YouTube campaigns

Create YouTube video action campaigns

YouTube video action campaigns are a simple and cost-effective way to drive conversions across YouTube. YouTube video action campaigns take the best features of TrueView for action and scale them to more places on and off YouTube - all in a single automated line item.

By combining inventory from the YouTube home feed, YouTube watch pages and Google video partners, and more, YouTube video action campaigns can help you drive improved performance for your campaigns by reaching new customers.

YouTube video action campaigns may be a good choice for you if:

  • You want to use video to drive action to your business, service, or product.
  • You’re looking to increase scale or improve CPA performance and efficiency.
  • You already use conversion tracking in your line items.

About YouTube video action campaigns

Ad format

Visual representation of in-stream and video discovery ads on mobile phones.

Ads can also appear in videos running on desktop and in the YouTube app on TV. Functionality may be different depending on the device.



Step 1 Call-to-action

Max 10 characters

Step 2 Headline

Max 15 characters

Used in the skippable in-stream ad format

Step 3 Long headline

Max 90 characters

Used in the in-feed video ad format

Step 4 Description

Max 70 characters

Step 5 Creative options (optional)

Used in the skippable in-stream ad format

You can add:

Adding a creative option may change the overall appearance of the ad. Only one creative option can serve at a time in a single campaign.

Mobile phone Icon Only available on mobile


Bids are set based on either maximizing conversions or target CPA (cost per acquisition). Both of these automated bidding strategies optimize your bids for conversions rather than views in order to drive clicks and relevant conversions on your websites.

  • Maximize conversions (recommended): Display & Video 360 automatically sets bids to help get the most conversions for your campaign while spending your budget. This bid strategy uses advanced machine learning to optimize bids and offers auction-time bidding capabilities that tailor bids for every auction.
  • Target CPA: You set the average amount you’re willing to pay for a conversion, and Display & Video 360 then automatically sets your bids to give you as many conversions as possible at your targeted cost-per-acquisition. Target CPA is only suggested if you have robust conversion data in your Display & Video 360 advertiser.

More details about Maximize conversions bidding

Using historical information about your line item and evaluating the contextual signals present at auction-time, Maximize conversions bidding automatically finds an optimal bid for your ad each time it's eligible to appear. Display & Video 360 sets these bids to help maximize conversions for your line items while spending your budget.
When you’re using Maximize conversions, check your daily budget amount. Maximize conversions will try to fully spend your daily budget, so if you’re currently spending much less than your budget, your spend could increase significantly.

More details about target CPA bidding

Target CPA bidding uses conversion data from your campaign, based on all of the YouTube-enabled Floodlight activities you set up, to predict the likelihood that an engaged user will convert. Display & Video 360 uses this prediction to manage your bids to maximize conversions at your target CPA.

Target CPA is optimized based on YouTube conversions, including clicks and engagements. View-through conversions aren't included in target CPA optimizations.

Your actual CPA may be above or below your target CPA. This is because:

  • Your actual CPA depends on factors outside of Google’s control, like changes to your website, your ads, or increased competition in ad auctions.
  • Your actual conversion rate can be lower than the predicted conversion rate.

Create a YouTube video action campaign

YouTube video action campaigns require YouTube-enabled Floodlight activities. Before you can create a new line item, you’ll need to set up at least one activity. Learn more

Creating a YouTube video action campaign has a few different steps from a regular YouTube & partners line item based on the bidding options and ad setup.

Set up your line item

  1. Start in an existing insertion order or create a new one.

  2. Click New line item.

  3. Click YouTube & partners video.

  4. Enter the following information for your line item:

    • Name for your line item.

    • Select Website conversions as the line item type.

    • Set Ad format as in-stream or in-feed video.

  5. Click Next.

Configure your line item's settings

  1. In the Targeting section, you'll see that the inventory source is set automatically. You can click Add targeting to set other line-item level targeting options. Additional types of targeting are available in the line item's ad groups.

  2. Configure your line item's settings:

    • Pick custom flight dates or use the same dates as the line item's insertion order.

    • Enter the line item's budget and pacing settings. After you save the line item, you can't change between daily and flight, but you can update the budget amount. 

    • In the Bidding section, choose either maximize conversions or target CPA as your bid strategy. If you choose target CPA, set your target bid.

    • Select a mobile, desktop, tablet, or connected TV bid adjustment to set if your line item can serve on these devices.

    • (Optional) Select the line item's frequency cap. Learn more about frequency caps in Display & Video 360.

    • (Optional) Add a lead form to generate leads for your business. Lead forms can serve on mobile and tablet devices running Android. Learn more about lead forms

  3. Select the YouTube-enabled Floodlight activity you want to use to count conversions.

    By default YouTube video action campaigns are optimized based on all the YouTube-enabled Floodlight activities in your advertiser, not just the activity you select to use with the line item.
    Check Use the selected Floodlight activities to drive this line item's performance to override your default YouTube-enabled Floodlight activities and enable line item-specific conversion goals.

Create your ad group and ads

  1. Select Create new ad group to set up an ad group for your line item:

    • Enter a name for your ad group.

    • Click Add targeting to configure ad-group level targeting. Learn more about targeting options for YouTube & partners line items.

    • If you're using target CPA bidding, enter a target CPA for your ad group in the Bidding section. Leave this section blank to use the bid value you set for the entire line item.

    • Click Create new ad to pick a YouTube video to use as a creative, set the landing page, and add a CTA and headline:

      • Enter a name for your ad.
      • Search for a YouTube video or paste a YouTube URL. Videos must be 10 seconds or longer.
      • Enter the landing page URL for your ad. You can customize the display URL for your ad by providing up to two descriptive terms that will be appended to your landing page domain.
      • Enter the text for your call to action, which can contain up to 10 characters including spaces. The CTA should be a compelling action that directs users to the website specified in your final URL.
      • Enter the text for your headline, which can contain up to 15 characters including spaces. The headline should promote your product or service.
      • Add a long headline and description. Long headlines can be up to 90 characters and descriptions can be up to 70 characters.
      • (Optional) Click Ad URL options (advanced) to add a tracking template, final URL suffix, or custom parameters to the final URL. 
      • Select either an image that's automatically generated from the videos in your YouTube channel (recommended) or an image that you manually upload as your companion banner. Companion banners appear on computers only.
      • Click Done to create the ad.


  2. (Optional) If you'd like to use multiple ads, click Create new ad again and repeat the steps above. If you use multiple ads, Display & Video 360 will optimize ad rotation based on views.

  3. Click Done to create the ad group.

  4. Click Create to save your new line item.

When starting a new line item or making changes to bids, targeting, or ads, allow for 7 to 10 days before evaluating performance.

Reporting for YouTube video action campaigns

YouTube video action campaigns use the same reporting options as regular YouTube & partners line items. Learn more

Conversions may take several days to appear in reporting due to delayed interactions between a person’s device and Google. In addition, users don’t always take an action immediately after viewing your ad. When reviewing conversion reports for YouTube video action campaigns, note that the previous 7 days of conversion data may not be complete yet.

Due to the nature of the conversion-based bidding options for action line items, some metrics are measured differently for YouTube video action campaigns than other types of YouTube & partners line items:

  • Engagements
    • For YouTube video action campaigns: The number of clicks on the ad or 10 seconds of viewing time. If both happen, only the click is counted.  
    • For all other YouTube ads: The number of clicks on interactive video elements, such as teasers or expanding cards, that don't take users to an external site.
  • Conversions:

    The number of times users converted based on a 30-day lookback window. View-through conversions are not included in the conversions or total conversions metrics. You can use the separate View-through conversions metric to see this data.

    This count is likely to be higher than the conversions for other types of line items in Display & Video 360 because with YouTube & partners buys, a "conversion" is counted each time a user converts, rather than just once per user per line item. For instance, if a user viewed your ad once and then made 3 purchases, 3 Conversions would be counted.

    For YouTube video action campaigns, engagements that convert are also included using a 3-day lookback window.

Viewing at least 10 seconds of a video ad counts as leading to a website conversion if the conversion happens within 3 days of the engagement. For users who click on your ad, conversions will still be attributed over your current conversion window.

Set up conversion tracking on your website and make sure the global site tag is working properly. Optimize for lightweight conversion events (such as “add to cart” or “site visit”), and choose a conversion counting option that makes sense for your line item. This provides valuable signals to our systems so that you can achieve your desired results faster.

Reporting for conversions:

  • Conversions report: Only the Conversions metric will be shown for the conversion actions you select in the Conversion tracking section of your line item settings. Learn more about conversion tracking in YouTube campaigns 
  • YouTube conversions report: By default includes all YouTube-enabled Floodlight activities at the advertiser level. If you enable line item-specific conversions goals, the YouTube Conversions metric will only include the selected YouTube-enabled Floodlight activity. View-through conversions in the YouTube conversion report will show all YouTube-enabled Floodlight activities at the advertiser level.

We provide an inventory source breakdown between Google video partners and YouTube inventory.

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