Complete Guide to YouTube Video Sizes for 2020
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Complete Guide to YouTube Video Sizes for 2020

13min read  

17 Sep 2020

Being both the second-largest social media platform and search engine in the world, YouTube is the king of online video. Because of its size, the platform is an essential place to be on if you are looking to get the word out about your brand. Because of its size, YouTube is a wonderful space for every type of video content, from gaming vlogs to business explainers.

As the platform continues to grow, to succeed on YouTube, there are many elements to take into consideration when creating a video. First, and one of the most important ones is keeping up with the latest YouTube video size and specs, to ensure the best possible look of your content. This can sometimes be hard to achieve, because of the new features constantly introduced by the company.

To save you tons of research, we’ve decided to gather in one place all the essential information you may need on YouTube video sizes. Consult them next time you are working on your video, to ensure the best viewing experience for your audience. Now, let’s jump right in!


Standard YouTube Player

Let’s start with understanding the most important YouTube video size: the standard YouTube Video Player format. The social media platform allows its users to upload videos in a large variety of formats. Yet, there are certain aspect ratios that look better than others, and make for a more enjoyable experience for viewers. Let’s take a look at those sizes and resolutions separately.

Aspect Ratio

YouTube video player itself has only one, fixed aspect ratio: 16:9. To ensure the best possible viewing experience, this is also the recommended aspect ratio of the videos you want to upload to your channel. For videos with smaller aspect ratios, a white frame will be added around the video to fit it into the player and avoid cropping the video. This is also known as pillarboxing. 

This is done to visually blend the empty spaces of the player with the page, centering the attention of the viewers to the video. If you are watching a YouTube video on your smartphone, tablet, or any other device, the aspect ratio of the video will automatically be adjusted to the device.
youtube pillarboxing

Video Sizes and Recommended Resolutions

When you upload a video to YouTube, the platform automatically converts the video to several sizes and offers each size in the player settings. You may have even noticed this: whenever you have a poor internet connection, YouTube starts playing the video in a lower resolution. This happens when the video quality is set to “Auto.” This is the default mode of YouTube. It allows the platform to adjust video size to your internet connection. Thus, even with slow connection you can continue watching the video without interruption. You can also manually change or adjust your preferred resolution from the settings of the video if you have a preferred quality.

youtube video size

Now, let’s take a look and understand the dimensions of each video size:

  • Recommended dimensions: 256×144 (144p), 426 x 240 (240p), 640 x 360 (360p), 854 x 480 (480p), 1280 x 720 (720p), 1920 x 1080 (1080p), 2560 x 1440 (1440p) and 3840 x 2160 (2160p).
  • Minimum dimension is 256×144 (144p).
  • Max dimension is 3840 x 2160 (2160p).


The larger your video size, the more immersive the viewing experience will be for your audience. Higher quality videos will require more data and may load slower with a poor internet connection. However, it’s always better to go with a higher quality video. If you have a powerful internet connection will ensure an unmatched viewing experience. In case of a slow connection, on the other hand, the platform will auto-adjust the resolution.

Other crucial elements to consider when uploading a YouTube video are the file size, video duration, and file format. The allowed video duration is 15 minutes for unverified channels, and 12 hours for verified channels. The maximum file size is 128 GB. Larger video files will be cropped. To avoid this, you can compress large video files using different compressor tools. The accepted video formats include, but are not limited to: .MOV, .MPEG4, MP4, .AVI, .WMV, .MPEGPS, .FLV, 3GPP, and WebM. For a full list of video file formats supported by YouTube, you can consult our article on how to upload a video to YouTube.

In case you want to upload a custom thumbnail to your video, the minimum recommended size for YouTube thumbnail is 1280x720. For images with smaller resolutions, black bars will be added around the image, to fit the image into the player. You can learn more about all the YouTube thumbnail specifications in our article.

YouTube Video Ad Formats

Being one of the social media advertising titans, YouTube also offers a variety of video ad types. If you plan to advertise on YouTube, it’s essential to keep up with the latest video sizes and resolutions for each of those ad types. This will be the first step towards your campaign's success.Below are video sizes for each ad type offered by YouTube.

  1. Skippable Ads


As the name suggests, viewers can skip this ad type after the fifth second. The ads can lay before, during, and after the video and must be between 12 seconds and 6 minutes (1 minute on YouTube kids). The aspect ratio and resolutions apply here as well. If your video is smaller in size, the platform will pillarbox it, or adjust the resolution. To be used as an ad, the video should be uploaded to your channel, be “Public” or “Unlisted,” allow embedding, and the video size should not exceed 128 GB. 

skippable ads

Source: Wyzowl

  1. Non-Skippable Ads


The duration of non-skippable video ads varies between 15 to 20 seconds, and the users must watch the ad in its entirety. The ad video should be uploaded to the channel, and same resolution and file size limits as in case of skippable ads apply.
youtube unskippable ads

Source: Seerinteractive

  1. Mid-Roll Ads

In contrast with the skippable and non-skippable ads, mid-roll ads can run only in the middle of the video. Since July 2020, YouTube automatically adds mid-roll ads to all the videos that are 8 minutes or longer. While these ads are skippable, the viewers must watch at least 30 seconds before they can do it. Therefore, the minimum allowed duration of a mid-roll ad video is 30 seconds, with a maximum duration of 1 minute. The recommended resolutions for the mid-roll ads are the same as in case of a standard YouTube video.youtube mid-roll ads

Source: Tubular Insights

  1. Bumper Video Ads


Bumper ads are small, up-to 6-second video ads that cannot be skipped, and are usually optimized for mobile. The recommended size resolution for bumper ad videos is 640 x 360 pixels, or 480 x 360 pixels, with an allowed file size of 1 GB.
youtube bumper ads

Source: Instapage

  1. Display and Overlay Ads


These types of ads often appear on the bottom of the video player at different parts of the video (overlay ads), in the search queries, or on the top-right part of the player page (display ads). Where the ad will appear depends on the resolution of the ad video. While at first sight, the ads may seem to be static images, the video will start playing when the user clicks on the ad.

Both display and overlay ads follow some of the same guidelines as the videos mentioned above in that they have a 128 GB file size limit, and the maximum duration is 12 hours. What comes to the resolutions, for the display ads, it is recommended that you use 300x60 videos for best look and performance. For the overlay ads, 468x60 or 728x90 sizes are the best choice. The overlay ad videos take up around 20% of the video player.youtube overlay ads


Conclusion

YouTube is an excellent platform for everyone who wants to reach their goals using video as their medium. However, to reach your potential viewers and have an impact on them, keeping up with the latest YouTube video sizes and specs is crucial. With thousands of videos available at their fingertips at all times, users won’t settle for videos falling behind in quality.

We hope the article has been useful and helped to clarify which aspect ratio and size to use for different video types.Keep these numbers in mind, or reference them whenever you need. This will ensure that you create top-notch video content your viewers will enjoy and stick to.

Having trouble coming up with an idea for your next video? Renderforest offers a large selection of YouTube video templates you can use to create YouTube videos, promos and video ads, YouTube intros, and other types of videos. Click the button below to try! 

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