Media Buying Techniques

YouTube In-Stream Vs Discovery 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 in-stream ads or discovery 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!

What are In-Stream Ads?

In-stream ads are 60 to 90 second videos that play before 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.

What Are Discovery Ads?

Discovery ads show up as a link at the bottom of a video, or as a search result. 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 discovery 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.

When Should You Use Each?

Both types of ads can help you grow your business and increase revenue but I generally advise spending around 80% of budget on in-stream ads, and 20% on discovery ads.

However, it varies widely based on your goals, your specific campaigns, and your brand as a whole.
When to Use In-Stream Ads
In-Stream ads are best for shorter videos with a concise message and a strong call-to-action. Use them to get in front of your target audience, and briefly compel them to click through to your website.

When to Use Discovery Ads
Are you great at long-form content and video sales copy?
If so, discovery ads could be a powerful tool for you to build your brand.

Use them to gain new, loyal subscribers, by giving them valuable content up front. They’re also great for getting qualified leads into your sales funnels.

Try Them Out

Now you know what the difference is between in-stream ads and discovery ads, and when you should use each.

Remember, in-stream ads are short videos that play automatically, have a high CTR, and a low cost per conversion. They’re made for getting in front of as many people as possible, and getting them to click through to your site.

Discovery ads, on the other hand, are long videos that show up as search results – best for valuable content that can grab the attention of your target audience and turn them into loyal subscribers.

Which kind of ads do you use most?

Tell us about it in the comments below.

Reach Out!

If you’re part of a successful business that makes over $75k a month, feel welcome to book a call with me to find out how I can help you increase leads, conversions, and revenue with YouTube.