How to choose the right video ad format

A guide to which video ad format will best meet your international goals

How to choose the right video ad format

The challenge

There are a range of video ad formats which each engage users in different ways on YouTube and across partner video sites.

Your aim

To understand which format will best deliver your message in your export markets.

In AdWords, you can create compelling international video campaigns with a range of video ad formats to engage customers in different countries in different ways on YouTube and across video partner sites. While video ad content must be hosted on YouTube, video ads can appear on both YouTube and video partner sites and apps across the Display Network, including on tablets and mobile devices (depending on your format and settings).

Once you’ve thought through the issues around creating and localising your video advertising for your global markets (find out more about that), it’s time to decide which format will best deliver your message. Here’s our guide to choosing between TrueView in-stream ads, TrueView discovery ads, or bumper ads.

TrueView ads

With TrueView ads, you’re only charged when viewers watch or interact with elements of your video.

TrueView is win-win

Viewers see videos they're curious about, and you get more views from an audience you know is interested. Because you choose what you want to pay for a view, you get the right audience at the right price. Unlike cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) pricing, you won't need to pay every time your ad is shown.

You enjoy freedom to customise

You can also run videos longer than 30 seconds, so you can experiment with different formats. You can try longer product demos, customer testimonials or a how-to video demonstrating your product in action.

You benefit from broad reach

TrueView ads can appear on both YouTube and other publisher sites in the Display Network for desktop computers and high-end mobile devices. Note that video content for TrueView ads must be hosted on YouTube.

There are three types of TrueView ads:

TrueView in-stream ads

  • When should I use it? Use this format when you have video content that you'd like to promote before other videos on YouTube and across the Google Display Network. In-Stream ads are designed to capture the users’ attention in the first five seconds of the ad, to gain mass visibility and force focus on your message.

  • How does it work? Your video ad plays before, during, or after other videos. After five seconds, the viewer has the option to skip the ad.

  • Where can the ads appear? TrueView in-stream video ads can appear on YouTube watch pages and on videos on partner sites and apps in the Display Network.

  • How will I be charged? You pay when a viewer watches 30 seconds of your video (or the duration, if your ad is shorter than 30 seconds) or interacts with your video, whichever comes first.

TrueView video discovery ads

  • When should I use it? Use this format to promote a video in places of discovery, including next to related YouTube videos, as part of a YouTube search result, or alongside other content across the Display Network. Discovery ads are designed to match with your audience, and guide them to your content when they’re searching for something great to watch. On average, TrueView discovery ads drive over 5x more clicks on advertiser-provided calls to action. They’re also great for promoting your longer form content.

  • How does it work? Your ad consists of a thumbnail image from your video with some text. While the exact size and appearance of the ad may vary depending on where it appears, video discovery ads always invite people to click to watch the video. The video then plays on the YouTube Watch page or on your channel page.

  • Where can the ads appear?

    • On the YouTube homepage
    • On YouTube search results
    • Alongside related YouTube videos
    • As an overlay on a YouTube watch page
    • On video partner sites and apps across the Display Network
  • How will I be charged? You’ll be charged only when viewers choose to watch your ad by clicking the thumbnail.

Bumper ads

Bumper ads are a short video ad format designed to allow you to reach more customers and increase awareness of your brand.

  • When should I use it? Use this format when you’d like to reach viewers broadly with a short, memorable message.

  • How does it work? Your bumper video ad is of six seconds duration or less and plays before, during or after another video. Viewers do not have the option to skip the ad.

  • Where can the ads appear? Bumper ads can appear before other videos on YouTube or on partner sites and apps on the Display Network.

  • How will I be charged? You pay based on impressions. Bumper ads use CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) bidding, so you pay each time that your ad has been shown 1,000 times.

Find out more about international video advertising.