YouTube campaigns

Optimize your YouTube campaign

Once you've been running your YouTube campaign for a while, you can optimize your YouTube & partners line item to better achieve your advertising goals by looking for insights in various YouTube metrics.

Evaluate campaign health indicators

Start by taking a look at some of the following key metrics to gauge if your YouTube campaign is meeting your goals.

Evaluate ad competitiveness with cost-per-view (CPV)

Average cost per view is the average amount you pay for a view of your ad. CPV fluctuates based on ad length, creative quality, targeting, and auction dynamics among other factors.
CPV is a valuable signal about the competitiveness of your ad in the auction ecosystem. Are you paying more for views than you wanted or expected? Are you seeing CPVs increase over-time? By tracking and adjusting your CPV, you’ll be set up to deliver your message more efficiently. Rising CPVs could be a sign of creative fatigue if your ad has been live for a couple of weeks. Rising CPVs can also be a sign of increased pressure in the auctions that you compete to win. Conversely, declining CPVs could indicate that there's less competition in the market and that you may have a chance to gain some views at a lower cost.

Tips to meet your CPV goals

While your maximum cost per view bid is the most direct link to cost per view, there is a balance between the targeting and creative that also provide the best user match, and therefore drive a higher view rate and low CPV. Here are some tips for optimizing for CPV.

  • Adjust your bids: Bids have the most direct link to CPVs in that you will never pay a higher CPV than your maximum bid. However, they act only as a ceiling, and so are only one way to make CPV adjustments. The most effective use of bids is in bidding your true value for the view that you’re buying (much as you would with a click in Google Search). However, this “true value” is often difficult to arrive at, and is a critical place to focus in post-campaign evaluation. The best starting point for defining your value of a view is by comparing your paid views, owned views (views of content that you own), and earned views (views from shares). A view can drive far more activity beyond what you pay for directly. With YouTube ads, there can be improved engagement and recall for ads that haven’t even been seen for the full 30 seconds, meaning you don’t pay, but still accrue value.
  • Expand your targeting: Restricting your targeting will lead to higher competition. This will likely manifest itself in higher CPVs, unless you are already near your maximum bid, in which case you will simply stop winning auctions and end up with unspent budget. Expanding targeting will allow the ad-serving system to identify auctions where your ads and bids are more competitive, and can reduce the campaign’s overall average CPV. You may still find a valuable audience at a lower CPV by exploring broader targets. Remember, the skippable format itself acts as a targeting filter where you pay only for engaged viewers who choose to watch your ad.
  • Improve your ads: Because strong ads drive good view rate, they can often impact the CPV. As view rates rise, CPVs fall because the auction values relevant ads that audiences will enjoy as shown by their willingness to view-through. Learn more best practices for creating effective video ads in the YouTube Help Center.

Evaluate ad health with view rate

Your view rate is the total number of views of your ad divided by the number of people the ad was served to. The view rate is a good indicator of how compelling viewers find your video. The higher the view rate, the more engaged viewers are with your content.
View rate is the primary metric for understanding the health of a video ad. A video ad with a high view rate will generally win more auctions and pay a lower CPV than a video ad with a low view rate. If you're interested in driving the most views for the lowest cost, you might want to identify ad assets and targeting methods that can help increase your ad's view rate. Similar to CPV, a view rate point-in-time analysis can be useful to understand if you’re doing well or poor, but it's more critical to understand the trends.

Tips to meet your view rate goals

Although it’s not obvious that targeting could be a method to improve the view rate of a campaign, it could impact performance because it affects who is able to view your ad.

  • Improve your ads
    • Shorter ads have higher view rates; if your ad can convey the same message in 20 seconds than in 30, consider editing a shorter version.
    • If you create several ads as part of a campaign, each will provide you a chance to better connect with your audience. Even small differences in your ad's text or video can mean large improvements in view rate and cost over the course of a campaign.
    • Minor tweaks like changing the introduction, or adding or removing call-to-actions can help shift viewer behavior and improve view rate.
  • Improve your targeting: The following are a few ways that targeting can affect view rate:
    • Wrong targeting: If you identified the wrong target audience, you might see more skipping of your video ad. You’ll want to adjust your targeting methods as you figure out who is responding best to your ad.
    • Missed audience: You might also be restricting where your ad shows, and therefore may be “hiding” ads from some viewers who may want to view them. Some advertisers think any views outside a specific target demographic group are “wasted." But, remember that skippable video ads are billed only when someone chooses to watch the video, so it may be possible to find a receptive audience by expanding your targeting. This will often have the added benefit of reducing your average CPV.

Evaluate engagement with clickthrough rate

Your clickthrough rate (CTR) is the total number of clicks on your ad divided by the number of people that the ad was served to. While view rate is the primary engagement metric associated with skippable campaigns, CTR is another way to measure how well your video campaign is doing. The higher the CTR, the more engaged viewers are with your content and the more interested they are in learning about your business.

If your goal is to drive more people to your website, YouTube channel, or Watch page with your video ad, CTR is the right metric to look at and optimize for. Looking at your CTR over time will tell you how well your video ad is doing to drive customers from your ad to your website.

Optimize campaign performance

Once you have a sense of the overall health of your campaign based on the indicators above, you can optimize campaign performance with some of these best practices. If you aren’t seeing the performance you’re expecting for your YouTube & partners line item, making some of these changes could improve issues like underspending or over-targeting.

Refine targeting to reach more relevant audiences

The ability to show your ads online to people with specific interests can help you make sure you’re reaching the right customers. You can show your ads to specific audiences according to their interests, whether they're gamers, pet lovers, or are interested in purchasing a car or home.
By narrowing your targeting, you can show your video ads to a more relevant audience, where it makes sense contextually.

Expand targeting to increase reach

If you aren’t seeing the performance you’d like for your line item, overly restrictive targeting settings are often the cause. Line items frequently can’t purchase impressions because there isn’t enough inventory that matches your targeting options. You can expand some commonly restrictive targeting settings to ensure your line item has the reach you need to meet your campaign goals. Learn more about targeting for YouTube & partners line items

Adjust bid or frequency cap if you're seeing no spend

There are two common reasons why you may see no spend at all on a YouTube & partners line item if the line item is active, has a budget, has active ads and correct targeting settings:

  1. Low bids: You may be bidding too low to win the ad auction. Use line item reach forecasting to see how increasing your bid may improve line item performance.

  2. Frequency limited: Audiences may not be eligible to see your ads based on your frequency cap settings. This is especially true if your line item is targeting a small audience.

Use video remarketing

Video remarketing is a powerful tool that takes viewers' activity on your YouTube channel to create highly specific lists to retarget your ads to. After linking your YouTube channel to your Display & Video 360 advertiser, you can create these lists based on various ways people interact with your videos, such as watching a video, subscribing to your channel, or even liking. Learn more about YouTube audiences

Target Google video partners

About Google video partners

Google video partners are high-quality publisher websites and mobile apps in the Google Display Network where you can show your YouTube ads to viewers beyond YouTube. Publishers are carefully vetted and must abide by Google’s inventory quality standards. Video partners span multiple content categories including entertainment, sports, news, technology, automotive and home and garden, among others.

Video partners are included by default in inventory targeting when you create a YouTube & partners line item in Display & Video 360. To include or exclude video partners from a YouTube & partners line item, edit your Inventory Source targeting from the line item’s Targeting settings page.

YouTube & partners video action line items are automatically opted in to video partners to ensure that you achieve the best performance. Contact your Google account manager if you would like to opt out.

Example of a skippable ad on video partners (desktop)


The benefits of targeting video partners

Show ads on content that fits your brand

Video partners offer the same robust controls, content settings, and targeting that’s available on YouTube. This allows you to have more control over what type of content your ads can appear on or next to, and better tailor your campaigns to your brand.

Reports can be segmented by YouTube and Google Display Network to measure the relative performance.

Engage new viewers outside of YouTube

  • Reach: Video partners can help you engage new users outside of YouTube, so you can increase the reach of your video ads.
  • YouTube views: When a skippable ad is watched on video partners, it will increment the view count of your YouTube video.
  • Impact: Ads on video partners can help customers become more aware of your products and more interested in your brand.

Learn more about Google video partners

Target Google TV inventory

Google TV (GTV) is a media-streaming platform that powers smart televisions, over-the-top devices, and set-top-boxes. GTV allows users to stream TV shows, movies, and other video content from their favorite apps. You can show your video ads on the Google TV home screen through the Masthead ad format, or in the eligible GTV video-streaming apps with in-stream ads.

How ads on Google TV work

Your ads are shown within Google TV in-stream ad inventory, which is a combination of inventory from Google TV channels and Google-owned inventory in popular partner apps.

You can add audience segment targeting to the ad groups of your line item based on your target segment’s interest, habits, and preferences. Google TV network also supports location targeting. Google TV in-stream inventory is only available in the United States.

Ads serving on Google TV are enabled by default for YouTube & partners video line items and YouTube & partners on Connected TV line items using the Efficient reach or Non-skippable line item subtypes, as well as Instant Reserve deals using bumper and non-skippable in-stream ads. You can choose to opt-out of serving ads on Google TV by unchecking the “Google TV” checkbox under Inventory Sources in line item targeting.

Auction line item type

Line item subtype

Bidding strategy

Enabled by default

Ad formats that can serve on Google TV

YouTube & partners video



yes, confirmed
  • Non-skippable in-stream (15 seconds)

Efficient reach 


yes, confirmed
  • Bumper (6 seconds)

YouTube & partners on Connected TV

Non-skippable ads


yes, confirmed

  • Non-skippable in-stream (15 seconds)

Efficient reach


yes, confirmed
  • Bumper (6 seconds)
Note: On January 11, 2024, existing line items enabled to serve on Google video partners were automatically enabled to serve on Google TV. This ensures consistent serving as Google TV in-stream inventory was previously included in the video partners inventory source.

Adjust ad distribution between ad groups

Ads rotation within a YouTube & partners ad group can’t be manually controlled and one ad may spend more than the others. If one video is more likely to be viewed or have an interaction, it may spend more. If a specific ad is not performing as desired consider distributing ads differently between ad groups.

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