The Primary YouTube Ad Formats for Business

YouTube ads are video promotions that appear on its website and app. With over 2 billion monthly users, YouTube ads provide an unmatched opportunity to get your brand in front of new audiences. 

Join us as we explore the main YouTube ad formats and how you can use them to reach a wide, targeted audience.


What are the main types of YouTube Ads?


Skippable in-stream Video Ads

Skippable in-stream ads are the most common type of ads on YouTube. These ads are played either before or during a video and allow viewers to skip the remainder of the ad after five seconds. 

This type of video ad will need to be at least 12 seconds long, and it is recommended that it doesn’t exceed three minutes. Skippable video ads can be a cost-effective form of video advertising, as you’ll only get charged when someone watches for at least 30 seconds, or if they click on the provided link. 

This means that you can achieve free brand awareness if your message appears early enough in the video, making it a valuable part of your video marketing strategy.


Non-Skippable Video Ads

Non-skippable video ads also appear either before or during a YouTube video. However, they must be watched in their entirety before a video can be viewed. With around 76 per cent of users choosing to skip video ads, non-skippable video ads allow brands to get their entire message out there. 

Non-skippable video ads are particularly effective in conveying short, impactful messages that can be delivered effectively without distractions or interruptions. However, non-skippable video ads can also be perceived as disruptive to the user experience, particularly when they are not relevant to the video. 


Bumper Ads

Bumper ads are six-second, non-skippable advertisements that play before a video can be viewed. These ads are perfect when you want to reach a wide range of viewers and remain memorable with a short, catchy advertisement. 

They can be very effective, with Google finding that around 90 per cent create an increase in ad recall. Since they are so short and can only convey a limited amount of information, it’s important that they are concise and to the point.


Discovery Ads

Discovery ads appear alongside related YouTube videos, in YouTube search results, and on the YouTube mobile homepage. They consist of a thumbnail image and up to three lines of text. When an interested user clicks on your ad, they are taken straight to your video. 

Discovery ads look nearly identical to user-generated YouTube videos but are differentiated by a small ad tag. They are a form of native advertising, meaning that they look similar to organic YouTube content. 


Masthead Video Ads

Masthead video ads appear differently on desktop and mobile devices. On desktop, a masthead ad can appear in a widescreen or 16:8 aspect ratio format. The video autoplays, muted, for up to 30 seconds. After this, the video defaults to its thumbnail. 

When users click on the thumbnail, they are taken to its YouTube page, where they can watch it in full.

On mobile devices, masthead videos autoplay for the full duration of the video. They automatically include the channel name and icon. Just like with desktop advertisements, clicking on the ad will direct a user to the actual video. 


On TV screens where masthead ads are supported, they will appear either across the entire screen or in a 16:9 aspect ratio. They play in full, without sound, on top of the YouTube TV app. Users can click the ad to be taken to the video itself, where they can watch it in full screen.

Overlay Ads

Overlay ads appear on desktop devices only. They are non-video ads that appear in the lower 20% portion of a video. They appear on videos where the user has decided to monetise their content and are available on a PPC (pay-per-click) basis. 

These are perfect for businesses that are on a strict budget and may not be able to afford to invest in video advertising. Since these types of ads have an ‘X’ in the top corner, people may exit them quickly. However, you’ll only pay when someone clicks on your ad, not when they just view it.


Why YouTube ads are effective


Reach a wide and targeted audience

With billions of hours watched each day, YouTube allows you to reach more people than ever. It also broadens your reach and allows people who don’t watch TV to see your message. YouTube’s massive reach means more interested people are exposed to your brand, which translates to more clicks, website traffic, and sales over time. 


Connect with your audience

YouTube ads allow customers to see your brand ‘in action’, something that can’t be achieved through text-only ads alone. With YouTube ads, your audience can put a face to your brand and see how your product or service works in real time. All of this means you can build a stronger connection with your audience and get them interested in your brand. 



YouTube ads put you in control of how much you spend, allowing you to set a monthly budget and pause or adjust it whenever you need to. Your budget sets the overall maximum spend, while your bids set the maximum that you’ll pay for an ad to appear. 

You can utilise different bidding strategies to achieve your goals within budget, whether you’re aiming to increase views, impressions, or conversions. This makes it perfect for businesses looking to maximise results on a budget.


Encourage engagement and interaction

Since people visit YouTube to watch videos, they are already receptive to video ads. YouTube further encourages user interaction through features such as likes, comments, shares, and subscriptions. This engagement can contribute to building a community around your brand or content.


Ready to discover how YouTube video strategies can help expand your reach and connect with your audience like never before? Get in contact with us at  HELLO@OMDIGIGROUP.COM to start your journey towards YouTube ads that convert.


Note: This information is up to date as of 10 January 2024.

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