Press Play on TrueView Video Ads: Google Best Practices

Capture attention with compelling TrueView ads

In this YouTube best practices guide, you'll learn advanced tips for optimizing TrueView video ads. 

After you set your campaigns up for success, you can move on to the next crucial step: crafting compelling creative that sticks.

Make your TrueView ad's first five seconds count

After this, users can choose to watch or skip your TrueView in-stream ads.

What types of creative work well in the first five seconds? We aggregated data from thousands of TrueView ads to see how long people watched without hitting the skip button. While there are no hard and fast rules for this type of YouTube ads, certain patterns emerged.3 Here’s what we learned for creating more engaging video ads:

  • Start off with close-ups, recognizable talent or a vibrant background to spark interest. This tends to result in higher viewership and better brand lift. You can also consider using product demos, customer testimonials and real stories in your YouTube ads.
  • Show your brand logo on a product. People are more likely to watch and remember you when your logo is viewed on a product as opposed to just floating on the screen.
  • Set the right tone. Across all categories, humor resulted in greater ad recall and brand awareness. Take Mucinex’s “Sinux-Max” ads for instance. And if humor isn’t right for your brand, “suspenseful” and “emotional” tones also work too.
  • Tie into tentpole events or holidays. Be contextually relevant. For example, you can tie into holidays and cultural events like the Olympics, Christmas or Mother’s Day.
  • Align the message to your marketing objective. If your goal is to drive people to your site to download an app, then say so in your video. Take’s “FOMOHD - Real Estate in Real Time” spot for example.
  • Film in high-definition resolution (HD). Your YouTube ads could appear across all platforms, including large screen TVs.
  • Film horizontally. YouTube videos typically display horizontally, so this ensures your ad will look great on any screen.

Need help creating videos? Check out top performing YouTube ads for ideas and the YouTube Director for business app to help with your video creation.

Use relevant images and text to increase CTR

Your next step: include titles, descriptions and images that are useful and effective. After all, these elements can influence whether a viewer chooses to watch your TrueView ad or not.

When you upload your video to YouTube, give it a concise title and public listing. Titles should be 45 characters or less to help with YouTube search and discovery. Below are a few tips for optimizing your in-stream and video discovery ads:

  • TrueView video discovery ads: Use customized image thumbnails with colors and themes that match your brand. For your description, include any shortened URLs early on to direct people to your website. You can also consider using calls-to-action that describe what people can expect to see with your video, like ‘Watch now’ or ‘Learn how to bake a chocolate soufflé.’
  • TrueView in-stream ads: Use companion banners to take up extra real estate on your YouTube Watch page and drive viewers to your website. These display banners appear alongside your ad and continue to show even if a viewer decides to skip your in-stream ad. Be sure to use eye-popping visuals and clear call-to-actions to get your viewer’s attention.

If you’re using TrueView for app promotion and TrueView for Shopping, we’ll auto-generate the companion banner for you. If you don’t provide a companion banner for your YouTube ad, a video wall will appear instead.

Use call-to-action overlays and cards to drive people to your site or app

Interactive elements make it easy for viewers to perform a specific action once they see your video ad. Optimize your call-to-action overlays to include phrases like “Learn more,” “Download the app,” “Buy Now”, or “Watch more.” Keep in mind that TrueView for shopping and TrueView for app promotion ads trump call-to-action overlays.

You can also show a cardwithin the first 5-7 seconds of the video to direct people to your website, channel or more. Be sure to consider the user experience and don’t stuff videos with too many cards. If you’re using TrueView for shopping cards, add on dynamic remarketing to improve relevance. After all, people are more likely to engage with a card when it contains products they’ve viewed in the past.

Case Study

Wayfair and Sephora used Cards and TrueView for shopping campaigns to drive interest and sales. Wayfair saw 3x revenue performance versus similar campaigns, while Sephora saw an 80% lift in consideration and a 54% lift in ad recall.


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3 All ads used had at least 10,000 impressions between Jan 2012 and Feb 2014. 10% of ads were coded by two people to ensure consistency, and attributes with less than 90% agreement discarded.

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