What are YouTube Discovery Ads?

YouTube discovery ads, or Trueview ads as they are also known, can help your business gain the prime advertising spot in the world’s second largest search engine with over two billion monthly active users. These are video ads that pop up during the initial YouTube search on the results page. They can also pop up on the sidebar when you click on a video. One of the distinguishing factors that sets it apart from the TrueView in-stream ads is that TrueView video discovery ads don’t interrupt someone’s video view. In both cases, a person must decide to watch or keep watching the ad. These days, every company should have a video content strategy

youtube advertising

YouTube Advertising

YouTube is an extremely important part of any marketing strategy. As part of your marketing strategy, you should consider the different options of where to post your ad. There are Google Ads and then there are the vast array of social media platforms such as Facebook advertisement.

For many companies, it makes sense to utilize YouTube ads as part of their marketing strategy since it is the second largest search engine after Google. YouTube, however, has a wider age range of people who use it. Many other forms of social media are being split by age group. There are also many different types of ads to choose from with YouTube. Apart from the YouTube discovery ads, there are bumper ads, pre-roll ads like the non-skippable in-stream ads, and a few options of non-video ads. 

Benefits of YouTube Ads

The wide range of YouTube ads helps your business choose what’s best for your company. It also allows more options for the type of ad and how it will run. On mobile alone, more 18- to 49-year-olds watch YouTube during prime time in the United States than they do the top 10 prime-time shows combined. This wide range of ages is why your business should seriously consider using YouTube ads. It’s also important to note that advertisers only pay for TrueView ads when viewers watch or interact with their ad.

YouTube Discovery Ads

So, how do YouTube discovery ads work? As previously mentioned, YouTube discovery ads do not run during a video or before the video begins. Instead, these ads are designed to show up in the search results page, homepage, and on the sidebar with the other video suggestions based on what keywords were being searched. These types of ads are displayed just like any other video suggestion but are pinned to the top and are announced as ads with a yellow “Ad,” under the title of the video. As with all the other ads, some of the metrics that can be measured from these advertising efforts include impressions, clicks, and views.

youtube discovery ads

TrueView In-Stream Ads

Similarly to the TrueView YouTube discovery ads, these TrueView in-stream ads are only paid for when someone clicks on them or if someone watches 30 seconds or more. In this case we are talking about watching because these ads pop up during or before the video the viewer clicked on to watch. With in-stream ads there are skippable options and non-skippable options. With the skippable option, the viewer can choose to skip watching the ad after 5 seconds. However, with the non-skippable or pre-roll ad, they must watch the whole ad. These non-skippable ads are 15 seconds long and are paid for by impressions or views at CPM (cost per thousand impressions).

YouTube Bumper Ads

These ads are quick six- second video ads that are played before a video. Unlike the in-stream or discovery ads, these quick videos are good for less in-depth advertisements. These would ideally be used in conjunction with the YouTube discovery ads as well as the in-stream ads since those allow for more time to give information about the product or service in detail. The bumper ads are best for creating brand awareness and reach. They are just long enough to grab the viewer’s attention and warrant a click out of curiosity or interest. They also help just to get your company’s name in the mind of more potential customers. Just like the non-skippable in-stream ad, they are considered pre-roll ads.

Non-Video Ads

While having a video ad on a video search engine has its obvious benefits, non-video ads are also an option. This is especially helpful if your marketing budget does not involve videography. These ads can also be used as part of an advertisement campaign with various other YouTube ads. These ads are used as a display ad or as an in-video overlay ad. That means they can appear on the right hand sidebar or semi-transparent overlay ads that appear on the lower 20% portion of your video.they can appear on top of the video content that a viewer is watching. These ads feature a call to action (CTA) button so that the viewer can learn more or shop right from the link for example.

what are youtube discovery ads?

YouTube In-Display Ads

TrueView discovery ads used to be known as in- display ads. Before the upgrade to discovery ads, the ads were limited to being viewed on the desktop and were not viewable on the mobile devices. The upgrade also came with the advantage of being used as part of the natural search process. Now the discovery ads are tailored specifically based on what the viewers on YouTube are searching for.

For example, if someone is searching videos on how to make wired jewelry, the discovery ads that will appear will relate to the search and offer jewelry making tools, someone’s jewelry making webinar, an advertisement from Michaels or Hobby Lobby, something that relates in general. Research showed that there was an 11% increase in click through rate using the revamped format of discovery ads compared to the preceding in-display format. As with all the video ad options, discovery ads show a static thumbnail that offers the option for viewers to click on it. 

How to Get Started with YouTube Discovery Ads 

After deciding what ad or ads would be best for your business the next step is to get a campaign up and running. To do this you must have a YouTube channel for your business. The videos you plan on using will be uploaded on this channel and from there you will set up the campaign. Please note that if you do not want your advertisement video to be displayed for the public on your YouTube channel then you can set it up as unlisted in the settings of who can view your video. If you have a successful advertising campaign chances are that customers will be looking up your channel to re-watch the videos as in the case with the famous annual Super Bowl ads. 

youtube in display ads

Set up your campaign

In order to successfully set up your campaign you should consider what the campaign goals will be. The goals may range from:

  • Brand awareness
  • Product consideration
  • Leads and website traffic
  • Sales
  • Increase interaction with your ads

Bid Strategy

You can focus on Smart Bidding which includes:

  • CPA: Cost per action
  • ROAS: Return on ad spend
  • Maximize conversions
  • ECPC: Enhanced cost per click

Another option is to focus on CPC or cost-per-click, focus on visibility (impressions), or to focus on interactions. 


In order for your marketing strategy to be considered a strategy you must consider how much money your business will put into running the ad campaign. This is where you will choose how much to spend each day the ads are running and also which day to run the ads. Please note that a small or medium-sized business can still have a lot of success with a smaller ad budget if it is super targeted.


In order to have success you must target your ads to the appropriate audience. This will be based on your brand and what demographic you are trying to reach as well as what kind of viewers usually respond and buy your product. Since YouTube discovery ads utilize keywords, it’s important to make your ad as relevant as possible to your target audience. 

Start Your Campaign

After you have decided on the type of ad and who your target will be you will be able to launch your campaign. Setting up the YouTube ad requires formatting and choosing a thumbnail that viewers will see and click on if they choose to. From there, it’s best to wait some time, a week or more to start using analytics tools to measure your metrics and to see if you’re achieving the results you intended. 

youtube ads

For Best Results

There are many ad platforms to choose from. However, YouTube discovery ads are one of the best ways to reach a target audience and potential customer. As previously mentioned, these YouTube ads connect to the audience based on related searches on the YouTube search engine. The other benefit of the TrueView type of ads is that you will only be charged once a viewer clicks on it. Another advantage is that there is no limit to the ad length since it’s not an in-stream type of advertisement. 

Based on your marketing and advertising goals you can decide and choose what type of ad works best for your company. For help with your YouTube discovery ads, contact SEO Design Chicago today! We provide digital advertising services for a wide variety of companies. 

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