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The Comprehensive Guide to CTV Ad Specs for Effective Campaigns

Wanting to bring your advertisements to connected TV (CTV) channels means nothing if you fail to create great content, invest in quality production, dig deep into the preferences of your target audience, and — perhaps most importantly — brush up on the latest CTV ad specs.

With that in mind, the specs you need to be mindful of when creating your content include the following:

Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio of your CTV ad refers to the dimensions (that is, the width and height) of the video. These will dictate how it fits and appears on different screens, such as smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, and computer monitors. 

The most common aspect ratio for CTV is 16:9, which aligns with widescreen TVs and most modern digital screens and ensures that your ad displays correctly without any awkward cropping or letterboxing, which can distract viewers. 

Still, despite the ubiquity of 16:9 ratios, there are exceptions, so always verify the preferred aspect ratio of the CTV platform you plan to run your ads on.

Max File Size

The maximum file size of a CTV ad is important for ensuring smooth streaming and loading times. Larger files can lead to long buffering times, negatively impacting the viewer’s experience. Each CTV platform has its own file size limits, though most typically range from 50MB to 200 MB. 

Staying within these limits is crucial for maintaining optimal playback quality and avoiding technical glitches. Avoiding being over the maximum file size helps in achieving a balance between video quality and delivery during playback. 

Video Length

As a spec that often goes hand-in-hand with file size, your CTV advertising video length is also crucial, primarily with regard to viewer engagement. Generally, you should keep your videos between 15 and 30 seconds; while many channels support 45- to 60-second videos, it’s best to resist the urge to make your content that long. 

Delivering an impactful message and CTA and then wrapping things up will help ensure viewers don’t lose interest, but beyond that, keeping your ads short is especially important in contexts where they can be skipped. Viewers might sit through a 15-second ad, especially if you snag their attention in the opening frame, but the longer your ad, the greater the temptation becomes to hit that skip button to get back to the show or movie. 

If you decide to push past that 30-second threshold, your production quality and content had better be Grade-A quality, or you’ll effectively waste your advertising revenue and diminish your return on ad spend (ROAS). 

Frame Rate

A video’s frame rate affects its smoothness and quality. The most common frame rates are 30 and 60 frames per second (fps).

Higher frame rates provide a smoother presentation, which is important if your ads are fast-paced or filled with detailed graphics, but they also increase file sizes, which can impact the delivery of your content. As such, you must ensure you choose as fast of a frame rate as necessary to maintain quality without impacting delivery. 


Bitrate refers to the amount of data transmitted per second in a video. A higher bitrate translates to better quality and clarity but — as it is with an increased frame rate — a larger file size. 

Choosing your bitrate is all about balance, especially as each platform has its own recommendations for optimal bitrates. If you are advertising on multiple platforms with different bitrate recommendations, make sure to adjust your ads accordingly. Otherwise, you’ll encounter inconsistency issues across channels. 

File Type

The file type of a CTV ad determines its compatibility and performance across different streaming platforms. The most common are .mp4 and .mov files. For most platforms, .mp4 will be the best option, but it’s still wise to verify a provider’s preferred file type to ensure that your ads will run on their platform without issue. For instance, where Tubi, Roku, and Hulu all support the standard. MOV or .mp4 files, Amazon Fire TV recommends MPEG-2, MPEG-4, or H.264. 

Choosing the Ideal CTV Ad Specs for Your Campaign

Though there is certainly plenty of overlap between streaming platforms, there are still platforms out there with peculiar specifications. Don’t let these discrepancies discourage you from incorporating those platforms into your marketing mix.

When choosing the ideal CTV ad specs for your campaign, focus on platforms where your target audience is most active. Let customer behavior be your guide, and you’ll maximize your odds of thriving in the world of connected TV advertising.