Answers to common questions about YouTube Ads
by Joe Martinez, Search Engine Land
June 3, 2019

Do you really get free advertising from YouTube?
Short answer: Yes, you can, but it is not exactly the way you think. Google doesn’t hand over vouchers for free ad spend every month. What we do get is the opportunity for free brand awareness. Advertisers running video campaigns in Google Ads only have to pay when users watch a good portion of your ad.

Advertisers only have to pay for views if either a user watches your TrueView ad for thirty seconds, or if they watch the entire video of an ad that is less than thirty seconds. So if you have a thirty-second ad, and users only watch twenty-eight seconds of the ad every time, you will never pay for those views. Now name any other marketing channel that will offer you free, consistent branding like YouTube can. Exactly.

Since advertisers can choose to add additional components to their videos such as the new call-to-action extension or shopping cards, they still could get charged for views under thirty seconds. If users watching your ads, interact with your additional elements, you will be charged for those clicks. You just have to understand you will be charged for which ever action happens first: the thirty-second video view or the physical click engagement.

Video ads aren’t counting towards my total views. Why?
Let’s set up the scenario a little bit. You may see a video you are using as a video ad have a certain view count within Google Ads like we can see in this image.

But when you check your video analytics within the YouTube Studio, you may see a totally different view count even though your date ranges are exactly the same.

Why do the 649 views versus 222 views happen? The answer is pretty simple. If you are running in-stream ads, there are a few policies you should be aware of. First, if you choose to run skippable ads, the video has to be at least twelve seconds long to count towards incremental views. If you are running non-skippable ads, like the fifteen-second maximum or six-second bumper ads, those views are never counted towards your overall view total. Keep this in mind if you ever have a client wanting to run a campaign with the goal of “boosting views.” People will see the video, but the true totals may not be public.

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