YouTube overlays are those nifty grey boxes that show up on a video like an ad, only they are created by the same person who posted the video. It can be used as an ad (of sorts) to give viewers an option of clicking for more information elsewhere on the web, seeing your logo, or easily obtaining your phone number. Overlays provide each video with additional space to post more information, links and graphics. Overlays are free to use and fairly simple to set up. However, you do need to have a Google Pay/Per/Click account set up.
Frustrated with the information available online, I decided to document the steps involved so others can avoid frustration and maximize their YouTube channels. All the information I could find starts with creating the YouTube overlay, but misses some of the essential steps that make this option available.
Provided you have a YouTube channel set up and a video uploaded, you’ll want to make sure your Google account information is linked to your YouTube account. For most people, YouTube has likely merged the two already. Go to http://ads.youtube.com
Click on “Get Started with Ads for Video” if you don’t previously have a Google PPC account set up.
If you have used Google Ads in the past, then click on “manage existing promotions with ads.youtube.com”. This was initially confusing as I had used Google PPC before, but not in association with YouTube or YouTube ads. However, whatever log-in info you used with your Google Adwords account is what they are after, and it will guide you to a page that has any previous Google PPC campaigns in it.
On the left hand side of the screen, within Campaign Management, you’ll be able to navigate between Google PPC and YouTube (video campaigns) Ads. While we are reviewing how to set up a YouTube overlay, NOT an ad, it is necessary to go through all these steps to get the overlays to work.
Next, click on the button “New Video Campaign” and fill out the fields. You will need to give a minimum budget, but nothing should get charged to your card if you pause the campaign. If you’re concerned, make it a small amount like $5.00. As you are filling out the information, you’ll see a “select video” button which should give you all your YouTube uploaded videos to select from. Choose one, and keep going until you select “continue” until your ad is saved.
Now go over to YouTube and find the video you selected in the Google/YouTube Ads account that you created an ad for and select “edit”. Once in this screen you should see the option and fields to add an Overlay on the right side of your screen. Complete the fields and make sure you save.
Now go back into your Google Ads account and find the campaign you just created and “Pause” it so that it doesn’t run the ad. The overlay will continue to work.
If you want to create overlays for multiple videos, you will need to repeat this whole process for each video. Therefore if you have 20 videos, you will need to create 20 ads; one for each video, create unique overlays for each, and pause each ad.