Digital Video Ad Specs – Digital Nugget #17

By Julie Ennis

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Marketing & Sales Intern

Welcome back to our Display Advertising series on Digital Nuggets! A quick recap: in our last four posts, we discussed desktop display advertising options, mobile display advertising options, and the Rising Stars ad types in both categories. Today, we move on to our last category in this series, digital video.

Digital video ads are vastly different from the ad types we discussed earlier, and therefore come with their own set of specifications. The following specs are just a few you need to look at when considering digital video advertising.

Maximum Ad Display Duration

How long is your video going to last? There are five video lengths commonly accepted in digital advertising:

  • 3-5 seconds (also known as a “bumper” ad)
  • 6 seconds
  • 15 seconds
  • 30 seconds
  • 60 seconds

Determining which one of these lengths will work best for your ad depends on where the ad will be featured and the message you are trying to get across.

Another important aspect of video duration to consider is whether or not your video will be expandable. An expandable video will have one portion that plays automatically, and another portion that only plays if a viewer chooses to engage with the
ad further.

Placements Before, During or After a Video

Digital video ads have the unique opportunity to be placed before, during or after content of another video. If you have ever watch YouTube videos, you see these all the time. In the digital advertising industry, videos that appear before, during
and after a video are call pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll, respectively.

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Dimensions / Resolution

In relation to videos that are incorporated into rich-content ad types on webpages (see digital nugget post #14), the advertiser has a wider range of options in terms of dimensions and resolution. However, when digital video ads are featured before
or during other videos, such as those on YouTube or a streaming site, the advertiser is restricted to dimensions that fit those of the player. Typically, the preferred aspect ratio is 16:9 for HD-screens, or 4:3 for non-HD screens.


Audio is yet another specification that depends on the platform a video is featured on. For videos featured before or during a streamed show, movie, or clip, audio will play automatically with the ad. However, for an ad featured in a rich content
ad (i.e. a video ad on Facebook), audio will typically not play with the video footage until the viewer chooses to engage with the ad. This is done so that the advertisement does not interfere with actual webpage content. Whether or not audio will
play automatically may influence an advertiser’s decision to use captions in their video.


What should those three letters/numbers after the period at the end of your video ad title be? .mov? .mp4? Once again, it all depends on the platform. If your video ad is being incorporated into another video, the ad has to be in the same format as
the content video; for example, Hulu requires that all ads be submitted as .mov files, just like the format of the programs they stream. When it comes to videos in rich content ads, however, it is up to the discretion of the site. Most companies
will have media kits that inform advertisers which formats work best on their sites.

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Published on Mar. 14, 2016, Last Updated on Jun. 15, 2022