How Much Do YouTube Ads Cost?

  • December 21, 2018

If you want to run a successful digital marketing campaign, you have to attack your problem using many different channels.

Your audience members are located on many different platforms on the internet. Some people are on Facebook clicking on links, reading content, or viewing pictures and videos. Some are on Pinterest sharing photos. Others are on YouTube watching videos.

YouTube is a very powerful source of traffic for any business. If you are serious about taking your operations to a whole other level, YouTube has to be part of the mix.

The clincher? YouTube is not only very effective, it is also quite affordable. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg on YouTube ads to get results. In fact, YouTube views are so affordable that you should expect your ads to cost less than a buck for each video view.

Please note that this is the lower range of YouTube ad rates. It really depends on several factors.

To get a clear understanding of how much it costs to get your brand visible on YouTube, read the rest of this article. We will give you the factors you would need so you can put together an effective ad budget for the YouTube platform.


how much do youtube ads cost


Quick Recap: Why Should You Bother with YouTube?

It’s very easy for a lot of marketing directors to focus on direct traffic like pay per click. They see these platforms as great ways of getting direct results. On top of this, typical business marketing campaigns also allocate some cash for cable TV ads.

The truth is, if you want to reach a younger demographic, YouTube gives cable advertising a good run for its money. If you have a sizable budget, YouTube would make a great supplement to your cable ad buys.

If you own a small company or you’ve just started, YouTube should be one of your first platform choices. It gives you a lot of leeway even if you are working with an almost nonexistent ad budget.

If you would like hyper-targeting your local business to people who actually live within a certain radius of your physical address, YouTube is it. Not only is cable advertising off limits to you, YouTube’s very powerful targeting technology makes for a great hyper local advertising platform. The same applies to Facebook.

How Come?

Why should you pay attention to YouTube? Well, by the time you got to this point in the article, YouTube just got 5 hours of video content.

Stop rubbing your eyes. You read that correctly. In every 5-second block, around 25 video hours are uploaded to video. This translates to around 400 video hours added to YouTube every single minute.

On top of this, YouTube has an active user base of one and a half billion people. Guess what? The number is continuing to rise.

These individuals spend a lot of time on YouTube. They watch a lot of videos. Just how many? Get this: approximately 5 billion views.

If you want to access this amazing market and tap into highly intelligent audience tracking technology, you need to take out an ad on YouTube.

Please understand that increasingly, YouTube is no longer seen by many businesses such as yours as an option. They think of YouTube as somewhere “nice to advertise on, but not absolutely necessary.”

The truth is, thanks to YouTube’s amazing targeting technology, which segments viewers based on their viewing history, the chances of your ads showing up at the right time in front of the right eyeballs to get warm bodies to your local business are quite high.

Now that you can see the potential here, let’ get to the nuts and bolts of YouTube ad cost calculation.


how much are youtube ads


How Does YouTube Price Its Ads?

When you place an ad on YouTube, you are paying per view of that ad. How much will this type of marketing cost?

Generally speaking, an average video ad will cost you between 10 cents and 30 cents each view. However, there are factors that affect the pricing. These are your campaign’s overall goal, how you set up your targeting, and the overall quality of your video.

Generally speaking, this 10 cent per video view rate translates to an ad buy of $1,000 for each 10,000-person block that views your company’s ad.

As mentioned above, the actual price you pay depends on certain factors. We’re going to tackle them one by one in the discussion below.

Video Quality is Crucial

It’s important to understand that you need to get viewers of your ad to stay throughout the complete ad. They have to watch the whole video.

The problem is, a lot of newbie or rookie business advertisers on YouTube focus on their demographic targeting as well as their budget. They think that as long as they pay enough money and they target the right audience, their campaign will work. It doesn’t work that way.

If your video ad looks and feels like it was shot with a potato instead of a high quality digital camera, your video is not going to perform as well. People are not going to sit through your video to watch it. People are not going to bother with it, much less view the whole thing.

You have to focus on the content of the video, not necessarily the production quality. You can pay thousands of dollars for a professional video recording studio to produce your video and your campaign can still fall flat on its face.

The Secret Sauce? Learn to Tell a Story

You can’t just slap together several marketing messages from your brochures or your website. That’s not going to cut it. You have to tell a story creatively because human beings make sense of the world through storytelling.

It’s really important that if you cannot write a compelling story for your ad, you should hire a professional to do it for you. Our company specializes in compelling YouTube video ads. We highlight your brand’s value and we connect with your target audience on a personal level.

That’s precisely where you want to be. Otherwise, your ad, regardless of how slick it looks, is just not going to go anywhere.


youtube advertising


Target the Right Audience

YouTube, like Facebook, gives you a wide range of choices in targeting your audience members.

  • Demographic Details

You can select among parents, income level, gender, age and other factors.

  • Personal Interests

YouTube tracks people based on their video-viewing history. YouTube knows your general interests based on the videos you actually watch. It doesn’t really ask you what your interests are. It is already aware of it based on how you actually behave on YouTube.

Advertisers can target specific topics and this can lead to greater levels of targeting based on personal interests.

  • Retargeting

You can set up your campaign on YouTube to show up more frequently to people who have already viewed your video up to a certain point. They’re obviously interested in what you have to say, but maybe didn’t view the ad all the way before.

By seeing your ad repeatedly, you give them a chance to view your complete video so you can brand them more thoroughly.

  • Ad Placements

You can use YouTube’s traditional ad placement technology by choosing websites, apps, specific videos and specific channels.

  • Target by Topic

If you pick a specific topic, there are many categories underneath it with their own respective videos. Your video’s ads will show in the screens of people who prefer those topics.

  • Keyword Targeting

You can set up your campaign on YouTube to show your video ad when people type certain keywords into YouTube. In a way, this is not much different from Adwords’ pay per click advertising.

One Thing to Think About

Please note that the more parameters you choose (see the list above), the narrower and smaller your audience gets.

This can be a good thing because your video can be highly targeted to people who are almost prequalified to like it. On the other hand, this can be a very bad thing if you haven’t really studied your audience very carefully.

It’s really important to do a little bit of consumer intelligence or survey or some sort of statistical analysis of your intended audience so you can target them better.


youtube ads cost


Ad Format

Another factor that can increase or decrease the price of your campaign on YouTube is the specific type of ad format you choose. There’s quite a number to choose from.

  • Display Ads

These show up on the right side of the video your audience members are viewing. Your video ad will appear on top of the list of related videos or suggested videos on the right side. If somebody’s using a larger player, this type of video ad might show up below the player.

  • Overlay Ads

These are ads that appear at the bottom one-fifth of the video you’ve chosen to advertise on. There are some description texts, and the overlay appears at the bottom.

  • Ads That Can Be Skipped

There are ads that show up on YouTube, and after around 5 seconds pass, the viewer can click on the “skip ad” link at the bottom right of the video.

  • Ads You Cannot Skip

There are two types of ads that you cannot skip on YouTube. Viewers have to sit through the whole video ad. These ads can show up before the video they want to see, during the video play, or right after their preferred video.

Please note that non-skippable videos might be half a minute long.

  • Bumper Ads

These are non-skippable ad units, but they are very short. They can last up to 6 seconds. The viewer has to watch them before they can get to their preferred video.

  • Sponsored Cards

These ad units show content that may be related to the videos the viewer is watching. These can mention featured products that appeared in the video. These also contain teasers that last a few seconds.


youtube ads price


Interested viewers can then click on the icon at the upper right side of the video to check out the cards.

These different formats fall within a fairly wide range. Please note that in-display advertising generally will cost more money, while in-search ads (these are ads that show up after a viewer retrieved search results on YouTube) will cost some more.

Put your YouTube advertising campaign in the right hands. Please note that it’s very easy to blow through a lot of cash on YouTube with very little to show for it. Handled right, your campaign can cost less money while producing a better return on investment.

What’s the difference? Partner up with a qualified and experienced YouTube marketing specialist like our company. We know how YouTube ads work and we know how to position business clients for optimal success. Contact us today.


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Tanya Mendes

Marketing Manager