reach with better control on frequency capping and easier results comparison between audiences. See an example below:


Start by choosing a campaign type:

This is an example of a form extension:

Step 2: Select your target CPA. Step 3: Select lead forms such as: name, email, phone number and post code. Step 4 content exclusions.

Creative requirements for a lead form:

Business name (25 characters), Call-to-action (15 characters), form headline (30 characters), form description (200 characters), Privacy policy URL (link required), post submit headline – 25 characters (since this is a full user journey: form submission), post submit description (25 characters).

Creating engaging video content is a lot harder than writing a text ad or putting together an image ad. So why are marketers so excited about YouTube advertising?

The answer is simple: YouTube advertising gives marketers an affordable alternative to television ads.

According to Google, people who watch YouTube ads to completion are 23 times more likely to visit or subscribe to a brand channel, share a brand video, or watch more by the brand. Even those who don’t watch to the end are 10 times more likely to do one of those things.

In other words, YouTube advertising works. If you have any questions, there’s also a chance to connect:

If you’re not yet a member of our Whatsapp club – sign up it’s FREE: (we don’t charge for questions asked:)

Or if you are in need of further training for your in-house team client or agency – side, feel free to reach out saying ‘TRAINING’ in the subject line and email us on:

If you need help setting up or managing your YouTube ads account – just say ‘YOUTUBE RULES’ in your email subject line, we’ll know what you’re after).

Speak soon!

STEPP Digital Social Media Team