With over 1.9 billion monthly users, YouTube is both the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content consumption.

This makes it prime advertising real estate, but to succeed on the platform, advertisers need to use the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help ensure that your ad gets in front of more viewers, making you more likely to gain new customers and increase brand awareness.

There are two broad categories of YouTube ads: display and video.  Here’s a quick look at the ad specs for each format.


YouTube Display Ad Specs


In addition to the specifications listed below, all YouTube display ads must follow Google’s image ad policies.


Standard display ads


Standard display ads are static or animated images that can appear across Google properties, often directly to the upper right of a YouTube video.


youtube standard display ad


Standard display ads must meet the below specifications:

  • Image: 300×250
  • File type: GIF, JPG, PNG
  • File size: Max. 150KB
  • Max. animation length: 30 seconds


Overlay ads

Overlay ads are small static images that appear as an overlay at the bottom of a video. These are one of the least expensive YouTube ad options, especially when compared to video ads.

Clicking through these ads opens the advertiser’s landing page in a new tab or window.


youtube overlay display ad

Overlay ads must meet the following specs:

  • Image: 480×70
  • File type: Static GIF, PNG, JPG
  • File size: Max. 150KB


YouTube Video Ad Specs


All YouTube video ads must follow the same basic specifications:

  • Video Codec: H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4
  • Audio Codec: AAC, MP3
  • Resolution: 640×360 (19:9 aspect ratio) or 480×360 (4:3 aspect ratio)
  • Frame Rate: 30 FPS
  • File Size: Max. 1 GB

Bumper ads


Bumper ads, also called pre-roll ads, are short videos that appear before a YouTube video.


youtube bumper ad


In addition to the above, YouTube pre-roll specs include:

  • Must be uploaded to YouTube
  • Companion image specs:
  • Length: Max. 6 seconds


TrueView ads


YouTube TrueView ads refer to video ads that users choose to watch (past the skip button). Advertisers only pay for these ads when users choose to view them. There are two types of TrueView ads: TrueView in-stream — also called pre-roll ads — and TrueView discovery.


TrueView in-stream ads


In-stream ads play before or during a video from a YouTube partner. Viewers have the opportunity to skip the ads after 5 seconds, but advertisers only pay for the ad when the viewer watches at least 30 seconds of it or until the end — whichever is shorter — or clicks through to a landing page.


trueview in-stream ads


In-stream ads also offer TrueView for Action, which allows advertisers to add prominent CTAs and headline text overlays to video ads. This ad format is specifically designed to drive clicks, making it an especially valuable tool for online retailers who want to drive purchases, not just awareness.

In addition to the overall YouTube specs listed above, TrueView in-stream ad specs and requirements are as follows:

  • Must be uploaded to YouTube
  • Companion image specs:
  • Length: 12 seconds to 3 minutes (>30 seconds recommended)


TrueView discovery ads

TrueView discovery ads appear next to YouTube videos and on YouTube search pages. Advertisers only pay for these ads when a user clicks on them.

These ads offer more leniency and the opportunity for more creativity than traditional YouTube ads because they don’t have the same 3 minute time limit.


trueview discovery ads


This means that you can use these ads to demo a product, tell your brand story, or feature a longer form customer testimonial.

TrueView discovery ad specs follow all of the basic YouTube ad specs, plus the following:

  • Must be uploaded to YouTube
  • Image: Choose from 4 generated thumbnails
  • Headline: Max. 25 characters
  • Description: Two lines, max. 35 characters


How To Use YouTube Ads


Make sure that you always follow Google’s advertising policies as well as the technical ad specs shared above, and keep up to date with new iterations to its ad options, such as the new call-to-action (CTA) extensions that give advertisers the ability to add an interactive, customized element to their YouTube ads.


youtube ads


To learn more about creating successful YouTube ads, check out:

How To Use Video Advertising To Grow Your Brand

How YouTube “TrueView for Action” Works

5 Powerful Ways to Promote YouTube Videos With AdWords


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