Choose the Right YouTube Video Size: Resolution, Dimension, Frame Rate & Aspect Ratio
YouTube is the number one video streaming website on the planet.
The USA alone provides roughly 240 million users, while the platform contains over 2 billion total users from around the globe.
It’s not only a premier platform for entertainment, education, and news but also serves as a vital resource in any digital marketer’s arsenal. However, just like static or dynamic image ads, YouTube ad video sizes must meet specific parameters to get results.
This article will entail not only the recommended YouTube video sizes, but also provide concrete guidelines for resolution, dimensions, frame rate, and aspect ratio. With these rules, you’ll be able to create engaging YouTube ads that help your campaign get results.
What is the Best YouTube Ad Video Size?
The best video size to provide to YouTube users is the highest resolution your current equipment can record.
The maximum resolution that YouTube and most displays will support is 4K or 2160p. That comes out to a 3840 x 2160 pixel image. This will provide the greatest possible image quality to users with the proper screen and a speedy internet connection.
If users do not have a 4K-ready device or find themselves experiencing poor load times, YouTube can auto-detect these issues and downscale your video automatically for a better viewing experience. This setting will also help users save on mobile data if they have a limited budget.
With this in mind, advertisers should be looking for the video size minimum rather than the ceiling.
The minimum YouTube video resolution you want to aim for is 1080p. This equates to 1920 x 1080 pixels, the modern-day standard for most affordable displays. It will also prompt YouTube to automatically render your ad in the best video quality without negatively impacting users that can’t readily play the content.
Users also can manually change the video quality at any time. You do this by:
- Hovering over the YouTube video
- Clicking the gear icon in the bottom-right corner
- Click Quality
- Select the desired resolution
Note – If the video you uploaded supports it, users can also use this function to switch between 60 FPS or the standard frame rate, which we will discuss later in this article.
1080p is the standard for high-definition video and will provide the best visuals while still loading quickly on most devices.
The floor is much lower, however. YouTube technically supports video files with resolutions as low as 240p. While there’s a chance that lower-quality videos can work on smaller screens like a mobile device, most high-tech screens will end up blurring the image regardless of the display size.
For this reason, if you’re unable to shoot in at least 720p, standard HD, you’re better off avoiding video content until you can upgrade your equipment.
Regarding the size of the YouTube ad video file, the platform will readily accept uploads as large as 128 GB. However, the video must also not exceed 12 hours in length. As long as your video ad does not exceed this limit, you’re free to add content to your YouTube account.
As a final note, you will not be able to upload videos this large by default with a new account. You must go through the process of verifying your YouTube account to gain access to new limit maximums. In the meantime, your video must be shorter than 15 minutes.
You can learn how to verify your YouTube account here.
What Video File Types Does YouTube Support?
YouTube currently accepts the following video file formats for ads and general content:
- HEVC (h265)
However, YouTube/Google recommends utilizing the MP4 format whenever possible. This stands for MPE-4 Part 14 and is the international standard for video files. MP4 offers strong file compression, allowing for better storage and quicker file uploads without losing video quality.
MP4 is also usable across a wide variety of devices. If your team is working with a variety of operating systems, this will be ideal as opposed to using a strictly Mac format like MOV.
What is the Best Frame Rate for YouTube Video Ads?
All video playback is essentially a rapid series of images. Compare this to old picture flipbooks that would appear to play out in motion when the pages flip by fast enough.
With this in mind, the frame rate describes how many of those individual images/frames appear every second. If you have too few frames, the video ends up looking like a slideshow. A high FPS does have its uses in certain cases, but this will rarely if ever be a factor for advertisement content.
Examples of when you want to use higher frame rates (60 FPS or higher) would be for things like sports, video game gameplay, or racing. Essentially, anything that is visually busy and contains a lot of important detail can benefit from the higher frame rate.
Furthermore, the average display seldom supports anything above 60 FPS as a 60Hz refresh rate is the most common. Those that look to use something higher such as 120 FPS are typically enthusiasts and have a specific reason for wanting that high of a frame rate.
The question remains – what is the best frame rate for YouTube?
YouTube recommends using at least 24 FPS for uploaded video content.
This is the industry standard for film and television that the human eye is accustomed to seeing. Anything slower appears stilted and choppy, making for an unpleasant viewing experience.
As discussed above, going beyond 24 FPS is supported and can be useful depending on what you are using to record as well as the content of the video. In such cases, you would want to encode the video in a frame rate that’s as close to the source as possible.
However, higher frame rates do not come free. Each additional frame means more data, a larger file size, and more data required to playback the video. Exercise caution when choosing to use video with higher resolutions and higher frame rates and make the call that’s right for the video you’re sharing.
Is Aspect Ratio Important for YouTube Ad Video Size?
The standard aspect ratio for video is 16:9. This is the widescreen format and the one most commonly supported by modern devices. While some popular devices like the MacBook utilize a 16:10 display, the difference in video quality is negligible.
Aspect ratio describes the ratio of width to height for a displayed image. A 16:9 aspect ratio means that the image is 16 units wide and 9 units high. You should always utilize this when uploading content to YouTube.
If you utilize other social media apps like Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok, you may also be familiar with the 9:16 format. This flips the standard format to prioritize display on devices with taller screens like a mobile phones. It creates the black bar effect on either side of the video.
There is a trend for using this format on platforms like YouTube, as well. For now, however, we would recommend using the standard 16:9 for YouTube and using the 9:16 for other platforms if you happen to use them for brand promotion.
Summary of Recommended YouTube Video Sizes & Specs
To quickly summarize everything we’ve discussed regarding your YouTube video ads, use the following specifications:
- 1080p is the standard, though YouTube supports up to 2160p
- 16:9 aspect ratio (though 9:16 is becoming a popular trend)
- 24 FPS (unless your content calls for more frames)
- The file cannot exceed 128 GB
- Video length cannot exceed 12 hours
- Supported file types:
- HEVC (h265)
YouTube continues to be the premier video playback platform on the internet. As long as your team has the resources available to create video advertisements, you should make the effort to promote your brand on the website to reach more audiences.
Simply stick to the guidelines above to ensure that your creatives never go to waste. Thankfully, most technology readily shoots video according to these parameters and YouTube readily accepts a majority of common video file types. If necessary, you can utilize a video file type converter to quickly change an existing video into a format that the platform supports.