How Video Ads Work

Video ads (formerly in-stream video ads) are ads booked on a reservation basis to appear on YouTube watch page videos and YouTube channel pages with featured videos. These ads may run on YouTube desktop, mobile web and apps, connected TV, and game console properties, as well as embedded YouTube players on other sites. Along with the video ad, advertisers also have the option to include a companion banner that can appear on the side of the desktop watch page.

Please note that video content must be at least 30 seconds long in order to be eligible to serve video ads.

Types of Video Ads

The video ad can appear when a user initiates video play either in the beginning (pre-roll), at points in between (mid-roll), or after (post-roll). Video ads are offered as either skippable or non-skippable, and may be served as a YouTube-hosted video (recommended) or a third-party-hosted video.

Skippable: In a skippable video ad, viewers are given the choice to skip the ad after the initial 5 seconds. After the view of a skippable ad, it will increment the YouTube view count at the 30 seconds mark or when the ad has been watched completely (creatives must be at least 12 seconds long to increment view counts).

Non-skippable: In a non-skippable video ad, viewers are not given the choice to skip the ad. Note that non-skippable video ads do not increment the view count. Non-skippable ads can be a maximum of 15 seconds (20 seconds in EMEA, India, Malaysia, Mexico, and Singapore).

  • We also offer non-skippable Bumper Ads in select markets, designed to drive awareness and reach. Bumper ads can be a maximum of 6 seconds long.

Components of a Video Ad

Skip Button (skippable ads only): During the first 5 seconds of a skippable video ad, a skip countdown will appear. Once 5 seconds have passed, the countdown will be replaced by a Skip Button.

Channel Engagement Panel (site-served only): If the video creative is YouTube-hosted, it will automatically pull in information about the channel hosting the ad, such as channel name, channel icon, and the name of the video to boost additional channel engagement. These will not appear if the video is not hosted on YouTube or is unlisted.

Optional Companion Banner (site-served only): Companion banners are optional image banner ads that appear on the top right corner of the watch page on desktop for the duration of the content video. When an in-stream video ad ends (or is skipped) the companion banner remains on the YouTube page and the user can click on it at any time. If you choose to include companion banners, be aware that they’ll display only in the context of a desktop watch page on YouTube. They do not appear on mobile devices, embedded players, connected TVs, or on game consoles.

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