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How to Create a Memorable YouTube Ad


If you’re looking to increase your brand awareness, especially within a niche or targeted market segment, then YouTube’s in-stream ads could be a valuable tool to add to your digital marketing strategy.

YouTube has an enormous number of visitors every day. In fact, it’s the second most visited site on the web! And viewership and the time spent on their site continues to increase. In 2021, users reported watching an average of 16 hours of online video per week (a 52% increase from 2019).

All those views are great, but you also need to make sure the right people are seeing your message, so viewers turn into customers. And YouTube makes that easy to do with their comprehensive ad targeting. Thanks to their parent company, Google, you can not only target your ads to viewers based on their viewing history and interests, but on their Google search history as well. When your targeting can narrow in on your ideal buyer, especially when they are showing active intent from their search history, that leads to better ROI.

Are you ready to take advantage of this great marketing tool with video ads? Let’s take a look at how these ads work and dive into tips for making your video creative as impactful as possible.

Types of In-Stream Ads

In-stream ads refer to video ads that appear before, during or at the end of the video the user selected to watch. There are three main types of in-stream video ads you can utilize:

Bumper: Bumper ads are the shortest at only 6 seconds in length and are only available in select markets. These are great for bite-sized brand awareness ads with a wide reach. Bumper ads are charged on a Target CPM basis, so you pay based on impressions.

Skippable: These ads run a minimum of 12 seconds, but not longer than 3 minutes. Users will receive the option to skip the video after 5 seconds. These ads can be charged on a per impression basis or with cost-per-view bidding, which charges you when a viewer watches 30 seconds of the video (or the full duration, if shorter) or interacts with your video, whichever comes first.

Non-Skippable: These ads can be a maximum of 15 seconds long and, as the name implies, the user is not given the option to skip. Non-skippable ads use Target CPM billing, where you are charged based on impressions.

We recommend trying a mix of each type of ad and with videos of various lengths to see what works best for your brand and your audience. You can use the data from a testing period to make decisions about which format you’d like to focus most of your spend on after that.

3 Tips for Creating a Memorable In-Stream YouTube Ad

Since most in-stream video ads end or can be skipped after 5 seconds, you need to make good use of that time! Front load your ad with the most important brand information, be memorable, and make users want to ignore that skip button and watch your entire video.

Tip 1: Pack a Punch

Don’t worry about when or if a viewer will skip your ad by placing your most important brand message (or all your messaging) right up front in the first 5 seconds of your ad. This is your critical space to tell prospects what you do, what makes your product different or how your brand can improve their lives. At minimum, at least say the name of your brand or company, so viewers hear it and can Google you later.

Example: PG Green Tea

Tip 2: Have a Hook

Keep viewers watching even after they can skip with compelling video content. Maybe this is taking a well-known story and turning it on its head, or it could be tugging on customers’ heartstrings so they can’t look away. This doesn’t need to be gimmicky either; if you have a good product that can really solve problems for your customers, show them how. You want your viewers to see themselves in your advertising and be moved to take action.

Example: Masterclass with Margaret Atwood

Tip 3: Use Humor

If it fits with your brand, use a bit of humor to be memorable. This has worked well for companies with humorous brand images like Dollar Shave Club and Old Spice—with some of their ads even going viral. Maybe try your hand at a self-referential ad where the actors break the fourth wall and acknowledge that they’re in a commercial. Like this Burger King bumper ad that recognizes seeing ads before your videos can be annoying.

Example: Burger King


Feel like a YouTube in-stream ad is a good move for your brand? We can help you every step of the way from creative development to targeting. Let’s start a conversation about video.