Types of YouTube Ads and How to Use Them

Once you’re able to monetize your YouTube videos through ads, you’ll have control over the types and frequency of advertising shown on your videos. This will affect how you earn money and how much you earn, but will also have an effect on your viewers’ experience while they watch. This eCommerce University lesson will describe the different types of YouTube ads and how best to use them.


Display Ads

YouTube display ads appear next to your video, rather than over it. The benefit of this ad type is that it doesn’t disrupt viewing of your video. However, this is a lower-paying type of ad that also only appears on computers, so you won’t earn anything from mobile views with this type of ad. Advertisers choose whether or not the ad pays per view or if it must be clicked to earn.

Overlay Ads

An overlay ad appears as a banner covering the bottom 20% of your video. These ads are less disruptive than other ad types, but their earning potential is limited because viewers must click the ad for you to receive payment. Overlay ads also only appear on computers, so views from other devices won’t present earning opportunities from them. If you plan to use overlay ads, you should avoid putting important graphics in the bottom 20% of the video, but viewers can still close the ad at any time.

Skippable Video Ads

Skippable video ads are one of the ad types most familiar to YouTube users. The ad can appear at any point in the video; before, after, or during. This type of ad works on every device and is the most commonly-used type of YouTube ad. Viewers can skip the ad after 5 seconds, however in order for you to earn money, they must watch the whole ad or up to 30 seconds of it (whichever is shorter).

Non-Skippable Video Ads

These ads can also be added anywhere in your video, and cannot be skipped. However, these ads are at least 15 seconds long and viewers may turn away from your channel, especially new viewers who aren’t yet familiar with your content. You can somewhat alleviate this problem by putting the non-skippable ad somewhere in the middle, but the effectiveness of this depends on how invested your viewers are in watching the rest of your video. Non-skippable ads work on computers and mobile devices, but won’t be monetized on game consoles or televisions.

Midroll Ads

Midroll ads are similar to TV commercials in that they’re placed at different points throughout a video. They’re only available for videos over 10 minutes long. You also have the ability to choose where the “commercial breaks” are inserted, so you if you plan to use this type of advertising, you can film your videos with natural places for breaks. Like non-skippable ads, midroll ads won’t be monetized on TVs or game consoles. Midroll ads can be skippable or non-skippable, with the skippable ones falling under the same requirements for how long the viewer watches the ad. Ads purchased on a CPM basis (cost per mille, which means per thousand) must be watched till the end for you to be paid, even if they’re skippable.

Bumper Ads

Bumper ads are a short form of CPM ad no longer than 6 seconds. These are non-skippable and appear before your video starts. These ads are optimized for mobile viewing but also work on computers, and are not likely to turn viewers away because of their short length, despite being non-skippable.

Native Mobile Ads

This is a mobile-only ad format that appears below the video in the description. Payment from this ad type depends on whether the advertiser has set it up as CPM (in which case you’ll get paid based on the load of the impression) or CPC (cost per click, in which case you’ll only get paid when viewers click the ad).


Choosing and Controlling Ads on Your Videos

When setting up your YouTube monetization, you have control over which of the above types of ads will be displayed. Use the ad types that work best with your content and target audience — for example, if your videos are strongly aimed at console video game players, make sure you use the ad types that work on consoles and TVs. You can still use other types, because your viewers are likely to watch from more than one device, but make sure you target the specific piece of equipment you know they can use to watch your videos: consoles!

You can also choose to prevent certain advertisers and categories from appearing with your videos. For example, you might want to exclude ads from companies that directly compete with you, or you may want to exclude a whole category like dating ads, political ads, or ads for consumer loans. YouTube has a whole list of “sensitive categories” you can choose to prevent from appearing.


What to Do if Ads Won’t Appear on Your Videos

YouTube combines your ad settings with user data in an algorithm meant to serve carefully-targeted ads at the right viewers. Occasionally, a correct ad won’t be found, resulting in no ads being shown for that instance. However, if you’re consistently not seeing ads, you may need to adjust your settings or make other fixes.

Check the following:

  • Can other people see ads on your videos (is it just you that isn’t seeing any)?
  • Did you remember to set the video public and enable ads on it?
  • Are you using copyrighted content, incorrect metadata, or other things that aren’t advertiser-friendly?
  • Does your video actually appeal to the demographic your advertisers are trying to target?

If you still can’t figure out why ads aren’t appearing, visit the article on YouTube Help for more resources.

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