YouTube campaigns

YouTube ad sequence campaigns

With video ad sequencing, you can tell your product or brand story by showing people a series of videos in the order that you define. You can use a video ad sequence to build interest, reinforce a message, or create a unifying theme.

About ad sequences

A video ad sequence is made up of a series of ads that you’d like to show to a person. Each ad sequence line item is made up of a series of “steps.” Each step of a sequence is an ad group with an ad. Most of a sequence’s settings are selected at the line item level—such as a bid strategy and targeting—but you’ll select your ad format and bid within each of your sequence’s ad groups. Your ads will serve in the order that you’ve defined in the sequence. Users must have an impression for an ad to see the next ad in the sequence.

Nuances of ad sequence line items

Compared to other types of YouTube & partners line items in Display & Video 360, ad sequence line items have the following structure:

  • One YouTube ad sequence line item contains…
    • More than one ad group, each of which contains…
      • Exactly one ad.

The ad level is where you pick the YouTube video you want to use for that step in the sequence.

The bid strategies available with ad sequence line items include:

  • Target CPM (recommended): You’ll set how much you’re willing to pay every thousand times your ad is shown (this amount is your target CPM), and Display & Video 360 will optimize bids to show your entire sequence to your audience based on that target. This can help you get a higher sequence completion rate.
  • Maximum CPV: You’ll specify the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for an individual view of an ad.

The bid strategy you use will determine which ad formats are available:

Bidding type Available formats
Target CPM

TrueView in-stream ads
Non-skippable in-stream ads
Bumper ads
A combination of the above

Maximum CPV TrueView in-stream ads

More details about progression through your ad sequence

Typically, people will progress through your sequence sequentially, seeing the first video of your sequence, then the video for the next step based on the previous impression, and continuing until the sequence is complete.

In some cases, people will progress through your sequence by seeing the next video in a sequence step when it appears in a different YouTube & partners line item. By following the sequence by video, regardless of the line item that serves it, more people will complete the sequence at a lower cost to you.

As an example, let’s say you have Video 1, Video 2, and Video 3 in a sequence. If Video 2 is also used in another line item, people who have already seen Video 2 through that other line item are immediately eligible to see Video 3 in the sequence.

Keep in mind that frequency capping for sequences limits the amount of times people will see your sequences to 1 sequence per person in a 30 day period.

Create an ad sequence line item

Creating an ad sequence line item has a few different steps from a regular YouTube & partners line item based on the sequence creation.

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

  2. In your insertion order, click the New line item button.

  3. In the page that opens, pick YouTube & partners.

  4. In the following page, enter the following information for your line item:

    • Name for your line item.

    • Select Ad sequence as the line item type.

  5. Click Next.

  6. 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. All targeting for ad sequences is set at the line item level. See the Limitations section below for more details about targeting options in ad sequence line items.

  7. 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 target CPM or maximum CPV as your bid strategy. Note that you won’t be able to change the bid strategy after you’ve added an ad group to the line item.

      • (Recommended) Select target CPM to use all available ad formats.

      • Select maximum CPV to use only TrueView in-stream ads.

    • The frequency cap is automatically set up to 1 sequence per user, per 30 days for ad sequence line items.

      More details about frequency caps and ad sequence line items

      Users will be limited from seeing a step more than once and won't see an entire sequence more than once within 30 days.

      Frequency capping can’t be edited for ad sequence line items.

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

  9. Select Create ad to begin building your ad sequence:

    • Enter a name for your ad group.

    • In the Bidding section, enter your target CPM or maximum cost per view bid based on the bidding type you’re using with this line item.

    • Select an ad format.

    • In the Ads section, follow the steps to set up an ad based on the format. Note that you can only use videos from YouTube channels that are linked to your Display & Video 360 advertiser.

    • Select Add to sequence.

  10. Click Add more ad groups to continue to build out your sequence, adding a new ad group and ad for each video you want in the sequence.

  11. You can reorder the ad groups in the sequence by clicking on the arrow next to each ad group.

  12. Click Create to save your new line item.

Editing an ad sequence

You can add new ad groups, change the order of your sequence, or change the videos in the sequence from the Line item details tab of your line item. You can change the status of the ads and ad groups from the YouTube ad groups tab.

Editing an active ad sequence line item can impact performance and reporting data.

Pausing ad groups or ads within an active sequence

If you pause an ad group or ad within a sequence that’s already started serving, only users who saw your sequence through that step will be eligible for the following steps.

Changing videos in ads within an active sequence

If you change a video within a sequence that’s already started serving, the following issues will occur:

  • Some users will become ineligible to see your sequence and others will repeat the sequence to follow the new sequence order.
  • Reporting may be inaccurate due to users repeating the sequence, missing steps, or other issues.
  • Lift measurement will be interrupted, which may cause inaccuracies in various Lift metrics.

Reporting for ad sequence line items

Ad sequence line items use the same reporting options as regular YouTube & partners line items. You can view metrics per step in your sequence by looking at ad-group level reporting.

You can also see basic details on the performance of your ad sequence from the YouTube ad groups tab of your line item, including impressions or views for each ad group.


  • Targeting
    • Ad sequence line items are only available on the YouTube videos inventory source.
    • You can exclude keywords, categories, and placements at the line item level but can’t include them.
    • Ad group-level targeting is not available for ad sequence line items.
  • YouTube videos
    • You can only use videos from YouTube channels that are linked to your Display & Video 360 advertiser.
  • Other
    • Reach forecasts aren't available for ad sequence line items.
    • Ad sequence line items can’t be edited in bulk or with Structured Data Files.
    • The device-specific bid adjustments available for other YouTube & partners line items are not available for ad sequence line items.
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