by Ryan Bozeman

Digital video is an increasingly popular platform. According to a survey by Animoto, 76 percent of all millennials with a YouTube account follow at least one brand.

For the younger generations, digital video and specifically YouTube are supplanting television as the preferred platform for video entertainment. YouTube already reaches more 18-49 year-olds than broadcast TV and cable combined. A joint survey between comScore and YouTube showed that most millennials prefer YouTube to traditional TV:

Provider preference for video content among millennials

Video captures attention. Increasingly, brands and creators are finding innovative ways to use YouTube to generate leads and grow their following.

But, like any organic growth in digital marketing, it can be tough to break into YouTube and carve out an audience on your own. Competition has increased with the growth of the platform. Coming up with attention-capturing video content is an art form in itself. But even if you do, capturing those eyeballs can be difficult.

As is often the case with Google Search’s AdWords platform, it is often more worth your time to pay for paid ads than to try to organically drum up a following.

YouTube ads or no different, and a viable way for businesses to generate B2B leads. Although it will likely take some time and testing to get used to the platform and find a strategy that works, it will almost always be cheaper in terms of both time and cost to use ads instead of trying to grow an organic following.

So let’s dive right in and look at how YouTube ads work, where they show up, and how you can use them to generate B2B leads.

What is Google TrueView?

Google TrueView is an extension of the AdWords platform built specifically for YouTube advertisers. There are a few things that make TrueView unique.

  • You only pay when your video is actually watched. TrueView only charges you when the viewer watches the whole video. Viewers are given the opportunity to skip the ad after a few seconds. Those that do skip the ad are not counted toward your ad spend.
  • Ads are completely custom. Unlike AdWords ads, which structure the ads for you, you are free to do what you want in video format. You can show users how-to videos, product demonstrations, customers testimonials, or any content that you think will be effective.
  • Access to the display network. You aren’t confined to the YouTube platform. Your ads can be shown on partner sites throughout Google’s Display Network to ensure that your videos have a wide reach.

TrueView makes it easy to advertise on YouTube while staying within budget.

Where Do YouTube’s TrueView Ads Show Up?

There are two places where TrueView ads show up within the youtube platform.

In-Stream Ads

TrueView in-stream ads
TrueView In-Stream ads are the ads that appear before, during, or after Youtube videos. You’ve likely run into them while watching on YouTube.
Ads are most commonly shown before the videos that the user is watching. After five seconds, viewers have the option to skip the ad but clicking the “Skip Ad” button on the bottom-right of each video.
YouTube Skip Button
While it might seem counter-productive for Google to let viewers skip ads, it’s both helpful and a necessity. It’s a necessity in that most users don’t want to sit through ads and forcing them to watch ads might negatively harm the platform. For advertisers, it’s helpful because you only pay for those that sit through your ad, which are likely to be your intended audience.

Discovery Ads

TrueView Discovery Ads


Previously known as “in-display ads,” discovery ads show up in areas where audiences typically search for videos. These areas include the search results page on YouTube, the YouTube mobile homepage, and the related videos bar on the right side of the page.

Creating discovery ads differs a bit from in-stream ads. Because the video appears in these areas and are designed to look like other related videos, you must make sure to choose an eye-catching thumbnail for the video. You can also include up to three lines of copy to entice viewers to watch the video.

With discovery ads, you are only charged when a viewer clicks on the video and watches the ad.

Bumper Ads

Bumper ads are a simple way to ensure that your video reaches a wide audience. Unlike in-stream ads, bumper ads are not skippable. They appear at the beginning of videos that users watch and may be up to six seconds long.

Because bumper ads are so short, they are typically designed for those viewing on a mobile device. If you have a short but memorable message that you would like to get across, bumper ads can be a great choice.

YouTube Ad Best Practices

>If you have experience running search PPC ads, you’ll find some familiar concepts in YouTube ads. The targeting systems are very similar, but do include a few quirks that are unique to YouTube and video platforms. There are also quite a few differences. Keep a few things in mind as you setup your campaign:

Video Length Matters

Remember — YouTube viewers can see how long an ad is from the moment that it pops up. You are asking them to make a time commitment with your video. For that reason, it’s much easier to get someone to commit to a video that is 1-2 minutes long then it is a video that is 3-4 minutes long.
According to a study by Wistia, a video that is about 1 minute long will keep about 60% of viewers until the end of the video, while a video that is 4-5 minutes long will keep less than 40%. These numbers also refer to videos the user has chosen to watch, not ads. Ads are likely to see much lower retention rates.

Your First Few Seconds are Incredibly Important

Most people will only give your video a few short seconds to grab their attention. This is particularly true with in-stream ads, which allow users to skip the ad entirely after five seconds. You must use your first few seconds to hook the viewer in and convince them to keep watching.
Introduce them to a problem and position your product as a solution right out of the gate. You want it to be immediately clear who you can help and provide some quick insight into how you can do so.

Do Not Save the Call to Action for the End

Conventional marketing wisdom tells us to place our call to action at the end of our content. Throw that out the window for video ads. While it is still a good idea to include a call to action at the end, they should also be placed periodically throughout the video. Preferably, place call to actions after all important points in your video that are likely to drive interest.

A great way to increase conversions on video content is to include YouTube cards with your call to action throughout the video. Here’s an example:

 YouTube cards with your call to action throughout the video.

YouTube cards are the replacement for annotations, which were removed from the platform in 2017. They are effective for calling both desktop and mobile users to action.

Don’t Skimp on Production Value

Videos with high production value inherently convey trustworthiness and professionalism. While you might be excited to get started with YouTube advertising, don’t just sit in front of your webcam and blather on about your product. Take the time to ensure that the video is polished and professional.

YouTube Ads and B2B Leads

YouTube is an effective, yet often overlooked, platform for B2B lead generation. According to a study from the Aberdeen Group, companies that use video marketing grow their revenue 49% faster than those who don’t.
YouTube ads provide a simple and cost-effective way to get your video content in front of your intended audience. Like any paid advertising platform, video campaigns will need excellent targeting and time for tweaking to reach their potential. A well-executed video marketing strategy can result in a reliable, low-cost B2B lead generation strategy.

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