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November 2, 2023

YouTube Ads for Small Businesses: Getting Started 

YouTube has emerged as a powerhouse platform with over 30 million daily users and a staggering 5 billion daily video views. As a subsidiary of […]


November 2, 2023
youtube ads for small businesses

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YouTube has emerged as a powerhouse platform with over 30 million daily users and a staggering 5 billion daily video views.

As a subsidiary of Google, YouTube offers immense potential for businesses to reach a vast audience and drive traffic to their websites. Whether you're already running ads on Google or new to online advertising, YouTube ads provide an effective way to engage with potential customers and achieve your marketing goals.

This comprehensive beginner's guide will walk you through the process of setting up YouTube ads, from understanding the benefits and ad placements to bidding strategies and campaign optimization. By the end of this guide, you'll have the knowledge and tools to leverage YouTube ads successfully and grow your business.

YouTube Ads For Small Businesses

Benefits for Small Businesses:

YouTube's influence as the second most visited website worldwide, right after its parent company Google, cannot be underestimated. YouTube serves as a search engine where users exhibit higher intent to make purchasing decisions. This characteristic sets it apart from social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. YouTube's partnership with Google enables precise targeting capabilities, allowing businesses to reach audiences actively searching for products or services.

Small Business Paid Media Platforms 

Unlike traditional paid media platforms, YouTube ads allow for precise targeting, enabling businesses to reach audiences actively searching for their offerings. This higher intent audience on YouTube enhances the chances of converting viewers into customers. Moreover, YouTube's TrueView ads provide flexibility, allowing advertisers to pay only when viewers watch their ad beyond the initial few seconds.

YouTube ads level the playing field for small businesses, granting them the same opportunities as larger companies to connect with a global audience. The platform offers various ad formats and placements to suit different business objectives, from brand awareness to lead generation and sales.

YouTube Ads Can Influence Customer Behavior and Increase Sales

Another benefit of YouTube ads is that they can influence customer behavior and increase sales. According to a study by Google, 63% of people say they bought from a brand after viewing an ad on YouTube. YouTube ads can also increase the likelihood of short-term sales by 30% if they have strong calls to action (CTAs). For example, you can ask your viewers to visit your website, sign up for a free trial, or use a coupon code.

YouTube ads can also increase business value by showcasing your products and services, providing useful information, and building trust and credibility with your audience. For example, you can use YouTube ads to demonstrate how your product works, share customer testimonials or tell your brand story.

YouTube Ads Are Cost-Effective and Easy to Measure

Finally, YouTube ads are cost-effective and easy to measure. The cost of YouTube ads can vary depending on the type and format of the ad, but it can range between $0.10 and $0.30 per view2. You only pay when someone watches at least 30 seconds of your ad or clicks on it. This means that you can control your budget and only pay for the results that matter to you.

YouTube ads also have clear analytics that shows how your ads are performing and what can be improved. You can track metrics such as views, impressions, watch time, click-through rate (CTR), conversions, and return on ad spend (ROAS). You can use these insights to optimize your campaigns and increase your return on investment (ROI).

When Should Your Business Start Running YouTube Ads?

How do you know when it’s time for your business to start running YouTube ads?

The answer will depend on the following questions:

  1. Do I have a market-tested product and value proposition?
  2. Do I have a clear picture of buyer's profile?
  3. Am I capable of creating content for my product/service?

There a nuances to these questions, but all in all, businesses that have already answered these questions will most likely be a better fit to start running YouTube Ads.

Choosing the Right Ad Formats on YouTube:

YouTube offers various ad format options to cater to different advertising goals and user preferences. Understanding these options will help you decide where to position your ads for maximum impact.

  1. Skippable In-Stream Ads:

Skippable in-stream ads are versatile and appear before, during, or after a video. After five seconds, viewers have the option to skip the ad. You can choose the cost-per-view (CPV) bidding method, which charges you when viewers watch at least 30 seconds, of the entire ad, or interact with your call-to-action (CTA). This format supports a range of goals, including sales, leads, website traffic, brand awareness, and product consideration.

  1. Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads:

Non-skippable in-stream ads, as the name suggests, cannot be skipped and have a maximum duration of 15 seconds. You are charged per impression for these ads. By selecting the target CPM (cost per thousand views) bidding strategy and campaign goal of brand awareness and reach, you can utilize non-skippable in-stream ads effectively.

  1. Video Discovery Ads:

Video discovery ads appear in YouTube search results, alongside related videos, and on the YouTube mobile home page. You are charged when users click on your video thumbnail and expand it to watch the ad. To use this ad format, choose the campaign goal of product and brand consideration.

  1. Bumper Ads:

Bumper ads are short, non-skippable ads with a maximum duration of six seconds. They appear before, during, or after a video and are charged per impression. By selecting the target CPM bidding strategy and the campaign goal of brand awareness and reach, you can make the most of bumper ads.

  1. Outstream Ads:

Outstream ads are mobile-only ads that appear on websites and apps within Google's video partner network. You are charged when someone sees your video play for at least two seconds. Outstream ads are not available on YouTube and are best suited for a specific context or campaign.

  1. Masthead Ads:

Masthead ads, are native ads, that automatically play without sound, and are prominently featured on the YouTube home feed. While these ads are currently only available through a Google sales representative, they are not recommended for most small businesses.

Bidding Strategies and Campaign Goals for YouTube Ads:

Selecting the right bidding strategy and campaign goal is essential for running successful YouTube ad campaigns. Each strategy and goal has its own implications and benefits, depending on the desired outcomes.

  1. Cost Per View (CPV) Bidding:

CPV bidding is suitable when your goal is to increase video views. With CPV bidding, you pay more for "true view" ads, where viewers watch at least 30 seconds, of the entire short clip, or engage with your CTA. True view ads are opt-in, meaning viewers choose to keep watching. This bidding strategy is effective for goals such as sales, leads, website traffic, brand awareness, and product consideration.

  1. Target Cost Per Thousand Views (CPM) Bidding:

Target CPM bidding is aligned with the goal of brand awareness and reach. With this strategy, you pay per thousand impressions, aiming to maximize exposure rather than specific viewer actions. Target CPM bidding is available for non-skippable in-stream ads and bumper ads.

  1. Target Cost Per Action (CPA):

If your goal is a product and brand consideration, target CPA bidding can be employed. With this strategy, you set a desired cost per action, which could be a click or engagement of some kind. You are charged when someone performs the specified action.

  1. Maximize Conversions Bidding:

For campaigns focused on maximizing conversions within a given budget, the maximize conversions bidding strategy is an excellent option. With this strategy, Google optimizes your campaign to achieve as many conversions as possible within the allocated budget.

Step-by-Step Guide For Small Businesses To Set Up YouTube Ads

Now that you understand the benefits of YouTube ads, the various ad placements, and the bidding strategies, it's time to delve into the step-by-step process of setting up YouTube ads using Google Ad Manager. By following these instructions, you'll be well on your way to creating and launching your successful YouTube ad campaign.

  1. Create a Google Ads Account:

If you haven't already, create a Google Ads account to access the necessary tools and functionalities for managing your YouTube ads.

  1. Access the Google Ad Manager:

Visit and sign in to your Google Ads account. In the left column, click on "Campaigns" and select the blue "+" button to add a new campaign.

  1. Choose a Campaign Goal:

You'll have the option to select a campaign goal that aligns with your marketing objectives. Explore the available options and choose the one that best represents your desired outcome.

  1. Select Video as the Campaign Type:

Since we're focusing on YouTube ads, choose the "Video" campaign type.

  1. Set up Campaign Details:

Provide a name for your campaign that is easy to remember and identify. Set your bid strategy (CPV, target CPM, target CPA, or maximize conversions) and determine your budget and dates.

  1. Choose Networks, Locations, and Content Exclusions:

Select the networks where you want your ad to appear, such as YouTube search results or related videos. Specify the locations and languages you want to target, and set content exclusions if desired.

  1. Optimize Audience Targeting:

Choose your target audience by selecting demographics, audiences, keywords, topics, and placements. This step is crucial for reaching the right viewers who are most likely to engage with your ad.

  1. Set Bids and Budget:

Decide on your bid amount and set your budget for the campaign. Be strategic in your bidding to ensure you make the most of your ad spend.

  1. Create Your Video Ad:

Paste the URL of your video ad, choose the ad format (skippable in-stream, non-skippable in-stream, video discovery, or bumper), and enter your final URL and display URL. Add a companion banner if applicable.

  1. Review and Launch:

Carefully review all the campaign settings and ad details to ensure everything is accurate and aligned with your marketing objectives. Once you're satisfied, click on "Create Campaign" to launch your YouTube ad.

Optimization Tips for Successful YouTube Ad Campaigns:

Launching your YouTube ad campaign is just the beginning. To maximize its effectiveness, it's essential to monitor its performance and optimize it regularly. Here are some key tips to ensure the success of your YouTube ad campaigns:

  1. Implement Google Ads Conversion Tracking:

Set up conversion tracking on your website to track user actions, such as purchases, sign-ups, or other valuable interactions. This data will help you understand the impact of your ads and make data-driven decisions.

  1. Utilize Video Action Campaigns:

Video action campaigns combine the best features of TrueView for action and scale them across YouTube and other platforms. They simplify the process of driving conversions by creating automated campaigns.

  1. Leverage Remarketing Audiences:

Create remarketing audiences based on user interactions with your website or YouTube channel. These audiences have already expressed interest in your brand, making them more likely to convert.

  1. Harness Custom Audiences:

Upload custom audiences, such as your email list, to target existing customers or prospects with similar behaviors. This approach can significantly improve your targeting precision.

  1. Explore Audience Expansion:

Experiment with audience expansion to reach 20% more conversions without significantly impacting your cost per acquisition (CPA).

  1. Track the Customer Journey with Cross-Network Reports (Beta):

For a more in-depth understanding of YouTube's role in your customer's journey, consider trying out the cross-network reports beta program. It may offer valuable insights to optimize your ad strategy further.

If you would like to read more about scaling YouTube and Google Ads, and mistakes to avoid, click the following articles:

Why businesses can't sustainably scale Google Ads (this applied to YouTube Ads too)

How to get started with video marketing

Mistakes to avoid when starting out with YouTube Ads


You've made it! You've completed the ultimate beginner's guide for small businesses to get started with YouTube Ads. By understanding the benefits of YouTube ads, choosing the right ad placements, employing appropriate bidding strategies, and following the step-by-step setup guide, you've laid the foundation for successful YouTube ad campaigns. Remember to continuously monitor and optimize your campaigns, leveraging the optimization tips provided, to ensure they perform at their best. YouTube's massive user base and powerful targeting capabilities present a tremendous opportunity for businesses of all sizes to reach a high-intent audience and achieve their marketing objectives. With creativity, precision, and consistent optimization, you'll find YouTube ads to be an invaluable tool in your digital marketing arsenal. Start creating and launching your YouTube ads today, and watch your business grow and thrive in the dynamic world of online advertising!

Yugo Media is your ultimate partner in navigating the world of YouTube ads. With our expertise and proven strategies, we can help you create impactful video ads, reach your target audience, and maximize your ad spend. Whether you're a small business or a large corporation, our team is dedicated to delivering results and driving conversions for your brand. Trust Yugo Media to take your YouTube ad campaigns to new heights and achieve unparalleled success in the digital landscape. Get started with us today and witness the transformative power of YouTube ads!

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