What Do YouTube Shorts’ New Ad Formats Mean for Brands?

Ever since Google unveiled ads on YouTube Shorts last year, brands have been innovating ways to drive performance in their direct-response campaigns, utilising immersive vertical video ads in their app campaigns to boost their organic Shorts content.

That’s only the start. Because so explosive is the popularity of Shorts that many brand leaders, including clients at my own performance marketing agency, Pixated, are already asking Google what’s next for the short-form video medium, which looks set to help them gain greater visibility than ever among their audiences. And YouTube has responded—with new ad formats for Shorts, including video-reach and expanding-reach ads for the infeed environment.

All the while, Shorts has been gaining momentum. In 2022 it generated 50bn daily views, and there was an 80% increase in the number of channels created. And while it’s not all cause for celebration—after all, in Q1 2023 YouTube’s ad revenue fell by 3% compared to Q1 2022—advertisers on the platform face exciting and potentially prosperous times ahead, as they can now access the Shorts inventory through performance-oriented ad formats like App Install campaigns, Performance Max and video action campaigns.

Shorts Can Help You Maximise Your Reach

Youtube trends, especially Youtube Shorts, are shaping the future of video marketing. Many are already touting YouTube Shorts as the place where pop culture meets self-expression. It’s important to remember that when viewers turn to Shorts, they’re already in the mood for discovery, which creates an ideal environment for advertisers to reach new audiences.

It was with this in mind that Google recently expanded Shorts into video action campaigns, which leverage Google AI to optimise the combination of ads while enhancing both brands’ reach and efficiency on YouTube. Moreover, it’s added infeed video ads to these campaigns, empowering brands with more opportunities than ever to connect with their audiences across the platform. Now advertisers can simply upload a vertical video up to 1 minute in length along with their other assets. Naturally some brands favour horizontal creative—and fortunately YouTube’s campaign setup tools even include AI-powered features that automatically adapt and optimise video for the vertical screen.

Shorts Enable Brands to Appear Next to Trending Content

Through YouTube Select, advertisers have previously been able to choose between YouTube-curated content packages, surrounding their ads with the most popular content on the platform, and all in a brand-suitable environment. Now the same technology has come to Shorts, giving brands the chance to reach the 1.5bn monthly users of the short-form video platform. In this way, ads can now appear alongside the most relevant videos in viewers’ Shorts feeds, keeping a brand top-of-mind as users scroll.


Furthermore, with the new First Position on Shorts which has been piloted across YouTube Select, advertisers can even break through before a viewing session has begun. When a user opens Shorts and starts watching, the company ad will be one of the first they see, helping the brand land a strong first impression in an already highly immersive environment.

Advertisers Can Now Boost More Brand Awareness than Ever

Shorts fuels brand engagement and discovery, and perfectly complements YouTube’s traditional longer-form videos. Users are now moving seamlessly between two, and more and more are citing YouTube as their favourite place to watch creator content, both long-form and short-. So if a brand can tap into YouTube’s potential for its own awareness campaigns, they have the chance to convey their creative messaging to ever-expanding and ever more diverse audiences, not only maintaining their relevance and nurturing their relationship with viewers, but even potentially getting ahead of the competition and leveraging Shorts’ new ad formats to turbocharge their reach and visibility.

About Pixated

Pixated is a performance marketing and web design agency with a proven track record for scaling up some of the most exciting brands.

With a team of experienced in-house specialists at hand, Pixated is the go-to agency when it comes to crafting high-converting campaigns geared towards generating the best ROI for ambitious brands around the world, freeing them up to focus on what they are good at.