Guide to the 3 Essential YouTube Ad Types

Moira West


For businesses, YouTube ads offer several quick, flexible ways to promote a brand or share a message on the second largest search engine in the world. But if you’re never tried YouTube ads before, it can be difficult to know exactly what ads to start with or what a successful ad looks like.

That’s why we’ve broken down the 3 essential types of ads on YouTube to help you find out what each ad does and how you can make your ads look their best.

What’s a TrueView ad?

TrueView ads appear before videos begin or sometimes during YouTube videos longer than 10 minutes. This type of ad is often skippable, so if you’ve seen a YouTube ad with a 5-second countdown, you’ve already seen a TrueView ad.

The good news? Studies have show that viewers who choose to watch an ad 75% more engaged than those who are forced to do so. And when it comes to TrueView ads, you’ll only pay when a viewer chooses to watch for at least 30 seconds or to the end of the video, whichever is shorter, or if they click on a card or other elements of your in-stream creative. That means you’re only paying for interested audiences that really want to engage with your content.

What makes an effective TrueView Ad?

  • Best length: Under a minute.
  • The look: Go for bright, high-contrast colors and text to make your video stand out. If you’re recording video clips of a person, try for closeups.
  • The content: Great content makes a great ad, whether it’s emotionally compelling, entertaining, or informational. In our TrueView template featured below, we’ve chosen an engaging list, but you have lots of freedom to experiment. Try a product demo, share a testimonial, or make a how-to video demonstrating your product in action.
  • Call to action: Use a call to action that lets viewers know what they should do after watching your ad—subscribe, comment, watch more, etc.
  • Other TrueView ad tips: Start with your most interesting content, since viewers can skip your ad after the first 5 seconds.

Create a TrueView Ad

What’s a bumper ad?

A bumper ad is a 6-second video format designed to drive brand reach and frequency. Bumpers ads can work well on their own or when paired with other YouTube ads. By pairing bumper ads with other YouTube ads, businesses can both extend the reach of an existing campaign and complement broader messaging.

That’s because bumpers ads are a cost-effective way to reach your target audience, ensure your message is seen and heard, and keep you top of mind. In fact, Google tested more than 300 bumper campaigns this year and found that 9 out of 10 drove a significant lift in ad recall.

What makes an effective bumper ad?

  • Best length: 6 seconds.
  • The look: Match your bumper ad to the rest of your ad campaign. Using a bumper ad alone? Try for clear, bright text that’ll help reinforce your messaging.
  • The content: You don’t have a lot of time, so focus on one goal or one action you want viewers to take. That doesn’t mean the bumper ad should be a one-off concept, though. Instead, think about it as a way to tease and reinforce a larger campaign message.
  • Call to action: This type of video is in and of itself a call to action. Since it’s so short, remember to stick to one clear message that you reinforce with your audio, images, video clips, and text.
  • Other bumper ad tips: Bumper ads are a cost-effective way to target your audience and keep your brand on their minds. Though they work well on their own, try them out along with a TrueView or remarketing ad to get even better results.

Create a bumper ad

What’s a remarketing ad?

The goal of this type of video ad is to encourage your viewer to take action. Simply put, a remarketing ad lets you retarget viewers who’ve already engaged with your content or visited your YouTube channel and drive them towards your website. This ad format can work well on its own or when paired with other ad formats as a sort of “deal closer” for a larger ad campaign.

What makes an effective remarketing ad?

  • Best length: Under a minute.
  • The look: If you’re using this ad together with a TrueView ad, keep to the color palette you’ve chosen there. If not, make sure that your text is legible and bright enough to stand out.
  • The content: A remarketing ad is a smart place to describe your product or business. Another good tactic is to introduce a problem your product or service can help solve or post an interesting question you intend to answer.
  • Call to action: Give viewers time to absorb your call to action by leaving 10 seconds or so at the end of your video for your audience to respond.
  • Other remarketing ad tips: Create variations of the same ad to test and evaluate what performs better and drives viewers to action. By doing so, you’ll your audience can help you choose the video that will give you the best response and drive more results for your business.

Create a remarketing ad

YouTube ads encourage engagement and action from your viewers. But if you know how to create the right type of video ad, you’ll find it easier to connect with the right audience for your brand.

Still have a few video questions? Check out our complete guide to YouTube marketing. Or if you feel ready, jump right in and start creating your first YouTube ad with Animoto.