How to successfully create your first YouTube ad

YouTube ads are a powerful and cost-effective way to reach a large and engaged audience. Find out how to successfully create your first YouTube ad.

Why is it important:

Video content has been gaining popularity for years and is now one of the most popular forms of digital media. With more people watching videos on their devices than ever before, it’s no surprise that YouTube ads are becoming an increasingly vital part of any digital advertising strategy.

YouTube ads are a powerful and cost-effective way to reach a large and engaged audience. By leveraging the immense popularity of YouTube, you can get your message in front of more potential customers than ever before. With an effective YouTube advertising strategy, you can increase brand awareness, generate leads, drive website visits, and even boost sales conversions. Furthermore, by combining YouTube ads with other Google advertising platforms, such as AdWords and Display Ads, you’ll be able to build out an even more effective campaign that meets all of your goals.

Things required before you start:

  • You should have an existing personal Google account with the necessary login information (email address, password).
  • You need to have an already set Google Ads account, and if you haven’t done it yet, then follow our guide to do so.
  • You should have set up conversion tracking for your Google ads account, and if you haven’t yet, then follow our guide to do so.
  • You should have an existing YouTube channel for your business with a video to be used in the ad you are about to create.

Steps to successfully create your first YouTube ad


Step 1: Go to the Google Ads website.

And click on the Sign In button at the top right corner of the screen.

You need to be logged in to your Google account associated with the ads account you are trying to access to be able to log in in the next step successfully.

Google ads website access

Note: If you have multiple Google ads accounts already set on your Google account, then you will see the following screen after you click on “Sign In”, and from which you need to click on the Google ads account that you want to log into.

selecting the google ads account

If you have only one Google ads account associated with your Google profile, you will be automatically logged into the account after you click on “Sign In” in Step -1.

Step 2: Once you have logged into your Google Ads account, click on the link “Campaigns” on the left menu panel of the screen.

Accessing the google ad campaigns

Important Note: If you are not able to find the necessary links or buttons (as shown here) at the top menu of your Google Ads account, then you might have been, by default, switched to the new design of your Google Ads account. Though the new design looks good but since it’s still in the experimental phase, the UI might get complicated or erroneous, so we will recommend that for the time being you can simply switch back to the more stable older version.

To do so, please go to the option “Appearance” at the top menu, and from the dropdown, click on “Use previous design”.

Switching to the old UI of google ads

Step 3: Once you are on the Campaign screen, click on the “+” button, and then from the dropdown menu click on the option “New Campaign”.

New campaign Creating a new campaign

Step 4: On the next screen, you will need to select the objective of your campaign; this will define the way the campaign’s goals and settings are designed.

For our example here, let’s say we are going to go with the objective “Website Traffic”; in that case click on the required objective to proceed.

Selecting the campaign objective

Step 5: Your already set conversions on the ad account will be displayed, and they will be automatically associated with the new campaign.

You need to click on the “Continue” button at the bottom right corner of the screen to proceed.

Conversion goals

Step 6: From the Campaign Type options, select “Video” by clicking on it and then click on “Continue”.

Video ad selection

Step 7: On the next screen, provide a meaningful name for your video ad campaign to proceed.

Campaign name setup

Step 8: Scroll down to set the Locations and corresponding data for the Google ads.

  1. By default, the ads campaign location is set to your location country, but you want to specifically target the countries from where you expect your main target audience. For that, click on the “Enter another location” radio button.
  2. Start typing the desired country names in the search box and click on the correct ones from the search list that is displayed in the dropdown. The ones selected will be displayed above the search box.

location selection

Step 9: In the next segment, you can target your audience based on the desired language of communication. Type in the desired language in the search box and then click on the correct one from the search results in the dropdown list.

campaign language selection

Step 10: You can keep the bid strategy as “Maximizing conversions”. This is set as you have already set conversion tracking for Google ads, and it is preferable for aligning your bid strategy for the conversions for better use of the budget.

On the next section, you can set the budget for the campaign; you can keep a daily budget or a total budget for the campaign by selecting the required option from the dropdown list.

Campaign details setup

Step 11: Proceed with the default network settings, as they are initially not editable.

Selecting the networks

Step 12: Content exclusions form an important part of your video ads. You want to ensure that your ad is not displayed over sensitive topics, which might lead to a negative impression on your brand.

Content exclusions

As mentioned, for Youtube ads, it has now been shifted to the account level. To do that, click on the “Tools and settings” menu at the top of the screen, then from the dropdown list click on the option “Content suitability” and click on “Open link in a new tab” to open it on a new tab.

Tools and settings

Step 13: On the next screen, scroll down to the section “Advance Settings” and then open the segment “Select the sensitive content categories you want to exclude”.

From the list select all the categories and then click on “Save”.

Content exclusions

Expand the next section and select the necessary options that you feel should be excluded for your content to be shown, and then click on “Save”.

Selecting the content to exclude

Step 14: Once done, come back to the tab where you had the YouTube ad creation setup opened.

Click on the Sitelinks segment to expand it.

Sitelinks are additional links that appear underneath your ad, which direct users to other pages on your website related to the offer they clicked on. They can be used to provide a more detailed look into what you’re offering, allowing users to navigate deeper within your site without having to exit from the YouTube page. Each sitelink needs its own unique description line of no more than 30 characters, so make sure each one conveys as much information as possible!

You can assign the sitelinks for the ads in two ways:

  1. You can assign already created sitelinks by selecting them from the left panel of the screen.

Sitelinks selection

  1. Or if you haven’t created any sitelinks yet, then you can create new sitelinks to be used.

Click on the “+New Sitelink” link to proceed.

New sitelink

On the next screen, fill out the necessary details for the Sitelinks and then click on the Save button.

  • Provide a Sitelink text, which will be the main text heading that will define the sitelink purpose.
  • Provide two 35-character texts to describe the sitelink.
  • Provide the final URL of the sitelink.

Sitelink urls

Once done, click on “Save” at the bottom of the screen to proceed.

Saving the sitelinks

On the next screen, you will see on the next screen the sitelink will be auto-selected to be added to the ad.


Step 15: In the next segment, you need to provide the Ad Group with a meaningful name.

Ad group creation

Step 16: Click on the “Create an Audience” link to proceed.

Audience creation - youtube ads

On the next screen, provide a meaningful name to the new audience that you are creating, and then from the Custom Segments area, click on “+New segment”.

audience creation

On the next screen, you can set conditions to define your audience based on their search activity, visited sites, etc.

new custom segment

  1. Provide a meaningful name to the segment (it is very useful if your audience has multiple segments created).
  2. Click on the option “People who searched for any of these terms on Google”. You can also select the first option, but in that case, your ad might be shown to users who might have previously shown interest in such topics but currently have no intention to buy. In the second option, it is shown to people who have recently searched similar terms.
  3. Use the search box to type in your desired keywords, and the search terms list will open up as a dropdown.
  4. Select the search terms from the list to add to your segment properties.

There are additional options for segmenting based on the frequently visited websites and downloaded apps by your audience. If you have an idea about the websites and apps they frequent to and that signals buying intention, then you need to use the corresponding segments to add the URLs or App names.

audience similar to websites

Once done, click on “Save” button to continue.

Saving the audience

Step 17: You can further add other conditions to define your audience on the next screen.

Important Note: But make sure you understand the audience definition before adding any other condition to the list. You are here “defining” the audience and not “refining” the audience segment you just created.

audience selection criteria

So, any condition that is set apart from the Audience segment will be taken as a new condition for a new audience pool.

For example, if you select two options, i.e., A segment created of people who searched for website services and also include a condition of in-market behavior of searching for marketing services, then your ad will be shown to an audience who forms part of any one of the conditions. So if you have an ad specific to, say, website design services, then it will have less impact if it is shown to an audience who is interested in marketing services like Email marketing.

  1. You can refine the audience segment based on people who have already interacted with your brand. Use the search box to search for the desired property to add to this audience list.

audience segment selection

  1. Or you can refine them based on their other traits from the online behaviour, like researching marketing services (in-market segments) etc.

audience segment selection 2

2. You can also create conditions to exclude certain audiences from this list; if you want to reach only a new audience, you might want to exclude your remarketing audience from this list.

audience segment selection 3

3. Similarly, you can also add audience conditions like Demographics (Age, Gender, Income etc.).

Once done, click on the Save button to proceed.

New audience creation for youtube ad

Step 18: Once you are back to the video ad creator screen, on the next segment, you need to uncheck the box next to “Use optimized targeting”.

This feature enables Google to target an audience beyond your set conditions, which, if used during the initial days of your Google ads account, will lack data to be correctly implemented and will end up chipping a large chunk of your budget without providing necessary results.

So switching it off during initial ad days is the best process.

Optimized targeting

Step 19: In the next segment, you need to provide the YouTube link for the video that you will be using in your ad. The video has to be hosted on your business channel to be the most effective one as it continues your branding and also provides a professional look to the ad.

Paste the link to the video in the search box.

Search for your youtube video to use in the ad

Step 20: Once pasted, the video ad editor will show you additional details to be filled in, like URL, ad texts, etc.

Use the dropdown under the URL segment to select the correct suffix, like http or https, to use, and then on the Final URL text box, type in the landing page URL (without the https).

Provide the necessary Display URL structure. This is the link structure that is displayed on your ad, so use it wisely to attract viewers’ attention, specifically to their interests or your offers, etc.

Creating the youtube ad

Step 21: Click on the Call to Action field to open the dropdown list of the CTA texts that you can use; from the list, select the one that describes the action you want your viewers to take on your ad.

Call to action selection

Step 22: Provide the necessary details for the video ad.

  1. Provide a Headline for an in-stream video ad where this text is used to grab the viewer’s attention.
  2. Provide a catchy long headline to capture viewer attention in a mobile in-feed video version of the ads.
  3. Provide necessary offer details in the description section of the ad.

Ad copy creation

ad preview Ad preview 2

Step 23: On the next option, you can either upload a banner for the web version of the ads from your channel’s existing banner or you can upload yours. It is preferred to use the channel’s banner as sizes for this vary, and uploading a new image might not fit the proportions.

Now, give your ad a meaningful name in the “Ad Name” segment.

naming your ad

Step 24: You can expand the next segment, “Ad Creation” to view the already created ad or to add a few more versions of the ad.

ad creation completed

Adding additional versions of the ad helps you in testing the best-performing text for the video ads which ultimately helps you in getting the best out of your budget.

To add a new version of the ad, click on the “+ New video ad” and then continue the same process as before.

Step 25: Once done, click on the “Create Campaign” button to proceed.

Create a campaign to continue

Your campaign will be now launched and in the “Review” phase currently and once the Google review is over, it will be launched in the “learning” phase.

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