Paid Media (SEM) / Uncategorized

Ultimate Guide To YouTube Specifications

Josh Heine

28 Jan 2022

Did you know that over 500 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute, and the platform has more than 2 billion users? 😱 

We’ve seen the success that YouTube and branded content can have. In 2021 we worked with the Australian Ballet to introduce new audiences to their performances by creating a cohesive YouTube strategy that generated over 450,000 impressions with a 51% view rate.

By using the correct YouTube ad specs, you deliver a clear message to your audience and a well-composed video that aligns with your business objective. In this post, we’ll give you a quick overview of the ad specifications for a YouTube campaign.

Bumper Ads:

Appear on YouTube videos, partner sites and apps on the display network. These are a non-skippable video ad format created to extend the reach of a campaign. It appears before the video the viewer is watching. Sold on a CPM basis, bumper ads perform well on mobile devices with a maximum video length of 6 seconds.

Video ad settings

  • File format: AVI, ASF, Quicktime, Windows Media, MP4 or MPEG
    • Preferred video codec: H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4
    • Preferred audio codec: MP3 or AAC
  • Resolution: 640 pixels by 360 pixels or 480 pixels by 360 pixels recommended
  • Frame rate: 30 FPS
  • Aspect ratio: native aspect ratio without letter-boxing (examples: 4:3, 16:9)
  • Maximum file size: 1GB
  • Length: 6 seconds

Why use bumper ads: A perfect way to quickly & easily increase your brand awareness and reach through short memorable videos.

Overlay Ads

Generally static images have minimal movement on the side of the YouTube video, and can be used as an overlay on the bottom of the video. They’re a perfect mix because they’re less expensive than other ad forms such as those that appear before or during videos.

Overlay ads do not overtake the entire screen and can be used as a gentle reinforcement message with a clear call to action.

Overlay image: required

  • Unit: 480 pixels by 70 pixels
  • File type: static GIF, PNG, JPG
  • File size: 150KB

Companion banner: optional

  • Unit: 300 pixels by 250 pixels
  • File type: GIF, PNG, JPG
  • File size: 150KB

Why use overlay ads: Located at the bottom of the video, it is not as intrusive as other large popups. If a person does click on the ad, an automatic transfer to the website url will occur.

Non-Skippable Ads 15 + 30 Seconds

Advertisers already pay more for non-skippable ads because viewers will watch the ad from start to finish. Non-skippable YouTube ads can benefit your brand by: Increasing ad recall and brand presence. Boosting campaign performance for view rate KPIs. Getting your full brand message in front of your audience.

Video ad settings

  • File format: AVI, ASF, Quicktime, Windows Media, MP4 or MPEG
    • Preferred video codec: H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4
    • Preferred audio codec: MP3 or AAC
  • Resolution: 640 pixels by 360 pixels or 480 pixels by 360 pixels recommended
  • Frame rate: 30 FPS
  • Aspect ratio: native aspect ratio without letter-boxing (examples: 4:3, 16:9)
  • Maximum file size: 1GB
  • Length: 15 or 20 seconds for non-skippable; 20 seconds for long non-skippable

Why use non-skippable ads: They’re a great way for demanding immediate attention on a site that you know your customers will be interested in. They appear pre, mid or post-roll while watching videos.

TrueView in-stream skippable ads

Skippable video ads allow viewers to skip ads after 5 seconds and move on to their viewing selection.

Assets overview

  • Where they appear: YouTube videos and video partner sites and apps on the display network
  • Companion: 300 pixels by 60 pixels .jpg, static .gif or .png; 300 pixels by 250 pixels video wall will show on YouTube if no companion ad is provided
    • Maximum file size: 1KB

Video ad settings

  • File format: AVI, ASF, Quicktime, Windows Media, MP4 or MPEG
    • Preferred video codec: H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4
    • Preferred audio codec: MP3 or AAC
  • Resolution: 640 pixels by 360 pixels or 480 pixels by 360 pixels recommended
  • Frame rate: 30 FPS
  • Aspect ratio: native aspect ratio without letter-boxing (examples: 4:3, 16:9)
  • Maximum file size: 1GB
  • Length: 12 seconds to 3 minutes

Why use skippable ads: Use these ads when you have video content that you would like to promote before, during or after other videos on YouTube, across websites and other apps running on Google video partners.

TrueView Video Discovery ads

TrueView Video discovery ads are like display ads. They are the recommended videos that pop up on the YouTube homepage, or as recommended/related videos on the search page. 


YouTube Ad Specs for TrueView Discovery ads are:

  • No limit to the video length – people choose to navigate to these videos. 
  • Accompanying display ad headline has a 25-character limit
  • Body copy can contain two lines, each with a maximum 35 word limit
  • Must be uploaded into YouTube
  • Choose from 4 generated thumbnails

Why use true view discovery ads: TrueView discovery ads can deliver an excellent ROI because you pay only when someone clicks on your ad thumbnail, thereby demonstrating an interest in your brand. 

You are now set to build an incredible YouTube campaign to align with your business goals. Think about your objectives and create video content that aligns with your aim, for example a Non-Skippable 15 or 30 second video is perfect for awareness as it does not give people the opportunity to skip and to take in the information. Gain attention in the market by being loud, creative and new, often people skip YouTube Ads; dare to be different.