Whether your company is big or small, seeing a return from your advertising dollars has always been a huge deciding factor on ad strategy. With that being said, have you ever considered investing in YouTube in-stream ads (formerly known as pre-roll ads)? Don’t even know what that is? That’s ok! We can break it down, and tell you the top five reasons they’re cool as hell.

So you’re about to watch a YouTube video, and an unsolicited clip starts playing before you can watch what you want to watch. Right now, you’re probably thinking: Oh that’s what an in-stream ad is? It’s that annoying thing standing between me and my funny cat video compilation? Yes. That’s exactly what it is. But here’s why forcing people to view your ad is actually an awesome idea.

5 reasons to consider YouTube in-stream ads

1. Short, sweet and to the point.

YouTube in-stream ads have a few nifty options to choose from. If your video is longer than 15 seconds, viewers will have the option to hit a skip button after three seconds to move on to their video. While unskippable pre-roll videos have a reputation as being “annoying,” the fact is that they reach consumers in a way they literally cannot ignore. That says a lot.

Convince & Convert notes that pre-roll ads function well at the top of the funnel. Like TV and radio ads, they will raise consumer awareness of the product. Through targeted advertising (we’ll get there next), these users can be converted into customers.

2. Target your people.

Pairing your pre-roll ads with your desired audience will get you the most bang for your buck. Let’s say you’re marketing a local hardware store. Adding pre-roll ads to do-it-yourself home renovation videos that are delivered to viewers located within a specific area code will ensure that your message is reaching consumers who will find it very relevant. Similarly, if you’re marketing a nationally sold brand of tools, you can target all YouTube users and put pre-roll advertisements on “viral” DIY videos that need tools to complete the projects in order to attract high levels of interest.

3. All the traffic. Just all of it!

  • YouTube is the second largest search engine and the third most visited website worldwide — behind Google and Facebook, respectively (no surprises there).
  • 1 billion people visit YouTube each month globally.
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded every 60 seconds to YouTube.
  • According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18 to 34 than any cable network.
  • YouTube is bigger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask and AOL combined.

4. Big budget, little budget? Not a problem.

Without considering the cost of creating your video ad, the actual placement budget can range in accordance to how much you want to spend. You pay when a viewer watches 30 seconds of your video (or the duration if it’s shorter than 30 seconds) or engages with your video, whichever comes first. While we unfortunately do not have a pricing chart available, Google AdWords can help you determine the budget by making a backward calculation.

First decide the amount of views you would expect from advertising. Then make a drafted campaign for AdWords for video. Select the targeting criteria and see how many views the estimation graph is showing based on those targeting and other campaign settings. This may not be the accurate way to determine the final price, but it is an effective way to get an estimate of how much to spend for the number of views you expect.

5. Guaranteed analytics.

It’s always nice to be able to track results. With analytic tracking provided by Google AdWords, you will have access to all the numbers your heart desires. Views, impressions, earned views, click-thru rates — you name it, and there’s a column and corresponding chart to help you see just how your ad is performing with viewers.

Want to continue the conversation about YouTube in-stream ads? Contact our digital and media communications team — we would love to chat!


Originally published March 8, 2016