Video Ads (formerly in-stream video ads)

Assets Overview and Creative Submission

This section provides an overview of required and optional assets for both YT-hosted and third-party served creatives, as well as the creative submission process and turnaround times.

All ads must must comply with general AdWords Advertising Policies as well as the YouTube Advertising Policies. 

Assets Overview

Site Served

Asset Optional/Required File Type Comments / Details
Video URL Required Must upload Video to YouTube and set as public or unlisted (see guidelines below and help link for uploading Videos)  
Click-through URL Required

Must provide a destination URL for video ads; a single line item can only direct to one final destination URL.

Limit: 1024 characters

All creatives used within a line item must have the same final clickthrough URL destination for the duration of the campaign (i.e. resolve to the same top-level domain).
Companion Banner Optional
  • 300x60
  • JPG, GIF, PNG* (only image assets allowed, no 3rd party tags)
  • 150KB (50KB max for non-skippable video)
  • 30 seconds max animation time

Will inherit the same clickthrough URL as the video.

No 3rd party tracking available






Third-Party Served

You can use the YouTube VAST QA tool to verify whether your VAST ad tags meet our third party ad serving specifications. You can also use this tool to easily preview your third party served ad on the YouTube player.
Asset Optional/Required File Type Comments / Details
Video Ad Required VAST Tag - H.264 (MP4) video file type must be included for each video creative (other formats such as WebM can be included but may not be used)** Must be a Linear (Pre-Fetch) Tag
Companion Banner Optional

Served via the VAST Tag.
Does not need to be sent as a separate asset

Same requirements as for the site served companions. Reporting is not available for VAST companions.

*.PNG images that use alpha-channels or color profiles may show differently to the users in different systems.
*After 8/31/2015 VAST tags are no longer accepted for :15/:20 & :30 video ads (non-skippable) in the auction bought through AdWords.
**Please note some devices only support Site Served assets.

Creative Submission and Turnaround Time

  • Assets must be received by YouTube no later than TWO business days prior to campaign start date sent via your Account Manager.
    • If the asset for skippable video ad does not get to the system 24 hours before the campaign start date, the video view count will not increment correctly
  • Maximum of 2 creative revisions for site-served creatives are allowed per 6-week period for active campaigns.
  • Maximum of 3 creatives per site-served placement.
    • Note: If using multiple creatives, your creatives will rotate evenly by default.
  • Maximum of 5 XMLs per third-party served VAST tag.

Important Notes: Optional Companion

YouTube is aware of ad delivery issues with companion units (300x250s & 300x60s) due to the nature of how VAST (both third-party and site-served) is requested and rendered by the IMA SDK. As a result, companion banners may not always appear. Please note that the unit itself is not billed upon and not guaranteed, and we are working to resolve these issues.