Your Ultimate Guide To YouTube Ad Formats

Unless you’ve never accessed the internet before, chances are that you’re familiar with the video platform juggernaut, YouTube. YouTube is the go-to platform for video-based content on the web for users worldwide and has had a meteoric rise in popularity since its launch in December of 2005.

With over 2 Billion logged-in monthly users, YouTube is an outstanding platform that all Marketers should be utilizing in the way of video advertising to reach their target audience. It consistently ranks as one of the most visited websites year on year. Currently ranked at number 2, just behind Google.

You can use YouTube Ads to target audiences all across the world, the largest audience is in the US, 15% of the total traffic that makes its way to the website is from the states. Throughout this post, we’ll be discussing different types of YouTube ad formats and their benefits so you can use the information to either create or update your advertising campaigns on the platform.

Display Ads & Overlay Ads (Non-Video)

Display ads are one advertising format on the platform that will not automatically play a video to users. Display ads are strategically placed on different parts of the webpage. Your ad will either be placed on the right of the video feature page or at the top of the video suggestion list along with a call to action button and will only appear if the user is using a desktop. These ads are usually featured alongside videos that are related to your content but that is not always the case. The size of the advertisement on display ads is 300 x 60.

Overlay ads are displayed when the video the user is watching initially starts, it is displayed on the lower portion of the video and can only be viewed on desktops. It is important to have a compelling call to action that will entice viewers to click on the Ad. The size of an Overlay ad is 480×70 and you can also include a banner that is 300 x 250.

Skippable In-stream Ads:

Skippable In-Stream Ads are possibly the most popular form of advertising on YouTube, This format of Ad either plays at the start of a video or during the video that the user is watching but allows the viewer to skip the advertisement after 5 seconds if they wish. Your video must be at least 12 seconds long although it is recommended that videos be just under 3 minutes long. You may add a Call to action button during the advertisement to entice users to enter your chosen landing page.

Note: You may come across the term True View Ads, this refers to an advertisement format that requires you to only pay when a user chooses to watch it passed a certain point.

Non-Skippable In-stream Ads:

It’s reported that a large 65% of viewers skip a YouTube ad when given the opportunity. In order to ensure that the user views your entire ad, you will need to use the non-skippable Ads. This format of advertisement is a 15-second video played either at the start or midway through a video the user is watching.

The pricing structure of this method is called CPM i.e (Pay for every 1000 views). This format of YouTube advertising is a great way to raise brand awareness if you can use the 15 seconds effectively.

Bumper Ads:

Bumper Ads are another form of non-skippable ads but unlike the previous format, you’re only given up to 6 seconds of video content to show the viewer. Since you’re only given 6 seconds to convey your message, it may seem difficult to convey a compelling message for your audience but according to Google, Bumper Ads are an effective way to increase brand recall. Another similarity that bumper ads have to the aforementioned Non-Skippable In-stream advertising is that employs the CPM pricing method.

Discovery Ads:

YouTube functions in a similar way to Google, users can search for anything through the text bar on the screen and will then be taken to a SERP (Search engine results page) that will be populated by a series of videos (Links for Google) which are related to the search term.

With Discovery ads, marketers are able to place their video at the top of the SERP, ahead of all the organic search results. Discovery ads also allow you to display up to 3 short descriptions on the Search engine results page alongside your thumbnail.

Masthead Ad:

Take over the homepage of YouTube, the masthead format of advertising allows you to place your video on the homepage for your targeted audience along with a call to action. This is another great example of raising brand awareness through YouTube.


So as you can see, YouTube has several different options for marketers to utilize their platform to advertise to their larger audiences that access YouTube every day. Whether it be to increase brand awareness, drive traffic, or other goals, You can do it on YouTube. If you would like to learn more about YouTube Advertising and how it can help you, click here.

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