YouTube is a giant in online video. From its humble beginnings in 2005, it has quickly become one of the top destinations on the Internet for video content consumption. Advertising on YouTube can be advantageous for brands because it can reach targeted audiences or simply reach the whole of YouTube. No matter which way you decide to slice it, I thought I would put together a quick little guide to advertising on the video platform for the uninitiated to get you started.

YouTube offers a variety of different advertising solutions for brands. The first thought that comes to mind when you hear “YouTube” is probably video, so let’s start there.

Video Advertising

In-Stream Ads

In-Stream Ads most resemble traditional video advertising in terms of user experience. Available in 15, 30, and 60 second varieties, In-Stream ads run before, during, or after both short-term and long-form content on YouTube. A variety of different options exist to tinker with in consideration of campaign goals, including the inclusion of actionable URLs and mobile availability.

Detailed In-Stream Ad options are available here.

TrueView Video Ads

TrueView video ads are an opt-in ad format. Advertisers do not pay for impressions but rather when users actually opt to watch the advertisement. The benefit of this is that viewers generally have not already seen the advertisement or are already interested in the product or service before they decide to watch the advertisement and, if they don’t decide to watch, the advertiser doesn’t lose money on a wasted placement.

Detailed TrueView Ad options are available here.

Reach Advertising

Homepage Ads

Homepage Ads (as the name implies) allow advertisers to take over YouTube’s homepage which sees approximately 23 million visitors each day. This option allows 100% share of voice for the homepage for the entire day and deliver 60 million impressions a day. Benefits include increased ad interactivity and brand recall. The general nature of the homepage allows you to reach a wide variety of people across different demographics.

First Watch

First Watch allows advertisers to play their advertisement as the first video that a user sees during a YouTube session. This option allows you to reach up to 15 million unique users each day, rivaling the reach of primetime television programming on traditional networks.

Detailed Reach Ad options are available here.

Display Ads

Diplay Advertising

Display adds come in two flavors on YouTube. The first is the traditional display ad: in this case, a 300×250 advertisement that appears alongside video content across YouTube. The second type of display ad appears inside of the video while it plays. If the ad is not clicked, it will play as a post-roll to the video the user is watching. Pricing is either CPC or CPM for either option.

Detailed Display Ad options are available here.

Brand Channels

Accounts for Brands
Brand channels offer the opportunity to brands to set up a home base on YouTube. Brand channels act like every other channel but offer a variety of benefits. Managed YouTube customers gain access to additional brand channel features such as extra branding options and the use of impression tags. Managed YouTube customers also gain access to mobile brand channels that offer similar features in terms of customization.

Brands also have the ability to more deeply customize their channel at extra cost. Examples of creative and successful customized channels are available at YouTube’s Show & Tell.

Detailed Brand Channel options are available here.

Mobile Advertising

Mobile Options

YouTube Mobile ( is the second largest video site on the web, second only to YouTube itself. Mobile options include the ability to implement mobile roadblocks on YouTube mobile pages and In-stream ads on Android devices. As discussed above, mobile brand channels are also excellent and free opportunities for advertisers to reach their audiences.

Detailed Mobile options are available here.

Custom Solutions


If a creative idea doesn’t fall into any of these categories, advertisers can work with the ZOO, Google’s internal creative agency, to create a unique advertising solution that meets campaign needs. Custom solutions are generally large-scale alternatives to standard YouTube advertising solutions. Examples include YouTube Flash takeovers, complete redesigns of the standard channel page, and live streams of events.

You can learn more and contact the ZOO about innovative marketing campaigns here.