How to Setup a YouTube Ads Campaign in 10 Easy Steps


People are now watching 150 million hours of YouTube every day. Add that to the fact that 60% of people prefer video platforms to live television, placing your ads on Youtube is a good place to start.

Setting up a YouTube Campaign for your ads isn’t as complicated as you think. It’s actually quite easy, that’s why today I’ll be showing you how to setup a YouTube ads campaign in 10 easy steps.

Create a Goal For Your YouTube Ads Campaign

Before you get your ad up and running you first need to decide what the goal is for your campaign.

Without a solid goal in mind, you can end up with either no results or worse… with heaps of wasted ad spend.

So to prevent this, think about what you want to accomplish with your ad. This will help you to choose the right campaign objectives to get the results you want from your YouTube campaign.

Goals can range from building brand awareness, influencing the buyers decision, increasing sales, or increasing brand loyalty.

Step 1: Link Your Google AdWords Account to Your YouTube Channel

If you haven’t created a Google AdWords account, you can click here to get started. If you already have an account log in.

Once you’re in your Google AdWord account (or My Client Center, if your agency managing AdWords) click the “tools” icon. You should see a drop down options, look for “SETUP” on your far right. Under “SETUP” select the option “Linked accounts”

Action: Tools> Set up >Linked accounts

You’ll be brought to a page with a variety of Google products and services. Just keep scrolling until you see “YouTube”, click “Details”. From there you’ll be taken to a page asking you to add your YouTube channel.

From there type in the name of your YouTube channel in the search bar.Once you see it just click on it.

This step is very important, once the channel is yours you can select “I own this channel”. But if the YouTube channel belongs to someone else then you’ll need to enter the email of the owner to request access before you can move forward.

If your working for or with an agency never state to own the channel because unlinking it in the long run will be a hassle.

Pro Tip: If you want to track conversions from your Youtube ad on your website, you can enable Google conversion tracking either before or after you start you campaign. Typically it’s best to get it out of the way first, but I’ll leave that up to you.

Use this to learn how to set up conversion tracking for your website.

The Most Important Part of Your YouTube’s Ad: The First 10 Seconds

Decide which video you’d like to use for your YouTube ad campaign then upload it directly on YouTube.

The video you use for your YouTube ad campaign has to grab your viewers attention 20% of users will leave a video if it hasn’t peaked their interest in the first 10 seconds. That means the first 10 seconds of your ad is the most valuable part of your video.

So you have to make the most out of it. So here are three things you need for a great YouTube Ad campaign to make the most out of your first 10 seconds:

1.Use Strong Emotions: We know that ads that bring up emotions are the most effective and can be highly impactful. This could be speaking to an issue that your target audience can relate to or something your brand can fix for your audience.

WordPress Youtube ad campaigns did this best. They focused on the fact that they had an easy interface to help not so tech savvy business owners to create their website to help their business.

2.Use the Power of Nostalgia: Bringing back feelings of nostalgia is a great way to create an instant connection with your viewers. It also makes your brand feel and look relatable.

Wish’s YouTube ad campaigns connect it’s viewers with the feeling of finally getting a package days after ordering.

3. Add an Element of **Surprise: Shocking your viewers, in a good way, can easily grab their attention no matter how short their attention span. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be clickbaiting them, but putting a twist or spin on your video’s intro can go a long way.

GoPro captured this when they did an ad including Didga: The Skateboarding Cat. The add captured a subtle element of surprise. You’re busy figuring how this cat learned how to skateboard that you’d almost forget that your watching an ad.

Step 2: Select a YouTube Advertising Campaign Objective

Once you have your video fully uploaded it’s time to create your campaign. To your right in your Google Ads dashboard, you’ll see the “Campaign” tab, select it.

After you’ll be taken to a page where you can create your first YouTube ad campaign. Look for a blue circle with a “+”. Click on it and you’ll see the option to create a new campaign.

From there you’ll have to select a goal to determine what would make your campaign successful. Similar to Facebook ads, your goal determines the type of ads you’ll be running, the placements available, and information you’ll need to fill out.

You do have the option to creating several campaign types, based on your ultimate campaign goal.

I find that these three goals are always the best to start with choose one of the following options for your YouTube video ad:

*Leads and Website: This goal helps you to drive traffic to your website for lead generation from your YouTube ads.

*Product and Brand Consideration: This goals is centered around brand consideration and putting your products/services in front of a global audience of potential buyers.

*Brand Awareness and Reach: This goal, as the name states, is focused on giving you more brand awareness and reach to create some buzz around your brand. This is good for new brands that aren’t well known or want to extend their audience reach.

After selecting your campaign goal, you’ll be brought to a page showing the list of recommended ads that match your campaign goals. Select “Video” as the campaign type. Then click continue.

Step 3: Choose Your YouTube Ad Campaign Format

There are three types of Youtube Ads you can choose from on your campaign:

  • TrueView Ads
    *In-Display ads
  • Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads

I’ll be going through each one so you can select the one that you think works best with your ultimate goal, video length and ad budget.

YouTube Ad Campaigns: TrueView Ads

TrueView ads are the most commonly used video ads on YouTube. If you decide to run this type of ad you would only pay for the viewers who watch at least 30 seconds or the entire video, as well as users who interact with your ad (click the call-to-action). TrueView ads can be easily customized and shared across a wide range of platforms.

If you decide to use the skippable version of a TrueView ad your video length has to be between 12 seconds to 6 minutes in length whereas non skippable TrueView ads have to be 15-20 seconds in length.

YouTube Ad Campaigns: In-Display ads

If you’ve been on YouTube, you’ve probably seen this type of YouTube ad the most. In-Display ads show up on the YouTube homepage, search results pages, and as related videos that appear on the right-hand side of your video recommendations on YouTube video watch pages.

YouTube Ad Campaigns: Bumper instream ads

Unlike TrueView ads that normally plays before someone watches a video, In-stream ads let you customize video ads with different CTAs and overlay text, giving you the option to personally A/B test which design or text works best for your YouTube ad campaign. This ad can be skippable or unskippable.

These ads also appear anywhere in the Google Display Network (GDN) or sites that have purchased Google video ad space. Giving you a wider reach and awareness in spaces where your viewers main are.

YouTube Ad Campaigns: Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads

This type of YouTube ad is best used for campaign goals centered around audience reach. In order to use Non-Skippable In-Stream ads your video has to 6-15 seconds, any longer and you’ll get an error message.

Just like TrueView ads, non-skippable ads run before, during, or after the video content. The pros of using this type of ad is that you’re viewer are sure to see your entire video for better conversions.

This ad type also comes with a few cons. It can be annoying to most viewers because their forced to watch your content, whether they like it or not. My suggestion is to try it. If you see more conversions than complaints then keep it up. This type of ad is also one of the most expensive ads out there

Step 4: Set Your YouTube Ad Budget and Bid Strategy

Now that you’ve selected an ad format, you’ll have to name your campaign, set a budget and choose your YouTube ads campaigns end and start date.

You don’t have to bid high when it comes to YouTube advertising but the rule of thumb still stands, the higher the price the higher the impressions and vise versa.

When selecting your bid strategy it’s always best to start with Maximum CPV (the most expensive bid strategy) or Targeting CPV. If your new to Cost-per view (CPV), don’t worry it isn’t as complicated as it seems. Bids for CPV advertisements work in the same way as other pay-per-click style bidding](

Typically a business creates “bids” within Google’s advertising system targeting specific keywords, which are often further refined based on a searcher’s physical location. If more than one marketer has put in bids for that particular keyword\metric combination, the highest bid dictates which ad is displayed for the searcher. So your bidding has to be competitive.

Step 5: Customize Your YouTube Ad Campaign

Once you’re done with step 4, we’ll be choosing where you’d like your YouTube ad to be seen. Where and what type of content you place your YouTube ad on is important.

You should be seeing a page showing you three options:

*Inventory Type
*Excluded Content

YouTube Network

Network options determines where your YouTube ads will be placed, such as:

*YouTube Search Results: This option will only available if your running discovery ads. Reminder to uncheck this option for all other types of ads.

*YouTube Videos: This option has the perfect price point and exposure and the best option most YouTubers choose.

*Video Partners on Display Network: If you select this option you’ll be able to run your ad on sites of partners outside of YouTube. The cost is typically less but keep in mind the exposure is typically less as well.

As you continue down the page, you’ll see the option to choose which locations and languages you want to target.

YouTube Inventory Type

Inventory type gives you control over what type of content you want your ad to run in, before and after. This gives you the chance to avoid videos you don’t want your ads to be associated with. The last thing you want is to put your ad on a video that reflects badly on your brand image. Inventory options include:

Expanded Inventory: This option will help you maximize your YouTube ads potential but your ad will run on ads considered to have sensitive or mature content like videos that viewers need to be 18 and older to watch.

Standard Inventory:This is the most recommended option by YouTube and most marketers. Your ad might still show up on content that might have violence or mature. If that doesn’t work with your brand then you can opt for the next option.

Limited Inventory:This is the safest option if you want to be really careful about your brand image and the content you ad will be associated with.

Now it’s time to exclude any mature or sensitive content you don’t want your ad to be associated with.

You can add excluded types and labels to filter the type of content your ad will show on. Each filter you choose increases the cost of you ad and decreases the reach, so try and limit the number of filters.

You’ll have to experiment along the way to find the best combination of cost and results.

Set Your YouTube Ad Frequency Cap

Before you move on be sure to set your Frequency Cap.

It’s important that because your frequency cap manages your overall cost better, especially if your audience is small. Unlike Facebook ads where there’s a default setting, Youtube actually leaves this option blank. If you don’t control your frequency you being showing your ad to frequently or too little to your audience.

Click “Additional Settings” you find “Frequency Capping” and add your impressions cap and frequency.

Step 6: Choose Your Target Audience For Your YouTube Campaign

Now it’s time to define your YouTube campaigns target audience. Remember that your restrictions you placed earlier can improve the quality of the audience, but can also increase your CPV (cost per view). So for your first round ads try to avoid being too specific.

You’ll have three options when it comes to grouping your targeting like: Demographics Targeting, Affinity and Custom Affinity Targeting and lastly Affinity and Custom Affinity Targeting.

Go through each to see which targeting options will help you to reach your target audience. You don’t have to select all of them, again the more filters you have on your audience the higher the cost of your YouTube ad.

You may want to consider creating a buyer persona so that you can understand exactly who and what your audience interest or lifestyles are like. If your not sure what or how to create a buyer persona, I found Smart Bug Media’s 3 Examples of Buyer Personas as a foolproof guide to help create your own.

You can also use Google AdWords for Remarketing and Audience Targeting for your YouTube ads.

7 Add Keywords and Topics, and Placements to Your YouTube Campaign

After you define your audience, you can choose from these three settings to narrow your reach.

Choosing the right keywords for your YouTube ad campaign is essential but here’s the twist. You’re not going to add keywords that your target audience is looking for rather you’re looking for keywords that will appear in the YouTube videos where your ads will be seen.

How it works is that once you add your keywords YouTube will analyze keywords from the titles, tags, and descriptions of the video content, match them against the keywords you’ve selected, from there insert your ads into the most relevant content.

You can use tools like Keyword tool or Google trends. Maybe you want to take your SEO a little deeper, take a look at Search Engine Land Guide to YouTube SEO: How to find the best traffic-generating keywords.

Choose the Right Topics

When choosing your topics the same approach to keywords applies. When you choose a topic what it does is show your ad on videos related to the topic you’ve selected. So if your ad is about food, you’d want to select topics surrounding food so your ad can appear on video content centered around food, cooking, and snack DIY’s.

Select Placement Targeting

After you’ll need to select your YouTube placements. This is detailed step is allows you to hyper-target your videos for better conversions. You can choose the exact channel (or even exact video) to place your ads on, keep in mind that the more placements you add the more cost will be added to your YouTube ad.

Pro Tip: YouTube lets you prevent your competitors from running ads on your channel or in your videos. Go to the Advanced channel settings in Creator Studio. Go in and select “Disable Interest-Based Ads” checkbox is selected. This may cause an issue if you’re monetizing your YouTube channel.

Step 8: Set a Bid Amount for Your Campaign

Now it’s time to set your bidding strategy. I’d advise you to go back to step 5 and double check to make sure you set your Frequency Cap because this along with your bidding strategy affect the results of your YouTube ad campaign.

If you decided to choose Maximum CPV as your bidding strategy earlier I’d recommend not bidding too low or your ad might not run. It’s always best to calculate your maximum CPV before placing your bid.

CPV is calculated by dividing the total cost by views in Youtube. This is the formula to calculate CPV:

CPV = Cost divided by Views

Pro Tip: Just like any bidding strategy the higher the bid the better your ad performance will be, the same can be said for Target CPV bidding. Most marketers recommend that you set your Maximum CPV at 3–5x the average.

Step 9: Select the Video for Your YouTube Ad

We’re almost at the finish line to complete your YouTube Ad campaign. All you need now is to choose the video you want to use as your ad. You can find it using the search box, as shown below, or you can just copy and paste the YouTube video’s URL. Click “continue” and your ad should be up and running as soon as YouTube processes it.

Step 10: Monitor Your YouTube Campaign Results

Congrats, you just published your YouTube ad, but it doesn’t stop there. Here are some key tips to do after you’ve published your ad:

Monitor your ads performance in Google AdWords, YouTube Creator Studio, and if you linked your Google analytics account during step one, take a look at that as well.
Check to see if your getting the results you want, if your ad is fairly new, give it a couple of days 5-10 days to let you know if your campaign is starting to bring results. If not, take a look at your bidding strategy. Consider increasing it if you’re not getting enough traction.
Nurture your leads. If your YouTube is doing well, bringing traffic, leads and new subscribers. Your ad only opened the door for them to meet you, it’s up to you to create connect and a marketing funnel to keep them in your corner. If you’re not sure how you can use this Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Digital Marketing Sales Funnel.
After your ad is finished, take notes and see what you can take away for your next YouTube ad campaign. Experiment with different features, keywords, placements and filters to find out which combination brings in the best leads. Doing the same old same isn’t always going to cut it.

You might be feeling like you’re going around in a circle or that creating a YouTube ad seems like a long process but when you create your first YouTube Ad it can feel that.

All these little details are to make sure that you’re ad is in the right place at the right time, on the right video content so you can see better conversions. That’s why YouTube campaigns do so well compared or just as effective as other forms of social media advertisements.


Here’s a quick recap on how to setup a YouTube ads campaign in 10 easy steps:

Step 1: Link Your Google AdWord Account to Your YouTube Channel
Step 2: Select a YouTube Advertising Campaign Objective
Step 3: Choose Your YouTube Ad Campaign Format
Step 4: Set Your YouTube Ad Budget and Bid Strategy
Step 5: Customize Your YouTube Ad Campaign
Step 6: Choose Your Target Audience For Your YouTube Campaign
Step 7: Add Keywords and Topics, and Placements to Your YouTube Campaign
Step 8: Set a Bid Amount for Your Campaign
Step 9: Select the Video for Your YouTube Ad
Step 10: Monitor Your YouTube Campaign Results

Remember to take it slow when since it’s your first time using YouTube ads, it’s a bit of a learning curve but the more you try the more you learn along the way.

Have more questions or own tips for creating YouTube ad campaigns? Comment below and let me know.
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