How to harness the immense power of video ads

Ellie Burns Written by Ellie Burns

6 min read   -  22nd May, 2023

How to harness the immense power of video ads

We all know video is taking over the Internet and users are expecting video from brands more than ever. In steps the video ad to help us out.  

But creating great video content that ‘works’ is easier said than done, right? Anyone who’s tried will know - what looks like a simple video ad, actually took a lot of thought, skill, and strategy. 

You can’t just record a video on your smartphone, put it out there, and see the conversions rolling in. There’s a lot more to it than that. 

If you want to make the most of video ads to showcase the best that your brand has to offer in your next PPC campaign, we’ve put together this quick guide on Google video ads to help you out:

  1. Video ad formats
  2. The benefits of video ads 
  3. Video ads in GA4 vs Google Ads
  4. How best to use video ads
  5. When to use video ads
  6. The cons of using video ads
  7. Tips for optimising your video ads
  8. What is it best to use video ads for?

Video ad formats

The most common video ads that you’ll come across are placed on YouTube. These are called TrueView ads and come in four formats.

  1. In-stream video ads
  2. In-feed video ads
  3. Bumper video ads
  4. Out-stream video ads

In-stream video ads: we have a feeling you’ll know these already. They play during YouTube video streams. You’ll find them at the start, end or during the video itself. Users can choose to skip ads or continue to watch them, but the best part is that these ads won’t charge you unless the video ad has been watched for more than 30 seconds. 

Skippable In Stream Video Ads

Top tip: If you’re feeling bold, you can always choose the non-skippable ad type, which is paid by impression.

In-feed video ads: if you’re at your best with a stack of keywords in your arsenal, this is the ad type for you. Whenever a user searches YouTube for a specific keyword relevant to your campaign, your ad will appear in their results. Talk about reaching an engaged audience!

In Feed Video Ads

Bumper video ads: these are six-second un-skippable ads that play before, during, or after a YouTube video. A mini version of in-stream. They're great if you want to reach users with a short but memorable message.

Out-stream video ads: these are mobile-only ads that begin playing with the sound off. Users have to tap the ad to unmute it. They only appear on websites and apps running on Google video partners, not on YouTube. They're good to use if you want to expand the reach of your video ads on mobile.

Outstream video ads

The benefits of video ads

Enhanced engagement: video ads are some of the most highly viewed and interacted-with ad types online today. Benefit from the ever-increasing popularity of video in your next campaign.

Storytelling capabilities: this is where character, brand identity, and the lasting impression of a strong narrative unite. There are viral video campaigns every year that harness the best storytelling available to bring brands to active audiences around the world.

Higher message retention: people tend to remember what they see in a striking visual, hear in the voiceover of a memorable ad or watch in a compelling video narrative. Help your brand stay in the audience's minds with the most memorable style of ad online; video ads.

Increased reach and visibility: video content has a high chance of increased reach and visibility due to how shareable video content is online. Let your most engaged and active fans online help you spread the word.

Video ads in GA4 vs Google Ads

If you’re more familiar with Google Ads than GA4, we’re here to help get you up to speed. TrueView conversions are attributed differently between the two programs.

  • GA4: attributes conversions in the video campaigns report based on direct clicks from your TrueView ads.
  • Google Ads: attributes conversions based on ads viewed.

How best to use video ads

This overview gives you a sense of the variety available to you when crafting a truly unique video campaign.

Creating your video ad campaign

We encourage you to play around with draft campaigns and see what you can create. These can be precise and detailed, or cast a wide net to bring in a fresh audience.

Select your video ad campaign goal

First, you’ll want to select the best campaign goal for your perfect video ad. This could be sales, leads, website traffic, product and brand consideration, or brand awareness and reach. From there you can get super specific and choose your ideal campaign subtype.

You’ll then be shown the available ad formats and corresponding bid strategies.

Video ad subtypes

  • Drive conversions
  • Get views (formerly "Influence consideration")
  • Ad sequence    
  • Outstream (under allowlist)    
  • Video reach - efficient reach
  • Video reach - non-skippable in-stream    
  • Video Reach - target frequency        

Select your video ad format

  • Skippable in-stream
  • In-feed
  • Non-skippable in-stream
  • Bumper
  • Out-stream

Choose your bid strategy

Then you’ll choose your bid strategy and budget, and set up campaign targeting.

Finally, you’re ready to organise your ad groups and create your dream video campaign!

When to use video ads

They’re best used when you want to engage with a mobile-focused user base. Users of YouTube, social media platforms, and tablets/mobile devices may be more receptive to video ads. Consider the prevalence of smart TVs in the home too.

The cons of using video ads

With any ad type, there are inevitable negatives and restrictions to keep in mind. Here are the ones we feel are most important to be aware of:

Limited tracking accuracy

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to track third-party cookies on some web browsers. This might make CTR and VTR rates tricky to track accurately. Take your metrics with a pinch of salt.

Viewability issues

Users may not see the video campaign due to a formatting error or the placement of the ad below the fold on a page, meaning users have to scroll down before they see the ad.

Limitations for cross-device tracking

Although GA4 has some powerful tools to help maintain accuracy in cross-device tracking, if a user is not logged in to their Google account on various platforms, this can be difficult to track.

Tips for optimising your video ads

Aspect Ratios

Ensure the aspect ratio of your video content is suitable for the widescreen in 16:9 format. This matches up with most YouTube content and will ensure your ad plays brilliantly on desktop and TV screens, whilst still making the most of available space on mobile.

Cost-per-view (CPV) bidding

Consider a CPV strategy, where you pay for video views and interactions with your ads. A view is only counted after a user views your content for more than 30 seconds (or the full duration if it's shorter than 30 seconds) or interacts with your ad.

Top tip: adapting bids, targeting and ad rotation are just some of the ways to experiment with this.

View Rate

Google defines this as “the total number of views of your video ad divided by the number of people that the ad was served to”. It’s basically an indicator of how engaged users are with your video campaigns.

Consider your targeting, ad duration or the number of ads in your campaign (to be more specific and relevant to niche audiences) as these can all have a positive impact.

What is it best to use video ads for?

Video ads are some of the most creative and compelling campaigns available to track in Google Analytics. Compared to Search and Display campaigns, they have some key specialties that can elevate your brand presence online:

Brand identity

Video ads can be considered a shorthand for creating a strong brand identity. If you’re looking to position yourself as a recognisable business or service in your industry, a video ad can help you stand out in a memorable way.

Demonstrate your products

If you’re selling a product that is better shown than explained in lengthy paragraphs, a video ad will showcase its features in a visual way, highlighting the benefits, features, and functionality of your product.


A search ad is simply never going to have the story-telling potential of a video ad. You can create a sense of character, atmosphere, and energy through your video campaign. Have fun with this potential and get creative with your concepts!

Read more about other Google Ad types

Video ads summary

Video campaigns have rapidly become some of the most engaging, memorable, and viral content online. This does mean that it can be challenging to cut through the mass of existing video campaigns. 

However, we believe the opportunity for storytelling, expanding your audience, and showcasing your products and services in a compelling way means you could find that your most effective campaign lies in the world of video. 


*Header image sourced by work experience students. Thank you

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