How Much Does it Cost to Advertise on YouTube

Ben Lund
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How Much Does it Cost to Advertise on YouTube

Cost to Advertise on YouTube

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

Google has attracted millions of advertisers over the years to it’s Google Ads platform, because it provides massive scale (reaching users across Google Search, Google Display Network, and YouTube), the ability to target users based on intent and lastly, it’s payment model has been pay per engagement (i.e. pay per click).
While advertising on YouTube is far different than Google Search, as you’re promoting videos, verse text ads linking to other sites, Google kept a pay per engagement play. When you advertise on YouTube with one if it’s most popular ad formats (skippable in-stream videos), you only pay if a user engages with your video in any of the varieties below:

  • Watches at least 30 seconds of the video (or the full video)
  • Clicks on your ad to go to your website, engages with a  call-to-action overlay,  or a card.

This makes it very enticing for advertisers as they will only pay for engaged audiences. For example, if the user skips the video, the advertiser will not pay. Additionally, advertisers have the ability to setup daily or even monthly budgets, to keep costs in check.

YouTube Advertising Frequently Asked Questions

What does linking a google ads account to a youtube account let an advertiser do?

Linking an YouTube account to Google Ads is required to advertise videos on YouTube. Advertisers can’t simply upload videos within Google Ads, rather they link Google Ads to YouTube to pull in videos they wish to promote.

How does youtube advertising work?

YouTube ads work very similar to advertising display ads on the Google Display Network. It’s a separate campaign you create within Google Ads and you can promote your video to audiences based on:

  • Demographics: Age, gender, parental status or household income
  • Detailed demographics: Targeting including: college students, homeowners, or new parents.
    • Affinity audiences: Users who have a strong interest on a variety of relevant topics
    • Custom affinity audiences: Customized audiences you can create of users who have an affinity towards a collection of specific interests.
    • Life events: Life milestones like moving, graduating from college, or getting married.
    • In-market audiences: Users who are in-market for specific products/services.
    • Custom intent audiences:  Customized audiences you can create of users who are in market for specific products/services.
  • Video remarketing: Reach users who have previously been to your site, or interacted with your video ads and or YouTube channel.
  • Topics / contextual targeting: Reach users who are viewing content around specific topics / keyword groupings
  • Placements: Target specific channels, videos, etc.
What types of ad formats are available for YouTube?

The most common ad format are in-stream ads, but there are other ad formats for consideration.

  • In-stream ads: In-stream ads are skippable ads formats, where advertisers will only pay if a user watches the full video (or 30 seconds) or clicks to on the ad. The advertiser does not pay if the user skips the ad.
  • Bumper ads: Bumper ads are short, 6 second video ads and are charged on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions)
  • Non-Skippable In-Steam Ads: 15 second videos where users are forced to watch and can not skip. These are paid on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions)
  • Outstream Ads: The latest ad format is video inventory on mobile websites, paid by on a vCPM (viewable cost per thousand impressions). In this case, only paying of users can view your video.
By Ben Lund

Ben Lund is a 14+ year digital advertising vet who founded Rise Marketing Group. Outside of managing his agency, he offers advertising courses on SkillShare and routinely shares his best practices on

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