With online video consumption going from primetime to all-the-time, we take a look at capitalising on video micro-moments on YouTube with Google TrueView ads.

You might be surprised to know that YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world with over one billion viewers each month engaging in video content. According to E-marketer, the digital video market grew by 52% last year to $5.8bn and YouTube own 19% of this market, making it a key platform in the online video content world. Eighteen million people in the UK watch online videos each day across a number of platforms and this is set to soar as smartphone penetration and 4G availability both continue to increase.

What is a micro-moment?

A micro-moment is when consumers turn to a device to look for answers, discover new things, or make decisions. When we talk about a video micro-moment, we are referring to when a user turns to video for these answers. There are 4 types of video micro-moments:

It’s important to understand your consumer’s intent when you look at being relevant at video micro-moments. When creating your online video strategy, it’s important to identify the video micro-moments where your audience’s goals and your goals intersect. 

Once you have identified these micro-moments when you want to reach your target audience, Google TrueView ads can allow your brand to be there when your audience is looking with useful content that answers their needs, and also helping your audience to find you, even when they’re not looking, with relevant video ads. 

Google TrueView Ads

Google TrueView ads are video ads that appear in the YouTube search results, before, during and after YouTube partner videos, and across the Google Display Network. TrueView ads are called so because advertisers are only charged when a video is actually viewed by a user.

In order for an ad to be eligible for TrueView ads, the video must be uploaded to YouTube. If it is a video you do not want YouTube users to be able to view on your channel, you can set the video status to un-listed and still use it as an in-stream ad.

TrueView ads are managed through a Google AdWords for video campaign and provide similar targeting options to Google Display Network targeting that allow you to target your audience to increase the chances of being there when those video micro-moments happen. Some of the best targeting options to be seen by your audience during these video micro-moments are placement targeting – targeting specific YouTube channels and videos of YouTube partners, and keyword targeting – targeting keywords your target audience are searching on YouTube.

There are three types of ad format you can set up through an AdWords for video campaign:

TrueView In-Stream Ads

TrueView in-stream ads run on videos that are served on YouTube or within Google display network videos, games and apps. For ads to appear on YouTube videos, the user must be a YouTube partner that has decided to make money by displaying ads in their videos. Users have the option to skip the video after 5 seconds in which case you do not pay for the view.

You pay when whichever of the below happen first:

• A user engages in your video ad – clicks on your ad or CTA overlay

• A user watches 30 seconds of your video ad

• A user watches duration of your video ad when it is shorter than 30 seconds

Google recommends that the minimum length of an in-stream video ad is twelve seconds and that the maximum video length is three minutes.

View TrueView in-stream ad spec 

TrueView In-Display Ads

TrueView in-display ads can be displayed on YouTube search pages, watch pages and home pages on desktop and m.youtube.com as well as on YouTube mobile apps on iOS and Android. In-display ads can also show on the Google display network. 

Clicking on an in-display ad will direct a user to the YouTube channel page or watch page of that specific video. You can choose which of these you want a user to be directed through to when setting up your ad group for an in-display ad. 

View TrueView in-display ad spec

TrueView for Shopping

To connect the dots between the moment a person watches a video and the moment they decide to make a purchase, Google have introduced a new feature called TrueView for shopping that makes it easy for viewers to get more information on your products and click to buy.

TrueView for shopping allows you to display product details and images – along with the ability to let the user click to purchase from a brand or retail site within your video ad. And since 50% of views on YouTube come from mobile devices, Google have made sure that it works seamlessly across mobile phones, desktops, and tablets. 

Built on the cards platform Google announced last month, TrueView for shopping enables advertisers to scale the manual process of connecting individual products with individual videos. Thanks to the first-ever integration of the Google Merchant Centre into video ads, advertisers only need to connect their campaign with a Merchant Centre feed to dynamically add products to their in-stream videos, customised for each user through contextual and audience signals like geography and demographic info.

Brands that have participated in early tests of TrueView for shopping have seen strong results for driving interest and sales. Online home goods retailer Wayfair saw a 3X revenue increase per impression served when compared to previous campaigns. Beauty retailer Sephora took advantage of this new ad format to drive +80% lift in consideration and +54% lift in ad recall, and an average view time of nearly two minutes.


If you are not currently implementing an online video strategy, then now is the time to get started. The majority of advertisers have not yet begun advertising with TrueView ads which provides a massive opportunity for your business. Online video is only going to get bigger, make sure your company doesn’t miss out!

If you are currently using AdWords for Video to reach people during these video micro-moments I’d love to hear about your online video strategy and the success you are having, as well as any tips you have to improve results.

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