From the various ad types to costs, the latest tips, and more, here’s the 411 on creating YouTube ads in 2021.

Here, you’ll find:

  • A breakdown of YouTube ad types
  • Average costs for YouTube ads
  • Expert tips for successful YouTube advertising
  • The latest video ad tools worth exploring

From the first “Evolution of Dance” viral video to vloggers-turned-bonafide celebrities, few websites have seen as much rousing success as YouTube. 

So it’s no surprise that YouTube is a fertile ground for advertising. With 81% of adults in the U.S. using the platform — up 8% from 2019 — and more than 2 billion unique monthly viewers, it’s likely where members of your target audience can be found.

Not only that, but YouTube saw the most significant growth of any social media app among American users during the pandemic, according to the Pew Research Center.

YouTube ads are an excellent way to reach out to potential clients. After all, when it comes to social media marketing, YouTube is the only online platform that matches Facebook’s reach. Here’s how to make it work for you.

HawkSEM: youtube ads blog

YouTube Ads don’t require a minimum spend. That means you can start as low as you wish and then tweak the budget according to the campaign’s results. (Image via Unsplash)

Types of YouTube Ads  

In 2021, there are six types of YouTube ads to choose from. The type you choose will depend on factors like your niche, budget, and marketing goals.

  • Discovery (display) ads: These appear among organic results and suggestions on the YouTube search page, homepage, and suggestions list with a thumbnail image and a bit of text. YouTube’s TrueView ads only count a view after it’s been watched for at least ten seconds.  
  • Overlay ads: This banner ad appears in the lower part of the video. The ad can contain text or images. It’s clickable and available only to desktop viewers. A user has a choice to close the ad at any time.
  • In-stream skippable ads: This ad appears in the beginning, middle, or end of the video. It runs for several seconds before giving the viewer a choice to close it. These ads can appear on all devices, including TVs and game consoles.
  • In-stream nonskippable ads: These ads appear the same way as their skippable partners, but they don’t allow skipping. The maximum running time for these ads is 15 seconds.
  • Bumpers: Bumpers are non-skippable ads that appear while the video is running. They can’t be longer than six seconds.
  • Sponsored cards: These clickable ads are similar to overlay ads. They offer content relevant to the video the user is watching (such as products shown in the video). The teaser appears on the right side of the video for a few seconds and then turns into a card icon.

The cost of YouTube advertising in 2021

The cost of YouTube advertising depends on the type of ads you use.

  • In-stream ads, sponsored cards, and overlay ads: These ads are between $0.10 and $0.30 per engagement (view or click). Skippable ads are generally less expensive than non-skippable ads.
  • Discovery ads: These cost about $0.30 per click.
  • Bumper ads: These ads are charged by CPM (you pay each time the ad gets 1,000 impressions) — between $1 and $4 per 1,000.

Overall, the average cost of YouTube ads in 2021 is $200 per 1,000 views. It can range from between $0.05 and $0.30 per view, which is about $50 to $300 per 1,000. Remember, you only pay per view if the user watches the video for 30 seconds. (If the ad is shorter, they have to watch the entire video.)

YouTube Ads don’t require a minimum spend. That means you can start as low as you wish and then tweak the budget according to the campaign’s results. Many companies start with a $10 daily budget and go from there.

Pro tip: As of June 2021, YouTube has started showing ads on non-monetized videos. This means that if you’re not part of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), YouTube still reserves the right to run ads on your videos, as Search Engine Land reports. 

Now, let’s dive into some tried-and-true tips for successful YouTube advertising in 2021.

Explore masthead ads

Masthead ads can be a costly ad format, but they’re also known to be effective. They can produce a massive audience reach and achieve a huge boost in brand awareness. These ads appear in the YouTube home feed across all devices. They autoplay on mute for 30 seconds or longer.

The payment for these ads is based on cost-per-day or cost-per-impression. You can only take advantage of mastheads after making a reservation through a Google sales rep. They’ll give you an estimate during a consultation.

Overall, masthead ads provide the highest reach in the shortest period.

Pro tip: As of July 2021, YouTube masthead ads are no longer available for advertisers of prescription drugs, alcohol, gambling, and political content.    

HawkSEM blog: YouTube ads

To make in-stream ads appealing to your target audience, focus on attention-grabbing, hyper-targeted content. (Image via Unsplash)

Invest in remarketing

YouTube offers powerful remarketing campaign options. This can be a beneficial ad option since people who have viewed your videos, ads, or channel in the past have a higher conversion potential than brand-new leads. After linking your YouTube channel to your Google Ads account, you can create such remarketing lists as:

  • Viewed videos or ad from a channel
  • Directly viewed a particular video or ad
  • Visited a channel page
  • Liked, added, or shared a video from a channel

You can’t, however, create remarketing lists from views of the bumper and non-skippable ads.

You can also connect your website and YouTube advertising efforts. If someone visits your website and views a certain product, the remarketing feature can advertise the product the next time the visitor watches a YouTube video.

Pro tip: Looking to start a successful YouTube channel for your business? Check out this helpful guide from Shopify.

Optimize your in-stream ads

Sure, in-stream ads are a bit more intrusive to the video viewer, but it’s also true that they often bring about impressive results.

These ads have lower conversion rates than other formats but have been shown to aid tremendously in brand awareness. To make in-stream ads appealing to your target audience, focus on attention-grabbing, hyper-targeted content.

Pro tip: The first five seconds are the most important part of the in-stream ad, so prioritize grabbing the viewer’s attention during that time.

You can ensure your in-stream ad is as effective as possible by: 

  • Showing some motion in the first three seconds of the video to hook the audience’s attention
  • Creating curiosity by asking a question but leaving the answer on the other side of the five-second gap
  • Showing your brand name and logo in the first five seconds so that, even if the viewer skips the ad, you achieve brand exposure
  • Keeping ads shorter than 45 seconds
  • Using soft CTAs to lead potential clients to other videos or channels

For more paid social tips, check out our articles on best practices on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Use the YouTube Video Builder

In 2020, YouTube launched the beta version of its Video Builder. This tool lets you animate static content like text, logos, and images with music and transitions to create six to 15-second videos for further use as YouTube ads.

This is an excellent opportunity for companies with a low marketing budget to create an impressive multimedia experience for target audiences. Established brands can also use this tool for testing new content.

The Video Builder can help freshen up your existing assets to keep the target audience’s interest piqued without substantial expenses.

Embrace the person-to-person connection

A recent HubSpot article warned businesses not to forget the human element when it comes to YouTube marketing. Often, we’ve seen brands too focused on themselves and what they’re selling and not enough on helping their audience. 

After all, people don’t engage with brands to help the brands. They engage because of the ways the brand can help them. Always put that value front and center for your audience.

Additionally, it’s important that your message doesn’t feel cold and robotic. If your content feels like an interaction with a digital assistant, people won’t as easily connect or engage with it. 

Remind your audience that there are human beings behind your brand. One great way to do this is by responding to comments and engaging with the people who interact with your content, on YouTube and elsewhere.

The takeaway

YouTube is a highly engaging platform that opens up numerous possibilities for companies across all industries. In fact, 54% of YouTube users visit the platform daily and 36% do so several times per day. 

By looking into all the ad types on offer, determining what might catch your target audience’s attention, and ensuring the content is top notch, you can build a successful YouTube ads campaign, even without a huge budget. 

This post has been updated and was originally published in July 2020.

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