YouTube

The complete list of YouTube ad specifications

Social media ad dimensions

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Among the social media titans on the market today, YouTube is the vanguard platform. It’s been around since 2005, long before Facebook gained serious momentum, but YouTube still competes with the best of them and is an essential part of your social media advertising mix.

Remember to optimize your YouTube advertising by adjusting not only the dimensions but the content as well to suit the online viewer in all their various forms (what device are they using to view your content?). Including calls to action or links web-exclusive deals are great ways to engage audiences, but even if you do none of that, a well-composed video could go viral and launch your brand’s recognition into the stratosphere. YouTube is the place to connect with users in a uniquely creative way, so have fun with it!

To help you with your YouTube advertising, we’ve outlined YouTube’s ad specs below.

Dive deeper: [Guide] How to advertise on YouTube

Video Discovery Ads (formerly known as In-Display ads)

Discovery Ad format 1

  • Platform: Desktop
  • Media: image
  • Width: 300
  • Height: 60
  • Format: jpeg, .jpg, .png, .gif
  • Aspect Ratio: 5:1
  • File Size: 150KB

YouTube-Discovery-ad-1

Discovery Ad format 2

  • Platform: Desktop
  • Media: image
  • Width: 300
  • Height: 250
  • Format: jpeg, .jpg, .png, .gif
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.2:1
  • File Size: 150KB

YouTube-Discovery-ad-2

Overlay Ad format 1

  • Platform: Desktop
  • Media: image
  • Width: 468
  • Height: 60 or 90
  • Format: .jpg, .png, static .gif
  • Aspect Ratio: 6.8:1
  • File Size: 150KB

YouTube-Overlay-ad-1

Overlay Ad format 2

  • Platform: Desktop
  • Media: image
  • Width: 728
  • Height: 90
  • Format: .jpg, .png, static .gif
  • Aspect Ratio: 6.8:1
  • File Size: 150KB

YouTube-Overlay-Ad-2

Think of discovery ads as an online billboards of sorts. These are generally static images or have very minimal movement and animation to them. They appear either to the side of the video or as an overlay on the bottom of the video. They’re good to include in your YouTube advertising mix because they’re less expensive than other ad forms like those that appear before or during videos.

Since they don’t directly interfere with user activity on the site, users might also respond better to their presence. A potential drawback could be that some users have a tendency to tune out these kinds of ads, but a truly great ad can break through the clutter. Whatever size or format you choose is up to you, just make sure that the content is optimized for the ad format and that there is a clear call-to-action for consumers to respond to.

Sponsored Card

  • Platform: Desktop and mobile devices
  • Media: image
  • Format: .jpg, .png, .gif
  • Aspect Ratio: 1:1
  • Length: 15 or 20 seconds
  • File Size: 2MB max

YouTube-sponsored-card-ad

One of the newer additions to YouTube’s ad arsenal is the sponsored card. How it works is that users will see a brief “teaser” for the sponsored card. After a few seconds, the teaser is replaced by a card icon. Appearing in the upper right-hand corner of the video they are currently watching, the icon gives users the choice of clicking through to access further information about the sponsored content. In that sense, it is similar to display ads except where it’s located and how it functions differs slightly. The commonality among them is the ever critical call-to-action.

In-Stream Video Ads

Non-Skippable Ads

  • Platform: Desktop and mobile devices
  • Media: video
  • Format: .mov, .mpeg4, .mp4, .avi, .wmv,.mpegps, .flv, .3gpp, .webm
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Length: 15 or 20 seconds
  • File Size: 2MB max

Long Non-Skippable Ads

  • Platform: Desktop and mobile devices
  • Media: video
  • Format: .mov, .mpeg4, .mp4, .avi, .wmv,.mpegps, .flv, .3gpp, .webm
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Length: 30 seconds
  • File Size: 2MB max

YouTube-non-skippable-ad-format

Scheduled to be eliminated in 2018, these ads play in the video player and last anywhere from 15, 20 to 30 seconds in length. Non-skippable video ads must be watched before the selected video can be viewed.

Skippable Ads

  • Platform: Desktop, mobile devices, TV and game consoles
  • Media: video
  • Format: .mov, .mpeg4, .mp4, .avi, .wmv,.mpegps, .flv, .3gpp, .webm
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Length: 12 seconds to 3 minutes
  • File Size: 2MB max

YouTube-skippable-ad-format

Skippable video ads allow viewers to skip ads after 5 seconds. The ads can be inserted before, during or after the main video.

Bumper ads

  • Platform: Desktop and mobile devices
  • Media: video
  • Format: .mov, .mpeg4, .mp4, .avi, .wmv,.mpegps, .flv, .3gpp, .webm
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Length: 6 seconds
  • File Size: 2MB max

YouTube-non-skippable-ad-format

Non-skippable video ad format created to extend the reach of a campaign. Sold on a CPM basis, Bumper ads perform well on mobile devices. Maximum video length is 6 seconds.

Lynn Pedotto

Lynn Pedotto is a writer who holds an MS from Medill. In addition to covering all things social, she’s a policy wonk who loves to write about government.