table of content

by Dash Two Staff

2014 is going to be another huge year for the tech industry (according to Business Insider). The rapid rise, expansion, and transformation of ideas with the power to revolutionize society are both fascinating and hazy at the same time. As we greet each and every upcoming social media platform, mobile application, digital soft wares, etc… into our work-life balance, it is quite easy to get lost in an ocean of new possibilities, without truly utilizing each tool to its extent.

With that said, as the music space quickly became saturated with different innovative marketing venues & tools (Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud, Reverbnation,…. to name a few), we at DASH TWO understand the confusion as well as frustration of artists, bands, and record labels in choosing an effective digital strategy. If anything, we have worked on enough projects & campaigns over the years to know what works and what doesn’t. Now, we would love to share what little wisdom we have gained with you.

Among the many advertising venues most utilized by musicians, YouTube, with its proven prominence in popular culture, is definitely the place to be. We cannot stress enough the importance of having an active presence on YouTube, whether it be through posting videos regularly, keeping your audience visually engaged, or consistently running effective ads. Consider this platform as a live resume that your audience relies on to discover and judge your work/talent. You want it to be as polished and enticing as possible.

On that note, we want to go through a few basic YouTube video ad types that have shown to be highly effective in gaining traction and pushing content toward “the tipping point,” all the while keeping a relatively low cost per click (CPC).

1. YouTube Pre-Roll

What it is: :15, :30, or :60 sec video ads that run before regular videos start (hence, pre-roll). Viewers cannot skip these ads and you pay per click.


Great for new artists’ exposure since viewers have to watch your ads in its entirety. When coupled with the right targeting, it can really give a new hit or artists/bands the breakthrough that they needed, and at a much lower rate than expensive traditional display ads.

Mimic television commercials but with click through URLs to leverage the interactivity of online video.

You pay per click; thus, paying for actions and not just engagement.


The CPC for Pre-Roll ads are usually higher than TrueView ads.

To our knowledge, there seems to be a lower inventory for Pre-Roll ads compared to TrueView. Thus, making it more competitive and difficult to land good spots on desired channels or videos (resulting in much much higher CPC at times or your ads simply will not run).

2. YouTube TrueView

 What it is: video ads that run before regular video starts. Viewers can choose to skip these ads after 5 sec. You only pay when viewers watch more than 30 secs of the video (pay per view). The video ads have to come from a published YouTube video.


Allows viewers to choose ads that are more relevant to them → bands/artists actually reach their prime audience & only pay for engaged view.

In comparison, TrueView ads usually have much lower cost per view (CPV) while retaining a relatively high view through rate (VTR).

Clicking on the video can lead viewers to a click through URL or back to the video.

Great for increasing views on new single release or music videos. The views you gain will show on your YouTube music video.


The pay per view system also means that we are not paying for actions, but engagements.

Understanding the similarity and differences between these two ad types will help you decide which one (or both) will be most beneficial to your campaign. In our next blog, we will share more about the different types of targeting on YouTube and how to best utilize them. In the meantime, visit our ad types site to learn more!

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