As an advertiser, you are likely familiar with Google AdWords, Facebook for business, LinkedIn advertising and more. With over 1.5 billion users logging in every month, and more than one billion hours of content viewed daily, YouTube reaches nearly a third of the global internet. Continuously growing, YouTube is able to reach more 18-34 and 18-49 year old’s than any cable network in the United States.

Find your audience on YouTube

In addition to its tremendous reach, YouTube offers the ability to target content within a niche pool of its many users. While advertisers who are accustomed to audience targeting on other platforms can continue to rely on tried and true strategies, smart advertisers should consider both contextual and audience targeting to reach their desired audience on YouTube.

Say you want to target users interested in sports. This is an easy win for you, as there are several ways to reach and re-engage with sports fans on YouTube.

  • Affinity & in-market audiences

    To start, pursue Google’s affinity and in-market audiences which allow advertisers to connect with people based on their passion and interest in purchasing products. With over 500 audiences built and ready, you’re sure to find your target audience.

  • Customize

    If Google’s affinity and in-market audience targeting options aren’t quite what you’re looking for, customize!

    • Custom affinity audience: Add topics, URLs and apps that resonate with your target audience similar to interest targeting on Facebook and Instagram. On TrueView campaigns you can also utilize data from Google Maps search results to target based on interest in certain places. For instance, to reach your sporty audience you could include places such as stadiums & arenas, sporting good stores, tennis courts, and more in your custom affinity audience.
    • Custom intent audience: Utilize the power of Google Search results to build custom intent audiences for your TrueView campaigns. To create, enter at least 50 keywords related to the purchase decision making process for your specific product or service to reach the right users at the right time – whether they are shopping for football jerseys or looking for recipes for their next watch party.

      Pro Tip – Though Google audiences can target users across YouTube, this doesn’t mean you have to accept wasted impressions. Utilize exclusions to block content that make sense for your campaign. Do routine audits on the videos where your ad ran to continually update and refine your exclusions.

  • Contextual Relevance

    Provide contextual relevance using videos and channels from premium sports publishers such as NHL, NFL, NBA are available in the auction. Target specific placements in order to fine-tune your targeting.

  • Video Re-marketing

    Once you’ve found your audience via contextual or audience target, use video to remarketing and re-engage with users that saw your ad. By linking the brand’s YouTube channel to your buying platform, you can create audience pools of users who saw specific YouTube videos as ads.

Types of YouTube ads

TrueView in-stream ads
Image source: ThinkWithGoogle

TrueView in-stream ads

In-stream ads play before or during a video, where the viewer can choose to skip the ad 5 seconds after viewing. You, an advertiser pay based on clicks or if the viewer watches 30 seconds or to completion (whichever is shorter).

TrueView discovery ads
Image source: ThinkWithGoogle

TrueView video discovery ads

Formerly known as “In-Display” ads, TrueView Video Discovery requires a thumbnail and a few lines of text – that’s it! Video discovery ads appear alongside other related videos, in YouTube search or on Google Display Network websites that match your target audience.

You pay only if a viewer chooses to watch or click on your ad.

ProTip – Optimize for either views or a specific action! Add a call-to-action overlay to help drive site traffic.

(Non-skippable) video ads

Non-skippable ads appear based on a range of signals, including content type and how a user discovered the video, to ensure optimal delivery. They can be 15-20 seconds long, depending on where the viewer is based.

6 Second bumper ads

Overlapping TrueView and non-skippable inventory, we have 6-second video ads that are designed to supercharge your company’s reach and frequency goals. Here are some ways Google recommends telling a compelling video story in 6 seconds:

  • Think of your story like a joke. Start with a punchline and build from there.
  • Simplify. One word, one image, one second is long enough to grab someone’s attention.
  • Start with something relatable. Evoke emotional connection.


We know that video is an increasingly large part of your consumer’s journey. Connect with one of our experts to learn how you can build an efficient YouTube campaign and get the most out of your media spend.