YouTube Ads for B2B: A Primer

YouTube ads are a great way to reach your target audience, even if they’re not actively searching for your products or services. This blog post will give you the lowdown on YouTube advertising and how it can be used as an effective marketing tool in B2B settings, based on my experience using them to generate leads for solar sales, and increase user signups for SaaS products.

YouTube is one of the most popular video-sharing sites on the internet with 1 billion active users every single day. It’s also the second largest search engine.

It’s no wonder that marketers have been using this powerful platform to advertise their brands since 2007, when the Google Ads team first introduced them to advertisers looking for a new outlet.

These days, it’s easy to create a YouTube ad from scratch or promote your videos from within other social media channels like Facebook and Twitter–the opportunities are endless!

It used to be that people in B2B marketing had very limited options for reaching niche audiences on YouTube.

It was fine if you had TVs or energy drinks to sell, but if you needed to target a more specific business audience, you were out of luck and forced to target audiences like “business travellers” (whatever that means).

Now though, you’re able to be a million times more specfic in which audiences you can select to show ads to, which has opened up massive opportunites for B2B companies that already have good product market fit.

Video marketing using YouTube ads is like having the entire world of potential customers all turning up at your booth in a giant trade show – good news for B2B marketers!

The Opportunity

YouTube for B2B: Overall Marketing Strategy

Rule number one of YouTube lead generation is that first, you must have the right offer that works with paid traffic.

I can’t emphasise this enough. If you do not have an offer that fits with how paid traffic works, then you will burn cash and waste your time. There’s no amount of fancy AI targeting that will force an offer to work.

So how do you ensure you have a good offer?

First you need to understand that there are different groups of people availabe to you on YouTube (or any other ad platform). Typically, these audiences are:

  • The small but highly invested audience
  • The wider but less invested audience
  • Everyone else on YouTube
  • understanding the principles of thwe audiences on paid traffic
  • the angle of your offer
  • who it can be sold to
  • pricing
  • first undertand who you’re talking to – if you try to talk to everyone else the way you’d talk to the highly invested audience, it will not work.

Types of Video Ads on YouTube

Instream ads are the standard skipable ads which you see when you’re trying to watch another video. These are the simplest ones and therefore the best to start with. Find the simplest thing possible which works, and then only make it more complex if absolutely necessary.

Examples of B2B YouTube Ads

How to Find Examples


  • Having a good script means a much lower cost per click, which means an overal much lower cost to aquire a new user.
  • Most important thing: knowing what your customer really wants. Not what you think they want.
  • People essentially want effortless quick results
  • Make sure to create many scripts in order to figure out which one works best.

Script opener: Hook Viewers Quickly

You need to call out the intended audience quickly, and get them to keep watching. A lot of people think they just need to do something really attention grabbing for everyone, but you actually want to focus on the specific audience who might want to try your product. This is especially the case in B2B.

It used to be true that YouTube would only charge you for people who watched past 30 seconds, and so you will probably read other advice that tells you to actively tell non ideal customers to stop watching and click skip. That has since changed, and in most cases you will pay per 1,000 ‘impressions’ instead. But it’s still important to capture the attention of the right people early on your video.

“Kick the bruised knee” to Build Emotional Tension

The emotional tension here means that people will be more likely to watch what happens next.

It’s an opening scene from a TV show, and even if you can’t explain it in words, the audience knows exactly what is going on – do they help this person or not?

Build Relationships by Showing them You Understand their Pain

The second they feel like you understand them, they will be much more likely to watch your video.

Show that You Understand their Pain Better than Competitors

People are always willing to hear about how something works when it’s relevant and if they think there is an easy way out of their problems.

Show that You Can Help Solve their Problem

You need to show them why you are the best solution.

So if they feel like another company might be able to help, but only after a long drawn out process, then it’s not relevant for them right now and they will most likely ignore it.

Be Authentic in order to Build Trust.

People buy based on trust. Don’t make unrealistic promises here, B2B buyers might still be influenced by emotion, but they’re also savvy and will see through an over promising.

Call to Action

Most people will skip your video if you don’t tell them to watch the end. Make sure that you ask for something at this point, such filling out a form, taking a free assesment, booking a call on your calendar, or signing up for a free trial.

Show this next step on screen.

Make it so obvious that a five year old could not miss it.

It’s not patronising, it’s simply an effective digital marketing strategy, just as skilled pilots have incredibly simple prompts and checklists for times when they are least likely to be paying a lot of attention to something important.

Video production

Finding a presenter

Finding a presenter for your YouTube ads is important, because this is where viewers will feel the most trust in your product.

Explainer videos using animation are great, but I’ve found that seeing actual human beings in your skippable ads is a great way to hook viewers quickly and really connect with potential customers.

If you’re not good at public speaking yourself (for example as the co founder of the product) but still want to do a video ad campaign I would suggest looking for someone who can speak on behalf of your company who has a lot of experience being on camera.

Finding an Editor

This is a tough one, but it’s important.

Find someone who really understands how YouTube ads for B2B work and knows what they are doing with video production – don’t just hire anyone!

It needs to be done well in order to get results, so make sure you have this covered before trying to launch your ad campaign.

Low Budget

Envato Elements – $15 / month.

Unlimited downloads of stock footage, as well as illustrations, music, etc.

The quality is generally very good, although the search features aren’t very refined so you will spend longer searching than on Filmsupply.

Medium Budget

Shutterstock – Pay per clip, starting at around $30 but varies depending on the clip and your usage.

They have the largest range of footage available out of these three, and possibly the largest range available anywhere. So chances are if you’re looking for something quite specific, then they will have it. To give you an example I recently produced some videos for an large health insurer. They wanted to see an older person having a physiotherapy session at home. Pretty specific! And I was able to easily find this on Shutterstock.

Big Budget

Filmsupply – Starting at a few hundred dollars per video.

Filmsupply is the most expensive option but also by far the highest quality. They have tons of cinematic content available to license.



Targeting the right audience is absolutely critical to the success of your video ad, and it’s something that a lot of people neglect.

Identify who you think would be interested in your product or service. You could get this information from social media, Google analytics about where they originally came from, etc.

What I’ve found works best however for companies new to YouTube ads for B2B, is to use Placement Targeting. This is where you allow YouTube to show ads on specific videos and other channels that people are watching related to your product.

This is a bit of time consuming process, but totally worth it if you seriously want to generate leads and sales for your business.

Another option that can work well if you already have a branded YouTube channel is to retarget viewers, as you’ve already started to build relationships with them. If you don’t have an existing YouTube channel with a decent amount of recent watch time, then you can also try retargeting visitors to your company website.

Next Steps

As you can see there is a lot that goes into launching an effective YouTube ad campaign, but it’s worth it if done well.

Depending on your budget and the size of your business I would suggest starting with placement targeting as this will help to filter out people who won’t be interested in what you have to offer right away – saving both time and money.

Create a 3-4 variations of your video script, get it filmed and edited and then you’re away!