Ultimate Guide to YouTube Shorts Ads for Affiliate Marketing

Whether to generate leads organically or through paid ads, YouTube is one of the best traffic sources for affiliate marketing.

Earlier this year, it also started rolling out ads on the Shorts feed, which were created to compete against TikTok and now generate over 30 billion daily views globally.

In this guide, we’ll be covering everything about YouTube Shorts Ads, including the basics, how to create and run campaigns with them, what your Shorts strategy should look like, and more.

If you currently rely on paid traffic to generate leads for your affiliate offers, keep reading.

What are YouTube Shorts?

YouTube Shorts Ads
YouTube Shorts Ads

YouTube Shorts are videos of up to 60 seconds that viewers can find on the Shorts tab on YouTube’s site and app. While it’s possible to watch them on desktops and other devices, the best experience takes place on mobile phones, and that’s where the vast majority of views come from.

Shorts can also be found on notifications, subscriptions, or featured on channels’ homepages. Once users tap into a Short, they can scroll to watch more short videos.

They were a response to TikTok’s incredibly successful short-form videos, which started to drive watch time and engagement away from YouTube, especially from younger audiences.

YouTube Shorts Ads

Their main advantage for creators is reaching new audiences and engaging those who want to watch shorter videos. Besides, they’re extremely easy to create with smartphones, allowing them to create more content.

Many creators who make money from YouTube claim that shorts are great for attracting viewers to their channels and stimulating engagement, while long-form videos are best for monetizing.

This also makes Shorts great for affiliate marketers like you to attract new viewers and grow your audience organically.

Until recently, YouTube used its $100 million Shorts Fund to reward those who uploaded Shorts to the platform. However, in August 2022, they started gradually rolling out YouTube Shorts Ads and now share part of their revenue with creators.

Introducing YouTube Shorts Ads

YouTube Shorts Ads are sponsored Shorts displayed between the organic clips on the Shorts feed, pretty similar to ads in the Instagram Reels and TikTok feed. Except for the Ad sticker, Shorts ads look exactly the same as organic ones.

You’ve probably seen something similar on Facebook, where you often come across sponsored posts that look no different than the other posts. YouTube Shorts Ads work the same way.

YouTube Shorts Ads

You can also link your Shorts campaigns to your product feeds, allowing people to view your products without having to switch to a browser.

Advantages of YouTube Shorts Ads

Since they look almost identical to organic Shorts, YouTube Shorts Ads blend in naturally with the organic content. And, unlike other YouTube video ad formats, they’re always displayed between the clips rather than in the middle.

All those things make viewers more likely to pay attention, click, and even share your ads. Besides, they’re far less intrusive than other ad formats, allowing you to avoid brand damage that may come from displaying excessive and annoying ads.

They’re very cost-effective too.

In a test run by Creatopy, spending $3,000 on ads throughout YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, TikTok, and Pinterest, they found that YouTube Shorts ads drive the most traffic.

The traffic quality was also high, with conversion rates only lower than on Instagram Reels, generating lower customer acquisition costs.

Another advantage is that you can easily repurpose your YouTube Shorts ads for other functions. Since they’re up to a minute long videos, you can easily post them on your social media channels to drive more organic engagement or use them on a paid campaign on another platform like TikTok.

YouTube Shorts Ads

Finally, many YouTube Shorts ads viewers end up visiting and subscribing to the channels running them. That’s especially helpful for affiliate marketers that need to grow their organic audiences to decrease customer acquisition costs and maximize profits.

Disadvantages of YouTube Shorts Ads

On the downside, you can’t target campaigns exclusively for YouTube Shorts yet. In this case, there’s always the risk of recording ads for Shorts placements and getting them displayed elsewhere.

But, as we said, they can be easily repurposed and do well in other formats as well. And by following the requirements and best practices we’ll share, your campaigns will be fairly displayed in the Shorts feed.

Another downside for many advertisers is having to create videos. So, if you’re used to creating ads with images and texts only, you’ll have to get a bit out of your comfort zone and shoot videos promoting your offers.

But keep in mind that there are AI tools like Synthesia that allow you to create videos without actually having to shoot, edit, or appear on them.

PROS of YouTube Shorts Ads

-Drive higher engagement

-Less intrusive than other ad formats


-Can be easily repurposed

-Can drive followers to your channel

CONS of YouTube Shorts Ads

-You can’t create campaigns exclusively for Shorts placements

-Requires you to create videos

How to record a Short

Since YouTube Shorts Ads are nothing more than sponsored Shorts that look like organic ones, you’ll have to create one to run campaigns on the Shorts feed.

Here’s how to do it with a video you have already made:

You can also make short in the platform.

  1. In the YouTube app, tap Create and then Create a Short
  2. If you want to make your Short longer than 15 seconds, tap 15s in the upper-right corner to record up to 60 seconds
  3. To record a clip, hold Capture or tap it to start recording and then again to stop, and make sure your video is portrait-oriented
  4. Tap Done to preview and enhance your video – you can then add images, texts, and filters
  5. Tap NEXT to add details to your video, including the title and settings
  6. Tap Select audience and select whether it’s made for kids or not to choose your audience
  7. Tap UPLOAD SHORT to publish your Short

What your Shorts should look like

When it comes to YouTube Shorts and many other short video formats such as Instagram Reels and TikTok videos, you should work to make your content more engaging to the viewer.

That includes focusing on the benefits instead of the features, creating an emotional connection, and making viewers visualize themselves using the product or service you’re promoting.

YouTube Shorts Ads

Let’s say you’re promoting a drone. Instead of filming it on the ground and talking about its features, you could record it flying while showing excitement from you and those around you.

That would not only be more persuasive and make your viewers more likely to buy the drone but would also make the video more entertaining, making it great to drive organic engagement as well.

How to Spy on Short Ads

Currently, there really isn’t a great Youtube shorts spy tool for now I have been using Pipiads which is actually a really good TikTok Ads spy tool. The videos that work on Tiktok typically should work on Youtube Shorts ads.

How to launch a YouTube Shorts Ads campaign

As we mentioned, it’s not possible to create a campaign to display exclusively on the Shorts feed yet.

However, by making your campaign eligible for YouTube Shorts Ads and following a few best practices, you can get them displayed there more often.

Here’s the step-by-step process:

Step 1: Create a Video Action campaign

On your Google Ads dashboard, create a new campaign and set sales or leads as the objective and video as the campaign type. At this stage, you’ll also need to select a conversion action.

YouTube Shorts Ads

Next, select your campaign’s basics, including your budget and the start and end date (the last one is optional).

Then, to get more impressions on the Shorts feed, you also want your ads to display only on Mobile Devices. I would also block All app categories at the account level.

Step #2: Target mobile phones

Most YouTube Shorts views come from mobile phones. In this case, ensuring your campaign is only displayed on them will prevent it from over showing on other placements rather than Shorts.

YouTube Shorts Ads

On the General Settings page, go to Additional Settings and uncheck computers, tablets, and TV screens, leaving only mobile phones.

Then, build your target audience with Google’s targeting options that include demographics, keywords, and more.

Step #3: Link your ads to a YouTube Short

That’s the video to be displayed on your ads.

If you haven’t uploaded a Short yet, you must do this at this point. Remember, keep it around 60 seconds.

When selecting the video ad format, pick Skippable In-Stream Ad, which displays before or after other videos. In-feed Video Ads, on the other hand, display next to related content, on YouTube’s homepage, and in YouTube search results, which won’t get you in the Shorts feed.

Finally, paste its URL to the Google Ads interface.

YouTube Shorts Ads

A final note: remember that following those steps doesn’t mean or guarantee that YouTube will show your ads only in the Shorts placements, but setting up your campaign this way will increase your odds of getting more placements there.

Final thoughts – should you run YouTube Shorts Ads?

If you currently rely on video ads to generate leads for your affiliate offers, YouTube Shorts Ads are definitely worth checking out as they seem to bring an excellent return on investment, as well as other benefits.

That’s especially true if you’re advertising to younger audiences that engage more with short-form videos.

To wrap up, here’s a final tip: regardless of your ads strategy, start shooting and uploading Shorts to display organically.

This will not only help you drive more engagement and grow your audience but will also allow you to see how each of them performs without having to spend money on ads.

And when you finally decide to run a YouTube Shorts Ads campaign, you’ll be able to select the ones that have driven the most engagement and conversions, boosting your ROI even more.

Joey Babineau

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