Conversion Optimization

How To Improve Your YouTube Ads To Increase Advertising ROI

June 21, 2024
A bar graph with a red arrow on top of it showing an upward trend. A hand pointing in the background at the top of the arrow.
Damian Pandolfo
Written by

Damian Pandolfo

Product Manager

Table of Contents

YouTube is one of the largest and most popular websites on the Internet, with over 2 billion monthly active users, it is the place to be as a brand. Advertising on a massive platform like YouTube can be a very effective way to reach and engage with a large audience, especially if you take advantage of the platform’s targeting and analytics capabilities. But how can you, as a brand, increase the effectiveness of your advertising on YouTube? Here are our recommendations to help answer that question.

Reconsider what ads are

There’s a standard notion that video advertising can only be a quick 20-second spot that requires significant production costs. While several prominent advertisers use this technique on YouTube, this “old school” approach does not fully apply here. YouTube advertising can be successful in many forms. As long as they stand out, grab attention, and leave a lasting impression.

Check out some of the top advertisements of last year. YouTube publishes a leaderboard of the top ads on its platform, based on a special algorithm that tracks the most engaging ads that people choose to watch. Find out more about the Youtube ads leaderboard here.

Image source: Think with Google
Image source: Think with Google

Improve the creative

The effectiveness of digital advertising campaigns is significantly influenced by creative, with research showing that creative has the highest share of impact on the success of digital campaigns at 47%. To be effective, ads must capture attention and evoke emotion. But how do you know if your creative will be good enough?

Measuring factors like creative used to require brain scans or expensive consumer panels, but advances in artificial intelligence and cutting-edge technology have made it much more affordable. As a result, it’s a good idea to set aside a (small) portion of your advertising budget for pre-testing and optimization. For example, is a platform specifically designed to pre-test and optimize YouTube ads, quickly benchmarking your ad on key elements to determine overall effectiveness.

Go beyond demographic targeting

Apart from having effective ads, it is also essential to display them to the appropriate target audience at the appropriate time. However, how and where do you find the right target group? The Google Ecosystem offers an enormous database with readily accessible information about your target audience and future customers.

This knowledge enables you to advertise based on consumer interests and strategically utilize their intentions and preferences. By combining the signals from YouTube, Google Search, Google Chrome, and Google Play, you can focus on the consumer. By tailoring your ads to the viewer’s interests and merging them with data from entities in the Google Ecosystem, you can create rock-solid targeting. The outcome is high-quality targeting with minimal spending.

Google offers many possibilities of targeting for video ad campaigns. For example, you can target certain users who search for a specific term with search-based targeting. If you’re advertising special deals for hotel rooms, you could target users that have been searching for holiday destinations in a nearby area.

Use the correct format

Know what you want to accomplish with your YouTube advertising. Is it lead generation, sales, or brand awareness and consideration? YouTube has a variety of video ad formats (skippable, non-skippable and bumper), and depending on your goal, one format may be more effective than another.

Bumper ads, for example, are only 6 seconds long, but can have a substantial impact on brand awareness. When Google analyzed 489 bumper ad campaigns, it found that 61% had a significant increase in brand awareness, with an average increase of 9%.

A good implementation was done by Xfinity Mobile, they were a new entrant in an established market, so they needed to show consumers why it was worth switching to Xfinity Mobile. They set clear goals to increase awareness and consideration. The tool they used to achieve these goals were bumper ads that told viewers how much the video they were about to watch would cost in mobile data. See the example below.

The bumper ad videos were very effective, Xfinity Mobile saw 113% increase in brand interest, 3x more search and 10.000 new customers.  

A combination of video ad formats is also possible and could bring positive results, Adidas did this to great effect with the launch of their new Nemeziz soccer shoe.

Adidas developed multiple sequential video options for viewers based on whether they watched or skipped the initial ad that focused on their product. The viewers who demonstrated the highest level of interest in their message by watching both the initial bumper ad and the subsequent longer hero video were subsequently presented with an advertisement that provided a more comprehensive examination of the product itself.

As a result of this campaign, Adidas measured a 33% increase in brand awareness and a 317% increase in product interest.

No more overlay ads

The YouTube platform is always evolving, as a result, one of the ad formats is being discontinued, YouTube has announced it will stop showing overlay ads in videos on April 6. Overlay ads were only shown when watching on a desktop device, and appeared as a banner at the bottom of the video (see image below). You could click away, but YouTube said they were still very distracting and intrusive.

Image source: promo
Image source: promo

The platform expects that the loss of overlay ads will be made up for by the fact that advertisers will soon choose one of the other three ad options.

Key takeaways

We hope this article will help you on your YouTube advertising journey. To wrap up, here are the most important takeaways:

  • Reconsider what ads are: as long as they stand out, grab attention and leave a lasting impression they’ll be effective.
  • Creative is king: digital advertising success is predominantly determined by the creative. Use AI tools like for pretesting & optimization.
  • Improve targeting: use all of the google ecosystem tools to cater to your audience’s interests.
  • Suitable formats: choose the best format depending on your campaign goal.

Would you like additional help with optimizing your YouTube video ads to improve your advertising ROI? Book a free demo with and find out what the platform can do for you!

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