Pro Tips, Tutorials

How to Create a YouTube ‘Skippable’ Ad That Won’t Get Skipped

Social media is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience. Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube have all monetized and optimized their platforms for video advertisements, so if you’re on these platforms, you’ve likely seen more than a few. Maybe one of the ads caught your eye, while others scrolled by.

In this “Getting Social” series, I’ll give you the tools to understand how great social-media ads are designed, so you can start making your own engaging content that people won’t just skip past. First, we’re going to cover “skippable” YouTube ads — the ones that give you the option to skip after five seconds, rather than watching the whole thing.


Why Skippable Ads?

The idea of creating a skippable ad may seem counterintuitive at first. Why would you want to make an ad that can be skipped? The goal, of course, is to make your ad interesting enough that it will force the viewer not to skip. So really, we’re making “please don’t skip” ads. But because YouTube technically classifies them as “skippable,” we’re going to stick with it. If you want to know more about the difference between skippable and non-skippable ads YouTube has a great article that breaks it down.

Here are a few useful things you should know about skippable ads on YouTube:

    1. They need to be at least 12 seconds in length.
    2. They are “in-stream” ads that play either before, during, or after the main video on YouTube.
    3. The viewer is able to skip past the ad after 5 seconds.


CBA: Capture, Brand, Action

There are many scenarios in which you might create an ad for YouTube. When it comes to advertising, it’s all about top-level brand awareness and how you can get people down your sales funnel. Only a very small percentage of people actually click on ads and buy anything immediately, but your impressions can still have a real impact.

Whether you’re making an ad for your own brand or for a client, the same rules apply. There are three criteria you should aim for, which I refer to as CBA (Capture, Brand, Action).

    Capture your audience’s attention.

      Experiment with onscreen text, music, and effects. Have some fun, and think: How can I really bring the viewer in?

    Brand your ad in a way that is clear and obvious.

      You don’t want the viewer walking away not knowing what brand the ad was for, so make sure to emphasize that info.

    Action is what you want the viewer to do, so include a direct and singular call to action.

      Only include one call to action. If you try to include more, your message will get diluted.
      Make sure the viewer knows what to do Should they book a ticket? Should they click to learn more?


Fulfilling the Brief

For the tutorial above, the brief is to create a skippable ad for “mock” client called “Wellness.” They want to promote their wellness retreats and get people to book them. The problem is that they didn’t have a budget to send a videographer out to film the retreats. This is where using stock footage, music, and sound effects can really come in handy!

I searched Pond5’s library for “wellness” and “retreat” footage, sound effects, and music, and I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity of shots available. I also used an After Effects Template for the on-screen text in the ad.

Using Premiere Pro, I was able to create the following ad. Watch for the “CBA” elements:

In the tutorial, I walk through how I created this ad in Premiere Pro, along with some editing techniques that might help boost the quality of your next ad. While Premiere Pro is my software of choice, most of the tips covered can be achieved in any other nonlinear editing system. If you’re interested in following along, I placed all of the footage from the ad in this collection.

Using Google Ads

After you export your video from Premiere Pro or other editing software, upload it to the YouTube channel you want to advertise from. You’ll need the video to be either unlisted or public (not private). Then, from your video’s settings, select “Promote.” This will take you through a series of steps to set up your ad in Google Ads (YouTube is owned by Google).

In order to make sure your ad performs well on YouTube and targets the right audience, I’d highly recommend taking a Google Ads Fundamentals course. It’s 100% free and will only take a few hours of your time. It’s important that you understand how daily budgets work before you enter your credit card information.

If you take the course, you’ll learn lots of great additional tips, like the fact that you can actually choose which YouTube partner channels you want your ad to be placed in front of. When you select specific channels you want to target, you can also avoid channels you may not want your ad to play in front of.

Watch the full tutorial above for a detailed breakdown on creating your ads, and if you have any questions afterward, be sure to leave a comment below. Check back soon for more tutorials in our “Getting Social” series!

Explore all the Pond5 media used in this tutorial in the collection below: