What Is RTMP?
What Is RTMP: The Streaming Protocol You Need to Know About
January 13, 2021
best youtube alternatives brid.tv
YouTube Is Not Your Only Option — There Are Plenty of Alternatives
January 14, 2021

Video Advertising Guide to Ad Formats and Specifications for Publishers

video advertising guide to ad specifications

The online video advertising industry is a rapidly evolving environment, so it’s essential to remain updated with all the latest advertising standards and policies. That way, publishers can avoid any ad serving issues, or worse — getting penalized. 

Staying informed on all the industry news and policy changes can be challenging. That is why we decided to make this handy publisher’s guide with the most up-to-date ad standards and practices. We’ve compiled some of the most recent video ad specifications and industry changes to help publishers stay compliant with the latest online video advertising policies. We hope that these guidelines and resources help you minimize the risks of coming across any issues!

Here some of the latest video ad specifications and guidelines publishers should be aware of:

Google Ad Manager Video Ad Specifications

Depending on the type of Google Ad Manager account they have, publishers will have access to different video advertising features and limits.

For instance, regular Google Ad Manager users can host video ads of up to 30 MB in size, while Google Ad Manager 360 Basic & Advanced users will be capped at 512 MB for video sizes.

Google Ad Manager (Free)Google Ad Manager 360
RequirementsNone90 Million impressions per month
PricingFreeDepends on your requirements and contract with Google
Monthly Impression Limit200 Million to non-video ad units for residents of Eastern Europe, Arabian and Latin American countries (check the full list here)

90 Million to non-video ad units for residents of U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

180 Million to non-video ad units for all other countries
None
Available FormatsNative Ads

Responsive Ads

Video Ads
Native Ads

Responsive Ads

Video Ads

Rich Media Ads

In-Banner Video
FeaturesComplete multi-screen audience ad management toolkit

Full API access

Access to a limited number of reports

Line item management

Access to up to the level 2 ad unit hierarchy
All Google Ad Manager (Free) Features +

Open Bidding and Programmatic
Guaranteed Deals

Advanced video options

Detailed audience targeting, auto-suggested ad units, and audience segments

Special ad units

Full access to reporting tool dashboard

In-depth reporting

Creative wrappers

Ads.txt management

Direct access to Google Support

…and more

Regular Google Ad Managers will only have access to the following features:

  • Video Ad Serving
  • Hosting and Transcoding
  • VAST 2, 3, and 4 and VPAID Ad Formats
  • Multiscreen

On the other hand, Ad Manager 360 Advanced users will have additional features at their disposal, like:

  • Podding
  • Video and Audio Creative Profiles
  • Content Ingestion
  • Dynamic Ad Insertion
  • And more…

For a full list of features that come with different Google Ad Manager account types, consult the official Google thread here.

Now let’s look at Google’s ad specifications for various video ad types.

Instream Video Ads

SizeVideo FormatsAudio FormatsMax. SizeMax. Video LengthRecommended Video LengthMax. Frame Rate
480×360 (4:3)

640×360 (16:9)

1920×800 (5:2)
H.264

WebM
MP3

AAC
10 MB60 Seconds<15 Seconds30 FPS

For additional information on these requirements, check Google Support’s official thread here

Companion Ads

SizeVideo FormatsAudio FormatsMax. SizeMax. Animation Length (Host-Initiated Play)Max. Animation Length (User-Initiated Play)Max. Frame Rate
300×250

300×60
Static GIF

JPG

PNG
SWF with backup GIF / JPG
50 K30 Seconds4 Minutes24 FPS

For additional information on these requirements, check Google Support’s official thread here

In-Article & In-Feed Video Ads

When it comes to in-article and in-feed video ads, publishers are recommended to serve them in sizes greater than 256 pixels in both dimensions (except for 300×250 and 320×180 formats).

However, in-article and in-feed video ads must also comply with Google’s aspect ratio requirements. Google advises publishers to stick to the standard 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios to stay on the safe side.

Finally, the company advises publishers to keep their in-article and in-feed ads no longer than 15–30 seconds to ensure optimal user experience.

IMPORTANT: All in-article and in-feed video ads must comply with Google’s video publisher policy. Make sure to check it out and optimize your ads accordingly.

Saying that IAB is a well-known name in the online advertising industry would be an understatement. Since this company represents some of the world’s most notable media outlets and online publishers, referring to their recommended video ad specifications is a surefire way to optimize your video ads for delivery. Here are their recommendations on the optimal specifications for two of the most common types of video ad formats:

Linear Ad Format Guidelines

Linear video ads include all ads that interrupt video content streaming to give room for the ad to play, similar to traditional commercials. These include instream video ads (pre-, mid-, and post-rolls) and companion ads (interactive and non-interactive).

As you’ll see, IAB’s linear ad recommendations are similar to Google’s instream video ad specifications. Let’s take a look at them:

ResolutionAspect RatioVideo CodecAudio CodecMax. Video LengthRecommended Video LengthFrame Rate
640×360 

640×480

854×480 

1024×576

1280×720

1920×1080
4:3

or

16:9
H.264AAC-LC

HE-AACv1
60 Seconds6 Seconds

15 Seconds

30 Seconds
24 FPS

or

30 FPS

For additional information on these requirements, check IAB’s official Ad Format Guidelines here

Non-Linear Ad Format Guidelines

Non-linear ads don’t interrupt user experience and usually appear as overlay or rich media ads within or next to pieces of content. That is why these types of ads are quite popular and widely used by publishers worldwide. Aside from that, these ads offer users the choice of interacting with them as most of them require users to take action (like manually starting or mousing over them) for them to play.

IAB recommends publishers abide by the following specs when using these non-intrusive ads:

ResolutionPlacementAudioMax. SizeMax. Video LengthRecommended Video Length
300×50

450×50
Anchored to the bottom of the player (most commonly) but can vary between publishersNo audio allowed

Users can manually opt to play audio
100 K (for the initial portion of the ad)

Unlimited (for the viewer-initiated portion of the ad)
Persistent5–15 Seconds

For additional information on these requirements, check IAB’s official Ad Format Guidelines here.

The Importance of Optimizing Video Ads for User Experience

All of the above recommendations and specifications were put in place to optimize the web and the online advertising realm for user experience. However, several additional changes and restrictions were introduced lately to facilitate those efforts further.

Online Video Ad Restrictions

In 2019, the Coalition for Better Ad Standards took an ambitious step toward further enhancing the user experience on the internet by introducing new mobile and desktop ad standards to discourage publishers from using some of the most disliked ad types by users. Since February 2020, they successfully introduced new standards for short-form video content (8 minutes or less) to deal with the most interruptive video ads.

According to the verdict of this initiative, publishers are discouraged from using the following:

  • Mid-roll ads (they are considered incredibly interruptive to user experience).
  • Pre-roll ads or pods longer than 31 seconds that users can’t skip within 6 seconds.
  • Non-linear ads appearing in the middle of running videos larger than 20% of the viewed content.

Publishers are advised to adhere to these latest guidelines to maximize the odds of getting their ads served and minimize the risk of receiving penalties.

Google Chrome’s Heavy Ad Policy

Recently, Google decided to join the efforts of optimizing online ads for user experience train with its latest heavy ad policy. In May 2014, Google revealed on its Chromium blog that a small percentage of online ads consumed large amounts of users’ processing power and announced they’d be combating this issue with a new policy.

According to this heavy ad policy, Google would block a video ad if it exceeded one (or more) of three thresholds without users interacting with it:

  • It consumed 4 MB of bandwidth or more.
  • It required 15 seconds of active CPU usage over any 30-second period.
  • The ad reached a total of 60 seconds of CPU usage at any point.

If you don’t know whether your ads comply with all the above standards, you can use Google’s Ad Experience Tester tool to check your ad creatives.

IMPORTANT: If you repeatedly violate google’s Better Ad Standards policy, your site may get penalized until you take the necessary action to optimize your advertising creatives.

How to Avoid Chrome’s Heavy Ad Policy

If Google Chrome detects a heavy ad on your site, it will block it and return an error report. But is there a way to avoid Chrome’s heavy ad policy? Of course, there is!

The most commonly recommended way of dealing with heavy ads is to use video ad SDKs to implement heavy ad intervention via ReportingObserver API. Doing so will restrict heavy ads from getting called, so Chrome won’t end up blocking any of your ads. If you have some coding knowledge, you can easily do that by following the official Google’s guide here.

Alternatively, if you are using Brid.TV’s video platform and video CMS, you can protect yourself from Chrome’s heavy ad policy in two easy steps:

Step 1. Log into your Brid.TV account and navigate to the Players section on the left sidebar, select your desired player, and click on the Monetization tab.

brid tv cms screenshot

Step 2. Scroll down to the Advanced section and look for the Ad Maximum Recommended Bitrate field. You can use this field to limit your ads’ bandwidth and circumvent Chrome’s heavy ad policy.

brid tv cms screenshot

IMPORTANT: On average, a 30-second video ad at 1000 kbps should end up within the 4 MB bandwidth limit. However, we advise you to start with 800 kbps just to be safe. For longer video ads, you will likely have to lower the maximum bitrate accordingly.

Aside from these two methods, the best way to ensure you don’t fall victim to Chrome’s heavy ad policy is to build lightweight ads. That way, you won’t have to worry about any of this, and both your audience and Google will thank you!

If you have any additional questions or need further support regarding video ad guidelines and best practices, submit a support ticket or send us an email, and our support team will get back to you promptly!

Support