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Video Ads (formerly in-stream video ads)

Technical Specifications

Beginning April 1, 2017, line items can only direct to one destination URL. If rotating multiple creatives through a single line item or within a VAST tag, all creatives used must have the same final clickthrough URL destination (i.e. resolve to the same top-level domain).

This section covers detailed specifications for both YouTube-hosted (site served) and third-party served video ads, as well as video upload best practices and compatible browsers.

Site Served

Video Requirements: Must be uploaded to YouTube (send Video URL, shortened URL not allowed)
Must allow embedding
Must be public or unlisted
True streaming is not allowed
Minimum Video Length: 12 seconds (for skippable ads)
Maximum Video Length: Up to 6 minutes (skippable ads)

15 seconds (non-skippable ads) - 30 seconds may be allowed in certain circumstances. Please talk to your Google account team.

6 seconds (bumper ads)

20 seconds (non-skippable ads, EMEA, India, Malaysia, and Singapore only) - 30 seconds may be allowed in certain circumstances. Please talk to your Google account team.
 

Third-Party Served (VAST-Compliant)

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.
Format: 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)
Aspect Ratio and Bitrate:

720p or below is required, the optional inclusion of 1080p is recommended - either 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratios are acceptable. (Examples of each are 16:9 - 854x480; 1280x720; 1920x1080 and 4:3 - 480x360; 720x540; 960x720)

Must contain at least one mediafile under 1000kbps

Audio Format: MP3 or AAC preferred
Frames per second: Up to 30fps
Maximum file size: 10 MB
Requirements: Must comply with YouTube's XML summary for VAST ad server response
Must be SSL-compliant
Only VAST 3.0 tags are allowed for skippable video ads. VAST 2.0 will not be accepted.
Must be served via a linear VAST tag (pre-fetch tag) by a YouTube-approved vendor.
Must NOT have geo, browser or any other targeting on the third party end.
Please ensure your ad server returns a valid crossdomain.xml file. If you choose to explicitly list domains, please ensure all ad serving domains are included.
VAST-served video ads are not guaranteed to run on all mobile web browsers, game consoles or connected TV devices (most modern updated environments are supported)
Only VAST 2.0 and 3.0 are currently supported
VPAID is not allowed on YouTube
Maximum Video Length: Up to 6 minutes (skippable ads)

15 seconds (non-skippable ads) - 30 seconds may be allowed in certain circumstances. Please talk to your Google account team.

6 seconds (bumper ads)

20 seconds (non-skippable ads, EMEA, India, Malaysia, and Singapore only) - 30 seconds may be allowed in certain circumstances. Please talk to your Google account team.
*After 8/31/2015 VAST tags are no longer accepted for :15/:20 & :30 video ads (non-skippable) in the auction bought through AdWords.  

Video Recommendations

  • Resizing your video based on YouTube's best practices before uploading it will help your videos look better on YouTube. Please reference our help pages on how to upload your video, accepted file formats, and optimizing your video.
  • If you would like your video to not be viewable or searchable to the public outside of the ad, you can make it unlisted by following the instructions here.
  • Interactive elements such as annotations, call to action overlays or info cards will automatically appear on the video ad, if enabled. If you do not want the interactivity elements to appear on the ad, please remove these directly from the Video.
  • If you would like to use a 360° video in a video ad, please follow the guidelines here, and please note that 360° videos have browser and device limitations for correct rendering.

Compatible Browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 10+, Firefox 25+, Safari 6+; Chrome 33+