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YouTube Ads Go Vertical. How to Get the Most out of This New Feature [+Free Templates]

YouTube vertical ads

The world of video advertising is changing rapidly. People no longer necessarily watch videos on desktop. In fact, 70% of YouTube watch time happens on mobile devices.

And YouTube definitely wants to adjust to the needs of the ever-growing mobile audience, in the best way possible.

Which for YouTube would be — coming up with adjusted mobile video ads!

YouTube vertical ads

What happened to YouTube video ads?

A few days ago, Google announced that vertical video ads are now available for Universal App and TrueView campaigns on YouTube. Google understands it’s important to adjust to viewers’ behavior. Therefore, it’s essential to come up with ads in different formats, including vertical and square.

How does it work?

Now, you can upload video ads in the vertical and square format. When a user watches a video on mobile, the player adapts to the video dimensions, providing the user with a better viewing experience.

YouTube video ads example

Why vertical and square video ads are better for user experience?

Basically, now the video ad can take up more space on the mobile screen. It’s great for business as it helps you deliver your message in a more concise and clear way. The larger the picture, the better your audience can understand it.

Should I only be using vertical and square video ads from now on?

The answer is definitely no. Vertical and square video ads on YouTube do not substitute “traditional” landscape videos.

However, you can complement horizontal YouTube video ads with other formats. The player will check how the user is watching the ad and show the most appropriate format. Moreover, if a user clicks the fullscreen button, the video will expand and occupy the whole screen.

How to set up a YouTube video ad campaign with different video formats

In order to set up a video ad campaign with a vertical or square video, head over to Google Ads and create a new Video Campaign.

YouTube vertical video ads

You can choose your bidding and set up other details, just like you would normally do for any video campaign.

On the very last step, paste a YouTube URL of your vertical/square video ad. In this sense, you would proceed just like with any regular landscape YouTube video.

YouTube vertical video ads choose video

Then, in Settings, you can set specific targeting for mobile devices.

YouTube vertical video ads choose devices

In order to make sure the vertical/square version of the video ad is shown only on mobile devices, set the bidding to -100% for Computers. This way, you will make sure the ad doesn’t show on desktop, as vertical video is not the optimal format to be shown on computers.

YouTube vertical video ads bidding

Once you set up your video campaign, you can preview what it’s going to look like on mobile devices. At the time of testing, Google was still displaying the distorted preview. It wasn’t clear that the video ad would occupy more real estate than a regular landscape video.

YouTube vertical ads preview

However, when I checked the preview on my phone, it was playing beautifully. I could even expand the ad to take up the whole screen!

Tips on Using Square and Vertical Video Ads

Use videos of different ratios

In order to make sure viewers get the best watching experience with your video ads, it’s best to use different video ratios for video and Universal App campaigns. Here are the specs:

  • Landscape: 16:9
  • Either a vertical 9:16 or square 1:1, or both

As noted by Google, “Aspect ratios between these settings are allowed; on the YouTube app, the video player will automatically adjust to ratios between 16:9 and 9:16”.

You might also want to diversify messages that you use with videos of different aspect ratios. Also, make sure your ad rotation is set to “Optimize”. This way, the campaign will choose the best ad for you.

Optimize your vertical video

When you use a square video ad, most likely, it’s going to be displayed well in any case. However, with the vertical video ad, things get a little trickier. As recommended by Google, “avoid core messaging in the top 10% and bottom 25% of the video”.

YouTube vertical ad display


The reason why you might want to follow this piece of advice is that these areas most often get cropped when the video ad is displayed in a non-full screen version. In order to make sure your message gets across to the audience, you might want to place the text either above the bottom 25% or below the top 10% of the video.

YouTube Vertical Video Ad Templates

This new feature by YouTube opens up new opportunities for advertising and engaging your audience on a whole new level. Just imagine how your beautiful ad is going to be displayed on a full mobile screen!

To get your creative juices flowing, here are 5 great templates to use in your next YouTube video ad campaign.

1. Run a sale

YouTube ads are a perfect way to promote a sale or special offer. For more engagement, keep your ad short and concise.

Customize this template

2. Promote a tourist destination

With 1 billion YouTube users, chances are, your audience is using this platform, no matter what niche your business is in. For travel agencies, YouTube is a perfect place to place video ads. After all, what better way is there to promote a destination if not with a stunning video?

Customize this template

3. Share a success story

With flexible targeting opportunities, YouTube vertical video ads allow you to advertise many things, not just a product or service. This video template is perfect for telling people about a success story you recently created with a client. Don’t forget to add a call to action to lead viewers to your website or blog.

Customize this template

4. Showcase a new clothes collection

Want to let the world know you have new stuff out in the stores or online shop? Use this video template to demonstrate new items.

Customize this template

5. Invite people to an online event

Are you hosting an online event, like a webinar or conference? YouTube is a perfect place to promote your event to the digital audience. Use this video template to get more signups.

Customize this template

Over to you

How are you planning to use this new YouTube advertising feature? Share in the comments below!

YouTube Ads Go Vertical

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