The Complete Guide to YouTube Advertising

The Complete Guide to YouTube Advertising

YouTube is the world’s leading digital video platform, the second most popular search engine (trailing only Google), and one of the most profitable advertising platforms for marketers.

While marketers flock to Google Ads for its varied targeting options and ease of use, many avoid YouTube Ads because videos are “Complicated and Expensive.”

The thing is, videos are the future, and that future is now. Avoiding it is a dead-end job, something that a majority of marketers already understand.  15 YouTube Statistics You Should Know

  1. YouTube has over 2.3 billion users. It’s the second most popular social media site, only trailing Facebook. 
  2. 79% of internet users own a YouTube account
  3. YouTube viewers generate billions of video views per day after watching billions of hours of video on the platform
  4. YouTube is available in 80 different languages and localized in more than 100 countries
  5. People watch more than 1 billion hours of videos on YouTube
  6. 62% of marketers use YouTube to post their video content
  7. 70% of YouTube viewers use their mobile devices
  8. 90% of people have discovered a new brand or product on YouTube
  9. 400 hours of videos are uploaded on YouTube with every passing minute
  10. 90% of the people who watch videos online use YouTube
  11. 78% of marketers say videos have a good ROI
  12. 99% of marketers who use videos say they’ll continue to use them
  13. YouTube receives more than 3billion searches in a month
  14. More than one-third of internet users (approximately 1 billion users) visit YouTube daily
  15. While Facebook is the most popular social media network overall, YouTube is the most popular social network among teenagers

YouTube Advertising: The Basics

What’s YouTube Advertising?

YouTube advertising is YouTube’s pay-for-placement ad system that allows brands and businesses to target the more than 1 billion users that frequent the platform daily to watch videos. 

The ads can be served in the form of videos, banners, or text, and shown before a requested video starts to play, in the right-hand margin of a YouTube page, or as an overlay amid a playing video. 

How YouTube Advertising Works

YouTube advertising is different from any other self-serving digital advertising platform you know, including Facebook and LinkedIn.

With YouTube ads, you’re only charged when the user watches at least 30 seconds of your video. That’s to say, you only pay when the user watches past the 30-second mark or the entire video.

Since Google owns YouTube, then the advertising is conducted on Google Ads. 

You simply create your video ad and upload it on Google Ads, choosing your ad placement and targeting. 

Google offers several video advertising options for you to choose from – TrueView in Stream Ads, Bumper Ads, and TrueView Video Discovery Ads. 

They also allow you to run overlay ads, displays ads, and sponsored card ads on YouTube. 

Running YouTube video ads is simple. All you need to do is create your video ad and upload it on Google Ads. Next, choose the ad placement and targeting.

Finally, specify your bid amount, depending on your budget, and that’s it.

Note that you only pay for the ad when viewers watch it. You can also view analytic right from your Google Analytics dashboard once the ad starts to run. You’re also allowed to run, pause, and stop the ad whenever you want. 

Types of YouTube Ads

You have six different types of YouTube Ads to choose from, occurring as videos, images, or text boxes.

Now, let’s try to compare and contrast these ads to find out which one of them is best suited for your marketing strategy:

Display Ads

A display ad is displayed as a clickable image or animation on the right-hand sidebar, just above the suggestions list when watching a YouTube video on a desktop.

Here’s an example of a display ad: 

The Complete Guide to YouTube Advertising 1

The specs for running a display ad are 300 x 60 or 300 x 250. For animations, the video can only run for a maximum of 30 seconds (without sound, of course). 

The maximum file size you can upload is 150KB, and the supported file formats are JPG, GIF, HTML5, and PNG. 

Note that these ads can only be displayed on desktops, and only when the viewer hasn’t selected full-screen.  

This is a prime location for displaying your ads since it doesn’t interfere with the watching experience of the user.

Overlay Ads

An overlay ad appears as a semi-transparent banner in the lower portion of a YouTube video. 

It appears as a clickable text box or image and is only visible on a desktop. Here’s an example of an overlay ad:

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The specs for running an overlay ad are 728 x 90 or 468 x 60. Again, the maximum file size you can upload is 150KB.

The supported file formats for this type of ads are PNG, JPG, and GIF. 

Overlay ads may be simple and static, but they’re a stroke of genius. They have a subtle way of demanding attention without coming off as too imposing. 

While some viewers may choose to cancel them, they’re less of a bother to most of them.

And even if a user chooses to close them, they’re still a great way of raising awareness around your brand or product. 

Skippable Ads

These are the most popular type of YouTube Ads. 

They can appear before, during, or after a YouTube video.

The ads can run from 12 seconds to 6 minutes, and viewers have the option to skip them after 5 seconds.

Here’s an example of a skippable ad:

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Skippable ads can only be uploaded in an MP4 format. They can also be unlisted if you’re only using them for advertisement.

The specification for uploading these videos remain pretty much the same as the specification for uploading any YouTube video. 

You can upload a 1080p video, but a 720p video is still acceptable. 

Unlike the two ads we’ve mentioned, skippable ads can appear on any device – mobile, TV. Desktop, and game consoles. 

Their main downfall is as it’s written on the tin – viewers are allowed to skip them. The point is to try and make your ad as compelling as possible for viewers to continue watching them after the 5 seconds mark. 

Some may even argue the skippable button breaks the fourth wall to get the viewer hooked. 

Non-skippable Ads

Non-skippable ads are exactly as the name says. The viewer must watch them to the end to continue watching the video.

Again, like skippable ads, these ads can appear before, during, or immediately after the YouTube video the viewer is watching. 

Here’s an example of a non-skippable video ad: 

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A non-skippable ad has the same specs and file size as a skippable ad. The only thing that varies is the length of the video.

Speaking of which, a skippable ad can only play for a maximum of 20 seconds. However, for some regions, the maximum length of a non-skippable ad is 15 seconds. 

The best thing about running a non-skippable ad is that you’re guaranteed the viewer’s attention. That, coupled with YouTube’s targeting abilities, means there’s a fair chance the viewer will snugly match your audience’s profile. 

Bumper Ads

Bumper ads are non-skippable video ads with a maximum play length of 6 seconds. They can appear on both mobile and desktop.

Here’s how a bumper ad looks like: 

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The accepted formats for bumper ads are AVI, MP4, MPEG, Quicktime, and ASF. 

Keep in mind that you only have 5 seconds to communicate your marketing message with bumper ads. 

But make no mistake, an extensive amount of research has been done around them to prove their effectiveness. And according to a recent study, bumper ads can drive up to a 61% increase in brand awareness. 

Sponsored Cards

A sponsored card displays ad content that is relevant to the video that the viewer is watching, like one of the products in the video.

They’re a lot similar to overlay ads, only that they only show for a few seconds, during which the viewer can decide if they want to watch the entire ad or give it a few seconds to disappear. 

If viewers want to find out more about the ad, all they need to do is click on it. 

Here’s how a sponsored card ad looks like:

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Sponsored card ads aren’t restricted to a particular device. They can appear on both mobile and desktops.

The accepted file formats for sponsored card ads are GIFs, PNG, and JPG. 

The cards are also expected to have an aspect ratio of 1:1 and a maximum file size of 5MBs.

They’re mostly used for self-promotion or when you want to advertise your products or services on your own YouTube videos. 

How Much Does it Cost to Advertise on YouTube?

Most small and medium-sized businesses don’t advertise on YouTube, mostly because of the ferried misconception that running a YouTube video ad is complicated and expensive.

Well, nothing about this is true.

If anything, YouTube has a reputation for fair costs. You only pay when viewers watch at least 30 seconds of your video (or in entirety if the video runs for less than 30 seconds) or if it’s clicked. This applies to both images and video ads. 

There’s no standard cost for running a YouTube ad. The cost will always vary depending on how competitive your industry is, as well as the audience you’re targeting. 

Say you want to target a female audience aged between 16 and 70 and have an interest in make-up. This is a wide net, and the topic is highly competitive. So, expect your cost per view to be way higher as opposed to that of another marketer targeting females between the age of 18 and 30 and who are only interested in black eyeliner. As you can see, the second niche is less competitive and highly specialised. 

Generally, YouTube ads tend to have an average cost per view of $0.10 to $0.30. 

If we were to do some maths, then the average estimated cost of reaching 100, 000 viewers on YouTube is $20, 000. 

The good thing with YouTube ads is that they don’t have a minimum ad spend. 

Their Cost Per View bids, however, start at $0.01. 

You’re allowed to set a daily budget of any amount and then proceed to edit everything based on the results that you want to see. 

So, how much does it cost to advertise on YouTube?

The right answer for this type of question is that it depends. It depends on the ad you’re running and how competitive your niche is.

But now that you know how YouTube’s payment methods works and how to cut down the cost through specific targeting, estimating your total ad spend shouldn’t be that much of a tough calculation.  

Why Advertise on YouTube?

After understanding how the system works and everything there’s to know about YouTube advertising, why should anyone still be interested to advertise on YouTube?

Simple: videos are taking over.

Videos have also proven to be the most effective content format for lead generation.

In fact, YouTube ads now outperform TV ads by far.

Also, since videos have higher engagement levels than images and texts, they’re more likely to generate better returns. 

Confirming this statement is a recent study, which went on to show videos are likely to generate 1200% more share than images and text. 

Additionally, a Google study shows that people who complete TrueView ads (those who watch at least 30 seconds of video ad or an entire ad) are 23 times more likely to subscribe to your channel, find out more about your brand, and share your video ad.

Even those who fail to do any of these things are 10 times more likely to engage in one of these actions. 

So, is YouTube advertising still right for your business or brand? 

Well, the answer again is, it depends. 

It depends on what your business does and the type of content you produce. 

The questions to ask yourself is, “can your business benefit from videos.” If your answer is “yes,” then the most logical thing to do would be to make videos part of your overall marketing and advertising strategy. 

The Benefits of Advertising on YouTube

More and more small and medium-sized businesses are taking their ads to YouTube. In fact, the number has more than doubled in recent years. 

YouTube advertising has so many benefits – all of which boil down to one thing, their huge audience. 

For a platform that boasts more than 1.5 billion active monthly users, you’ll be doing yourself a huge disserve by not serving your ads on the network. 

That said, here are a few of the benefits of advertising your business on YouTube: 

    • Real-time insights about the people watching your ad
    • Your ad is shown before and after the main video
    • Creative freedom when creating the video ad
    • Different ad format options to choose from
    • Easy to identify purchase intent
    • You can increase exposure by sharing your ad on social media
  • Advanced targeting options

Types of YouTube’s Ad Targeting Options

YouTube has one of the most advanced Ads targeting systems you’ll ever come across online, especially so for their multiple targeting options:

Demographics: This allows you to target viewers based on their age, parental status, gender, and household income.

Interest: With this option, you can target viewers who are already interested in a particular topic. It allows you to target users who like similar brands, as well as products and services that are similar to yours. 

Video Remarketing: This allows you to target viewers who at some point interacted with your ads or video content. 

Placements: You can use this option to target other YouTube channels, apps, videos, websites, and ad placements. 

Topics: This option allows you to target specific topics on Google Display Network and YouTube. 

Keywords: You can also set your ads to target specific keywords related to your YouTube video, website, or channel. 

Don’t take these targeting options lightly. They can either make or break your business. 

Go through each one of them, giving them careful consideration to find out which one of them will deliver the best result. 

Remember to also experiment with each one of them, observing the generated results to better inform your ad campaign. 

How to Use YouTube Advertising

Depending on what you want to accomplish, how you choose to advertise on YouTube will always differ. 

It could be that you want to use YouTube to increase brand awareness, drive sales, influence buyers’ decisions, or build brand loyalty.

It’s possible to achieve all these objectives through nothing but YouTube advertisement. 

Brand Awareness: YouTube ads can help you introduce your products and brand to people who have never heard about them. The best way to go about it is to target people who have liked a similar brand or a product or service that’s similar to yours. 

Influence Buyers’Decisions: You can use a YouTube ad to target viewers that are still not decided on what to buy. All you need to do is convince these buyers that you have the best product or service. Best sure to include some straight up facts or pieces of evidence to back it up.  

Grow Sales: YouTube ads are a great way to find a new group of audience to target. You can link your products to others and get to grow sales. 

Build Brand Loyalty: Get more customers to trust your products and be loyal to your brand by solidifying your social proof. Get some of your happy customers to talk about their experiences with your products and brand, and grow a community of loyal customers. 

How to Measure The Success of Your YouTube Ads

There are dozens of metrics you can use to gauge the success of your YouTube ad. However, what you choose to use will depend on the specific goals you have. 

That said, here are a few video metrics you can use to measure your ad success:

  • Views: Find out how many times has your video been watched. This will help you see how many people got to watch your video.
  • Video Viewership: This is what you use to see how many of your viewers watched 25%, 50%, or 100% of your video ad. 

With this information, you can tell the exact point your viewers lost interest in your video. 

It will also help you figure out how to best improve your messaging and grow your customers’ interest in your video. 

  • Clicks: You can also measure your YouTube ads success by looking at the number of times people clicked on it. It’s how you tell how engaging your video ad is to the people who see it.

Tips for Running a Successful YouTube Ad Campaign

If you still feel like YouTube would still fit into your overall marketing strategy, then here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your YouTube advertising strategy: 

Choose the Right YouTube Ad Format: One good thing about advertising on YouTube is that you have different ad formats to choose from. From skippable ads to display ads, you have different ad options to take into careful consideration before settling on one. 

You may also require some trial and error on your part, both in terms of ad placement and content to find out what works best for you. 

Upload Transcribed Text: When uploading the video, don’t forgo the long-handed text-based transcript that could help you improve your listing.

YouTube may be that advanced, but it sure could use some help from you in understanding your video content better. 

For this, you want to manually upload your video transcript. We understand that this might mean extra work on your part, but learn to use transcribing sites such as REV to transcribe your videos and improve their chances of ranking for the right topics and search terms.

Add Interactive Elements: Take advantages of the numerous interactive elements available on YouTube. You can use some of these elements to draw value to your Call to Action or certain features of your ad or video. 

Learn to use YouTube features such as showcase card, button, and end screen options to draw some action to your YouTube video or ad. 

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You can have a great ad. But how do you make it generate results or new business? 

Learn to explore available options to make your video ad more actionable. 

Use YouTube Cards: We’ve already talked about video cards. What we didn’t mention is that they’re also a great way to draw more action to your ad. 

You’ve probably seen a YouTube card, at the right-side corner of YouTube videos, teased with the letter ‘i.’ Users can click on it to expand its content.

Remember that it’s only shown to a user who has engaged with your video. 

Branded Thumbnails: Learn to play around with visuals to capture your viewers’ attention.

You can start by making sure you’re using the most attention-grabbing thumbnail you can come up with.

If you can’t design one, then be sure to use a high-quality image from the video as your thumbnail. 

Research the Right Keywords: YouTube is the second largest search engines.

People run search queries on the platform nearly as much as they do on Google.

It helps to approach it with this in mind. If you make the mistake of targeting the wrong keywords, then don’t expect to receive love from viewers. 

Don’t just target keywords that drive high amounts of traffic. Instead, try to focus on the ones that are closely related to your video. 

You have to begin by brainstorming everything. Wear the mind of the viewer and think about all the terms they might use when searching for your products or services. 

From there, you want to do some research on the keywords used by your competitors. You also want to use a tool such as Keyword Planner to refine your keyword list. 

Leverage YouTube’s Advanced Targeting: Don’t just target anyone randomly. Instead, try to target viewers who are interested in what you’re offering. 

This will save you from wasting money. 

YouTube allows you to define who sees your ads through their advanced targeting system. Use this feature to narrow down to an audience that makes great sense to you and not just anyone random.

Share the Video on Multiple Platforms: You want your video to attract as many followers as it possibly can. So, why not do yourself a favour and share it across other platforms as well, including social media and email list.

Share your live streams in all your email campaigns and newsletters and make sure you’re not missing out on any opportunity to engage with a potential customer on any of these platforms. 

What Do You Need to Get Started with YouTube Advertisement

Running a YouTube Ad is a cinch. But there are a few things you need to get in order first before you can get started with the whole thing.

Needless to say, you need a YouTube account and a Google AdWord account. 

For a Google AdWord account, you can use your Gmail account to open up one if you haven’t already. 

For a Google Ads account, follow this link to set up one. 

Fix these two prerequisites, and proceed to work on the following:

  • Get a skilled video production team. There are tons of video production agencies to help you out with this. 
  • Get familiar with the different ad formats specs. Choose an ad format that makes the most sense to you and check out the accepted specs.
  • Make sure your computer has plenty of storage space for the video ad and all the accompanying graphics, such as your company logo. 
  • Prepare to monitor the campaign insights. Where you can’t, get someone to help you. You need this to find out whether or not the campaign is working for you.
  • Set an appropriate budget for the campaign
  • Write compelling ad scripts and copies for the ad
  • Go through YouTube’s Terms and policies and make sure your ads comply with everything. The last thing you want is for your video to be removed from YouTube for violating their terms and policies. 

How to Set Up YouTube Ads

After getting all the above requirements in order, the next thing you want to do is set up your first YouTube ad.

At this point, we’d like to assume you have your YouTube video, image, or any other relevant ad ready.

For inspiration on how to create a powerful YouTube video ad, be sure to check out this link. 

With that out of the way, let’s dive straight in:

Step 1: Go to Your YouTube Account and Upload Your ad Video

Make sure you’re logged into your Gmail account. Now, follow this link to go to your YouTube account (https://www.youtube.com/account).

Click on the upward pointing arrow symbol at the top-right corner of the screen to upload your ad video. 

The Complete Guide to YouTube Advertising 9

You will be directed to an upload window where you’re to select the files to upload. 

Click on “Select Files” and then proceed to choose the files to upload.

The Complete Guide to YouTube Advertising 10

Be sure to fill out all the requested details, like the video’s title, description, and tags. 

Step 2: Go to Google Ads and Create Your Ad Campaign

Go to your Google ad account and create your ad campaign.

If you already have a Google Ad account, click on sign in to log into the account. If you have yet to set up one, then click on “Start Now” to set up one.

Follow this guide to be directed on how to set up a new Google Ads account.

Once you’re logged into your account, click on “All campaign (on the left-hand sidebar) of your page. 

Next, click on the blue + icon to run a new ad campaign.

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You’ll be directed to a window where you’re to specify the type of campaign you want to run. Your options include the following five types of campaigns: 

  1. Display
  2. Search
  3. Video
  4. Shopping
  5. Universal App

Here, you want to select “Video.” Next, select a campaign goal that perfectly aligns with what you want to achieve with the video.

For instance, if your goal is to get more people to visit your website, then you might want to select “Website Traffic” as your goal.

Once you’ve selected your goal, you’ll be directed to a page with more features and settings to help you generate more website visits.

To learn more about each goal option, all you need to do is hover your mouse around it. 

Here’s a chart detailing the different campaign goals and subtypes:

Goal Subtype Networks Ad Format
Leads Drive Conversions  YouTube Videos Instream
Website Traffic Drive Conversions YouTube Videos InStream
Brand and Product Consideration (To get customers to choose your brand or product over your competitors’) Standard Consideration
  • Google Display Network
  • YouTube Videos
  • YouTube Search 
  • Video Discovery 
  • Instream 
Shopping (You need a Google Merchant Account for this).  YouTube Videos Instream
Brand Awareness Standard Awareness
  • Google Display Network
  • YouTube videos
Instream

Bumper Ad (after choosing a CPM bidding strategy)

Outstream Google Display Network (GDN) Outstream
No Goal None 
  • YouTube Videos
  • YouTube Seach
  • Google Display Network
  • Video discovery
  • Instream
  • Bumper Ads

You can edit the goals at any time. You can either remove or add them whenever you feel like it.

Step 3: Configure Your Ad Campaign

Now it’s time to configure your ad campaign.

Choose Your Campaign Name

This will only be used internally. So, choose a name that best describes your ad campaign.

The name you choose will help you identify this particular campaign especially if you’re running multiple campaigns. 

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Set Your Ad Budget

You can start by specifying your daily ad budget. How much money do you want to spend on the ad per day? 

If this is your first time running the ad, we suggest you start small. 

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The point is to ensure you’re getting the most value or the highest returns on your ad money.

Another option would be to choose an accelerated or standard payment method.

The accelerated will show you ad at every available option. That means your ad money will run out faster.

The standard option, on the other hand, will try to spread your ad money throughout the day. 

We suggest you go with the accelerated option to quickly collect the data that you’ll be using to optimise your ad campaign.

Choose that Start and End Date for the Campaign

Here, you’re to specify the dates when the campaign will start and end. 

Choose “none” for the end date if you want the campaign to run non-stop. 

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Select Your Preferred Ad Networks

This is where you specify where you want your ads to be shown. Speaking of which, there are three places where the ads can be shown:

  • Search Results: Your ads will appear at the top of YouTube’s search results. Note that this option only works for TrueView Discovery Ads.
  • YouTube Videos: With this option, your ad will appear on the YouTube homepage, YouTube videos, and YouTube’s channel pages.
  • Google Display Network: Your ad will appear on Google and all the partnering advertising networks. 

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Just check on your preferred ad network and then proceed to the next step.

Select Your Country and Language

Which country would you like your ad to be served, and in which language?

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Choose Your Preferred Bidding Strategy

Choose how you want to pay for the campaign. Google has four options for you:

Maximum CPV: Pay for the number of views and interactions that your video is getting. 

Maximum CPM: Pay for 1000 impressions your ad gets. 

Viewable CPM: Pay for 1000 impressions but only after your ad has been seen. For example, when a user sees your ad, visits your page, and immediately bounces off, Google won’t charge you for that. 

Target CPA: You only pay when the user takes action, such as clicking on your ad or link. 

If you plan to increase people who visit your site, then it makes more sense to check on the “Target CPA” option.  Meaning, you’ll only be charged when a user converts. 

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Select an Inventory

This is where you specify if you want your ad to be only shown on content that’s aligns with your brand.

For example, if you’re in the dropshipping business for kid’s toys, you certainly don’t want your ads to start showing on violent or sexually explicit sites. 

This option works to ensure your ad won’t appear on any inappropriate site. 


Carefully read through each option to understand how they work.

Exclude Content

This option allows you to opt-out of content-sensitive categories that could hurt your brand. 

Of course, there are sites that you wouldn’t want your ads to be shown. This is where you exclude those sites. 

Step 4: Select Your Ad Reach

With every audience you select, you should have an appropriate, descriptive name for it.

It’s worth noting that this is not a one-time thing, considering you’ll also be using the same audience for your future campaigns. 

Start with the Demographic

This is where you define your target audience. This option allows you to target an audience based on age, parental status, household income, and gender. 

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Fine-tune Your Target Audience

The next option will allow you to fine-tune your target audience. You have to explore all the available options and trim everything down to the specifics.  

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Step 5: Select Where You’ll Want Your Ads to Be Shown

Here, you’re to specify where you want the ads to Appear.

You’re provided with a few options to go about it.

Enter Your List of Target Keywords: Enter a list of all the keyword phrases you’re targeting in the box provided.

You can also utilise the “Get Keyword Ideas” tool provided on the right for more keyword ideas. 

Select Relevant Topics: Choose a relevant topic from the options provided. 

Choose Your Preferred Ad Placement: You’re to specify where you want the ads to appear. 

If you decide to leave this option blank, then expect your ads to be shown on any YouTube network or placement.

Step 6: Select Your Ad Video

You should be able to see the marketing video you uploaded. If you can’t find it, then try searching for it in the search bar provided.

Alternatively, click on the upload link provided to upload it.

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Save and continue once done.

Step 7: Configure the Video Ad

You can begin by selecting your preferred video format.

Google will try to show which options are available to you.

Be sure to also add your CTA, URL (where the user will be directed upon clicking on the ad, and headline. 

Click on “Save to Continue” followed by “Continue to Campaign” and that’s pretty much like it. You’ve successfully set your YouTube Ad campaign. 

 

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