A Guide to YouTube Audio Ads

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A Guide to YouTube Audio Ads

YouTube recently announced that they are launching audio ads in an attempt to reach a different segment of their audience. While the idea of a video site like YouTube using ads in an audio format may sound strange at first glance, it all makes sense when you understand the new ways people choose to interact with the platform.

Podcasts are growing in popularity, and according to YouTube, more people are using the site as their primary source for audio content. This could have many implications for advertisers, and savvy ones could take advantage of it. Let’s take a look at how YouTube ads work, how you could take advantage of audio ads, and a few tips to get started.

What Are YouTube Audio Ads Exactly?

Audio ads are similar to regular YouTube ads with the exception that they consist of a voiceover over a simple video animation or a still image. They are currently in their beta stage and spots are on auction on Google Ads and Display & Video 360. These are priced on a CPM basis.

Note that you get practically all the same functionalities as in regular YouTube ads. This means that you get the same BrandLift measurement tools, bidding strategies, and targeting options.

Who Would Want to Use Audio Ads on YouTube?

YouTube is trying to sell this as a tool to reach people who listen to music specifically on YouTube. According to them, 50% of users who listen to music on the platform listened to an average of 10 minutes per day. Not to mention that search seems to be dominated by music-related queries. Again, according to their data, more than 57% of all searches are related to music.

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The Explosion in Live Performances

Another thing that may have pushed YouTube to offer audio ads is the growth in musicians using the platform to stream performances. As we saw, musicians have had to get creative to keep performing, and many decide to turn to YouTube and other streaming platforms to stay in the mind of their audience and keep earning income.

We still don’t know if we’re going to be able to have festivals this year, and we saw some cancelled festivals bring their lineup to the streaming stage last year. The format is likely to remain popular after the pandemic, which could make it a great opportunity for advertisers with the right product to get their ads heard by the right people.

If you’re wondering if ads would interrupt the flow of the performance, know that regular ads are already doing that, but are much more disruptive than audio ads. People often listen to audio content in the background and audio ads would not feel so out of place there. Similar to radio ads, they can fit seamlessly and be a much better option for musicians as well.

Audio ads are a perfect fit for musical content. We’ve seen it work in radio for years and later on platforms like Spotify and SoundCloud. There is no reason for them to not work on YouTube when displayed on the right type of content.

Benefits of YouTube Audio Ads

There are multiple benefits to audio ads that advertisers should consider. First of all, it allows them to extend the reach of their video campaigns into new inventory for a low cost. It has also been shown to be a great tool to build brand awareness. During the alpha testing phase, YouTube found that 75% of the measured campaigns had a significant effect on brand awareness.

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But one of the biggest benefits of these ads for advertisers is lower production costs. A lot of advertisers have been reluctant to use the platform because they don’t have the money for production or are afraid that their ads will not look professional enough. Audio ads greatly democratize the platform and make ads more accessible.

Tips for Getting Started

First of all, it’s important to know that you can’t display audio ads on any type of content. You can only show your ads on podcasts or musical content. You should also know that the industry you’re in will affect whether you’re eligible or not. For instance, anything that has to do with gambling, alcohol, and healthcare & medicine is prohibited. Brands are also required to run two BrandLift surveys in order to be eligible.

How to Start Your First Campaign

YouTube mentioned simplified buying as one of the benefits of audio ads, and they weren’t lying. The process is extremely simple and straightforward.

All you have to do is log into your Google Ads account. Next, go to “video campaigns” and press the plus button. Next, go to new campaign > brand awareness and reach > video campaign (type), then choose audio. From there, all you have to do is enter your budget details and bid.

Google states that since these are still in the beta stage, features can be added or removed at any time. So, if you’re having issues with your campaigns because of missing features or are having difficulty setting up your campaign, contact their sales reps.

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You should also know that there are limitations on audio ads. For instance, they cannot be more than 15 seconds long. The file size cannot be more than 128GB in total, and the resolution can be anywhere from 240p to 2160p. The aspect ratio has to be 16:9 and you can add a companion banner and call-to-action on request.

Tips for Creating Successful Ads

The first thing you have to make sure of is to catch your audience’s attention with these ads since they’re so short, so be interesting. Focus on the audio aspect and make sure that the tone of voice is soothing and conversational. You want it to flow naturally with the content. Also, try to keep your message under 40 words so information doesn’t seem to be crammed in there, and make sure to add a vocal call to action at the end.


Now that you know a little bit more about sound ads for YouTube, it’s time for you to explore your options and see how you could benefit from them. Don’t be afraid to try and tweak your efforts until you reach your objectives.