5 YouTube Ad Best Practices that Boost Ad Performance

Why is following YouTube ad best practices important?

YouTube advertising can be a powerful tool for your business, but simply having an ad isn’t enough to drive results. It takes knowing your audience and presenting them with ad content that they’ll enjoy and ultimately engage with.

In this post, we’ll go over the five top YouTube ad campaign best practices that can help you optimize your YouTube ads and increase audience engagement.

Kim Cooper
Director of Marketing, Amazon Alexa

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Elevate Ad Performance

5 YouTube Ad Best Practices for Better Performance

Whether you’re new to YouTube advertising or looking to enhance your existing campaigns, these tips will set you up to generate the results you need.

1) Hook Your Audience

When crafting your YouTube ads, think of the AIDA model: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action:


This classic marketing principle holds a lot of truth and application in modern marketing, especially in digital formats.


With the vast ocean of video content available online, viewers’ attention spans are limited, and you must seize their focus from the get-go.

The first few seconds of your YouTube ad are absolutely critical.

To capture their attention, devise a creative and attention-grabbing hook that compels viewers to pause and take notice. This could be an arresting visual, a thought-provoking statement or a burst of humor. The key is to make it impossible for your audience to look away.

In this ad for Poo-Pourri, they certainly do all three things:


Once you’ve hooked your audience, it’s time to nurture their interest.

Provide them with engaging content that not only entertains but also educates or adds value. Showcase your product or service in a way that resonates with their needs and desires. Highlight unique features, benefits or the problems your offering solves. The Poo-Pourri video above does this by the 26-second mark.

Arousing curiosity and presenting your message in an interesting manner will make viewers more receptive to your message.


Having captured their attention and piqued their interest, it’s now essential to stoke the flames of desire within your audience.

Use persuasive storytelling techniques to evoke emotions and create a sense of longing for what you have to offer. Demonstrate the positive impact your product or service can have on their lives, and paint a vivid picture of the desirable outcomes they can achieve by choosing your brand.

By this time you’ve probably already watched the whole Poo-Pourri video ad and see that, once again, they achieve this remarkably!


The ultimate goal of your YouTube ad is to drive action.

After captivating your audience and kindling desire, it’s time to be explicit about what you want them to do next. Incorporate a strong and clear call to action (CTA) that guides viewers towards the desired action. Whether it’s encouraging them to click a link, make a purchase, subscribe to a newsletter, or visit your website, a well-crafted CTA can significantly increase conversion rates.

AIDA marketing funnel

Following the AIDA funnel will help stick to YouTube Ad best practices.

2) Don’t Forget the Call to Action

No matter how captivating your ad might be, without a clear and compelling CTA, it may fall short of achieving its intended purpose.

The CTA acts as the bridge that connects the emotional resonance your ad has established with the actionable step you want viewers to take. It’s the nudge that urges them to move from mere interest to enthusiastic engagement with your brand.

Make sure to take advantage of the CTA extension overlay feature when uploading your ads, as shown in this Taboola video ad:


It must be crystal clear and specific about the action you want your audience to undertake. Whether it’s urging them to “click the link below,” “subscribe now,” “follow us for more,” or “explore our website,” ensure that your CTA is direct and unambiguous. Ambivalence can lead to lost opportunities and diminished ROI.

The perfect CTA leaves no room for ambiguity. 

Incorporating a sense of motivation and urgency within your CTA can significantly boost its effectiveness. Offering limited-time promotions, exclusive deals or time-sensitive incentives can create a sense of urgency, compelling viewers to act promptly.

Emphasize the benefits they stand to gain from taking action immediately, reinforcing the notion that hesitation may cause them to miss out on something valuable.

Different ads may have diverse objectives, ranging from driving website traffic, increasing subscriptions, generating leads or encouraging purchases. To optimize your results, tailor your CTAs to suit the specific goals of each ad.

For instance:

  • A CTA that urges viewers to subscribe is more suitable for content-focused ads
  • A “shop now” CTA on an ad showcasing a product or service will be better

As with any aspect of marketing, continuous improvement is essential. Conduct A/B testing to compare the effectiveness of different CTAs and refine your strategy based on the results. Analyze data and audience behavior to gain insights into what resonates most with your viewers, allowing you to fine-tune your CTAs for maximum impact.

3) Optimize Ad Formats and Placement

YouTube offers various ad formats, but mid-roll ads, also known as instream ads, have proven to be effective at capturing viewers’ attention.

Pre-roll ads are those that pop up before the video starts, and post-roll ads appear after the content ends.

But the mid-roll ads are the real MVPs. They appear right in the middle of the video, and guess what? They tend to generate better results:


Why are mid-roll ads so great? Well, think about it. Viewers are already engaged with the content, and when your ad shows up in the middle, it doesn’t feel as intrusive as the ones that interrupt before or after. This means people are more likely to pay attention to your message and not just skip it.

So consider bidding on the mid-roll ad format. By doing so, you can boost your ad’s performance and get more value out of your YouTube advertising efforts. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time, and mid-roll ads likely give you best chance of making an impression on your audience.

4) Improve Landing Page Experience

No matter how flawless your ad might be, if your landing page fails to match its message or lacks a seamless user experience, your conversion rates are bound to suffer.

Here are some key strategies to enhance your landing page experience and boost the efficacy of your YouTube video ads campaign:

  • Align Landing Page with Ad’s Message: The first step in optimizing your landing page is to ensure that it corresponds perfectly with the message conveyed in your YouTube ad. A cohesive and consistent narrative from ad to landing page creates a smooth transition for users, reinforcing the message they saw in the ad and reinforcing their interest in your product or service.
  • Feature Influencers (if Applicable): If your YouTube ad includes endorsements from influencers or features their content, make sure to incorporate them on your landing page as well. This builds credibility and trust with the audience, as they see a familiar face or a respected figure endorsing your offering. Including testimonials or endorsements can significantly impact users’ decision-making process and positively influence conversion rates.
  • Implement Seamless User Experience: The landing page should be designed for a seamless and intuitive user experience. Ensure that the page loads quickly, is mobile-friendly, and has an intuitive layout that guides visitors towards the desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a service. Eliminate any clutter or distractions that might divert users’ attention away from your main call-to-action.
  • Conduct Continuous A/B Testing: To truly optimize your landing page’s effectiveness, engage in continuous A/B testing. Create variations of your landing page and compare their performance to identify which elements yield the best results. Test different layouts, headlines, visuals or calls-to-action to refine your landing page continually and make data-driven decisions.
  • Learn from Competitors: Analyzing your competitors’ landing pages can be a valuable source of inspiration and insights. Observe what strategies they employ, take note of their successes, and learn from their mistakes to fine-tune your landing page’s design and content.

With these steps in place, you can create a cohesive and compelling user journey that seamlessly extends from your YouTube ad to your high-converting landing page.

5) Continuously Test Your Creatives

Creating a single video ad and leaving it unchanged is a missed opportunity for growth.

The creative element of your ad plays a pivotal role in determining your success on YouTube, making it imperative to embrace experimentation and iteration fearlessly. To stay ahead of the curve, monitor crucial metrics such as video retention rates and carefully analyze audience responses.

After looking at these insights, be proactive in making necessary adjustments to your creatives and circulating out old ad creatives with new ones.

Just as banner blindness can quickly affect image ads, viewer engagement in video ads can wane over time. Therefore, adopting a strategy of refreshing your video creatives is paramount to maintaining and even enhancing viewer engagement.

And it’s important to note that the more you cycle out old creatives with new creatives, you’ll develop a store of data to glean how effective each type of ad creative performed.

Squatty Potty video ad

This can help you understand what types of ads resonated best with your audience so you can align your creative development in a direction that matches your best-performing creatives.

Bonus YouTube Ad Best Practices Tip: Refine Your Targeting

This last one might seem obvious, but it’s worth revisiting from time to time. If your YouTube ads aren’t performing as expected, reevaluate your targeting settings.

Overly broad targeting or focusing on one too many audience attributes can hinder your campaign’s success. Instead, fine-tune your targeting to reach the most relevant audience, even if it means sacrificing some reach:


The easiest way of testing this is to create duplicate campaigns with the same creative but slightly different target. Effectively, it’s an A/B test for your targeting. Just remember that when you do this, keep all other elements of your ad campaign the same.

If you alter more than one aspect of your test, you’ll muddy the waters with the data and it will be difficult to attribute which change impacted the data associated with each variant.

Last Thoughts on YouTube Ad Best Practices

Well, there you have it — our go-to list of reliable YouTube ad best practices. If you follow these steps as we’ve laid them out, you’ll be lightyears ahead of most of your competition in the YouTube ad space.

Remember, it’s not just about making a snappy video. It requires all of the supporting elements like targeting, landing page experience, a call to action, ad creative, and placements.

While each component is important, the assembly of each piece will make your ads greater than the sum of their parts. Good luck!

If you’re ready to level up your video ads, Single Grain’s YouTube ads experts can help!👇

Elevate Ad Performance


Repurposed from our Marketing School podcast.

YouTube Ad Best Practices FAQs

  • What are the best practices when advertising on YouTube?

    Read the above post for more information on YouTube Ad best practices, but in a nutshell, it’s essential to create engaging video ads that are tailored to your target audience. Effective video ads should capture viewers’ attention within the first few seconds.

    You can use your YouTube channel insights to understand your audience and optimize your video ads accordingly. Incorporating in feed video ads into your strategy can increase visibility in YouTube search results. Regularly review the performance metrics in your Google Ads account to refine and improve your campaigns.

  • What makes a successful YouTube ad?

    A successful YouTube ad is one that resonates with its audience, both in content and delivery. Effective video ads are often short, compelling and have a clear message. They should align with the interests of your target audience and give the viewers what they want. Using features like YouTube’s targeting options can help place your ad in front of the right audience, increasing its effectiveness.

  • What kind of ads work best on YouTube?

    On YouTube, a video ad that tells a story and connects emotionally with viewers tend to perform best. An in feed video ad is particularly effective as it appears in search results and alongside related videos, capturing the attention of viewers already interested in similar content. Interactive and skippable ads also offer high engagement rates, as they give viewers control over their ad experience.

  • What's the best strategy to scale YouTube ads?

    To scale your YouTube ad campaign, start by analyzing the performance data in your Google Ads account. Identify which video ads and targeting options are yielding the best results. Then gradually increase your budget while maintaining a focus on high-performing ads and audiences.

    Experiment with different types of YouTube video ads, like in-feed or skippable ads, to see what works best for different segments of your audience. Continuously optimize your campaigns based on data to ensure the best return on investment.

If you were unable to find the answer you’ve been looking for, do not hesitate to get in touch and ask us directly.
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