About YouTube engagements as conversions

You can now track and optimize certain events on YouTube, like a channel subscription, as Google Ads conversions. When a Google Ads account is linked to a YouTube channel, your Google Ads account will receive a new conversion action that can be used to measure and optimize YouTube subscriptions. Grow your YouTube channel audience in Video campaigns or Video action campaigns (VAC) by using YouTube subscriptions conversion action as your goal.

Before you begin

Before setting up your Video action campaign to track subscriptions as conversions, your Google Ads account needs to be linked with the YouTube channel you're promoting. Learn more about Product Linking: Link YouTube channels and Google Ads accounts.

Note: You can use YouTube subscriptions as a measurement-only option, or as a biddable conversion goal in your Video action campaign. If you’re using subscriptions as a secondary metric, you’ll find it in the “All conversions” column as one of the measurement metrics that are available to you. If you’re using it as your primary optimization metric, you’ll find it under the “Conversions” column.


Google AI allows for ads to be served to the most relevant users who are likely to convert. Hence, optimizing for YouTube subscriptions allows you to serve ads to users who are likely to subscribe to your YouTube channel.

  • Compared to TrueView video ads that run using CPV bidding strategy, VAC can be much more efficient for follow-on video and channel engagement.
  • You can use either Maximize conversions bidding strategy to maximize the volume of subscriptions for given spend, or use target CPA to acquire subscriptions at specific cost per subscription.

How to optimize for YouTube subscriptions

Video campaigns

  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Campaigns icon Campaigns Icon.
  2. Click the Campaigns drop down in the section menu.
  3. Click Campaigns.
  4. Click the plus icon , then select New campaign.
  5. Choose Awareness and consideration for your campaign goal.
  6. Select Video as the campaign type.
  7. Choose YouTube engagements from the campaign subtypes.
  8. Add Engagements as a conversion goal.
  9. Continue campaign creation as normal.

Video action campaigns

  1. Set up your VAC campaign as normal by following the instructions to Create a Video campaign.
  2. When selecting a conversion goal for the campaign, choose Use campaign-specific goal settings and select the “Engagements” conversion goal for YouTube channel subscriptions.
    1. If your Engagements goal only includes “YouTube channel subscriptions” as conversions, click Continue.
    2. If your Engagements goal includes other conversions, edit the goal in campaign setup by clicking the “YouTube hosted” option.
    3. When properly set up, you’ll notice in the “Goals” section that under the option to “Use campaign-specific goal settings”, “Engagements (YouTube hosted)” is indicated.
  3. Continue campaign creation as normal.
Note: Make sure that your YouTube channel subscription conversion action is set to “Primary” optimization for the Engagements goal.

Measure results

The most relevant metrics in Google Ads to understand the performance of your engagement are:

  • Conversions: In this case, a conversion is when a user clicked or viewed your ad and subscribed to your YouTube channel within the attribution period.
  • Earned views: Earned views are measured when a YouTube viewer watches subsequent videos on your YouTube channel or Watch pages after viewing your ad. Earned views accumulate whether the same video or another video is watched on your channel.

Best practices

Make sure to follow these best practices to ensure success in implementing subscriptions as your engagement goal in Video action campaigns:

Select Maximize Conversions bidding strategy for the first 10 days of the campaign. After 10 days, you can change it to Target CPA, and set the desired Cost/ Subscription.
Make sure to use audience segments relevant to the content of your channel.
Use video creatives which will attract new viewers to your channel.
Use the URL of the YouTube channel or YouTube playlist URL as the landing URL of your Video action campaign.


Expand all

I can view the subscription conversion action in my Ads account. Does that mean that the campaigns I run from the account will start attributing subscription conversions?

No. Subscription conversions will only be generated from YouTube channels linked to the account. Other key points to remember include:
  • This conversion can only be used with Video action campaigns.
  • Attribution reports aren't available.
  • If there are multiple YouTube channels linked to the same account, the subscription conversions from each channel will be attributed to that account and campaigns can optimize for subscriptions on all the linked channels.

Are there any differences in how Video action campaigns optimizing for subscriptions are served?

  • VAC optimizing for subscriptions serves the same way as other Video action campaigns. The notable differences are that VAC optimizing for subscriptions don't serve on Google video partners and aren’t served to signed-out YouTube viewers. The reason is that signed-in YouTube viewers are the ones most likely to subscribe.
  • VAC ads can also serve with some ad format optimizations to help drive more subscriptions. For example, the call-to-action (CTA) button is replaced with a subscribe button.

From what date is the data for subscription conversions populated?

Data is only available beginning September 14, 2022 or the date when your YouTube channel was linked to your Ads account.
What is the difference between subscription conversions and earned subscribers?
  • Both subscription conversions and earned subscribers track subscriptions attributed to your video ad from linked YouTube channels. However, the attribution logic is different, and the campaign can only optimize for subscription conversion and not for earned subscribers.
  • Earned subscribers use 7-day View-through conversion attribution, while subscriptions conversion by default uses standard Video actions campaigns conversion attribution: 30-day Click-through conversions and 3-day engaged-view conversions. In practice, there won't be a significant difference in the counts of the 2 columns.

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