Updated January 04, 2019

For updated information on AdWords for Video, please see our blog post AdWords for Video and YouTube: Is It Right for Retailers?


In Part 1 of this series, I showed how to launch YouTube promoted videos through Google AdWords.  When you promote one of your videos, you are paying YouTube to funnel more traffic to the video… but the traffic still stays on YouTube.  (Of course, you can include a call-to-action link in your video that goes to your website, but that is more a feature of the video than a specific advertising strategy.)

You probably want to do more than just get people to watch one of your videos in an environment controlled by YouTube.  You want to get people to come to your website where they can take a desired action and you can make money.

There are multiple ways you can get your ads to show on YouTube searches, inside and alongside other people’s videos.  With the right targeting, this can be a very profitable way to take advantage of YouTube’s enormous amount of traffic.

Text Ads in YouTube Search Results

YouTube is a Google search partner.  If your AdWords campaign is opted into the Google search partners network (in the campaign settings), your ads will also be displayed on YouTube for relevant searches.  The problem is that Google currently provides no way to segment or optimize keywords/bids/ads for a specific search partner.

Be aware that YouTube promoted videos get preference on their search result pages.  As more people use promoted videos, there won’t be much room left for traditional text ads.

Ads on YouTube Content (Video) Pages

Ads on the YouTube content (video) pages can be one of three types: text, video, or image. In part one, I showed how to get your promoted YouTube video to show up on content pages.  In the section below, I’ll explain how to target YouTube video pages with ads of various formats that take users directly to your website.

In order to use any of the ad formats described below on YouTube, you’ll need to have the proper campaign settings in Google AdWords.

Step 1: Target managed placements

In the campaign settings, target “Relevant pages only on the placements and audiences I manage” in the Content network.


Step 2: Set YouTube as your only managed placement in your campaign ad groups

In the “Networks” tab in your ad group, add “youtube.com” as a managed placement.  You have a few options at this point.  You probably don’t want to simply target all of YouTube with your ads — instead you want to target only the YouTube visitors that would be interested in what you have to offer.

There are two methods available for targeting the specific segment of YouTube visitors most likely to be interested in your offer:

  • Only target specific videos
    Instead of adding “youtube.com” as a managed placement, you can use the YouTube Video Targeting Tool to get the placement URLs for specific YouTube categories, channels, or videos.  Keep in mind that only a subset of YouTube videos are available for direct targeting.
  • Refine your generic “youtube.com” placement with keywords
    If you’d rather target all videos related to a list of relevant keywords, then go ahead and add “youtube.com” as a managed placement, but refine your ad group targeting by adding keywords to the ad group as well. Your ads will then only show on YouTube video pages relevant to your keyword list.  This is the simplest option and will usually give you more traffic than targeting specific videos.

Once the above campaign & ad group settings and placements are completed, the ad formats included in your ad groups will determine the eligible ad blocks on YouTube.  Below are the possibilities…

Ads Beside the Video

Image ads size 300×250 are eligible for display to the right of the video on YouTube.  This is a great placement that can yield high CTR for relevant ads.

Ads Inside the Video Itself

There are four ad formats available for getting your ad to show up in someone else’s video:

  1. Text Ads
    Any text ads you add normally to your YouTube campaign will be eligible for display in the bottom section of YouTube partner videos.  These show up for a few seconds during the video and then at the end.
  2. Image Ads (InVideo Static Image)
    Image ads have a much higher CTR than text ads, so you should use this format whenever possible.  YouTube accepts in-video static images advertising size 480×70 that show up on the bottom of the video (like the text ad).  This isn’t a standard image size within AdWords, so you’ll need to add it through the Display Ad Builder tool.In the “Audio and Video” category, choose the “InVideo Static Image” format.display-ad-builder-select2.pngstatic-image.png
  3. In-Stream Video Ad
    As above, the in-stream video ad is a Display Ad Builder format found in the same category.  It can either be 15 or 30 seconds in length and plays either before, during, or after the main video.  (The system chooses at what point in the main video your video ad will play.)

Note that in-video image and video ads both allow a companion banner size 300×250 that can accompany your in-video ad.  When eligible, this ad will let you do a near-takeover of the video page with an in-video ad and a complimentary image ad at the same time.  The companion banner upload is found in the display ad builder settings for your ad.

Your bid and quality score will need to be high enough to win both auctions for the companion banner to display.  If the companion banner doesn’t make the cut, your primary in-video ad will still be eligible for display.

As you can see, there are a lot of options available for targeting YouTube with your ads.

Wondering what other opportunities you might be missing out on? Check out our inside look at the paid search secrets of successful retailers.