With platforms like TikTok and Reels reshaping how we consume content, YouTube introduced its own game-changer. Enter: YouTube Shorts. In 2022, the platform rolled out advertising on Shorts, providing businesses with an exciting new channel for quick and impactful storytelling. 

Boasting a staggering 30 billion views per day globally as of 2022, Shorts has become a powerhouse of engagement, offering advertisers a dynamic space to connect with diverse audiences. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of advertising on YouTube Shorts, from swift engagement to global reach and creative freedom. We’ll guide you through the steps of leveraging this short-form revolution to unlock the full potential for your brand in the digital landscape.

What Are YouTube Shorts Ads?

YouTube Shorts Ads are a dynamic advertising feature that caters to the fast-paced world of short-form video content. YouTube Shorts is designed for creating and consuming brief, engaging videos. Shorts Ads allow advertisers to promote their products or services within the YouTube Shorts ecosystem, reaching a vast audience that engages with short-form content. These skippable ads, ranging from 10 to 60 seconds, provide a unique opportunity for businesses to engage with their audience. 

Creators on YouTube Shorts benefit from monetization, and many have reported substantial earnings, sometimes surpassing those on TikTok. For creators with more than 1,000 subscribers and 10 million views within 90 days, a 45% share of ad revenue awaits. While TikTok offers a slightly higher percentage (50%), it’s important to note that this is limited to the top 4% performing videos.

Currently, Shorts Ads and YouTube Select Shorts Lineup reservation are officially available for several kinds of YouTube advertising formats, including Video Reach Campaigns, Video Action Campaigns, App Campaigns for Install, and Discovery campaigns. There is also the exclusive Shorts Select pilot, a program accessible to select advertisers, often facilitated by agencies like Tinuiti. This limited availability adds an element of exclusivity, making Shorts Ads a strategic avenue for advertisers looking to stay ahead in the evolving world of digital marketing.

Why Use YouTube Shorts Ads?

There are a variety of reasons advertisers should look into YouTube Shorts. Let’s dive into a few of the top benefits.

Wide Reach Across Age Groups

YouTube Shorts Ads offer an extensive reach, tapping into a diverse audience spanning various age ranges. With millions of users accessing YouTube regularly, your brand has the potential to connect with a broad demographic, ensuring that your message resonates with a wide spectrum of viewers.

Stable Platform with a Two-Decade Legacy

YouTube’s stability and longevity are unparalleled, having launched nearly two decades ago. The platform provides advertisers with a trustworthy space to showcase their content. This stability contrasts with concerns some advertisers have about the longevity of emerging platforms like TikTok, making YouTube Shorts a reliable and enduring choice.

Cost-Effectiveness and Budget Control

YouTube Shorts Ads present a cost-effective advertising solution with Cost Per Views (CPVs) ranging from 10 to 30 cents, depending on the target audience. Advertisers can set budget caps to ensure precise control over their spending, making Shorts Ads a financially strategic option for businesses of all sizes.

Advanced Ad Targeting Capabilities

The platform’s advanced ad targeting capabilities* empower advertisers to reach their desired audience effectively. With filters, tags, location targeting, and interests, YouTube leverages its vast user data to allow advertisers to tailor their campaigns with precision. This granular targeting ensures that your ads are seen by the right people at the right time.

*Keep in mind that targeting varies based on the product used.

User Data for Targeting

Given the widespread use of YouTube, the platform accumulates vast amounts of user data. This data includes information about what people search for, videos they watch, and topics they engage with. Leveraging this rich dataset enables advertisers to refine their targeting, ensuring their Shorts Ads are delivered to an audience with a genuine interest in their content.

Longer View Time and Cost-Effectiveness

According to AdAge, YouTube Shorts Ads not only provide a cost-effective solution but also boast longer view times compared to TikTok. Users on YouTube are more likely to watch the ads, offering advertisers an extended opportunity to capture their audience’s attention and deliver their message effectively. This combination of longer view times and cost-effectiveness makes YouTube Shorts Ads a compelling choice for advertisers looking to maximize their impact.

YouTube Shorts Ads stand out as a powerful advertising tool, offering wide reach, platform stability, cost-effectiveness, advanced targeting capabilities, and longer view times – all backed by the reputable legacy of YouTube.

Specs for Ads on YouTube Shorts

For optimal performance and seamless integration with YouTube Shorts, it’s recommended to adhere to the following specifications:

  • Orientation: Videos should be in a vertical format with a 9:16 aspect ratio, ensuring a visually engaging experience tailored for Shorts.
  • Resolution: The ideal resolution for your Shorts is 1920 x 1080 pixels, maintaining a high-quality visual presentation.
  • Duration: Shorts Ads can be up to 60 seconds long, providing enough time to convey your message concisely within the short-form video format.
  • Title Length: Keep the title concise, with no more than 100 characters. A brief and captivating title ensures that viewers quickly grasp the essence of your content.
  • Description Length: While Shorts Ads allow for detailed descriptions, it’s recommended to keep them within 5,000 characters. A balance between informativeness and brevity is key.
  • Alternative Square Format: While the primary recommendation is for a vertical orientation, you can also opt for a square format (1080 x 1080 pixels). However, be mindful that this will appear as a square and may provide a different viewing experience for the audience.

It’s worth noting that YouTube Shorts utilizes AI to adjust assets that deviate from these dimensions. However, adhering to these specifications ensures that your Shorts Ads are optimized for the best possible performance and viewer experience.

How to Create Ads for YouTube Shorts

Targeting ads on YouTube Shorts isn’t always as straightforward as it may initially seem – while some advertisers are included in a pilot program that allows them to target ads on YouTube Shorts directly, not everyone has this privilege yet. Below, we will detail the steps required to target an ad on YouTube Shorts, plus some additional guidance if you’re not yet able to target Shorts directly.

1. Sign Into Your Google Ads Account

To access your Google Ads account, go to ads.google.com and click on the “Sign in” button at the top right corner of the homepage. After signing in, you’ll be taken to the Google Ads dashboard where you can manage and create ad campaigns. 

If you don’t have a Google Ads account yet, click “Start now” on the homepage to create one. You’ll just need to sign in with a Google Account, then include some information about your business and advertising goals.

2. Create a Video Campaign

Once you’re in your Google Ads account, click “Create Campaign” and choose either a video action campaign or an app install campaign based on your advertising objective. If there’s an option for “Shorts Ads” under “Efficient Reach,” select it to have your ads appear on Shorts automatically. 

If this option isn’t there, simply pick your campaign goal like sales, leads, or choose to run a campaign without a specific goal. Then, fill in important details such as the campaign’s name, budget, and duration, and set “YouTube Videos” as the ad location.

3. Choose Your Bid Type

When setting up your advertising campaign, it’s essential to understand the different bid types available and how they align with your objectives. Let’s quickly go over each:

  • Cost Per View (CPV) is ideal for video campaigns where the primary goal is to increase video views. This bid type allows you to pay only when someone views your video, making it a cost-effective option for boosting video engagement. 
  • Cost Per Action (CPA) best used for campaigns aimed at driving specific actions, such as sales, sign-ups, or downloads. With CPA bidding, you pay only when the desired action is completed, ensuring your budget is spent on results that directly contribute to your campaign goals. 
  • Cost Per Mille (CPM) is for campaigns focused on increasing brand awareness through impressions. It charges you for every thousand views of your ad, regardless of any action taken, making it useful for broadening your ad’s reach.

For a smoother bidding experience and better campaign results, consider using an automated bidding strategy. This approach auto-adjusts your bids in real-time, aiming to hit your campaign targets—be it more views, actions, or impressions.

4. Set Target Audience

When setting up your campaign on Google properties, it’s wise to utilize a remarketing list if you have one. Remarketing lists are goldmines for reconnecting with users who have previously interacted with your brand, and layering them YouTube’s customer match feature can help you brand new, highly relevant audiences.

If you don’t have a sizable remarketing list yet, that’s okay. Instead, aim to reach your target audience by specifying key demographics like gender, age, and location. Note that the largest demographic on YouTube Shorts skews young and male.

Also, don’t overlook the importance of prioritizing mobile users. This strategy boosts the chances of your ads appearing exclusively on Shorts, tapping into the vast and engaging mobile audience. By combining these tactics, you can refine your targeting strategy to reach the most relevant and responsive audience for your campaigns.

5. Finalize the Campaign and Launch

At this point, it’s a matter of finalizing the details. Upload your video ad to YouTube using the Shorts tab on YouTube Studio while ensuring you’re following the YouTube Shorts ad specs outlined above. Specifically, don’t forget to film or edit your video so it is vertical. You can add up to five videos to your campaign.

When choosing ad format, select the “in-stream skippable ad format” or “Shorts,” if it’s available. Then, add a Final URL pointing to a landing page or other target page associated with your ad. Finally, add a compelling Call to Action (CTA) that inspires people to engage with your ad.

By following these steps, you’ll successfully navigate the process of creating effective and impactful ads for YouTube Shorts, reaching a dynamic audience in the world of short-form video content.

How to Target YouTube Shorts Ads

Creating ads for YouTube Shorts involves leveraging evolving features, and while the landscape is continually changing, here are four methods to target Shorts ads:

1. YouTube Select for Top Performing Videos

YouTube Select allows advertisers to strategically place ads alongside the most popular and brand-safe videos in specific markets like beauty, technology, and sports. This ensures your ads are prominently featured next to top-tier, relevant content within viewers’ Shorts feeds, enhancing visibility and relevance. 

Additionally, YouTube is testing a new feature called First Position on Shorts, which promises that your ad will be the first thing viewers see, grabbing their attention right off the bat. This combination of targeted placement and prime positioning is a powerful way to capture viewer interest and maximize the impact of your advertising efforts on YouTube.

2. Targeting Shorts Explicitly 

Some marketers have the ability to target Shorts explicitly, greatly simplifying ad targeting. This feature began rolling out in November 2023. While it’s not available to everyone yet, it’s expected that more marketers will gradually gain access to the platform.

3. Campaign Setup Tricks for Increased Visibility

If you’re unable to target Shorts outright, you can maximize your visibility on Shorts by employing campaign setup tricks. Create a vertical video and select “Mobile” placements to increase the likelihood of your ad appearing on Shorts. Thankfully, this fix should become irrelevant for most marketers soon – as Shorts continues to grow, YouTube is likely to expand advertising opportunities on the platform.

4. Affinity Targeting

This type of targeting (available beyond just Shorts) allows advertisers to target their ads based on users’ interests and online behavior. Affinity targeting helps advertisers reach a specific audience segment that is likely to be interested in their products or services.

How Much Do Shorts Ads Cost?

The cost of YouTube Shorts Ads can vary, but advertisers typically report spending an average of about 10 cents to 30 cents per view for reach campaigns. It’s important to note that this average cost per view can be influenced by factors such as your bidding strategy. 

Different bidding strategies, such as Cost Per View (CPV), may impact the overall cost of running Shorts Ads. Advertisers should carefully consider their goals, target audience, and budget when determining the most suitable bidding strategy for their YouTube Shorts campaigns.

Best Practices for Your YouTube Shorts Ads

As with any advertising campaign, there are specific best practices to follow to optimize overall performance. Check out our list of best practices to follow when creating your YouTube Shorts ads.

Continually Test and Have a Mixture of Ads

Employ ad groups to test the success of different Shorts ads and optimize your campaigns. Consider adding at least five shorts into a single ad group for effective testing. Try testing different lengths to see what is resonating with your audience. 

Film Your Ads Vertical

Film your ads in a vertical orientation for an optimal Shorts experience. While YouTube accepts horizontal videos for Shorts ads, it’s advisable to avoid this practice. The AI feature may adapt horizontal videos, but it’s not ideal for achieving the best creative results.

Start Targeting with Remarketing Lists

Begin your targeting strategy with remarketing lists. This allows you to reach the most relevant customers from the start. Once you’ve engaged this audience, you can expand your reach to ensure you’re targeting a broader yet still relevant audience.

Use Hooks

Viewers can skip Shorts ads, and their fingers are ready to swipe upward at a moment’s notice. Ensure your ad has a compelling hook to encourage viewers to stop and watch long enough to internalize your message, and don’t start off with a strong promotional slantl. Instead, align the style of your Shorts ad with organic content on the platform to make it seamlessly fit into the Shorts experience. Once you’ve got their attention, strive to communicate a single, clear message about your product to reduce confusion and enhance engagement.

By incorporating these best practices, you can enhance the effectiveness of your YouTube Shorts Ads, optimizing engagement and maximizing the impact of your short-form video content.

Conclusion

YouTube Shorts Ads open doors to creativity, innovation, and a direct pathway to your audience. As short-form video continues to dominate digital spaces, embracing Shorts Ads is not just an option but a strategic imperative for brands aiming to stay ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing. 

Looking to advertise on YouTube Shorts in 2024? We’d love to help you get started. Contact us today for more information or learn more about our services here.

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