Creating Responsive YouTube Ads

Dramatic empty TV with river rushing behind it

YouTube ads have come a long way over the past few years, from rolling out CTA extensions to releasing a Video Builder for advertisers. Let’s talk about another option for YouTube ads beyond selecting a single format.

YouTube Ad Formats

YouTube ads can run in two main formats: TrueView in-stream and TrueView discovery.

In-stream ads can run before, during, or after existing videos, including options such as CTA text and buttons, as well as a companion banner, which can direct users to your site. Discovery ads appear in search results or beside existing videos, including a thumbnail image of a YouTube video accompanied by text. Users can click these ads to watch the full video on your YouTube channel.

Creating a Responsive Video Ad

Responsive video ads are a third option allowing the ad to appear in either of these formats, with a URL and CTA button accompanying the video.When setting up a video campaign within Google Ads, the responsive option is accessible when you choose from the Sales, Leads, or Website Traffic options for your video campaign.

Once you’ve selected the Leads format for your campaign and gone through campaign settings, you’ll see an option to create your first ad group. Here, you’ll see where you can choose between “Standard” (regular skippable in-stream ads) and “Responsive” (ads that can appear in multiple formats).

Now, once you’ve filled in your ad group targeting details, you can create your first ad. Start by pasting a YouTube link or searching for your video from the text bar.

Next, fill in the text fields for the call-to-action, headline, long headline, and description. The in-stream ad will only show the call-to-action and shorter headline, while the discovery ad will show the longer headline and description.

Note the responsive ad will include a link to the website when shown in a TrueView Discovery placement, while a standard TrueView Discovery ad (available in other objectives besides Sales, Leads, or Website Traffic, or if you create a campaign without choosing a goal) only links users directly to the video itself.

If you haven’t yet tested responsive video ads in Google, take some time to give them a try, perhaps running against standard in-stream ads if those are already active. Particularly with the option to include a CTA and link to your website, responsive video ads offer an additional route to drive people directly to your site to purchase or request information.

Here are a few suggestions for testing responsive ads on YouTube:

  • Retarget non-converting website visitors and drive them back to your site with an additional offer.
  • Feature customer testimonials to build brand credibility.
  • Show an “unboxing” video to demonstrate the basics of your product.
  • Promote a webinar using a brief video about the topic being discussed, along with a CTA to sign up.
  • Run an explainer video demonstrating how your SaaS product works.

Depending on your business objectives and the creative you have available, the possibilities are endless for potential YouTube ads. Work with your client or internal team to develop some video assets, and start testing!

Have you tried responsive video ads? Are you planning to test them? Let us know in the comments below!