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If we are being honest here, there are no best practices in the real world for marketing and advertising. It is a very nuanced topic that generally varies heavily for different companies. Having said that, there are always some directional signals or general structures that you can use as a foundation to get started and iterate to find your best fit.

In today’s article we will talk about the foundational structure for a YouTube ad creative or a good video ad in general and then share a real world example of that with you by demonstrating and analyzing a YouTube video campaign by Slack 

Structure of a Good YouTube Ad

Most performance and data driven marketers over index on the media and distribution, they generally pay a lot less attention to the creative, which is a MASSIVE miss. But it is understandable because let’s be honest, being creative is hard.

The best marketers and media buyers know this well, that good creative and media go hand in hand, neither is complete without the other.

YouTube ads are a particularly big challenge because unlike most other platforms it emphasizes a dynamic creative i.e video, which undoubtedly is more effective in conveying the message but also harder to execute and develop.

So let’s look at the anatomy of a video ad and its ideal structure (we will assume a 60 second ad duration for the sake of this guide).

Pro Tip: Think of your ad as a funnel in itself, which starts with grabbing attention at the start, building interest and desire in the middle and finally driving a conversion at the end.

  1. Hook (0-5 seconds):
    Capturing attention and convincing the consumer to watch the content is the goal here, this part needs to signal that this is either relevant or interesting to the consumer . This could be a provocative question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement..
  2. Problem Statement (15-30 seconds):
    This needs to validate what they felt in the hook, address a common problem or pain point that your target audience faces relevant to your solution/product and highlight its implications.
  3. Solution (30-45 seconds):
    Present your product or service as the solution to the aforementioned problem.
  1. Call-to-Action (45-60 seconds):
    End with a strong call-to-action. Tell viewers exactly what you want them to do next, such as visiting a website, signing up for a demo, or watching another video.

Best Practices for Each Part of the Video Ad Structure

1- Hook:

  • Start with a Question or a Bold Statement:

Immediately engages the viewer by prompting them to think or react.

Example: “What if you could reach all your business goals in half the time?” or “Stop wasting money on ineffective marketing!”

  • Show a Relatable Problem

Instantly connects with the audience’s pain points, making the video immediately relevant.

Example: Open with a scene showing someone struggling with a common issue that your product or service can solve, such as slow software or inefficient processes.

  • Use Striking Visuals or Unexpected Imagery

Captures attention through strong visual elements that stand out.

Example: Use vibrant colors, dynamic animations, or unusual scenes that are hard to ignore.

  • Incorporate Humor

Makes the ad memorable and enjoyable, increasing the likelihood of shares and extended viewing.

Example: Start with a funny scenario or a humorous mishap that is unexpected but related to the product’s context.

  • Leverage the Power of Emotions

Emotional appeals can create a quick and deep connection with the audience.

Example: Begin with a touching or heartwarming moment that draws viewers in through empathy or joy.

  • Offer a Shocking Statistic or Fact

Provides a compelling reason for viewers to pay attention and learn more.

Example: “Did you know that 90% of startups fail within the first year? Here’s how to be in the successful 10%.”

  • Showcase a Quick Win

Demonstrates immediate value by showing a quick benefit or an easy win.

Example: “Improve your team’s productivity in just one click.”

  • Utilize Social Proof

Builds credibility and trust right from the beginning.

Example: Start with a testimonial clip or mention a statistic about how many people have already benefited from your product.

  • Invoke Curiosity

Keeps the viewer watching to satisfy their curiosity about what happens next.

Example: Begin with a mysterious scenario or an incomplete narrative that urges viewers to keep watching to get the full story.

  • Highlight a Time-Sensitive Offer

Creates a sense of urgency that compels viewers to act quickly.

Example: “For 24 hours only, get exclusive access to our premium features!”

Problem Statement:

Relate to your audience. Show understanding and empathy for their challenges to build trust.

  • Use Data to Highlight Severity

 Adds credibility and urgency.

Example: “Did you know that 60% of small businesses face significant profitability challenges due to poor inventory management?”

  • Contrast with an Ideal Scenario

Shows what could be achieved by solving the problem.

Example: “Imagine cutting your administrative tasks in half and having real-time data to make smarter buying decisions.”

  • Focus on the Consequences

Underscores the importance of addressing the issue.

Example: “Inefficient inventory management not only costs you time but can lead to a 20% loss in sales annually.”

  • Keep it Simple and Direct

Ensures clarity and memorability.

Example: “Are outdated methods slowing down your business growth?”

  • Invoke Emotion

Engages the viewer on a deeper level.

Example: “Feel like you’re always playing catch-up with your inventory? You’re not alone.”

  • Use Customer Testimonials to Illustrate the Problem

Provides real-world validation of the problem.

Example: “Hear from John Doe, who spent hours each week reconciling inventory before switching to our solution.”

  • Show, Don’t Just Tell

Visually reinforces the problem.

Example: Visuals of overwhelmed employees under stacks of paperwork, contrasted with smooth digital operations.

  • Link the Problem to a Larger Trend

Broadens the relevance of the issue.

Example: “As the market grows more competitive, efficient inventory management is no longer optional for survival.”


Clearly demonstrate how your product solves the problem. Use simple language and avoid jargon unless it’s widely understood in your industry.

  • Demonstrate the Benefits, Not Just Features

Focuses on the practical value of the solution for the viewer, rather than just listing product features.

Example: Instead of just saying your app has real-time data processing, show how this feature leads to faster decision-making and reduced downtime for a business.

  • Use Before and After Scenarios

Visually represents the effectiveness of the solution.

Example: Start with a chaotic scene of a cluttered office with stressed employees, then cut to a calm, organized office using your digital management tools, highlighting the transformation.

  • Incorporate User Testimonials

Adds credibility and relatability through real-world proof.

Example: Include a quick snippet from a satisfied customer saying, “Using [Product Name] cut our processing time by 40% and reduced errors significantly.”

  • Visualize the Ease of Integration or Use

Assuages fears about the complexity of adopting a new solution.

Example: Show a quick and easy setup process or a simple user interface, emphasizing minimal learning curve.

  • Highlight Unique Selling Propositions (USPs)

Differentiates your solution from competitors.

Example: If your software offers an industry-exclusive feature, such as AI-driven predictions for inventory needs, highlight this as a key advantage.


Be clear and compelling. Use urgency and value, like limited-time offers or exclusive downloads, to encourage immediate action.

Some interesting data around Video ad creatives

  • Video Length:
    For B2B and SaaS, shorter videos (30-60 seconds) often work best for direct response objectives, while longer formats (2 minutes or more) are beneficial for educational or brand awareness campaigns.
  • Engagement:
    Videos that directly address the viewer (using words like “you” and “your”) can increase engagement rates by up to 65%.

Style and Tone

This is one where there are no best practices, it is more so dependent upon your own branding and brand image. You can be as serious, dorky, professional or buttoned up as you like, however do remember that you are connecting with humans and it is important to be empathetic in your communication approach with them.

Changes Based on Different Placements and Objectives

  • In-Stream Ads vs. Discovery Ads:
    In-stream ads should be more direct and impactful since you have only a few seconds to engage viewers before they can skip the ad. Discovery ads, appearing in search results or on the homepage, should be more informative and inviting as they need to entice clicks.
  • Brand Awareness vs. Conversion:
    For brand awareness, focus on telling a story about your brand or explaining the ‘why’ behind your product. For conversion-focused ads, emphasize the product’s benefits and include a strong, clear call-to-action.

“So Yeah, We Tried Slack” : A campaign by Slack

Breakdown of the Ad

  • Hook (0-5 seconds):
    The ad opens with a relatable workplace scene, showing a frustrated employee dealing with an overflowing email inbox.
    The immediate introduction of a common problem grabs the viewer’s attention.
  • Introduction (5-10 seconds):
    The Slack logo and product interface quickly appear on screen, associating Slack with a solution to the problem introduced.
  • Problem Statement (10-20 seconds):
    The video highlights the chaos of traditional communication methods in the workplace, like confusing email threads and missed messages.
  • Solution (20-35 seconds):
    Slack demonstrates its platform in action, showing organized channels, seamless integration with other tools, and easy file sharing.
  • Call-to-Action (35-40 seconds):
    The ad concludes with a simple, direct invitation to “Try Slack with your team for free,” encouraging immediate action.

Style and Tone

  • Tone:
    The ad maintains a light, slightly humorous tone, which makes the product feel approachable and user-friendly.
  • Visual Style:
    Bright and clear visuals focus on the Slack interface, making it easy for viewers to see the product’s benefits.
  • Voiceover:
    Informal and conversational, the voiceover helps in making the message more relatable and digestible.

Performance and Engagement Strategy

  • Target Audience:
    The ad targets office workers and teams who need better communication tools.
  • Engagement Tactics:
    By presenting a common problem and showcasing a tangible solution, Slack effectively uses the ad to engage viewers who may be experiencing similar issues.
  • Multi-Platform Strategy:
    Slack often uses this video across various platforms, ensuring that the message is consistent and reaches viewers wherever they are most active.


Even the best creative in the world produced by top notch creative directors will fail if it is presented to the wrong audience, because relevancy is the name of the game. 

So it goes without saying that if we want our creative to succeed we need good targeting in place to ensure that our ad reaches the right people and our efforts pay off. 

But this can be a hit or a miss with YouTube, so if you are running ads on Youtube we do recommend signing up to Adzaps free account to find highly targeted placements for your YouTube ads and other marketing campaigns. Give you creativity the best chance for success!

Happy marketing!