Youtube ads might be the most difficult ad platform to master. Being used by mostly matured brands, as opposed to FB ads’ relatively big SMB usage, there’s a real lack of information online.

We’ve decided to tackle this issue and write about advanced Youtube Ads topics like – View-Through Conversions, SaaS Youtube Ads, and Youtube ads’ biggest mistakes.

In this part of the series will dig down into what is the optimal youtube ad length:

Youtube Ads’ optimal length is 43 seconds, but more important than length is sequencing. With Youtube’s Trueview Ads format having the skip button at the fifth second, and the “view” count at 30 seconds, there’s a great deal to the structure of the video ad and its sequence to achieve optimal results.

For your convenience, you can skip to the parts you’re most interested in:

Breaking Down Youtube’s TrueView Ad Format:

Youtube’s TrueView Ad format is the most common ad format on Youtube Ads, if you’re running youtube ads, chances are you’re using the TrueView format.

Understanding the in’s and out’s of this ad format will help you achieve the most out of it, improve your ad’s structure and more importantly – improve results.

What are Youtube’s Truview Ads?

According to Google: “TrueView is built on the promise that you’ll only pay when someone chooses to watch your video ad”

There are two types of TrueView ads –

  • TrueView In-stream: Plays before or during a Youtube Video
  • TrueView Video Discovery: Appear in YouTube’s search results or on Google Display Network

What are the TrueView Format Payment Model:

  • For TrueView In-stream a skip button will appear after 5 seconds, and the advertiser will be charged for every 30 seconds view.
  • For TrueView Video Discovery the advertiser will pay every time a user decided to click and watch a video.

TrueView In-Stream Ad Complete Overview

  • Skippable in 5 seconds
  • Could also run on Google Display Network (GDN), and embedded videos on other sites or apps
  • Payment model: Cost per View (CPV)
  • A Youtube View is 30 seconds of watch time, a full video watch, or an engagement of any kind, whichever comes first
  • A “companion banner” on Youtube’s page is served for free in addition to the paid video view

TrueView In-Stream Asset specifications (Source: Google)

Video Requirements:Must be uploaded to YouTube (send video URL)
Must allow embedding
Must be public or unlisted
True streaming is not allowed.
Minimum video length:12 seconds recommended (in order for public viewcounts to be incremented)
Maximum video length:Less than 3 minutes recommended
Companion Banner300×60 JPG, GIF, or PNG
See the full specs.
300×250 video wall will show on YouTube if no companion ad is provided.
150 KB
Display URLRequired
Final URLRequired

TrueView Video Discovery Ad Complete Overview

  • Could also run on the YouTube search results, Watch page, Mobile apps homepage, and mobile-web search and watch pages
  • The ad unit consists of an image thumbnail and up to three lines of text
  • Clicking the ad will deliver a user to the YouTube watch or channel page to view the video
  • Payment model: Cost per Click (CPA- engagement)

TrueView Video Discovery Ads Asset specifications (Source: Google)

Video URLVideo must be uploaded to YouTube
ImageChoose from 4 auto-generated thumbnails
To implement custom thumbnails, contact your Google representative
Headline Text25 characters max (any more than 25 will be truncated on some devices)
DescriptionTwo lines 35 characters max each
Description is not shown in Suggestions
Video File SettingsFile format: AVI, ASF, Quicktime, Windows Media, MP4, or MPEG
Resolution:640×360 (16:9) or 480×360 (4:3) recommended
Frame rate: 30 FPS
Aspect ratio: Native aspect ratio without letter-boxing (examples: 4:3, 16:9)
Maximum file size: 1 GB
ComplimentIn order to create a TrueView video discovery ad, videos must be public or unlisted. All ads must must comply with the YouTube Advertising Policies.

How Youtube TrueView impacts Ad Length:

Once the TrueView video format is understood, and especially when running Video In-Steam Ads, we can apply the consequences of its payment model and skip button on the video ad Length.

The Video view is billed as CPV only when the user watches 30 Seconds of the video ad, therefore having a video ad that’s shorter than 30 seconds is just a waste of money.

The first 5 seconds have a very important role in “Hooking” the viewer as it’s the only unskippable part of the video. More on that, in the sequencing section of the article, let’s go back to Youtube ad video length:

We’ve analyased the video ads of YouTube’s TrueView Leaderboard and the results show that according to the industry leaders, the optimal youtube ad length is 43 seconds.

Youtube ads sequencing:

Apart from having consequences on the video ad length itself, the TrueView format affects the way the video ad should be built, or to be precise, it’s sequencing.

Here’s a Correct TrueView Youtube Ad Sequencing:

Video Ad PartsNoteObjective
0-5 secondsUnskipable + freeHook intent-less users
5-30 SecondsSkipable + freeEmpower User’s intent + Branding
30+ SecondsCPV from 30 seconds upPaid Part

0-5 Seconds: The first 5 seconds are unskippable and free, will be mostly used to hook users up to watch the next 30 seconds or more. In this initial part, being the one that’s mandatory to watch, it’s recommended to present broad messaging, and approach an audience with a relatively low intent of converting into clients.

5-30 Seconds: The second part of the video ad is skippable and free, therefore should be used to approach users with a higher intent, the ones that decided not to skip. It’s a great step to Show rather than Tell the users how to get to the advertizer’s site, navigate its menus and convert to a paying customer.

30+ Seconds: Will be watched by users who still have doubt, or are very interested in the product. This part should be used to show advanced features of the product, more viewing angles to it and go into “detail”.


Grammarly Youtube Ad Breakdown:

Grammarly Video Ad

0-5 Seconds: is used to introduce Grammarly’s basic functions, correcting spelling mistakes and grammar, and approaches the “lower intent” audience

5-30 Seconds: The second part of Grammarly’s ad tells about the advanced features of its product, optimizing sentences that already grammatically correct but are too “wordy” or hard to read. This part is totally approaching the video viewers that decided not to skip, and get’s them to know Grammarly’s real value

30 – 0.57 Seconds: tells about how Grammarly works anywhere, desktop, phones and different software and continues to list it’s “advanced” use cases

The Ad Breakdown:

0-5 Seconds: “If You Manage a Team, You Must Try” – a broad message to hook the lower-intent audience

5-30 Seconds: A further drill down into which kind of teams use, the fact that it’s customizable, and even a visual demonstration of typing into the URL bar, these are all messages the brand would like to deliver for free (<30 sec) but for users with a higher intent (didn’t skip).

30 – 0.57 Seconds: Serves to visually show and explain more complex features of the product, and the way it enables teams to “take on more complex projects”.


In-conclusion, the optimal youtube ad length is 43 seconds based on analysis done on youtube’s leading advertizer’s video ads.

We’ve also discussed how Sequencing is even more important than Length, and how both are directly affected by Youtube’s TrueView Format.

How long is your Youtube video ad? Are you using the TrueView Video Format? Don’t forget to contact us directly or comment below for any reason.


With 8 of experience in Online marketing, Yotam lives and breathes online trends. And loves to share it :)