Youtube Ad Specs and Sizes Explained for 2024 | MagicBrief

Youtube Ad Specs and Sizes Explained for 2024 | MagicBrief

Learn all about the YouTube ad Specs with MagicBrief. Get the inside scoop on how to make your ads stand out in YouTube’s crowded market!

Apr 22, 2023
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George Howes
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Youtube is a digital marketer's dream, boasting a 2.1 billion user base that spans across various demographics. But while many know about the platform’s advertising potential, many don’t know  that Youtube ad specs are constantly evolving.

Youtube ad specifications change with the newest trends in digital marketing, and 2023 is no exception. By keeping up with these specs across desktop and mobile devices, you won't miss out on reaching your target audience!

In this guide, we've outlined all Youtube’s ad specifications and formats, ensuring you always comply with youtube advertising guidelines.

  1. What are Youtube ad specs?
  2. Skippable video ads
  3. Non-skippable video ads
  4. Bumper ads
  5. Display ads
  6. Overlay ads
  7. Discovery ads
  8. Sponsored cards
  9. Why to use Youtube Ads as part of your marketing campaigns

What are Youtube Ad Specs?

Youtube ad specs are guidelines for creating ads on Youtube which include its format, resolution, size, length, aspect ratio and other aspects. These technical requirements ensure your ad is approved by Youtube and seen by its’s viewers.

Besides passing Youtube's strict guidelines, complying with these specs can also do the following:

  • Ensures your ad is presentable and polished for your viewers.
  • Helps to optimise your ad to generate leads and increase conversions.
  • Lets you analyse your ad's performance once it’s up and running.
  • Protects your brand's reputation as ads comply with Youtube regulations. 

Youtube Skippable Video Ads

Skippable ads run before, during or after a video plays, making users almost always want to hit the 'skip ad' button! But don't let that detract you as an advertiser, skippable ads provide a tonne of leads if done properly.

This ad format lets viewers skip ads after 5 seconds, enabling them to go straight to the content. They're also cost-effective and target audiences based on an advertiser's preferred demographics, interests, and more.

Youtube Skippable Video Ad
Youtube Skippable Video Ad

Skippable Video Ads Specs

Video file format: Windows Media, AVI, ASF, Quicktime, MP4 or MPEG

Resolution: 640 pixels by 360 pixels

Aspect ratio: 16:9 or 4:3. We recommend 16:9 due to the growing trend of Youtube viewers transitioning to CTVs.              

Min to max video length: at least 12 seconds. However there is no time limit.  

Max file size: 1GB

Frame rate: 60fps          

Video duration: 12 seconds to 3 minutes

Youtube companion image specs:

Resolution: 300×60 pixels                

File type: JPG, static GIF, or PNG    

Max file size: 1Kb

Skippable Ads Best Practises

  • Create a strong hook to immediately lure your target audience in. Your goal is to keep them watching even after 5 seconds.
  • Showcase your product or service's best attributes early in the video.
  • Stay within 30 seconds unless your ad involves storytelling elements that require a longer duration. Otherwise, viewers may quickly experience ad fatigue.

Youtube Non-skippable Video Ads

Non-skippable videos show up at the start of a video. These ad types are generally shorter as they're mandatory viewing, stopping viewers from leaving the video midway. In some cases, a video can host up to two ads.

Non-skippable ads are more cost effective than skippable ads and cannot be avoided. This means you can focus less on a compelling hook and more on the story's narrative.

Youtube Non-skippable Video Ad
Youtube Non-skippable Video Ad

Non-skippable Video Ad Specs

File type: AVI, ASF, Windows Media, Quicktime, MP4 or MPEG

Resolution: 640 pixels by 360 pixels or 480 pixels by 360 pixels recommended

Frame rate: 30 FPS

Aspect ratio: 16:9 or 4:3. We recommend 16:9 due to the growing trend of Youtube viewers transitioning to CTVs.

Max file size: 1GB

Video length: 15 or 20 seconds for non-skippable; 20 seconds for long non-skippable

Video Duration: 15 or 20 seconds

Non-skippable Video Ad Best Practises

  • Unlike skippable ads, a strong hook isn't necessary here. Focus on the main content itself, like how your product solves a problem.
  • Keep it simple - your ad may be unavoidable but it shouldn't be a drag to watch.
  • Use easily understandable messaging and visuals - your audience must grasp the plot within 15-20 seconds.

Youtube Bumper Ads

A Bumper ad is a non-skippable ad that shows at the end of a video, lasting a maximum of 6 seconds. Because of its short duration, your creative messaging has to be short and sweet. So, instead of trying to fit all product/service benefits, focus on the most compelling points and a call-to-action.

These ads are perfect for product launches or company's trying to improve their outreach. They also perform very well on mobile devices and are sold on a CPM (Cost per mille) basis, making them ideal for maximising impressions and brand awareness.

Bumper Ads Specs

File type: AVI, ASF, Windows Media, Quicktime, MP4 or MPEG

Resolution: 640 pixels by 360 pixels Frame rate: 30 FPS

Aspect ratio: 16:9 or 4:3

Maximum file size: 1GB

Max length: 6 seconds

Bumper Ads Best Practises

  • As mentioned, use compelling visuals and copy. You want to make a statement within those 6 seconds.
  • Have one key message - don't try to cram too much in!
  • Keep the CTA straightforward - your audience shouldn't think about what to do next.
  • Keep your brand in focus by including a logo or product name.

Youtube Display Ads

Youtube display ads are either static or animated images that appear on a screen’s top right hand side, above your suggestions list. However, they can also be displayed below a user's youtube player on larger screens i.e. a connected TV.

Display ads can be compared to Single image ads on Facebook. Advertisers display one image along with a catchy headline, some copy and a clear CTA (call-to-action) button. The primary difference, however, is that Youtube viewers can watch videos uninterrupted while the display ad shows up.

Youtube Display Ad
Youtube Display Ad

Display Ads Specs

Display Ad Images

Max file size: 150KB,

File type: GIF, JPG, PNG, and HTML5.

Min to max Image dimensions: 300 pixels 60 pixels to 300 pixels by 250 pixels

Display Ad Videos

Video file type: .MOV, .MPEG4, .MP4, .AVI, .WMV, .MPEGPS, .FLV, 3GPP, and WebM

Max file size: 128GB

Video dimensions: 426 x 240 (240p), 640 x 360 (360p), 854 x 480 (480p),1280 x 720 (720p), 1920 x 1080 (1080p), 2560 x 1440 (1440p) and 3840 x 2160 (2160p)

Aspect ratio: 16:9

Display Ads Best Practises

  • Experiment with animated static ads. Use motion, colour, transitions and other visuals to draw attention, albeit subtly.
  • Don't be disruptive by using overly flashy visuals.
  • Include a captivating headline that's highly engaging.

Youtube Overlay ad

An overlay ad is displayed as a semi-transparent banner at the bottom of a video. Users can click on its image or text box to be redirected off the website.

Overlay ads work because they don't detract from the main video. They're also positioned in the most visible area of a user's screen, and while small, their placement increases the chances of click throughs. And even if users don't click, it's visibility helps to at least gain impressions, boosting brand recognition.

However, the primary reason why it's the most used Youtube ad is because it's free. Yes, you heard that right! Your budget won’t be a factor in creating an overlay ad, and if you're feeling creative, go ahead and design one yourself!

Overlay Ad Specs

Overlay image:

File type: JPG, PNG and static GIF

File size: 150KB

Unit: 480 pixels x 70 pixels

Companion banner: 

File type: GIF, PNG, JPG

File size: 150KB

Unit: 300 pixels x 250 pixels

Overlay Ad Best Practises

  • Ensure your brand is the star of the ad! Even if they don't click, you still want viewers to remember your brand.
  • Use an image that complements the video's topic. For example, if the video is about weightlifting, featuring premium protein powders for sale works.
  • Refrain on flashy visuals which can disrupt the video watching experience.

Trueview Video Discovery Ads

Video Discovery ads appear at the top of YouTube search results when users search for something related to the advertiser.

This ad type includes a video thumbnail image, a headline and short description, giving the viewer a preview of what's next when they click. They're also cost-effective as you don't pay for impressions - you only pay when a user clicks on your ad.

Trueview Video Discovery Ad
Trueview Video Discovery Ad

Video Discovery Ads Specs

File type: Quicktime, Windows Media, AVI, ASF, MP4 or MPEG

Resolution: 640 pixels x 360 pixels or 480 pixels by 360 pixels (recommended)

Max file size: 1GB

Aspect ratio: 16:9 or 4:3

Frame rate: 30 FPS

Video Discovery Ads Best Practises

  • As your video's thumbnail is the first to pop up on the search results page, make sure it's visually appealing and relevant to entice new viewers.
  • Optimise your description by including relevant keywords and keeping headlines under 25 characters and descriptions under 90 characters.
  • Feature tight shots and keep your core topic in the middle of the thumbnail.
  • Write copy that will make potential leads want to convert i.e. “Learn how to make the best mac and cheese in 2023”.
  • Use catchy visuals, such as logos or slogans to lure your target audience.

Youtube Sponsored Cards

A Sponsored card appears on a Youtube video, and is typically related to what the viewer is watching. It's ideal for advertisers to naturally plug products and services without trying to shoehorn them in. For example, a social media marketing tutorial video could use a Sponsored card featuring the latest social media tools.

When clicked, sponsored cards take viewers directly to the advertiser's landing page. Ads can be viewed on mobile and desktop devices, coming with additional features such as teaser text, headline, images and CTA buttons. Teaser texts are especially effective as you're already highly engaged with viewers at this point.

Youtube sponsored cards
Youtube Sponsored Card

Sponsored Cards Specs

File type: JPG, PNG, and GIF

Max card size: 5MB

Aspect ratio: 1:1

Sponsored Cards Best Practises

  • Include custom teaser texts and a clear CTA for users to click on.
  • Ensure relevancy by staying on topic with the video's content.
  • Be creative with your teaser texts. For example, instead of writing 'Check our Website' use 'Go from 100 to 100,000 followers on TikTok today'.
  • Use visuals or logos that stand out and keep viewers engaged.

The Benefits of Using Youtube Ads

Well-crafted videos and images with the right Youtube ad specs are a powerful tool for any digital marketer. Here's why:

Precise Targeting: Users watch videos based on their interests. With Youtube ads, you can target your audience based on their demographics, location, interests, and search history. Thus, your viewers will more likely be interested in your product or service.

Brand Recognition: Ad formats, like Overlay ads and Bumper ads, give a perfect opportunity to increase brand visibility on Youtube. Even if viewers don't click on your ads, its appearance will increase brand recognition.

Easily position your ads in the right places: Instead of advertising a random product on any video, use the Discovery ad and Sponsored Card ad formats to strategically place your ads in the right places. This ensures that they reach viewers who are actually interested in your product or service.

Final Thoughts

By complying with the correct youtube ad specifications, you’ll create captivating Youtube videos and ads that get clicks and eventually generate sales. Whether you're a small business or an international brand, Youtube ads should be at the forefront of your marketing campaign. 

But, remember: Youtube specs are only one part of the equation for a successful ad campaign. Writing creative copy and catchy headlines, and incorporating the right visuals and CTAs can take your ads to the next level. 

If you need inspiration, use the MagicBrief Chrome extension to download competitor ads to our library. You can then review ads and generate your unique ideas. So what are you waiting for? Get creative with MagicBrief!