Table of contents

    “YouTube has more than 2 billion users. Every day, these users watch more than 1 billion hours of YouTube videos and generate billions of views. All of YouTube, and even YouTube itself on mobile devices, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year olds than any cable TV network in the United States. More than 70% of YouTube views come…

    Google Ads YouTube video ad formats

    When we have come to the conclusion that video campaigns are for us and “we want to do it.” – we need to decide which ad formats we would like to add to our campaigns. Read more about campaign types in this article (

    Specifically choosing a campaign target greatly limits our choice of formats later on. If we don’t want to be so constrained, we can always choose “Create campaign without using the goal prompts” at the beginning, and then “Custom video campaign”, then, in the process of creating the campaign and adding ads and thus videos to it, we can choose one of the options that Google prompts us based on the added video and its length.

    A reminder that in order to add a video to a campaign in Google Ads, it must first be added to YouTube.

    At this point, we have 6 main video ad formats that we use for video campaigns in Google Ads.


    Important! According to Google support, skippable video ads can be up to 6 minutes long. However, I have repeatedly encountered YouTube ads that lasted longer, even half an hour. So either there was a sudden change and Google Ads introduced such rules literally a while ago, or it’s an error of the system that checked the ads and accepted those that should not be allowed to be displayed. There is still a third possibility that support is wrong and there is no limit in the length of ads. I would like to mention that from a technical point of view we are able to add an ad longer than 6 minutes. We do not receive an error notification when the ad is published.

    Returning strictly to IN-STREAM POSSIBLE TO skip ads – this is an ad that can be any length (but of course a minimum of 12 seconds), the most important thing is that after 5 seconds from the start of the ad the user has the option to skip it. I would recommend videos that last about 30 seconds (Google recommends us ads no longer than 3 minutes), why? Let’s look at an example: We’re watching a video we’re interested in on YouTube and suddenly an ad pops up, the timer shows that it lasts 30 seconds – so we either skip it after those 5 seconds, or we use another 25 precious seconds of our lives to watch it to the end, because the message in it encouraged us to do so. However, let’s imagine an analogous situation. We are watching a movie, a commercial appears and its length is not 30 seconds but 30 minutes (assuming such commercials can be shown). On top of that, the movie we are watching is 5 minutes long. A curious ratio. Therefore, let’s try to approach this from the point of view of the viewer who will have the pleasure of watching our advertisement.

    Passable IN-STREAM ads are displayed on YouTube video playback pages and on sites and apps belonging to Google’s network of video partners, which is pretty much everywhere, and the same is true for the devices on which the ads are displayed (computers, mobile devices, TVs and game consoles).

    As a rate-setting strategy, we can choose CPV – then we will pay only when the user watches 30 seconds of the video (or the entire video, if it is shorter than 30 seconds) or interacts with it in some other way – whichever comes first. With other models – target CPM; target CPA or maximize conversions – you pay per view. Video advertising displays before, during or after the video.

    If, however, we decide at the outset to choose an ad target then only by choosing one of the following do we have the option of adding an in-stream ad possible to skip:

    • Sales 
    • Potential customers
    • Site traffic
    • Brand awareness and reach
    • Consideration of buying a brand’s product

    In-Stream impossible-to-miss

    As the name suggests, we have no way to skip this type of advertising. The ad should last between 7 seconds and 15 seconds. However, after contacting Google support again, I received information that it is possible to add ads up to 20 seconds if our account passes authorization. We can do this by contacting support or our account manager assigned by Google. Theoretically, there is also not this lower limit – 7 seconds, however, if we want our ads to be displayed on all platforms, not just YouTube – it is better to follow these guidelines.

    In-Stream ads impossible to skip display in full before the video starts playing. It is literally the same with the devices on which the ads are displayed as it is with skippable ads.

    It is not possible to skip the ads.

    In the case of In-Stream non-skippable ads, viewing data is unavailable. Why don’t we have access to this information? I think that since it is an unskippable ad we assume that most users will watch it unless they refresh the page or simply leave.

    We can, however, preview how many people have seen, say, 50% of our ad. When we are in the Google Ads dashboard and go to the video campaign ads view then we have the option to modify the columns. By selecting the “views” option we will see what % of ad views resulted in a specific % of playback. And In-Stream ad views are counted when a user starts watching a video on the playback page before, during or after the free video starts playing. This is not a method that guarantees us 100% certainty and 1:1 data, but we gain with it at least some overview data regarding the number of views.

    Viewing an unskippable ad does not increase the number of views of a video on YouTube. 

    In-Stream non-skippable ads are covered by the CPM rate-setting strategy, so you pay per ad view – the rate is determined per 1,000 impressions.

    Only after selecting the campaign objective “Brand Awareness and Reach” can we use this type of ads. 

    In-Feed video ads

    In-Feed video ads are very different from In-Stream ads. We won’t see them as an interlude to the video we’re watching on YT. They consist of text and a thumbnail taken from the video. The size and appearance of the ad can vary depending on where it is displayed, but In-Feed video ads always encourage users to click enabling them to watch the video. Once clicked, the material will be displayed on the video’s playback page or on the channel’s home page on YouTube.

    The ads display in YouTube search results, next to related videos on YouTube and on the YouTube homepage on mobile.

    We pay here in a CPV model, which is profitable for us, because rather than In-Feed ads, we don’t get random views. In-Feed ad views count when a user views a thumbnail video.

    The campaign goal we need to choose to publish In-Feed ads is “to consider buying the brand’s product”.


    Advertising bumpers last a maximum of 6 seconds and can be played before, during or after the video. Viewers cannot skip the commercial.

    In this case, too, we pay only for ad views (CPM strategy) and in the ad results we have no information about the number of ad views. We can apply the same strategy here as for In-Stream non-skippable ads, that is, based on the % of ad playback.

    We can use the same strategy as for In-Stream non-skippable ads.

    The goal of the campaign (if we choose it) should be “Brand awareness and reach”.

    Adverts OUT STREAM

    Out-Stream ads are for mobile devices only and only display on sites and apps belonging to Google’s network of video partners. Out-Stream ads are not available on YouTube. They work well if we want to broaden the scope of our ads. Out-Stream ads start playing with the sound turned off. We can click on the ad to turn off the mute.

    The ads are billed on a vCPM basis, meaning we pay per thousand visible impressions (the user must watch a minimum of 2 seconds of the ad)

    Discover the power of video advertising in Google Ads and grab the attention of your target audience!

    Would you like to reach your potential customers in a more engaging and memorable way? If so, video advertising is a solution that will not only attract attention, but also convince your target audience to take action. Contact us and achieve maximum engagement and conversions.

    Let’s start the project!

    MASTHEAD advertising on YouTube

    This ad format we are only able to book with our Google account manager (Google sales representative).

    Masthead is a video ad displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage.

    When displayed on computers, the ad plays without sound for a maximum of 30s. The ad can be displayed in widescreen or 16:9 aspect ratio along with an information panel on the right side that automatically uses resources from the channel. This panel can optionally include accompanying videos (up to 2). Users can “mute the video.” When the entire ad is played, the main video is displayed as a thumbnail. When users click on the video or thumbnail, they are redirected to the video’s playback page on YouTube.

    On phones, the video in the masthead banner is automatically played without sound and in its entirety at the top of the YouTube app or home page

    The mobile video masthead includes a thumbnail video, a customizable headline, description texts, and an external call to action (CTA). The masthead automatically pulls the advertiser’s channel name and channel icon from the advertiser’s channel. When a user clicks on the ad, they are redirected to the video’s playback page on YouTube.

    On TVs, the masthead is automatically played (if this feature is supported) without sound in its entirety on top of the YouTube app for TVs. The ad can be displayed in widescreen or 16:9 aspect ratio, and users can use the TV’s remote control to operate the masthead ad. When the ad automatically plays, the main video is displayed as a thumbnail by default. When users click on the video or thumbnail, they will be redirected to the video’s full-screen playback page.

    Calls to action cannot be included in masthead banner ads on TVs.

    The cost per video ad is calculated based on the CPM, which is estimated with the help of the Google team and is somehow part of the booking contract.


    I encourage you to test different ad formats. You may find that some of them are more suited to your content, industry, audience, and others not at all. We won’t know this without testing first. So when creating content for your ads – if possible – I encourage you to make videos of different lengths so you can use them in as many formats as possible.

    Let's talk!

    Aneta Siemieniak
    Aneta Siemieniak

    He has been involved in SEM for more than two years, constantly developing his knowledge and deepening his skills. She owes her very rapid growth to her independence and courage in managing client projects in the field of social media and search engine advertising. She has worked with brands such as E.ON and Vectra.