At a time when it’s never been more difficult to cut through the clutter and resonate with your target audience, it’s crucial that marketers master the skill of developing stand-out digital creative. We learned that 63% of users aged 18 to 34 are using ad-blocking software, whilst 41% of internet users overall block ads. And a recent survey showed that it has become increasingly difficult for consumers to recall any distinctive TV advertising (good or bad), yet another indication that not only are consumers switching their viewing habits but are also zoning out when exposed to poor creative.

YouTube has recognised the difficulty brands face to create content that effectively captures their audience’s attention and have developed a very helpful and comprehensive Playbook for Creative Advertising. The playbook is a detailed guide based on a collection of learnings from some of the most successful videos and campaigns on YouTube and is a fascinating read for brands, businesses and agencies alike.

The playbook covers a range of topics, from channel and advertising strategy to measurement and optimisation. However, for this post we wanted to look a little closer at the section on Guidelines for Great Creative and summarise the key takeaways along with some additional insight and examples.

Based on a data pool drawn from over 6,000 ads across multiple sectors in the FMCG industry and a range of insights from TrueView Brand Lift studies, Google have put together a set of recommendations that give marketers a creative framework when concepting ads for YouTube.

A: Attract

As an advertiser, you have limited time and opportunity to capture your audience’s attention. When a consumer is on YouTube, they’re often there for fun or entertainment so you need to produce something compelling enough to stand out.

B: Brand

Although standing out and grabbing attention is key, it’s essential to have clear, prominent branding within the ad. Whilst it’s important to integrate your brand within the first 5 seconds, the trick is to do so naturally so that the brand feels a part of the story rather than something separate.

It’s also worth acknowledging that how you feature your brand will depend on the brand metrics you’re looking to influence. For example, ad recall is the extent to which an ad is remembered regarding a brand, product or service, whilst brand awareness is the extent to which consumers are familiar with a particular brand of goods or services. All the tactics featured with the ‘Brand’ section (as well as the other three sections), can impact these two metrics in different ways.

C: Connect

The power of storytelling is something we’ve covered previously and is one of the most effective ways of connecting with the viewer and keeping them engaged for longer, all of which is associated with a lift in brand awareness and consideration.

D: Direct

The final element in YouTube’s creative principles is concerned with what you want the viewer to do after you’ve captured their attention. This is a crucial step in digital and something not always possible with traditional video and therefore a great opportunity to signpost a next step and boost brand lift at the same time.


When you’re brainstorming and crafting video concepts, remember ABCD. Make an impact from the very start to grab the viewer’s attention, integrate the brand naturally to improve ad recall, establish a connection with good storytelling and finally use a clear CTA to drive brand lift and make it easy for viewers to take action.

So, do you believe that the ABCDs work for your business and do you need a bit of further guidance? Then feel free to contact today.


Leave a Reply