Introduction to YouTube Advertising Placements & Examples

Brent Barnhart

July 5, 2020

Brent Barnhart

July 5, 2020

YouTube’s takeover of social media and the Internet at large is well-documented.

After all, we’re binging video content like never before. 

That includes video ads, by the way. Fact: a staggering 90% of people discover new brands and products through YouTube.

Couple that with the fact that video content is among the most-shared on social media. Meanwhile,  YouTube videos are cited as the most effective type of video content for influencers behind what’s offered on Instagram.

If you’re interested in what the YouTube ad platform has to offer, your head is in the right place.

This guide breaks down the basics of YouTube advertising placements and what you should consider if you’re looking to run video ads.


Which YouTube Advertising Placements are Available Right Now?

First thing’s first: YouTube ads are run the Google Ads platform.

That said, your video ad strategy on YouTube is closer to social ads on Facebook or Instagram. Unlike classic keyword text or display ads, YouTube’s platform requires you to come up with compelling visual creatives to win those ever-so-important clicks. 

Sounds kind of like social ads, right?

Below we’ve highlighted the current YouTube advertising placements available to marketers right now. Of course, we also recommend exploring the platform yourself to get a taste of what the platform looks like organically.

And with that, let’s dive in!


True view in-stream (skippable ads)

True view in-stream ads run within a video (either prior, during or after), giving viewers the opportunity to skip after a five-second countdown. These ads also include a small call-to-action button that pops up during the five-second period.

In terms of creatives, you only have about three seconds to grab your viewers’ attention and compel them to click. That’s why many in-stream ads are somewhat click-baity by making big promises or claims (think: “You’re not going to believe this…” or “If you do this, you’re going to fail”). 

These tactics are common for YouTube ads in the drop-shipping space and they’re actually pretty effective.

1. dropshipping

The takeaway here is that you need to have some sort of “hook” or strong creative to grab people at a glance. 

Here’s a good example from Hyundai Australia, posing an off-the-wall question to viewers within the first second of the video.




This catchy sing-song ad from Vegemite is another solid example. Although the video benefits from brand recognition, hitting viewers with a question is a proven way to build curiosity.



As a side note, YouTube recommends these ads have a video length between 12 seconds and three minutes. Keep in mind that YouTube’s analytics will not track views for your ads if the view-time is under 10 seconds. 


Non-skippable video ads

Spoiler alert: non-skippable ads can’t be skipped.  Viewers must watch the entire ad, which spans between 15 and 20 seconds depending on your region.

The upside of no-skip ads is that viewers more or less have to sit through your message, effectively making it can’t-miss. On the flip side, forcing someone to watch an ad automatically puts you on the defensive. 

So, how do you make sure your no-skids ads are effective? For starters, no-skip ads should push a “softer” call-to-action such as checking out a website as opposed to screaming “BUY NOW!” 

Also, lighthearted and humorous videos work well for no-skip ads. The logic here makes sense: if your “forcing” someone to sit through your ad, you might as well make it enjoyable.

Below are three examples of non-skippable video ads from Apple Australia, Heinz Australia and Mars Australia, respectively. Apple’s video manages to turn your head almost immediately, while the other two videos feel like more “traditional” ads which are on the lighter side.






True view discovery ads

True view discovery ads appear on YouTube’s sidebar above-the-fold, sitting alongside your suggested videos. These ads denoted by the yellow “ad” button.

2. display ad not a productThis is yet another ad type where big promises and click-baity titles work well (see “1 eCom funnel - $5.6 mil. $40 profit” above). Consider that you need to encourage people to click-through here unlike auto-play ads. 

One key distinction between discovery ads and the rest of the YouTube advertising placements is that click-throughs will redirect to a video rather than a dedicated landing page. 

3. display click through

These types of ads speak to higher-intent users and perhaps folks who are familiar with your channel. Obviously, discovery ads are intended for those who already have some sort of YouTube presence to point to.


Standard Display Ads

Standard display ads are kind of like old-school banner ads, appearing alongside your YouTube suggestions above-the-fold.

4. Display

No big surprises here. Creative-wise, you’re afforded a static or 30-second looping image, about a sentence or two’s worth of text and a basic call-to-action. 

These types of ads are arguably best for reinforcing existing ad campaigns (think: Honey’s ads are all over YouTube, including display and overlay ads). Here are a few examples, for reference:

5. honey display ad

6. Bulletproof mug

7. display ads 2


Bumper ads

Perhaps the most unique but also challenging of the various YouTube advertising placements, Bumper ads are six-second, non-skippable ads that must play prior to a video. 

With such little time to grab someone’s attention, your creatives really need to pop here. You can likewise crack a joke or throw in a quick animation to “wow” your viewers via bumper ads.

Below are a couple of examples of how quick cuts and colors can make these ad types work.

8. Pantene

9. magnum ice cream


Overlay ads

Lastly, overlay ads are small banners that appear at the bottom of a YouTube video while you’re watching it. The benefit of these types of ads is that they don’t totally interrupt the viewer, although they’re relatively easy to “x” out of.  

This is where bright colors and straightforward calls-to-action come into play. Notice that most overlay ads likewise have softer CTAs, inviting viewers to learn more or check out a site rather than making a purchase directly.

10. honey ad

11. overlay ad 2

Note: According to YouTube themselves, formats including “non-skip, skippable and bumper ads” are sometimes “less likely” to serve. This is to “better optimize overall viewer engagement and revenue over the course of a viewer’s session on YouTube.” This might not be make-or-break for your campaigns but is perhaps worth considering if you’re interested in a particular ad type.


Which YouTube Advertising Placements Make Sense for Your Business?

No matter what sort of content your creating, the YouTube ad platform is flexible.

Looking to produce a bite-sized commercial? Something off-the-cuff? Perhaps something animated?

No problem! And if you’re looking to learn more about YouTube or running ads in general, make sure to get in touch with Hello Social today.


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