Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Working from home: The future of business is remote

YouTube: This free tool lets you quickly create video ads with music

Businesses get a free tool to quickly and easily create short video ads that are optimized for YouTube.

Building a $40 overhead filming rig for YouTube

YouTube has launched the beta of Video Builder, a free step-by-step tool that businesses short on video production skills can use to create ads to reach YouTube users. 

Google decided to release Video Builder earlier than planned as part of its response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, which is preventing many organizations from doing in-person video shoots. 

Working from home: The future of business is remote

Most every organization has been thrust into the future of work faster than prognosticators dared imagine. What will determine failure or success in this brave new world of work?

Read More

The tool helps animate static images, text and logos, and offers a range of music from Google's library to add to six-second or 15-second video ads for YouTube.

The new free video-making tool comes as some analysts speculate that online ad giants like Facebook and Google will see ad revenues decline.

SEE: How to optimize the smart office (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

Facebook execs in March said, "We've seen a weakening in our ads business in countries taking aggressive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19."

YouTube last year earned Alphabet $15bn in ad revenues and $4.7bn in the fourth quarter alone. Video Builder should, at least in part, remove some obstacles for businesses seeking to reach new customers through ads with layouts that have been optimized for YouTube. 

"Because businesses of all sizes are strapped for time and resources and in-person video shoots are no longer practical in many countries, we are accelerating the next stage of Video Builder availability," explains Ali Miller, director of product management at YouTube Ads

"With this tool, any business who needs a video can create one that helps connect with their customers and keep them informed – whether through an advertising campaign, website or email."

Businesses currently need to request access to the Video Builder beta, and YouTube says most requests are handled within five business days. Users will also need to have an email account that's connected to a Google Account and they'll need access to a YouTube channel.

The creation process involves seven steps, starting with adding a logo, images and text and then choosing brand colors and a layout. There's also a storyboard panel to create a story to help place brand shots and, for example, a call to action. 

The service also recommends the best style and orientation of images uploaded and the optimal amount of text for each field. 

SEE: Building a YouTube studio: Battle of the quick-release adapters

After this, the user would select the typeface and music they want to accompany the ad. The tool then offers a preview and lets the user select the YouTube channel, which they must control, to run the ad on.  

All Video Builder content must be uploaded to a YouTube channel, and YouTube notes in a guide that there is no way to save a video but not have it automatically uploaded to a YouTube channel. 

The tool is similar to the video-creation kit Facebook launched in 2018 to help advertisers create video ads that were optimized for mobile devices. The Facebook video ads are also either six seconds or 15 seconds long.