So we’ve established that Instagram has cool cat filters, right? But do you know what’s even better than whiskers on a selfie? Cat videos, of course! And YouTube has millions…litter-ally.
As of 2023, the social media giant and biggest online video platform worldwide has more than 2.6 billion monthly active users and is the number one channel across 18–42-year-olds—this means a plethora of potential customers and clients right within your digital reach. And although we also encourage advertising on the other platforms we’ve discussed in previous blogs, viewers are four times more likely to use YouTube versus other platforms to find information about a brand, product, or service.1
YouTube boasts a massive audience, and their reach of 18- to 49-year-old audiences was 36% higher on average than that of TV.2 If your target audience is within this age range, you should absolutely have a presence on YouTube. This especially applies to verticals where YouTube is highly used, such as engineering, gaming, personal care, sports or education.
If you’re familiar with YouTube, then you’ve more than likely seen the skippable ads that play before the dancing cats you’re watching at 2 a.m. This form of advertising, known as skippable in-stream ads, are advertisements that can last up to one minute and play before, during, or after your YouTube video. The viewer has an option to “skip” the ad after five seconds of play, so it’s crucial for advertisers to get their point across in a timely manner. You want to hook the viewer immediately and give them a reason to watch your entire advertisement before Mr. Meowsic plays the harp. Remember that these advertisements are unsolicited, so you’ll need to capture the attention of your audience in order for conversion.
Example of a skippable in-stream ad:
Non-skippable in-stream ads work in a similar way but are much shorter and users are unable to skip ads in order to get to their video. These include up to 15 seconds of uninterrupted time to convey a brand message, promote a product or event, or boost brand awareness. As a sort of subset to non-skippable ads, YouTube also offers bumper ads which run for only six seconds. These ads drive high impressions and view rates and are perfect for brand exposure. Research shows the effectiveness of bumper ads—across 489 bumper campaigns analyzed globally, 61% drove a significant lift in brand awareness.5
Example of a non-skippable in-stream ad:
In-feed video ads, also known as discover ads, are a great way to connect to an audience actively seeking relevant content—they appear alongside related videos or when users organically search for content. These ads include an image thumbnail, a headline, and two lines of text. When the thumbnail is clicked, the viewer is taken to the watch page for that ad.
Example of an in-feed ad:
If your company doesn’t have video capability or is on a tighter budget, YouTube also offers non-video ads in the form of display ads and in-video overlay ads. These can appear with image, text, and a call to action and look similar to the ads you frequently see on Google. Google’s ownership of YouTube means you can set up your campaign, control your costs, target your audience, and measure your success all through the same Google Ads Platform.
Example of a display ads:
Advertising in the age of social media means reaching far and wide for new audiences, and YouTube’s popularity makes it a must-have for almost any marketing strategy. Video, one of the most compelling forms of media available, can captivate an audience, tell a story, and most importantly, drive sales. Now we think that’s the cat’s meow.
1 Google/Talkshoppe, US, whyVideo study, n=2000 A18-64 Genpop video users, Feb 2020
2 Google Hardware/Nielsen TRR Study, Oct. 29–Nov. 11, 2018.
3 Collage Group
5 Think With Google, YouTube Bumper ads Brand Lift Meta Analysis, 2017