YouTube Discovery Ads vs In-Stream Ads (And When To Use Each)

If you want to make the most of your YouTube ads budget, you’re probably wondering:

“Should I use YouTube discovery ads or in-stream ads?”

There is a time and a place for both. In this post, you’ll learn what they are, their benefits, and exactly when to use them.

No more guessing!

Example of a YouTube In-Stream Ad
YouTube In-Stream Ad Example

What are In-Stream Ads?

In-stream ads are 60 to 90 second videos that play before, during, or after the actual video. Viewers don’t have to click anything to see your video ad, it plays automatically.

And since around 25% of viewers watch past the first 30 seconds, in-stream gets your video ad in front of a high volume of viewers. In-stream ads are a format designed for getting people to click through – the whole video links directly to your website, and there’s a huge call-to-action.

The major benefits of in-stream ads are that you get:

  • A low cost per conversion
  • More volume
  • A high CTR

The only major drawback is that you don’t have a very long video to work with – which is where discovery ads come into play.

YouTube Discovery Ad example - In-Feed Video Ads
Example of a YouTube Discovery Ad (In-Feed Video Ad): This ad is shown on the YouTube homepage, and viewers must choose to click on this ad in order to proceed to watch the video ad.

What Are YouTube Discovery Ads?

YouTube Discovery ads (now known as In-Feed Video Ads as of November 2021) show up as a link at the bottom of a video, as a search result, or on the YouTube homepage. People have to decide to click on it in order to watch the video.

They are full-length videos and you can utilize them to provide relevant, value-packed content to your target audience. By doing so, you’ll grow your channel with subscribers who love your content – making it easier to get them into your sales funnel.

If you’re a master of video sales copy, you can have high conversions with people that watch the full video because people who watch a helpful 20-minute video will be more likely to convert by the end (or later on) than those watching a short video ad.

The main benefits of YouTube discovery ads (aka In-feed video ads) are that they help you:

  • Build trust
  • Grow your channel
  • Gain loyal subscribers

Discovery ads definitely have a few drawbacks.

Since people have to actually click on them to watch, the click-through rate (CTR) to view them is usually around 2%. Therefore, you’re going to get a lot less volume with discovery ads.

That can make it a challenge to get to a high level of ad spend.

If you’re not great at long-form content that appeals to your target audience and keeps them engaged, then discovery ads might not be your best bet.

Learn the changes that came with the new name update from YouTube Discovery Ads to In-Feed Video Ads, and how to create YouTube In-Feed Ads below in our video tutorial.

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