7 May 2019

by Spark Eighteen

How to setup and optimize a YouTube ad campaign


YouTube Ads are a robust methodology of generating awareness and revenue for your business. They can be so effective, for a matter of fact, that even offline sales could benefit, with YouTube reporting that 78% of TrueView campaigns lead to an offline sales lift. And it’s no wonder. The social media giant has more than a billion users. Over 4 billion videos are viewed daily. 66% of people identify themselves as visual learners, and, by the end of 2017, three-quarters of all content consumed on the web was video content. This is excellent news for video marketing geniuses. For others? It’s a whole new world. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at what steps you need to set up and optimize your YouTube ad campaign.

How to setup and optimize a YouTube Ad Campaign

1) Set Up YouTube Advertising

With the freshly redesigned Google Ads interface, managing YouTube ads is now simpler than ever. If you’ve got expertise with Google ads or Facebook ads, several YouTube ads features will look familiar to you.

Following are the steps you ought to take to run YouTube ads for your business.

Link Google AdWords to Your YouTube Channel

The foremost step is to link your Google Ads account to your YouTube channel.

Youtube adwords linked account

Follow similar steps to connect your Google Analytics account. You will need access to it for campaign analytics and retargeting.

Upload Your Video Ad to YouTube

To use a video in a YouTube ad campaign, you need to first upload it to YouTube.

2) Choose a YouTube Advertising Campaign Objective

The next step is to create your campaign. Go to your Google Ads dashboard, and on the Campaigns tab, click the + button and select New Campaign.

Choose a YouTube Advertising Campaign Objective

YouTube has options for making many campaign types, which determine the type of ads you can run, the placements available, and more. Depending on your final campaign goal, select one of the following options for your YouTube video ad:

  • Leads and Website Traffic are the most effective options for driving traffic and generating conversions from your YouTube ads.
  • Product and Brand Consideration provides opportunities for generating broader brand awareness and swing your products before huge audiences, including influencers.
  • Brand Awareness and Reach is often used to generate brand buzz and includes a lot of options for ad types.


After you choose a campaign objective, you’ll see a list of obtainable campaign types for that objective. Select Video as the campaign type. When you’re finished, click Continue.

Select a campaign type

3) Choose a YouTube Ad Format

The YouTube ad formats available to you rely on your campaign goal and video ad length. Here’s a rundown of the most frequently used formats.

TrueView Ads

TrueView reaches ads run before, during, or after the video and work best for creating initial awareness of your brand or product. They feature a Skip button which enables users to skip the ad after 5 seconds.

Trueview ads

TrueView discovery ads pop up on the YouTube search results page, next to related videos (rather than in-stream) or on the YouTube mobile homepage. You are charged every time someone clicks on the thumbnail regardless of how long they watch the video.

These ads are best for promoting product consideration with an immediate CTA. Discovery ads enable you to feature longer headlines (up to 100 characters) and two lines of ad descriptions.

Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads

Non-skippable in-stream ads are available just for a few campaign types (Reach campaigns) and could be 6–15 seconds long. Similar to TrueView ads, non-skippable ads run before, during, or after the video content. The advantage of these ads is you are guaranteed that viewers will see your entire message, which translates into a higher ad view metric.

Remember: Look out for the hidden costs of each ad type and analyze the ultimate return on investment.

Bumper Ads

Video ads which are 6 seconds or shorter could be used for bumper ads. Unlike TrueView or skippable ads, bumper ads do not change the view count of your videos. Users can’t skip bumper ads.

You pay for bumper ads built on the CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions). This ad format works amazing as part of a video ad sequence to warm up an audience for a TrueView ad.

4) Set a Budget, Schedule, and Bid Strategy

After you choose an ad format for your campaign, enter a name for it, set a campaign budget, and opt for start and end dates.

Bidding strategy

The cost of YouTube advertising is much lower than you think. In fact, some campaigns could cost as low as $0.02 per view. But you have to get the bidding strategy right as bids have a direct impact on the success of your campaigns.

There are many different types of bids and strategies to use. Select one of these two strategies to maximize results:

  • Maximum CPV is used with TrueView ads and tells YouTube the most you want to pay for each view of your ad. For discovery ads, it determines the maximum you are willing to pay for users to click on your ad. In some cases, it might make the difference between your ad appearing or not. For discovery ads, it conjointly determines your ad’s position compared to different ads.
  • Target CPV is the average you’re willing to pay for your conversions. You might pay a bit more or less per individual conversion, however, your daily averages won’t exceed your average amount.

For some campaign types, you might also see the Maximize Conversions option. This option is analogous to automatic bidding and provides you with less control over your action results. Therefore, it may result in higher costs.

5) Control Where Your YouTube Ad Will Be Shown

Next, you’ll see three options for managing wherever your YouTube ads will be shown.


Choose from these network options to regulate where your YouTube ads will run:

  • YouTube Search Results: This option is available as long as you are running discovery ads.
  • YouTube Videos: This is the optimum option for the majority of your ads with the perfect balance of price and quality.
  • Video Partners on the Display Network: Choose this option if you wish to run YouTube ads on partner sites outside of YouTube. While it may reduce your cost, it’s also likely to significantly reduce quality.

6) Define the Target Audience for Your YouTube Campaign

YouTube’s audience targeting options are quite robust. Also, the data from YouTube is supplemented by data coming from Google Search and partners. This combination makes YouTube advertising incredibly powerful.

Remarketing and Similar Audiences Targeting

To begin with remarketing, open Audience Manager by selecting Tools > Audience Manager at the top of the page.

Then connect your data sources (e.g., Google Analytics).

Some of the audience retargeting and look alike divisions are auto-generated. Other divisions (e.g., YouTube users) ought to be manually created in Audience Manager.

To make a remarketing list for YouTube, choose a specific action which YouTube users perform (e.g., Subscribe to a Channel).

Another alternative is to further engage your website visitors with YouTube ads. The Visitor of a page who didn’t visit another page option allows you to make a list of people who visited your main offer page but didn’t sign up for your offer. Targeting this custom audience with a YouTube ad that addresses the prime customer objections might help shut the deal.

7) Set a Bid Amount for Your Campaign

If you opted for Maximum CPV as your bidding strategy, it’s vital that you do not set your bid too low as your ad may not run at all. To calculate the maximal CPV, analyze the historical data and average CPV estimated for your campaign.

Set a Bid Amount for Your Campaign

Pro Tip: The higher your Maximum CPV, the better your ad performance would be. To get your ads to indicate up higher at the start of the campaign, set your Maximum CPV at 3–5x the average. For instance, if the average CPV is $0.02–0.32, set your maximum CPM at least at $1.50 and then adjust it after you have the real data.

If you opted for a Target CPV bid strategy, the higher your bid, the better your performance. Do not be afraid to put a higher than average amount because Google will optimize over time.


YouTube is a fast-growing advertising platform which can deliver spectacular results at a relatively low cost. A lot of factors play a role in the success of your campaigns. In addition to creating amazing ads, you should also perceive the campaign set up best practices and experiment with completely different audiences and campaign sequences.

Start small, learn from your experience, and optimize your YouTube ad campaign for the long run.

What do you think? Do you use YouTube ads for your business? What are the types of ads and campaigns that you have tried? Do you have any tips to add? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


Spark Eighteen

Spark Eighteen is a brainchild of innovative young minds and a group of alarmingly out-of-the-box thinkers who happen to see the world of marketing from a new age perspective. With a proven expertise in the field of Brand consulting, Digital Marketing and Website Design and Development, our team of designers, developers, and creative heads work towards delivering maximum results, tailor-made to all your business needs.
Spark Eighteen

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